Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)

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Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)
LdSH(RC) badge.png
Cap Badge of Lord Strathcona's Horse
Active 1 July 1901 – present
Country Canada
Branch Canadian Army
Type Line Cavalry
Role Armoured/Armoured Reconnaissance
Size One regiment
Part of Royal Canadian Armoured Corps
Garrison/HQ Edmonton
Nickname Strathcona's, Strats, Straths (WWII era)
Motto Perseverance
March Soldiers of the Queen
Commanders
Colonel-in-Chief HRH The Prince of Wales
Colonel of
the Regiment
MGen (Ret'd) Ross
Insignia
Tartan Forbes (Pipes and Drums)
Abbreviation LdSH (RC)

Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) (LdSH [RC]) is a regular armoured regiment of the Canadian Army. Currently based in Edmonton, Alberta, the regiment is part of 3rd Canadian Division's 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group. Members of the regiment are commonly called Strathconas or Strats as a short form. It was one of the last regiments in the British Empire to be created and raised by a private individual, Donald Alexander Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal.

The regiment is currently composed of a regimental headquarters and four primary squadrons: A, B, Reconnaissance ('Recce') and Headquarters. In September 2006, B Squadron deployed to Afghanistan using the Leopard C2, the first NATO deployment of main battle tanks (MBTs) to Afghanistan.

Each year the squadron that distinguishes itself with the highest efficiency rating in the regiment earns the title "Prince of Wales Squadron" for the year. The regiment has seven affiliated cadet corps in Alberta and British Columbia.

Lord Strathcona's Horse operates with 40 Leopard 2's (21 Leopard 2A4M's,19 Leopard 2A6M's) and 24 Coyote Reconnaissance Vehicles. Due to a change in Canadian army doctrine in the early 2000s away from heavy armour to more infantry-centred operations, Lord Strathcona's Horse was for several years the only regular armoured regiment to operate MBTs [1]. This was until the 2006 announcement that the Royal Canadian Dragoons would be re-equipped with a squadron of Leopards.

The regimental motto is Perseverance. The current Commanding Officer is Lieutenant-Colonel Joshua Major and the Regimental Sergeant Major is Chief Warrant Officer A.J. Batty. The Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment is His Royal Highness Charles, Prince of Wales, while the honorary Colonel of the Regiment is MGen (Ret'd) Ross.

Lineage[edit]

  • Originated 1 July 1901 in Winnipeg, Manitoba as an independent Permanent Active Militia corps of mounted rifles, designated as A Squadron, The Canadian Mounted Rifles
  • Redesignated 1 October 1903 as The Royal Canadian Mounted Rifles
  • Redesignated 1 October 1909 as Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)
  • Redesignated 1 May 1911 as Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)
  • Redesignated 16 October 1946 as the 2nd Armoured Regiment (Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)), RCAC
  • Redesignated 2 March 1949 as Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) (2nd Armoured Regiment)
  • Redesignated 19 May 1958 as Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)[1]

Perpetuation[edit]

South Africa[edit]

  • Strathcona's Horse of 1900-1901[1]

Operational History[edit]

South African War[edit]

The Strathcona's Horse was authorized on 1 February 1900 and embarked for Africa on 17 March 1900. There it fought as part of the 3rd Mounted Brigade and 4th Infantry Brigade, II Division until its departure from the theatre of operations on 20 January 1901. The unit disbanded on 9 March 1901.[1]

The Great War[edit]

The regiment was placed on active service at the start of the Great War on 6 August 1914 for instructional and camp administration duties. On 14 September 1914 the regiment mobilized Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), CEF, which embarked for England on 3 October 1914. On 5 May 1915 it disembarked in France, where it fought dismounted in an infantry role with Seeley's Detachment (really the Canadian Cavalry Brigade), 1st Canadian Division. On 27 January 1916, the regiment remounted and resumed its cavalry role as part of the 1st Canadian Cavalry Brigade, with whom it continued to fight in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The overseas regiment disbanded on 6 November 1920.[1]

The Second World War[edit]

On 24 May 1940, Regimental Headquarters and one squadron were mobilized together with the Regimental Headquarters and one squadron of The Royal Canadian Dragoons to form the 1st Canadian Motorcycle Regiment, CASF (RCD/LSH(RC)). It was redesignated as Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), CASF, on 21 September 1940; as the 2nd Armoured Regiment (Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)), CASF, on 11 February 1941; as the 2nd Armoured Regiment (Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)), CAC, CASF, on 15 October 1943; and as the 2nd Armoured Regiment (Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)), RCAC, CASF, on 2 August 1945. The regiment embarked for Britain on 13 November 1941 and landed in Italy on 8 November 1943, where it fought as part of the 5th Armoured Brigade, 5th Canadian Armoured Division. On 16 February 1945 the regiment moved with the 1st Canadian Corps to North-West Europe as part of OPERATION GOLDFLAKE, where it fought until the end of the war. The overseas regiment was disbanded on 1 March 1946.[1]

