The battalion was founded by the Canadian armed forces to improve their recruitment success by having an all Irish regiment. They were also called the "Duchess of Connaught's Own Irish Rangers," as a tribute to Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia, who funded the battalion. Based in Montreal, Quebec, the unit began recruiting during the winter of 1915/16 in that city.
After sailing to England in December 1916, the battalion was absorbed into the 23rd Reserve Battalion, CEF on May 11, 1917. The 199th (Duchess of Connaught's Own Irish Rangers) Battalion, CEF had two Commanding Officers: Lieut-Col. H. J. Trihey (December 26, 1916—January 10, 1917) and Lieut-Col. J. V. O'Donahoe (January 10, 1917—April 11, 1917).