New Brunswick's Fighting 26th Battalion


Cliff and I were both up and dressed early on this November 11 holiday.  We had received our yearly invitation to go with Gramp and Gram to Hampton to the Armistice Day ceremony. Although there was no snow on the ground, I knew Mum would insist we wear our winter boots. She was always concerned that chilled feet would lead to cold in the kidneys. As soon as we spotted the Olds coming in the driveway, we hurried out of the house to jump into the backseat of the car..

On the drive to the Cenotaph, Gram told us that Gramp's sister Nellie had been one of the first three nurses from New Brunswick to go overseas in the First World War. She also told us of the men who were severely wounded during battle, one of these being their very dear friend Dolph Bettle. He had lost his left arm. Dolph and his brother Jud had both been members of the 26th Battalion.

New Brunswick's Fighting 26th Battalion, with almost 6,000 officers and men in the regiment, was one of Canada's foremost First World War infantries. A history of this Battalion was compiled by S. Douglas MacGowan, Harry (Mac) Heckbert and Byron O'Leary.

The 76-page appendices will be of special interest to genealogists. There are lists of those who were Killed, Missing and Died of Wounds; Wounded; Nominal Roll and Honours and Awards.

At the Saint John Free Public Library, Market Square, there is a copy of the New Brunswick's Fighting 26th. A video of film footage shot during the spring of 1915 is also available.

The Library and Archives of the New Brunswick Museum on Douglas Avenue also have the publication New Brunswick's Fighting 26th and also copies of War diaries of the 26th Infantry Battalion.

The Internet has given us easy access to many records. At the National Archives,, you will find Soldiers of the First World War - Canadian Expeditionary Force.

More than 600,000 Canadians enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during the First World War (1914-1918). The CEF database is an index to those personnel files, which are held by the National Archives. In addition, over 173,849 pages of attestation papers have been scanned and made accessible through the database.

The Register at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Web site at provides personal and service details and places of commemoration for the 1.7 million members of the Commonwealth forces who died in the First or Second World Wars.

The cemeteries and memorials where these names are commemorated, in perpetuity, are located in around 150 countries. This database makes it possible to identify the exact location, by cemetery plot or memorial panel, where any given name is commemorated.

The Provincial Archives of New Brunswickhas a database of the Death Registration of Soldiers, 1941-1947 at

And their name liveth for evermore.

Ruby Cusack is a genealogy buff living in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to Ruby at When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.

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