Lance Corporal Russell Zinck’s Balmoral Bonnet (193rd Battalion & 42nd Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force)
The 193rd Battalion C.E.F.
With the Great War entering it’s third year in 1916, rising casualties continued to levels never witnessed in the history of warfare. As casualties increased, so too was the demand for manpower to fill the ranks. All across the commonwealth, governments were forced to reconsider their recruiting strategies. With the conscription crisis of 1917 just a year away, the Canadian Government was pressed to consider any method of recruitment. One of the more unorthodox methods pursued was the offer made by John Stanfield (Member of Parliament) to raise a unit from his constituents. This unit would go on to become the 193rdBattalion, one of four battalions raised as part of The Nova Scotia Highland Brigade.
On June 3rd1916, Russell Zinck attested in his hometown of Chester, Nova Scotia. A teacher by trade, Russell had just over one year of prior service at Aldershot. Born in 1897 and standing at 5 feet 9 inches, Russell had just celebrated his 19thbirthday two months earlier. Passing his medical examination, now Lieutenant Colonel Stanfield of the 193rdNova Scotia Highlanders signed off on his certificate the next day. Given regimental number 902531 and assigned the rank of Private, Russell joined over 1450 men in summer training at Aldershot.
The Blue Feather
By summers end, Russell and the men of the 193rdwere well acquainted with the training of trench warfare which included trench raiding, bayonet fighting, and bomb throwing. Visited in late September by the wife of the Canadian Prime Minister (Lady Borden), the battalion was presented with its colors. The battalion had selected royal blue, taking the form of a blue feather placed behind their cap badge flanked by turkey feathers. October 12thwould see the unit embark from Halifax, arriving in England on the 19thbefore travelling by train to Witley Camp.