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The Cape Breton Highlanders and the Shaping of Canada: Conference on Military and Social History is a two-day academic conference held in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the Cape Breton Highland unit. Sessions explore various aspects relating to the military in Canadian society. These include military history on Cape Breton Island, the contribution of military service and the experience of conflict to the development of Canadian national identity, Indigenous and racialized experiences of military service in Canada and warfare, and heritage and commemoration of Canada’s armed forces. 

Welcome, and we hope you enjoy the conference!

The Family Tree of Highland Regiments

94th Victoria Regiment "Argyll Highlanders"
The Battalion was organized on October 13, 1871 as The Victoria Provisional Battalion of Infantry from four independent companies. Headquarters of this new unit was established at Baddeck, Victoria County, Cape Breton-hence the name. The ranks were filled predominantly by Highlanders, the descendants of Scots who had emigrated from the Duke of Argyll's estates. After a slight change in redesignation the unit officially became a Highland battalion on December 12, 1879. A few months later, on April 9, 1880, a further redesignation bound the unit to its Argyll ancestry by bearing The Victoria Provisional Battalion of Infantry "Argyll Highlanders" and in 1890, it was numbered " 94th " in the list of Canadian Militia Units.
185th Battalion Cape Breton Highlanders
Canadian Expedition Forces battalion was authorized on the1st of Feb.1916, as the second of four Battalions that made up the Nova Scotia Highland Brigade. The brigade was part of the 5th Canadian Division. The battalion was assembled in the deserted mining town of Broughton Cape Breton, where accommodations were available. The 5th Canadian Division sailed for England on 13th of Oct on board the Olympic. While training in England its sister Battalion the 85th was transferred to the 4th Canadian Division which was already fighting in France . The 185th remained with the 5th Division waiting its turn to go into the front lines. Due to the heavy causalities and the policy of not fighting with under strength battalions the 5th Division was used as reinforcements .The 185th remained in this role until Feb.. of 1918 when it was struck off strength as a CEF Battalion.
85th Battalion Nova Scotia Highlanders
The 85th Battalion served in France and Flanders with The 12th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division, from February 10, 1917 until the Armistice. The remaining Battalions provided reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field. The 85th Battalion (Nova Scotia Highlanders) participated in every battle in which 4th Division engaged and forged an enviable reputation as a first class fighting unit. The 85th Battalion distinguished itself at the Battle of Vimy Ridge, with the capture of Hill 145, considered a pivotal enemy stronghold.
Cape Breton Highlanders
Following the First World War, the Militia was reorganized and on April 1, 1920 the Unit was re designated The Cape Breton Highlanders which was to perpetuate the 94th Regiment , 85th and 185th Battalions. On April 1, 1932, following a request from the Regiment, permission was granted The Cape Breton Highlanders to adopt the uniform, with the exception of the regimental badge of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise's), thus cementing the 94th's earlier relationship with that famous British regiment.
2nd Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders (Cape Breton)
Following the Second World War, the unit resumed its militia status. In 1954, Nova Scotia's 3 Highland Regiments: the Pictou Highlanders, North Nova Scotia Highlanders, and the Cape Breton Highlanders were amalgamated to form The Nova Scotia Highlanders. On September 15th, the Cape Breton Highlanders was thus designated "2nd Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders" and on June 21, 1955 "2nd Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders (Cape Breton)".
The Cape Breton Highlanders
In 2011 the name of The Cape Breton Highlanders was returned to them. The Regiment's rebadging ceremony was held on September 10, 2011, in Baddeck, the Regiment’s birth place. The renaming shows the pride and respect for enduring traditions. Once again, the people of Cape Breton will be able to recognize their Highlanders as their own unit. Members of The Cape Breton Highlanders continue to proudly serve as members of the 5th Division (Might Maroon Machine) 36 Canadian Bridge Group.