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Pro Imperio - For the King


British Columbia, other provinces of Canada, Newfoundland, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, America, Australia, India, Channel Islands, Russia, Scandinavia — men from these areas enlisted, served, and died with the 48th Overseas Infantry Battalion and the 3rd Pioneer Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Here is their story, as best as can be told 90 years later by a grandson of one of them.

The 48th was raised in Victoria, B.C. in February 1915, sailing for England in July. They became 3rd Pioneer in January 1916 while still in England, and went to France in March 1916. 3rd Pioneer was disbanded in May 1917, and the men and officers distributed mostly amongst the 7th and 29th Infantry battalions.

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The 48th Canadian Infantry Battalion was raised in BC with mobilization headquarters at Victoria, Vancouver Island, on February 22nd 1915 under General Order 86 of July 1st 1915. The unit was raised in part by the 50th Gordon Highlanders and the 88th Victoria Fusiliers, these militia regiments having previously having provided 262 volunteers to the 16th Battalion on its formation and 247 volunteers to the 7th Battalion at Camp Valcartier in August 1914. Together both regiments helped to also raise the 67th, 88th, 103rd and 143rd Overseas Battalions.

The battalion sailed for England July 1st 1915 under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel W.J.H. Holmes with a strength of 38 officers and 1020 other ranks. After its arrival in England the unit resumed training for six months. The 48th Infantry Battalion was redesignated as the 3rd Pioneer Battalion (48th Canadians) in January 1916, authorized under General Order 69 of July 1916, and assigned as the Pioneer Battalion of the 3rd Canadian Division. The 3rd Pioneers (48th Canadians) served in this capacity from March 1916 until May 31st 1917 when the unit was broken up for reinforcements. At this time the 123rd Pioneer Battalion became the 3rd Divisional Pioneer Battalion. The 48th Battalion was officially disbanded under General Order 196 of July 1920.

48th Officer

Pro Imperio 1915

BC Coat of Arms

B.C. Coat of Arms 1915

BC Coat of Arms

May 1917