On 1 September 1945 a second Active Force component of the regiment was mobilized for service in the Pacific theatre of operations designated as the 2nd-2nd Armoured Car Regiment (Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)), RCAC, CASF. It was redesignated as the 2nd Armoured Regiment (Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)), RCAC, CASF) on 1 March 1946 and on 27 June 1946 it was embodied in the Permanent Force.[1]

Korea, the UN and NATO[edit]

A, B and C Squadrons fought independently in Korea from 19 April 1951 to 27 July 1953 as part of the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade Group, 1st Commonwealth Division. The Squadrons were equipped with M4A3E8 Sherman tanks.[1]

Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), along with The Royal Canadian Dragoons, contributed troops to 56 Recce Squadron for duty with the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) from March 1957 to January 1959, equipped with Ferret scout cars. The Battle Captain, Capt Norman A. Shackleton, the 1st Troop Leader, Lt. CC Van Straubenzee, and the 3rd Troop Leader, Lt. C.C. Woodrow, as well as half of the NCOs and soldiers were Strathcona's.[2] Two members of 56 Recce Squadron died: Lt. Charles C. Van Straubenzee on 10 May 1957 and Tpr. George E. McDavid on 29 Nov 1957. Other Squadrons of the regiment served there and in Cyprus. Tpr. Reginald J. Wiley died on UN duty in the Sinai on 7 September 1961. The Strathcona's last deployment to Cyprus took place from August 1988 to March 1989.

The regiment served two tours of duty in Germany as part of Canada's contribution to NATO, equipped with Centurion tanks.

During the 1990s, the regiment deployed to the Former Republic of Yugoslavia twice as part of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) and once as part of NATO's Stabilization Force (SFOR),largely equipped with the AVGP Cougar armoured car.

Afghanistan[edit]

The Strathcona's contributed several tank squadrons as well as reconnaissance personnel to the various Canadian task forces that served in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2014.[3] Tpr. Michael Yuki Hayakaze was killed on action in Afghanistan on 2 March 2008.

History[edit]

Strathcona's Horse en route to South Africa aboard the S.S. Monterey in 1899.

The regiment was one of the last in the British Empire to be created and raised by a private individual, Donald Alexander Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal. During the Boer War, Lord Strathcona recruited and equipped the cavalry regiment at his own expense for service in South Africa. Many skilled horsemen (cowboys and North-West Mounted Police members) enlisted, allowing for a short training period and rapid deployment to Africa. The 537 officers and men, as well as 599 horses, of the new regiment sailed from Halifax on 18 March 1900 and arrived in Cape Town on 10 April. Along with The Royal Canadian Dragoons, the regiment won renown for their scouting skills.

Rumour exists that members of the North-West Mounted Police serving with the regiment during the Boer War preferred the boots the regiment wore, and adopted them as their own – hence the name "Strathcona boots" for Royal Canadian Mounted Police high brown boots.

Another legacy of the official kit is the huge popularity of the distinctive Stetson Campaign Hat worn by all Canadians serving in Africa during the Second Boer War. After seeing Canadian troops in this attire at the Relief of Mafeking, British Officer Robert Baden-Powell ordered 10,000 of the hats for his own troops.[4]

Supposedly General Kitchener was astonished at the size of the newly arrived Canadian soldiers. Their commander, Sam Steele, is said to have replied "My apologies, sir. I combed all of Canada and these are the smallest I could find."

After the war, the regiment boarded ship at Cape Town on 20 January 1901 and arrived in London on 14 February. Here they met Lord Strathcona for the first time and were presented their medals by King Edward VII personally. On its return to Canada on 9 March 1901, the regiment was disbanded. The name "Strathcona's Horse" was revived in 1909 when the Royal Canadian Mounted Rifles (which had been created in the Permanent Force in 1901) was renamed "Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)". The word Lord was prepended to the regimental title in 1911.

