Victoria Rifles of Canada

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Not to be confused with Victoria Rifles (Nova Scotia)

The Victoria Rifles of Canada
VRC Cap Badge.jpg
The cap badge of the Victoria Rifles of Canada
Active 1862–1965
Country Canada
Branch Canadian Army
Type Rifle regiment
Role Infantry
Size One battalion
Part of Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
Garrison/HQ Montreal, Quebec
Nickname The Vics
Motto Latin: Pro aris et focis (For the altars and for the hearths)
March "Huntsmen's Chorus" and "Lutzow's Wild Hunt"
Battle honours See battle honours (below)

The Victoria Rifles of Canada was an infantry regiment of the Canadian Army that originated in Montreal, Quebec, on 22 January 1862, as The 3rd Battalion Volunteer Militia Rifles Canada. The regiment went through several changes of designation throughout its history. It was redesignated as the 3rd Battalion, The Victoria Volunteer Rifles of Montreal on 18 July 1862; as the 3rd Battalion Victoria Rifles of Canada on 5 December 1879; as the 3rd Regiment Victoria Rifles of Canada on 8 May 1900; as The Victoria Rifles of Canada on 29 March 1920; as Victoria Rifles of Canada on 15 November 1934; as the 2nd (Reserve) Battalion, Victoria Rifles of Canada on 7 November 1941; and finally Victoria Rifles of Canada on 1 June 1945. It was reduced to nil strength and transferred to the Supplementary Order of Battle on 5 March 1965.[1]

Operational history[edit]

The Fenian Raids[edit]

The battalion was called out on active service during the 1866 Fenian Raids from 8 March to 31 March 1866, and during the 1870 Fenian Raids from 24 May to 24 June 1870.[1]

During the Fenian raids, the Victoria Rifles participated in the Campobello fiasco in Cornwall with other regiments like the Royal Scots.[2] In 1866 several companies from the Victoria Rifles were sent to reinforce defences in St-Jean, Lachine and Cornwall.[3]

The raids of 1870 were the least effective of the Fenian attempts against Canada. The effort four years earlier at Campobello had the most far-reaching effects, as it induced New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to enter Confederation, while operations in Canada East and Canada West brought about a martial spirit similar to that which swept the United States at the outbreak of the Civil War. Because the campaign was of short duration, there was no time for disenchantment. Yet the raids of 1866 were clearly unfinished business, as the Brotherhood declared by warlike preparation.[4]

The South African War[edit]

The Victoria Rifles contributed volunteers for the Canadian Contingents during the Boer War, mainly as part of the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion of The Royal Canadian Regiment.[5]

Between 1885 and 1902, The Rifles were sometimes called upon to help quell civil disruptions in Montreal and Valleyfield.

The Great War[edit]

The distinguishing patch of the 24th Battalion (Victoria Rifles), CEF.

During the Great War, details of the regiment were placed on active service on 6 August 1914 for local protection duties.

The 24th Battalion (Victoria Rifles), CEF, was authorized on 7 November 1914 and embarked for Great Britain on 11 May 1915, arriving in France on 16 September 1915, where it fought as part of the 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The 24th Battalion was disbanded on 15 September 1920.

The 60th Battalion (Victoria Rifles of Canada), CEF, was authorized on 20 April 1915, embarked for Great Britain on 4 November 1915 and arrived in France on 21 February 1916, where it fought as part of the 9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until 30 April 1917, when its personnel were absorbed by the 5th Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF, and the 87th Battalion (Canadian Grenadier Guards), CEF. The battalion was disbanded on 15 August 1918.

The distinguishing patch of the 60th Battalion (Victoria Rifles of Canada), CEF.

The 244th Battalion (Kitchener's Own), CEF, was authorized on 17 July 1917 and embarked for Great Britain on 28 March 1917 where its personnel were absorbed by the 23rd Reserve Battalion, CEF, on 21 April 1917 to provide reinforcements for units of the Canadian Corps in the field. The battalion was disbanded on 17 July 1917.[1]

The Second World War[edit]

During the Second World War, the regiment was called out on service for local protection duties on 26 August 1939 and details of the regiment were also mobilized for active service under the designation Victoria Rifles of Canada, CASF (Details) on 1 September 1939. The details called out on active service were disbanded on 31 December 1940 and the regiment mobilized an active service unit designated as The Victoria Rifles of Canada, CASF, on 24 May 1940. It was redesignated as the 1st Battalion, The Victoria Rifles of Canada, CASF, on 7 November 1940. It served in Canada, and in Newfoundland from November 1940 to September 1941 on garrison duty as part of the 17th Infantry Brigade, 7th Canadian Division. The 1st Battalion embarked for Great Britain on 20 November 1944, and it was disbanded the next day, on 21 November 1944, to provide reinforcements to the Canadian Army in the field.[1]

Perpetuations[edit]

The Victoria Rifles perpetuate the 24th Battalion (Victoria Rifles), CEF, the 60th Battalion (Victoria Rifles of Canada), CEF and the 244th Battalion (Kitchener's Own), CEF.

Battle honours[edit]

Those battle honours in bold type are emblazoned on the regimental unit appointments.

The Fenian Raids[edit]

The South African War[edit]

The Great War[edit]

Lineage[edit]

Lineage of the Victoria Rifles of Canada:[6]

1862
3rd Bn "The Victoria Volunteer Rifles of Montreal"
1879
3rd Bn "Victoria Rifles of Canada"
1900
3rd Regt "Victoria Rifles of Canada"
1914
24th Bn, CEF
1915
60th "Overseas" Bn, CEF
1917
Absorbed by 5th Bn, Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF, and 87th "Overseas" Bn, CEF
244th "Overseas" Bn, CEF. Absorbed by 23rd Reserve Bn, CEF. Disbanded
1918
Disbanded
1920
Disbanded
The Victoria Rifles of Canada
1934
Victoria Rifles of Canada
1940
The Victoria Rifles of Canada, CASF
1940
1st Bn, The Victoria Rifles of Canada, CASF
1941
2nd (Reserve) Bn, Victoria Rifles of Canada
1944
Disbanded
1945
Victoria Rifles of Canada
1951
"E" Coy, Victoria Rifles of Canada. Absorbed by 1st Canadian Rifle Bn
"F" Coy, Victoria Rifles of Canada
1952
Disbanded
Absorbed by 2nd Canadian Rifle Bn. Disbanded
1965
Supplementary Order of Battle
2014
Abbreviations used in the chart
Abbreviation Phrase
Bn Battalion
CASF Canadian Active Service Force
CEF Canadian Expeditionary Force
Coy Company
Regt Regiment

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Canadian Forces Publication A-DH-267-003 Insignia and Lineages of the Canadian Forces. Volume 3: Combat Arms Regiments.
  2. ^ Hereward Senior. The last invasion of Canada. p. 53. 
  3. ^ Hereward Senior. The last invasion of Canada. p. 112. 
  4. ^ Hereward Senior (1991). The last invasion of Canada: the Fenian raids, 1866-1870. Dundurn Press Ltd. 
  5. ^ Carman Miller. Painting the Map Red. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 1998. p. 434. 
  6. ^ "Victoria Rifles of Canada". Official Lineages Volume 3, Part 2: Infantry Regiments. Directorate of History and Heritage. Retrieved 22 November 2012.