South Alberta Light Horse

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The South Alberta Light Horse
SALH Cap Badge.jpg
The South Alberta Light Horse cap badge
Active 1885, 1905–present
Country Canada
Branch Primary Reserve (Militia)
Type Light horse
Role Armoured reconnaissance
Size One regiment
Part of 41 Canadian Brigade Group
Garrison/HQ Medicine Hat (A Squadron) and Edmonton (B Squadron)
Nickname Sally Horse
Motto Semper Alacer (Always brisk)
March "A Southerly Wind and a Cloudy Sky"
Anniversaries Official birthday 3 July 1905
Commanders
Current
commander
LCol Colin Michaud
Colonel-in-Chief HRH the Countess of Wessex
Honorary colonel John Ferguson
Honorary lieutenant-colonel Angus Watt
Notable
commanders

LCol A.H. Bell CMG DSO (31st Bn) 1914
LCol G.D. Wotherspoon DSO ED CD (SAR) 1943
Col James Walker (15th Light Horse) 1905

BGen Tom Putt MSM, CD
Abbreviation SALH

The South Alberta Light Horse, or SALH, is a Reserve armoured reconnaissance regiment unit of the Canadian Army based in Medicine Hat and Edmonton, Alberta. The SALH is part of 3rd Canadian Division's 41 Canadian Brigade Group.

Victoria Cross[edit]

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

The South Alberta Light Horse traces its beginnings to the period of the Riel Rebellion of 1885. During this conflict The Rocky Mountain Rangers of Fort Macleod with 150 officers and men were tasked with the protection of the area ranging from the U.S. border to High River and from the Rockies to Medicine Hat. The RMR saw no action during their three months of existence during the rebellion, and the SALH carries the battle honour "North West Canada, 1885" on their colours.

This irregular cavalry unit is seen as the true genesis of the regiment. The 15th Light Horse, the official direct ancestor of the SALH, was raised in Calgary on July 3, 1905. From this point until the mid-1950s the regiment's history can be described as a series of complicated amalgamations and redesignations of Alberta army reserve units of all arms until the regiment as it is now was formed in Calgary in 1954. At the beginning of the First World War, the Alberta militia units destined to become part of SALH were four cavalry regiments – 15th Light Horse in Calgary, 19th Alberta Dragoons in Edmonton, 21st Alberta Hussars in Medicine Hat and 23rd Alberta Rangers in Fort Macleod – and two infantry regiments – 101st Regiment "Edmonton Fusiliers" and 103rd Regiment "Calgary Rifles".[1]

Lineage of the South Alberta Light Horse, 1885–1914[edit]

1885
Rocky Mountain Rangers
1885
Disbanded
1901
D Sqn, Canadian Mounted Rifles
1905
The 15th Light Horse
Independent sqns of Canadian Mounted Rifles
1906
The Alberta Rangers
1908
23rd Alberta Rangers
21st Alberta Hussars
19th The Alberta Mounted Rifles
101st Regt
1909
101st Regt "Edmonton Fusiliers"
1910
103rd Regt "Calgary Rifles"
1911
19th Alberta Dragoons
1914

History 1914–1938[edit]

The camp flag of the South Alberta Light Horse.

In the First World War, the Canadian militia units were not mobilized, but instead new units were formed from volunteers from the militia and new recruits. The militia units generally became organizations for recruiting, induction and preliminary training.

The 19th Alberta Dragoons recruited the 1st Divisional Cavalry Squadron, CEF, which landed in France in February 1915. After other divisions joined the 1st Canadian Division in France and the Canadian Corps was formed, the squadron was attached to the corps and became A Squadron, Canadian Light Horse, CEF.[1] The troopers of this squadron wore 19th Alberta Dragoon badges throughout the war.[2]

Also recruited by SALH's predecessors were three regiments of Canadian Mounted Rifles (CMR): the 3rd, 12th and 13th. The 3rd Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF, was mobilized at Medicine Hat and landed in France in September 1915 as part of the 1st CMR Brigade. At the end of 1915, the CMR units in France were converted from two cavalry brigades (six regiments) into one infantry brigade (four battalions). The troopers of the 3rd Regiment were split up, half going to the 1st CMR Battalion and half to the 2nd CMR Battalion; both these battalions fought in the 3rd Canadian Division.[3] The 12th and 13th Regiments CMR were broken up for reinforcements in England.[1]

The SALH also counts a First World War artillery unit as an ancestor: 22nd (Howitzer) Battery, CFA, CEF. The battery landed in France in January 1916, where it served as part of the 2nd Canadian Division until the end of the war.[1]