At the outbreak of the First World War, the regiment was mobilised and began its training in England. In 1915, Lord Strathcona's Horse served as infantry in the trenches in France. On 16 February 1916, the Strathcona's were reconstituted as a mounted force and, as an Imperial Service Regiment, served in the Canadian Cavalry Brigade attached to the 2nd Indian Cavalry Division, which in November 1916 became the 5th Cavalry Division of the British 4th Army. In March 1917, the regiment saw action as cavalry during the defence of the Somme front. It was during this fighting that Lieutenant Frederick Harvey won the Victoria Cross for rushing a German machine gun post and capturing the gun position. In spring 1918 during the last great German offensive, called by the Germans Operation Michael, when the Imperial and French armies were on the verge of being split, the regiment earned its third Victoria Cross.[5] On 31 March 1918, in what is known as "the last great cavalry charge" at the Battle of Moreuil Wood, Gordon Flowerdew was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for leading his men in a successful engagement with entrenched German forces.[6]

During the Second World War, the regiment mobilised an armoured regiment for overseas service, which joined the First Canadian Armoured Division (renamed the 5th Canadian Armoured Division). During an inspection in England, King George VI noticed that the divisional patches on the sleeves of the troopers bore the legend "LSH". He remarked to a Strathcona's officer that he had always thought the proper abbreviation of "Lord" was "Ld". The regiment promptly changed its formation patches and have used the correct designation ever since.

One of the many dramatic changes World War I introduced into military organisation and technology was the introduction of the tank, however, Canada would persist with horse cavalry until the Summer of 1940. The regiment did have a Ford and a Chevrolet armoured car, representing 50% of Canada's entire armoured strength at the start of the Second World War. In July 1940, LdSH(RC) along with The Royal Canadian Dragoons, were mobilized as the 1st Canadian Motorcycle Regiment. Later that year, the Strathcona's became 2nd Armoured Regiment, Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians). The Regiment trained in England for two years with Canadian built Ram tanks and saw its first action in an armoured role in Italy.

One of the regiment's most noteworthy battles in Italy was the Melfa River Crossing. During this desperate battle the Strathcona RHQ reconnaissance troop established a bridgehead in conjunction with "A" Company, The Westminster Regiment (Motor)[7] on the Melfa River and held it against determined German tank and infantry attacks until reinforcements could arrive. The action resulted in a Victoria Cross being awarded to the OC "A" Company, Major Jack Mahony and forged a long-standing association between the two regiments.[7]

The advance up the boot of Italy bloodied the regiment but also forged their identity as a Canadian tank unit, second to none. The regiment left Italy in February 1945, and fought in the North West Europe campaign to liberate Holland and the Lowlands. In 1946, the regiment returned to Canada and except for two operational tours in Germany, called Calgary its home garrison.

During the Cold War, the regiment was deployed on several rotations to West Germany, and three squadrons fought in rotation in the Korean War as part of the 1st Commonwealth Division. Originally intended to be equipped with M-10 tank destroyers, the Strathconas in Korea went into action with M4A3E8 Sherman tanks.

Other deployments include two six-month missions in Bosnia: 1994 with the United Nations and 1997 with NATO. In 2002 the Reconnaissance Squadron participated as part of the Canadian battle group during the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan. The squadron returned to Kabul, Afghanistan for a six-month rotation in 2004 as part of Canada's ongoing commitment to the International Security Assistance Force. Since September 2006, various squadrons of Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) have served continuously in Afghanistan, forming the basis of every tank squadron to serve as part of Task Force Kandahar.

In 2000, to commemorate the centenary of its original foundation, a mounted detachment of eighteen members from Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) was invited to London, where, in ceremonial full-dress, they mounted the Queen's Life Guard at the Horse Guards on seven days between 8 and 23 September. This was a very great honour, as they were the first overseas unit ever to have mounted the Queen's Life Guard at the Horse Guards.

The Freedom of the City was exercised by Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) in St. Albert, Alberta, on June 11, 2011.[8]

Battle honours[edit]

In the list below, battle honours in capitals were awarded for participation in large operations and campaigns, while those in lowercase indicate honours granted for more specific battles. Those battle honours in bold type are emblazoned on the regimental guidon.

