The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada

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The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada
Blackwatch 72.jpg
Cap badge of The Black Watch of Canada
Active 31 January 1862-
Country Canada
Branch Militia/Canadian Army-Primary Reserves
Type Line Infantry
Role Light Role
Size One battalion
Part of Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
Garrison/HQ Montreal
Motto Nemo Me Impune Lacessit (No one Provokes me with Impunity)
March Quick - Hielan' Laddie
Slow - The Red Hackle
Commanders
Current commander Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Phare, CD
Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel Lieutenant-Colonel Charles N. McCabe, OMM, CD
Colonel-in-Chief HRH The Prince of Wales
Honorary Colonel Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel O'Connor, CD
Insignia
Hackle Red
Tartan Government

The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada is a reserve infantry regiment in 34 Brigade Group, 2nd Canadian Division of the Canadian Army. The regiment is located on rue de Bleury in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and is currently commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Phare, CD. The regiment's armoury was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2008.[1][2] They are the Senior Canadian-Scottish Regiment.

History[edit]

Volunteers have served since the regiment's inception in Montreal on January 31, 1862, as the 5th Battalion, Volunteer Militia Rifles of Canada.[3] The rise of American military strength during the Civil War concerned Canada. The government authorized formation of militia regiments. Each of six Montreal Scottish chieftains responded by raising an infantry company for the 5th Battalion. Eventually, eight companies were raised.[3] Since then, thousands of Canadian citizens have served in the Black Watch. In addition to service during the Fenian raids, they have fought in the Great War and the Second World War; bolstered NATO operations in Europe and UN peacekeeping worldwide; and helped their fellow Canadians at home during the 1998 Ice Storm (Operation ASSISTANCE) and 2011 flooding in Quebec (Operation LOTUS).

The Black Watch is the oldest highland regiment in Canada.[3] The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada originated in Montreal, Quebec on 31 January 1862 as the 5th Battalion Volunteer Militia Rifles, Canada. It was redesignated as the 5th Battalion, The Royal Light Infantry of Montreal on 7 November 1862, as the 5th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers on 19 November 1875. The Regiment officially became a Scottish Regiment when it was redesignated as the 5th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers on 27 February 1880. It was subsequently redesignated the 5th Battalion, Royal Scots of Canada on 29 February 1884, the 5th Regiment Royal Scots of Canada on 8 May 1900, the 5th Regiment, Royal Scots of Canada, Highlanders, on 2 May 1904, the 5th Regiment, Royal Highlanders of Canada, on 1 October 1906, the The Royal Highlanders of Canada on 29 March 1920, The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) of Canada on 1 January 1930, finally assuming its current name, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada on 1 July 1935. On 16 October 1953, it was amalgamated with the 1st and 2nd Canadian Highland Battalions.

Perpetuations[edit]

War of 1812: The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada perpetuates the 5th Battalion, Select Embodied Militia.

First World War: The regiment perpetuates the 13th Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), CEF, 42nd Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), CEF and 73rd Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), CEF.[4]

Operational history[edit]

The Fenian Raids[edit]

The 5th Battalion, The Royal Light Infantry of Canada, was called out on active service on 8 March 1866 and served on the South-Eastern frontier until it was removed from active service on 31 March 1866. The battalion was again called out on active service on 24 May 1870, again serving on the South-Eastern frontier until it was removed from active service on 31 May 1870.[4]

South African War[edit]

The regiment did not fight in the Boer War in South Africa, but contributed volunteers for the various Canadian Contingents, mainly to the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry.[4]

The Great War[edit]

The distinguishing patch of the 13th Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), CEF.
The distinguishing patch of the 42nd Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), CEF.

Details of the 5th Regiment, Royal Highlanders of Canada, were placed on active service on 6 August 1914 for local protective duty.

The 13th Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), CEF, was authorized on 1 September 1914 and embarked for Great Britain on 26 September 1914, disembarking in France on 16 February 1915, where it fought as part of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The 13th Battalion was disbanded on 15 September 1920.

The 42nd Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), CEF, was authorized on 7 November 1914 and embarked for Great Britain on 10 June 1915, disembarking in France on 9 October 1915, where it fought as part of the 7th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war.The battalion was disbanded on 15 September 1920.

The 73rd Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), CEF, was authorized on 10 July 1915 and embarked for Great Britain on 31 March 1916, disembarking in France on 13 August 1916, where it fought as part of the 12th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division until 9 April 1917 when it was withdrawn from the line after Vimy and broken up to provide reinforcements. The battalion was subsequently disbanded on 19 April 1917.[4]

The distinguishing patch of the 73rd Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), CEF.

Second World War[edit]

The 2nd Battalion was called out on service on 26 August 1939 and details of the battalion were placed on active service on 1 September 1939, as the 2nd Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, CASF (Details), for local protection duties. These details were disbanded on 31 December 1940.