Of the eight infantry battalions recruited by the SALH's predecessors, only one entered combat as a unit. The 31st Battalion, CEF, landed in France in September 1915 with the 2nd Canadian Division. It was awarded 22 battle honours, including such notable actions as Vimy and Passchendaele. The other seven battalions – 9th, 66th (Edmonton Guards), 113th (Lethbridge Highlanders), 138th (Edmonton), 175th (Medicine Hat), 187th (Central Alberta) and 202nd (Sportsman's) – were broken up for reinforcements in England.[1]

The 31st Battalion (part of the 6th Infantry Brigade) participated in the first tank attack in history at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette on 15 September 1916,[4] while A Squadron, Canadian Light Horse, made the last cavalry charge in Canadian history at the battle of Iwuy on 10 October 1918.[5] This means that among the predecessor units of the SALH, one participated in the first military operation involving the tank and another mounted the last cavalry charge in Canadian history.

CEF units perpetuated by The South Alberta Light Horse[1]
Unit Formed Arrived France Disbanded
or Absorbed
Notes Perpetuation
1914: 1st Divisional Cavalry Squadron, CEF
1916: A Squadron, Canadian Corps Cavalry Regiment, CEF
1917: A Squadron, Canadian Light Horse, CEF
August 10, 1914 February 12, 1915 November 6, 1920 Part of the Canadian Corps 19th Alberta Dragoons
1914: 22nd Battery, CEF
1915: 30th (Howitzer) Battery, CFA, CEF
1915: 22nd (Howitzer) Battery, CFA, CEF
August 10, 1914 January 19, 1916 October 23, 1920 In March 1915, absorbed by the Canadian Reserve Artillery Brigade, CEF, then re-formed in September. Part of 6th (Howitzer) Brigade, CFA, CEF 22nd Battery, CFA
1914: 9th Battalion, CEF
1915: 9th Reserve Infantry Battalion, CEF
August 10, 1914 N/A September 15, 1917 The Edmonton Fusiliers
3rd Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF November 7, 1914 September 22, 1915 December 31, 1915 Part of the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles Brigade. Absorbed by the 1st and 2nd Battalions, Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF 1st Regiment, The Alberta Mounted Rifles
31st Battalion, CEF November 7, 1914 September 18, 1915 August 30, 1920 Part of 6th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division The Alberta Regiment
12th Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF March 15, 1915 N/A February 3, 1916 Absorbed by the Canadian Cavalry Depot, CEF 15th Canadian Light Horse
1915: 13th Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF
1916: 13th "Overseas" Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion, CEF
March 15, 1915 N/A July 19, 1916 Absorbed by various units 2nd Regiment, The Alberta Mounted Rifles
66th "Overseas" Battalion, CEF April 20, 1915 N/A July 7, 1916 Absorbed by the 9th Reserve Battalion, CEF The Edmonton Fusiliers
113th "Overseas" Battalion, CEF December 22, 1915 N/A October 8, 1916 Absorbed by the 17th Reserve Battalion, CEF The South Alberta Regiment
138th "Overseas" Battalion, CEF December 22, 1915 N/A December 8, 1916 Absorbed by the 128th "Overseas" Battalion, CEF The Edmonton Fusiliers
175th "Overseas" Battalion, CEF July 15, 1916 N/A January 10, 1917 Absorbed by the 21st Reserve Battalion, CEF The South Alberta Regiment
187th "Overseas" Battalion, CEF July 15, 1916 N/A January 20, 1917 Absorbed by the 21st Reserve Battalion, CEF The South Alberta Regiment
202nd "Overseas" Battalion, CEF July 15, 1916 N/A May 27, 1917 Absorbed by the 9th Reserve Battalion, CEF The Edmonton Fusiliers

The period between the world wars saw two major reorganizations of the Canadian Militia, the first from 1920 to 1924 and the second from 1935 to 1936. By the outbreak of the Second World War, the ancestors of the SALH were two cavalry regiments (15th Alberta Light Horse in Calgary and 19th Alberta Dragoons in Edmonton) an independent artillery battery (22nd Field Battery, RCA, in Gleichen) and two infantry battalions (the Edmonton Fusiliers and the South Alberta Regiment in Medicine Hat).[1]

Lineage of the South Alberta Light Horse, 1918–1939[edit]

