The 29th (Vancouver) Battalion was known as “Tobin's Tigers” and was first mobilized at Hastings Park in 1914 under Lt. Col. H.S. Tobin. It consisted of four components which included: the 6th D.C.O.R., the 72nd Highlanders, the 104th Regiment, and the 11th Irish Fusiliers. Soldiers of the 29th experienced strenuous training and marches day and night. One of the last route marches “was round Point Grey, along the River Road to New Westminster, and back to the Park.”
After seven months of training, they were off to England.
While doing research on E. Pauline Johnson-Tekahionwake (1861-1913), I discovered a piece of correspondence between Lt. Col. H.S. Tobin and John Nelson, manager of the Vancouver World newspaper. It talked about the purchase of a machine gun for the troops with the condition, from Nelson, that the gun bears the name “Tekahionwake”. Nelson ends the correspondence “wishing you [Tobin] and your men in early action, and great success, I am Yours very truly, John Nelson".
My interest did not end there; the depth of my research on the 29th (Vancouver) Battalion brought me in contact with some impressive personalities such as Robert Hill Hanna. For his actions at Hill 70 Lens, France on August 21, 1917, Hanna was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. It is awarded for valour “in the presence of the enemy” to members of the British Armed Forces. Robert Hanna died in Mount Lehman, Abbotsford in 1967 and is buried in Burnaby.
THE 29TH (VANCOUVER) BATTALION C.E.F.
“IN FLANDERS FIELDS”