The regiment mobilized the 1st Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, CASF, on 1 September 1939. This unit, which served in Newfoundland from 22 June to 11 August 1940, embarked for Great Britain on 25 August 1940. Three platoons took part on the raid on Dieppe on 19 August 1942. On 6 July 1944, the battalion landed in France as part of the 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, and it continued to fight in North West Europe until the end of the war. The overseas battalion was disbanded on 30 November 1945.

The regiment subsequently mobilized the 2nd Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, CASF, on 18 March 1942. This unit served in Canada in a home defence role as part of Atlantic Command until it was disbanded on 15 August 1943.

The 1st Battalion, Black Watch was brigaded with Le Régiment de Maisonneuve and Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal of the Second Canadian Division, however the FMR were replaced with the Calgary Highlanders in the 5th Brigade in 1940.

The 1st Battalion suffered more casualties than any other Canadian infantry battalion in Northwest Europe according to figures published in The Long Left Flank by Jeffrey Williams. Disaster seemed to follow the unit;

  • During the Battle of Verrières Ridge on July 25, 1944, 325 men left the start line and only 15 made it back to friendly lines, the others being killed or wounded by well entrenched Waffen SS soldiers and tanks.
  • On 13 October 1944 - known as Black Friday by the Black Watch - the regiment put in an assault near Hoogerheide during the Battle of the Scheldt in which all four company commanders were killed, and one company of 90 men was reduced to just four survivors.
The camp flag of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada.

Post-Second World War[edit]

On 4 May 1951, the regiment mobilized two temporary Active Force companies designated, "E" and "F" Companies. "E" Company was reduced to nil strength upon its personnel being incorporated into the 1st Canadian Highland Battalion for service in Germany with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It was disbanded on 29 July 1953. "F" Company was initially used as a reinforcement pool for "E" Company. On 15 May 1952, it was reduced to nil strength, upon its personnel being absorbed by the 2nd Canadian Highland Battalion for service in Korea with the United Nations. "F" Company was disbanded on 29 July 1953.

The 1st Canadian Highland Battalion originated in Valcartier, Quebec on 4 May 1951. On 16 October 1953, it was redesignated the 1st Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada.

The 2nd Canadian Highland Battalion originated in Aldershot, Nova Scotia on 10 April 1952. On 16 October 1953, it was redesignated the 2nd Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada.

The 2nd Battalion, commanded by Lt.-Col. R.M. Ross, served in Korea as part of 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade following the armistice from 29 Oct 1953 to 3 Nov 1954.[5]

Five Black Watch soldiers lost their lives while serving with the 2nd Battalion in Korea:

  • Pte. Ralph Elvin Turnbull, 1 January 1954
  • Pte. Robert Alan Christie, 15 February 1954
  • Pte. Albert Clifford Earhart, 15 February 1954
  • Pte. Clifford Joseph Laframboise, 14 June 1954
  • Pte. Elvin Stanley Sabean, 26 December 1954 [6]

The 2nd Battalion served on NATO duty in West Germany from 1962 to 1965.

Three Regular Force Black Watch soldiers lost their lives while serving with the United Nations Force in Cyprus:

  • Cpl V.J. Perkin, 2 Black Watch (RHR) of C, 18 Oct 1965
  • Pte J.P.E. Bernard, 2 Black Watch (RHR) of C, UNFICYP, 09 Jul 1966
  • Pte J.A. Lerue, 2 Black Watch (RHR) of C, UNFICYP, 09 Feb 1970[7]

One Black Watch soldier, Cpl Vernon J. Perkins, died on 18 October 1965 while serving with the ICSC in Indo-China (Viet Nam).[6]

On 1 July 1970, when the 1st and 2nd Battalions were reduced to nil strength and transferred to the Supplementary Order of Battle, the Reserve Force battalion automatically relinquished its numerical designation.

Several members of the Regiment served on operations in Afghanistan. On 22 July 2006, Cpl Jason Patrick Warren was killed in a suicide bombing in Kandahar Province.

Battle honours[edit]

The regimental colour of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada.

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

War of 1812[edit]

South African War[edit]

  • SOUTH AFRICA, 1899–1900

The Great War[edit]

  • YPRES, 1915, '17
  • Gravenstafel
  • St. Julien
  • FESTUBERT, 1915
  • MOUNT SORREL
  • SOMME, 1916
  • Pozières
  • Flers-Courcelette
  • Thiepval
  • Ancre Heights
  • Ancre, 1916
  • ARRAS, 1917, '18
  • Vimy, 1917
  • Arleux
  • Scarpe, 1917, '18
  • HILL 70
  • Passchendaele
  • AMIENS
  • Drocourt-Quéant
  • HINDENBURG LINE
  • Canal du Nord
  • PURSUIT TO MONS
  • FRANCE AND FLANDERS, 1915–18

The Second World War[edit]

