ANAVETS Shoulder to Shoulder

November 2017

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T he discovery of gold in the Yukon in 1896 by George and Kate Carmack, Skookum Jim, and Dawson Charlie on Rabbit Creek, and the arrival of over 100,000 miners from all over the world to what was then known as the Klondike Region, led to the Canadian federal government first sending a body of troops to the north. This body of troops was known as The Yukon Field Force, and was raised in 1898 from volunteers of the regular force of the day, the RCR, RCD and the RCHA. The role of the Field Force was to provide support to the local Royal Northwest Mounted Police detachment, which although it had been reinforced several times itself, still needed help to keep the peace during the Gold Rush. There was also another reason the small military force was sent north, and that was to put a stop the United States making any move to annex the region, which was a concern at the time. For two years the Field Force did the job much to the satisfaction of everyone concerned, and it eventually became known as the Yukon Gar- rison. Then on 25 June 1900, the Yukon Field Force was embarked on the SS Columbian and sailed for Whitehorse after the Minister of Militia, Sir Frederick Borden, informed the federal cabinet that the RNWMP could now handle the situation themselves and that there was no longer a need for a garrison of regular troops in the Yukon. The Field Force was later embarked on a ship that sailed to Vancouver, and the individual members then returned to their home units. On 1 July 1900, the Dawson Rifle Company was organized in Dawson City as part of the Canadian Non-Permanent Active Militia partly as a replacement for the now departed Field Force. The Company was raised and commanded by Major H.D. Hulme. Other known Officers who were in the company are Lieutenants W. McKay and R.L. Cowan. The uniforms worn by the Dawson Rifle Company, as well as the weapons and winter equipment used by them, had been left behind in Dawson by the Field Force in the safe care of the Quartermaster of the Dawson RNWMP Detachment. The equipment left behind included two maxim guns and two seven-pounder field guns. The Dawson Rifle Company have the honour of being the most northerly volunteer troops in the Commonwealth, and their very appropriate motto was "Usque ad Boream" – meaning "Far to the North". The company was disbanded during the reorganizations brought on by the Otter Commission on 2 November 1905. World War One saw the formation of two new units, the Yukon Infantry Company and the Yukon Motor Ma- chine Gun Battery. Both of these units eventually became part of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps. The Yukon Infantry Company was reorganised on 9 February 1917 as the 17th Canadian Machine Gun Company under the command of Major T.C. Bamfield. Along with the 18th and 19th Canadian Machine Gun Companies, it formed a Battalion of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps in March 1918. It was absorbed into the 2nd Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade in June 1918. The Yukon Motor Machine Gun Battery was formed in August 1914 as Boyle's Yukon Mounted Machine Gun Detachment under Captain Knot. It was initially attached to the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles. In July 1915 it was known as Boyle's Yukon Motor Machine Gun Battery, and on 16 June 1916 it became the Yukon Motor Machine Gun Battery. In June 1918 it to was absorbed into the 2nd Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade. The Canadian Machine Gun Corps of the Canadian Expeditionary Force was officially disbanded on 15 November 1920. An interesting piece of history happened in 1990 when the Canadian Forces Northern Area Whitehorse Detachment was moved to the White- horse Cadet Camp and the facilities were renamed "Boyle Barracks" thereby keeping alive the name of Colonel J. Boyle, and Boyle's Yukon Motor Machine Gun Battery for future generations. No. 135 Company, Pacific Coast Militia Rangers was formed in Daw- son during World War Two. This company had detached Platoons at the villages of Bear Creek and Moosehide. The first Commanding Officer was Captain F.E. Enevoldsen. The unit stood down for the last time on 3 September 1945. In the very early 1960's the Edmonton based 19th Alberta Dragoons were authorised to form C Squadron in Whitehorse. On 19 May 1962, C Squadron, 19th Alberta Dragoons, was stood down and on that day a new regiment was stood up in its place. This was the birth of The Yukon Regiment. Unfortunately this regiment only lasted six years before on being placed on the Supplementary Order of Battle on 15 June 1968. SHOULDER TO SHOULDER 9 Military Units of the Yukon By Bill Nangle CDI

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