1918
103rd Regt "Calgary Rifles"
The 15th Light Horse
23rd Alberta Rangers
21st Alberta Hussars
19th Alberta Dragoons
101st Regt "Edmonton Fusiliers"
1920
The Calgary Regt
The Alberta Regt
22nd Bty, CFA
15th Canadian Light Horse
The Alberta Mounted Rifles
1st Bn, The Edmonton Regt
2nd Bn (Edmonton Fusiliers), The Edmonton Regt
1921
1st Bn, The Alberta Regt
2nd Bn, The Alberta Regt
1922
2nd Regt, The Alberta Mounted Rifles
1st Regt, The Alberta Mounted Rifles
1924
The South Alberta Regt
The North Alberta Regt
The Edmonton Regt
The Edmonton Fusiliers
1925
22nd Field Bty, CA
1931
The South Alberta Horse
The Alberta Mounted Rifles
1935
22nd Field Bty, RCA
1936
15th Alberta Light Horse
19th Alberta Dragoons
The Edmonton Fusiliers (MG)
1939

History 1939–1945[edit]

The 15th Alberta Light Horse contributed to several active service units, including the 31st (Alberta) Reconnaissance Regiment, remaining in the Calgary area until almost the end of the war. The South Alberta Regiment, recruited an active service battalion in the Medicine Hat area in the summer of 1940. This infantry unit trained in Canada until 1942 when it was reorganized as the 29th Armoured Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment) and moved to England in August.[1]

The SAR was granted 15 battle honours for its service overseas, redesignated the 29th Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment) in 1944. The unit was selected by Major-General F. F. Worthington to be the reconnaissance regiment of the 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division because he wanted "keen-eyed prairie men" as his scouts. The 29th was again converted, with all armoured reconnaissance regiments, to the war establishment of a regular armoured regiment in 1944 and sent to France in July of that year. It fought through Normandy, Belgium, the Scheldt, the Rhineland, the Netherlands and Germany until the end of the war in Europe in May 1945. Of particular note is that Major David Currie was awarded the Commonwealth's highest military award for bravery, the Victoria Cross, for his valour at St. Lambert sur Dives, France, during the battle of the Falaise Gap.

The 22nd Field Battery became part of the 13th Field Regiment, which landed with the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division on D-Day at Juno Beach.[1]

The Edmonton Fusiliers raised two active battalions, one for the 6th Canadian Infantry Division and one for the 8th Canadian Infantry Division. Both these divisions were home defence formations that did not go overseas.[1]

Meanwhile the 31st (Alberta) Reconnaissance Regiment had served in the Calgary area until January 1945 when it was shipped to England. It was disbanded a month later and broken up for reinforcements.[1]

History 1945–2006[edit]

The end of the war saw the re-emergence of The South Alberta Regiment (infantry) in Medicine Hat and the 15th Alberta Light Horse (armoured) in Calgary. The 15th however, was not to keep its name, and it was united with the 22nd Field Battery and renamed 68th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RCA. This remained until 1954 when it united with The South Alberta Regiment of Medicine Hat and the 41st Anti-Tank Regiment out of Calgary to become The South Alberta Light Horse (29th Armoured Regiment) out of Calgary. In 1958 "29th Armoured Regiment" was dropped from the name, and two years later, in 1960, the regiment was moved back to its old headquarters in Medicine Hat. The regiment remained an army reserve armoured unit until 1968 when it lost its tanks and was retasked as an armoured reconnaissance unit.

The two Edmonton units (19th Alberta Dragoons and The Edmonton Fusiliers) merged in 1946 as the 19th (Alberta) Armoured Car Regiment, RCAC. This regiment was renamed back to 19th Alberta Dragoons in 1958, but in the 1965 reorganization of the Reserves it was transferred to the Supplementary Order of Battle: it still legally existed, but had no personnel assigned to it.[1]

In 1978 the SALH established an independent B Squadron in Edmonton to train out of Griesbach Barracks. Originally roled as reconnaissance, B Squadron transitioned to AVGP and was reroled as armoured in the early 1980s. The rest of the regiment followed suit and by 1985 the entire regiment was out of reconnaissance and back to being armoured.

In 2006 the South Alberta Light Horse and the nil-strength 19th Alberta Dragoons amalgamated, and the regiment now maintains the battle honours and traditions of its Edmonton predecessors.[1]

Lineage of the South Alberta Light Horse, 1945–present[edit]

1945
2nd (Reserve) Bn, The South Alberta Regt (MG)
41st (Reserve) Field Regt, RCA
22nd Field Bty, RCA
15th (Reserve) Alberta Light Horse
19th (Reserve) Alberta Dragoons
2nd (Reserve) Bn, The Edmonton Fusiliers
1946
The South Alberta Regt
41st Anti-Tank Regt (Self Propelled), RCA
68th Light Anti-Aircraft Regt, RCA
19th (Alberta) Armoured Car Regt, RCAC
1949
19th Alberta Armoured Car Regt
1954
The South Alberta Light Horse (29th Armoured Regt)
19th Alberta Dragoons (19th Armoured Car Regt)
1958
The South Alberta Light Horse
19th Alberta Dragoons
1965
Supplementary Order of Battle
1985
The South Alberta Light Horse (RCAC)
1997
The South Alberta Light Horse
2006
The South Alberta Light Horse
2014

Battle honours[edit]

The guidon of the South Alberta Light Horse.