  • BOURGUÉBUS RIDGE
  • Faubourg de Vaucelles
  • Verrières Ridge–Tilly-la-Campagne
  • FALAISE
  • Clair Tizon
  • Forêt de la Londe
  • Dunkirk, 1944
  • Antwerp–Turnhout Canal
  • THE SCHELDT
  • Woensdrecht
  • South Beveland
  • Walcheren Causeway
  • THE RHINELAND
  • The Hochwald
  • Xanten
  • THE RHINE
  • Groningen
  • Oldenburg
  • NORTH-WEST EUROPE, 1944–1945

Victoria Cross recipients[edit]

Black Watch tartan, also known as the "Government sett".
13th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force
St. Julien, Belgium
April 23, 1915
13th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force
near Amiens, France
August 8, 1918
13th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force
Amiens, France
August 8, 1918
42nd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force
Parvillers (near Amiens), France
August 12, 1918
24th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force
Wancourt, France
August 27–28, 1918
The Royal Canadian Regiment
Near Cambrai, France
September 27 - Oct 1, 1918

- Awarded posthumously

Alliances[edit]

Music[edit]

Gallant Black Watch, a Scotch style march and two-step, was composed by Bert L. Billings and published in Toronto by Whaley, Royce & Co., circa 1906.[10]

See also[edit]

Order of precedence[edit]

Preceded by
The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada
The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada Succeeded by
Les Voltigeurs de Québec

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada Armoury". Directory of Designations of National Historic Significance of Canada. Parks Canada. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada Armoury. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Terry Copp (31 October 2007). The Brigade: The Fifth Canadian Infantry Brigade in World War II. Stackpole Books. pp. 11–. ISBN 978-0-8117-3422-6. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d Canadian Forces Publication A-DH-267-003 Insignia and Lineages of the Canadian Forces. Volume 3: Combat Arms Regiments.
  5. ^ Strange Battleground: The Operations In Korea And Their Effects On The Defence Policy Of Canada By Lt.-Col. Herbert Fairlie Wood, Queen’s Printer and Controller Of Stationery, Ottawa, 1966
  6. ^ a b Canadian Peacekeepers Honour Roll http://members.shaw.ca/kcic1/peacekeepers.html accessed 12 November 2013.
  7. ^ Canadian Veterans of UN Peackeeoing Roll of Honour http://www.cavunp.org/honour.html access 11 Jan 2012
  8. ^ "War of 1812 Battle Honours". Department of National Defence. September 14, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2012. 
  9. ^ "The Creation of the Commemorative Theatre Honour and Honorary Distinction "Defence of Canada – 1812-1815 – Défense du Canada"". Department of National Defence. September 14, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2012. 
  10. '^ "'Gallant Black Watch". Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  • Ducimus, The Regiments of the Canadian Infantry. St. Hubert, Quebec, Canada: Mobile Command Headquarters, Canadian Armed Forces. 1992. p. 248p. ISBN 0-9696421-0-5. 
  • Earl John Chapman "Black Watch of Canada: The Early Years 1862-1878" Montreal : Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment), 2006.
  • Earl John Chapman "Canada's Black Watch: Legacies of Gallantry and Service Canada's Black Watch, 1862-2012" Montreal : Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment), 2012. ISBN 978-0-9782507-3-7
  • Earl John Chapman "Not Every One A Castle: Regimental Homes of Canada's Black Watch" Montreal : Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment), 2006.
  • Brian Cuthbertson "The Black Watch story : Atlantic Canada's Regiment 1951-1970" (Halifax : Brian Cuthbertson, 2007)
  • Simon Falconer "Canada's Black Watch: An Illustrated History of the Regular Force Battalions 1951-1970" (Fredericton, N.B. : Goose Lane Editions, ©2008)
  • R.C. Fetherstonhaugh "The 13th Battalion Royal Highlanders of Canada, 1914-18"
  • Col Paul Phelps Hutchison "The 73rd Battalion: Royal Highlanders of Canada, 1915-1917" (Bloomfield, Ont. : Museum Restoration Service, 1987)
  • Col Paul Phelps Hutchison "The 73rd Battalion: Royal Highlanders of Canada, 1915-1917" (Montreal : Royal Highlanders of Canada, 2011)
  • Col Paul Phelps Hutchison "Canada's black watch : the first 100 years, 1862-1962" (Montreal : Black Watch of Canada, 1987)
  • James Wilson Knox "The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada; the regimental book" (Montreal Regimental Headquarters, the Regimental Armoury: 1965)
  • H. Rees "The Royal Highlanders of Canada allied with the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), Montreal, Canada, 1862-1918." (London, H. Rees, 1918.)
  • W W Murray "Black Watch at Ticonderoga: Canadians in Dunsterforce: Military articles by director of military intelligence 1940-1946
  • Brian Pascas "Mud, Blood, and Rum: A Year in the Trenches with the 42nd Bn" (General Store)
  • Victoria Schofield "The Highland Furies: The Black Watch (1739-1899)"
  • Lieut.-Colonel C.B. Topp "The 42nd Battalion, C.E.F. Royal Highlanders of Canada in the Great War"

External links[edit]