During The Great War 1914-18, the 48th Regiment Highlanders (the parent Regiment of the 15th Battalion) main focus was threefold: to serve as part of the Home Defense Force; to support the war effort; and, to maintain the functioning of The Regiment and the Regimental Family.
As part of the Home Defense Force, the Regiment provided personnel for the guard detachments at the Hanlan Point wireless station on Toronto Island and the POW barracks at Stanley barracks as well as other POW locations such as Kapuskasing, Ontario.
The Regiment’s efforts in terms of supporting the war effort were significant especially as it applied to the unit’s recruiting efforts on behalf of the CEF. Besides providing the majority of the men for the initial establishment of the 15th Battalion, it similarly raised two other battalions for the CEF – the 92nd and 134th Battalions. Additionally, it raised large drafts of 48th Officers and Men for the 19th, 35th, 58th, 73rd and 74th Battalions. These efforts extended into the United States in the summer of 1917 when large recruiting drives were conducted in Chicago, New York and New Jersey.
Throughout the war the Home Regiment maintained strong contact with the battalions it had raised – most especially the 15th Battalion – sending gifts at Christmas, parcels and clothing to the POWs and generally facilitating communications between their men overseas and families back home. At the war’s end, when the 15th Battalion returned to Toronto in May 1919, the Regiment organized huge welcome home events to acknowledge the service of its men and facilitate their transition to civilian life after four years of war. These efforts continued into the post war years that saw the construction of the Regimental memorial at Queen’s Park to acknowledge all those who served, especially The Fallen, and the establishment of reunions and a veteran’s association to maintain the bonds of those who served as well as providing assistance.