This exhibit focuses on the First World War and the 160th Bruce Battalion, offering an interactive and comprehensive look at a soldier’s life in the trenches.
The early days of the First World War saw many Bruce County men join the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Bruce County men enlisted in 1914 and 1915 at many locations across Canada, many of whom already had military training through the County’s militia, the 32nd Bruce Regiment.
On December 2, 1915, Lt. Col. Adam Weir, former commander of the 32nd Bruce Regiment, was instructed to form a Battalion made entirely of Bruce County citizens. Four companies were mobilized: A Company from Walkerton, Cargill, Paisley, Port Elgin and Southampton; B Company from Chesley, Tara, Hepworth and Teeswater; C Company from Wiarton, Lion’s Head, Tobermory, Cape Chin and the First Nations; and D Company from Kincardine, Lucknow, Ripley and Tiverton. The Battalion Band was mobilized mostly of men from the Chesley Citizen’s Band.
Enlistment continued after the 160th went overseas, as people came of age, or were drafted under the Military Service Act in 1917.
In February 1918, the 160th was disbanded and the men were transferred to a variety of other Battalions including the 1st, 18th, 47th, and 78th Canadian Infantry Battalions.
In all, approximately 2,000 Bruce County men enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Over 650 did not come home or died shortly after arriving home of wounds sustained in the course of duty.