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16th Mounted Rifles / 16th Light Horse

Raised on July 3, 1905, the 16th Mounted Rifles was Saskatchewan’s first Militia regiment. It was originally formed in 1885 as the Battleford Rifle Company and fought at the Battle of Cut Knife Hill. Demobilized after the North-West Resistance, the Battleford Rifles were perpetuated by the 16th in the aftermath of the Boer War. The regiment was redesignated the 16th Light Horse in 1908.

Details of the 16th were placed on active service upon the outbreak of World War I. It was one of eight former militia units to be amalgamated into the 5th Battalion, Western Cavalry, that came to be known as the “Red Saskatchewan” for the preponderance of men from the province. Switched to infantry duty because of a lack of horses, the 16th saw its first action in Flanders in February 1915 and remained in the battlefield for the duration of the war. Battles in which it participated included Ypres (1915), the Somme (1916) and Cambrai (1918).

Postwar reorganization led to a change in name (16th Canadian Light Horse) in 1920 and amalgamation with the Saskatchewan Mounted Rifles (22nd Light Horse) in 1936. Renamed the Battleford Light Infantry in World War II, reconnaissance and tank companies were dispatched to the United Kingdom but did not go into battle. The rest of the regiment was placed on local protective duty.

Following World War II, another reorganization merged the Battleford Light Infantry with the Prince Albert Volunteers under the name “Prince Albert and Battleford Volunteers”—formerly the name of the Prince Albert Volunteers and a continuation of the 105th Regiment (Saskatoon Fusilliers). In absorbing the Saskatoon Light Infantry in 1955, the combination became the second incarnation of the North Saskatchewan Regiment.

John Chaput

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