100th (Prince of Wales's Royal Canadian) Regiment of Foot

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For other units with the same regimental number, see 100th Regiment of Foot (disambiguation).
100th (Prince of Wales's Royal Canadian)
Regiment of Foot
100th regiment cap badge.jpg
Hat Badge.
Active (1804 as 100th) 1858 to 1881
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Army
Type Line Infantry
Role Light Infantry
Size One battalion
Colors Blue Facings
March Quick Slow
Engagements Niagara
100th Regiment Button
Officer's waist belt

The 100th Foot was raised in Canada as the 100th Royal Canadians to serve as a regular regiment of the British army. Recruiting is recorded to have begun mid March 1858 and took 3 months. The initial enlistment was for 10 years, but not to exceed 12 years. "The Regiment was thoroughly Canadian, having been recruited...by the various officers in the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec; many of the men being of French origin". In the months of June and July 1858, the regiment embarked from Quebec for England in three detachments, 1200 strong, some arriving in Liverpool on the July 1st, 1858. From Liverpool the Regiment moved down to Shorncliffe where they were re-enforced by other regular army officers and conscripts. The regiment spent over nine months in England training and where "The regiment was accorded the title of 'The Prince of Wales Royal Canadian Regiment', and the Prince himself, then only seventeen years old, presented the colours, this being the first public act he performed by virtue of his position". In March 1859, the Regiment moved to Aldershot for a further 6 weeks training prior to embarkation for Gibraltar. On the move to Gibraltar the 100th numbered 30 officers and 823 other ranks. The Regimental Depot was confirmed as Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight, and the depot in Canada closed.

In 1860 the maple leaf was incorporated into the badge of the 100th Regiment (Royal Canadians), and that year the leaves were used extensively in decorations for the Prince of Wales's visit. When the regiment was stationed in Canada, it paraded with its headdress decorated with maple leaves on the first "Dominion Day", July 1, 1867. The 100th Regiment was probably the first regiment to wear the maple leaf as part of its insignia.

From 1859 to 1863 the regiment was garrisoned at Gibraltar, then relocated to Malta in the autumn of 1863. Records show that the Regiment's soldiers were often bored with garrison duty and there were many who purchased their release with some returning to Canada and many desertions, either to Spain or to the Americas to take part in the American Civil war. Making up these numbers depleted the Canadian content, and apart from British soldiers, the Regiment recruited German and some French into their ranks. Following garrison duty in Gibraltar came service in Malta for three years from 1863 to 1866 being stationed first at Fort Riscasoli, then at St. Elmo Barracks, known locally by the Regiments soldiers as "Hell Hole" and finally under canvas close to Fort Manoel. In 1866 the Fenian threat against Canada resulted in the Regiment returning to Canada on October 15, 1866, and arriving in Quebec on the November 3rd, just after the excitement. After arriving in Montreal, the 100th Regiment was divided into two detachments. The right wing remained in Montreal...while the left wing was sent to Ottawa. Located at the College Street Barracks there are no records of the 100th becoming involved in 'quelling unrest' in Canada though detachments were located in Ottawa, Montreal & Quebec City. The Regiment remained in Canada for two years during which time the Dominion of Canada was formed with the union of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Upon completion of ten years' service, in 1868, many officers left, and a great many men decided to remain in Canada rather than re-enlist. The discharged soldiers of the 100th Regiment went to their respective homes in various parts of the country, many to occupy positions of honour and trust, in virtue of their military experience and discipline. Many of them joined the militia regiments that were raised in 1870, to accompany Colonel, Sir Garnet Wolseley's expedition to the North-West Territory, for the suppression of the Red River Rebellion. One former officer, Major C.A. Boulton, was a prisoner of Louis Riel during the Red River Rebellion and raised and commanded a unit known as Boulton's Mounted Infantry (a.k.a. 'Scouts', 'Horse') for the North West Canada Rebellion, 1885.

The return of the 100th Regiment to the United Kingdom occurred on October 31, 1868, with 51 sergeants, 34 corporals, 15 drummers, 431 privates and 26 officers. The next home for the Regiment was Scotland where they arrived in Glasgow on November 12. They were quartered at Gallowgate Barracks with detachments at Paisley & Ayr. There they stayed until September 9, 1869 whence they departed for Manchester, England and Salford Barracks. Detachments were sent to Ashton, Bury & Burnley.

With various disputes taking place across Europe, the Regiment returned for refresher training to Aldershot in June 1871. Army maneuvers occupied most of the time and in June 1873 the Regiment moved to Portsmouth. In 1873 as part of the army overhaul the Regiment was allocated a new headquarters in Birr, Ireland (near Limerick) along with the 109th as part of the 67th Brigade and so in May 1874 the Regiment moved to Ireland to Richmond Barracks, Dublin and began their association with Ireland. It was during this period that an earlier controversy was settled with the formal association of a former 100th, the Prince Regent's County of Dublin Regiment. In 1875 it was considered the successor to the 100th Regiment of Foot (Prince Regent's County of Dublin Regiment) The former 100th Regiment had served in Canada during the War of 1812 against the United States and in 1875 the succeeding Regiment was authorized to carry the Battle Honour "Niagara". The Regiment was barracked at various Irish establishments then in June 1876, came the return to England and Aldershot. In 1877 the Regiment prepared to move to India embarking on October 5, 1877.

In 1881 it was joined with the 109th Regiment of Foot (Bombay Infantry) to form The Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians).

Illustration from The Illustrated London News

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