South African War[edit]

  • South Africa, 1900–1901

Great War[edit]

  • Festubert, 1915 15–25 May 15
  • Somme, 1916, '18 1 July–18 November 1916 and 21 March–5 April 1918
  • Bazentin 14–17 July 1916
  • Pozières 23 July–3 September 1916
  • Flers–Courcelette 15–22 September 1916
  • Cambrai, 1917, '18 20 November 1917 – 3 December 1917 and 8–10 October 1918
  • St. Quentin 21–23 March 1918
  • Amiens 8–11 August 1918
  • Hindenburg Line 12 September–9 October 1918
  • St. Quentin Canal 29 September −2 October 1918
  • Beaurevoir
  • Pursuit to Mons 28 September–11 November 1918
  • France and Flanders, 1915–18

Second World War[edit]

Korea[edit]

  • Korea, 1951–1953

Afghanistan[edit]

  • Afghanistan[3]

Victoria Crosses[edit]

Heraldry and Dress[edit]

Badge
Armorial Description: Lord Strathcona's Coat of Arms, without supporters, being a shield surmounted by a maple tree inclined to the left, and cut through by a beaver working at the base; in the chief a demi-lion rampant; in the centre a railroad spike and hammer crossed; in the base a canoe bearing a flag inscribed NW and containing four men; the whole surrounded by a riband which is encircled by a wreath of roses, thistles, shamrocks and maple leaves, and inscribed LORD STRATHCONA'S HORSE, ROYAL CANADIANS, surmounted by a scroll bearing the motto PERSEVERANCE, and the whole surmounted by the Crown.
This badge commemorates Lord Strathcona's role in the fur trade and in the settlement of North West Canada (as the province of Alberta was called prior to 1905) by its representation of a Hudson's Bay Company trade canoe, the flag 'NW' (for "North West"), and the representation of the railway construction tools. The latter mark Lord Strathcona's direct role in the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Shoulder title
STRATHCONA'S (brass DEU); LdSH(RC) (CADPAT)
Full Dress Uniform (No. 1 Dress)
scarlet: facings: myrtle green; headdress: dragoon helmet with red and white plume; tartan: ? (pipers' trews, later kilts)
Service Dress (No. 3 Dress)
Canadian Forces Pattern service dress, with collar badges (or "dogs") of the Strathcona Coat of Arms.

The Pipes and Drums[edit]

Although the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (2RCR), maintains the only pipes and drums in the regular army, Lord Strathcona's Horse also maintains its own pipes and drums. The difference between the two is that the 2RCR Pipes and Drums is funded directly by the Battalion, while the LdSH (RC) pipes and drums is funded by the regimental society. As such, the pipes and drums is a voluntary band that consists of both members of the regiment and outside volunteers.

Cadets[edit]

There are several Royal Canadian Army Cadets units spread across Alberta, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories which are affiliated to the Lord Strachcona's Horse (Royal Canadians). Cadets are not soldiers; they are part of an organization dedicated to developing citizenship and leadership among young men and women aged 12 to 18 years of age with a military flavour, and are not required to join the Canadian Forces.

Corps Location
1292 RCACC Calgary, Alberta
1813 RCACC Cranbrook, BC
2716 RCACC Mayerthorpe, Alberta
2860 RCACC Fort Simpson, NWT
2952 RCACC Grande Cache, Alberta
3066 RCACC Golden, BC
3070 RCACC Evansburg, Alberta

Cadet units affiliated to the LdSH(RC) receive support and also are entitled to wear traditional regimental accoutrements on their uniforms.

Order of precedence[edit]

Preceded by
The Royal Canadian Dragoons
Lord Strathcona's Horse
(Royal Canadians)
Succeeded by
12e Régiment blindé du Canada

Alliances[edit]

Regimental museum[edit]

The Military Museums

See also[edit]

Media[edit]

  • Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) : A Pictorial History by Ian D.; Henry, Sean A.; Snell, Mike J. Barnes (2005)
  • Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) A Record of Achievement by Lieutenant-Colonel J. M. McAvity (Jan 1 1947)
  • The story of a regiment: Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) (Strathcona historical series)
  • Strathcona's Horse : South Africa, 1900-1901 by Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) Regimental Society (1971)
  • Stand to Your Horses Through the First World War 1914-1918 with Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) by Captain S. H. Williams (1961)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Canadian Forces Publication A-DH-267-003 Insignia and Lineages of the Canadian Forces. Volume 3: Combat Arms Regiments.
  2. ^ "The 56th Reconnaissance Squadron in the Sinai" by 2Lt Bradley Shoebottom, The Armour Bulletin, Vol. 28, No.1, 1995
  3. ^ a b http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/05/09/south-west-asia-theatre-honours
  4. ^ http://www.civilization.ca/cwm/exhibitions/boer/stetsonhat_e.shtml
  5. ^ Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) Society: History of Regiment.
  6. ^ Canadian War Museum: Munnings, Charge of Flowerdew's Squadron (1918).
  7. ^ a b Oldfield, Major J.E.: The Westminster's War Diary, pages 74-107. Mitchell Press, 1964.
  8. ^ St. Albert, Alberta

External links[edit]