Those battle honours in bold type are emblazoned on the regiment's guidon.

North West Rebellion[edit]

  • NORTH WEST CANADA, 1885

The Great War[edit]

Second World War[edit]

War in Afghanistan[edit]

  • AFGHANISTAN[6]

Recent activities[edit]

  • 2011: Colonel Tom Putt, a former regimental commanding officer, is promoted to brigadier general and posted to 1st Canadian Division Headquarters
  • 2011: The South Alberta Regiment Veterans Association Reunion Dinner is held in Edmonton and attended by the SALH in great numbers
  • 2011: Conducted the Second Annual Medicine Hat Military Heritage Exhibition
  • 2010: The regiment sent its 50th soldier to the Afghanistan theatre
  • 2010: Grand Re-Opening of the Regimental Museum in Medicine Hat
  • 2010: Exercised Freedom of the City of Medicine Hat and conducted the First Medicine Hat Military Heritage Exhibition
  • 2009: Visit to the regiment in Edmonton by The Countess of Wessex, Colonel-in-Chief
  • 2007: On 9 April, members and friends of the regiment participated in rededication ceremonies for the Canadian National Vimy Memorial on the 90th anniversary of Battle of Vimy Ridge at Vimy, France
  • 2006: Freedom of the City of Camrose
  • 2006: Installation of The Countess of Wessex as Colonel-in-Chief at Rocky Mountain Cadet Camp
  • 2006: 17 soldiers on Operation Archer in Afghanistan all returning safely
  • 2006: The SALH formally amalgamates with the 19th Alberta Dragoons,[7][8] a regiment that had been on the Supplementary Order of Battle since 1965.[9] SALH officially carries on 19 AD's traditions and battle honours.
  • 2005: Exercised Freedom of the City of Medicine Hat[10]
  • 2005: 100th birthday celebrations in Edmonton including Hoof Prints to Tank Tracks major display at the Provincial Museum of Alberta. Display visited by Queen Elizabeth II upon her visit where she designated the museum the Royal Alberta Museum.

The regiment today[edit]

The regiment has soldiers both in Edmonton and Medicine Hat. With the advent of the Land Force Reserve Restructuring project, The South Alberta Light Horse was returned to its roots as an armoured reconnaissance regiment effective September 1, 2004.

The current Commanding Officer of the SALH is Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Michaud. The current Regimental Sergeant-Major is Chief Warrant Officer Brian Talty.

Cadet units[edit]

There are several Royal Canadian Army Cadets units spread across Alberta that are affiliated to the South Alberta Light Horse.

Corps Location
2051 RCACC Edmonton
2313 RCACC Medicine Hat
3068 RCACC Camrose
3053 RCACC Lac Ste. Anne (Onoway)

Cadet units affiliated to the South Alberta Light Horse receive support and also are entitled to wear traditional regimental accoutrements on their uniforms.

References[edit]

  • Century of Service: The History of the South Alberta Light Horse by Donald E. Graves, ISBN 1-896941-43-5
  • South Albertas: A Canadian Regiment at War by Donald E. Graves
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "DHH - Armour, Artillery and Field Engineer Regiments - Armour Regiments - The South Alberta Light Horse". Official Lineages. Directorate of History and Heritage. 11 June 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  2. ^ Chartrand, René (2007). The Canadian Corps in World War I. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-84603-186-1. 
  3. ^ Nicholson, G.W.L. (1964). Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War: Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919 (2nd ed.). Ottawa: Duhamel, Queen's Printer and Controller of Stationery. pp. 134, 545, 550. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  4. ^ Nicholson, G.W.L. (1964). Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War: Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919 (2nd ed.). Ottawa: Duhamel, Queen's Printer and Controller of Stationery. p. 169. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  5. ^ Nicholson, G.W.L. (1964). Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War: Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919 (2nd ed.). Ottawa: Duhamel, Queen's Printer and Controller of Stationery. p. 458. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  6. ^ "South-West Asia Theatre Honours". Office of the Prime Minister of Canada. Retrieved 11 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Amalgamation of the 19th Alberta Dragoons". Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  8. ^ "Ministerial Organization Order 2006009". Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  9. ^ "Unit Listings - 1965". Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  10. ^ Freedom of the City

Alliances[edit]

Order of precedence[edit]

Preceded by
The British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own)
South Alberta Light Horse Succeeded by
The Saskatchewan Dragoons

External links[edit]