Royal Canadian Dragoons
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|Royal Canadian Dragoons|
Cap Badge of The Royal Canadian Dragoons
|Active||21 December 1883 – present|
|Part of||Royal Canadian Armoured Corps|
|Motto||Audax et Celer (Bold and Swift)|
Light of Foot (Dismounted)
|Equipment||See equipment (below)|
|Battle honours||See Battle honours (below)|
|Colonel-in-Chief||HRH The Prince of Wales|
|Colonel of the Regiment||Brigadier General D.M. Dean|
|Commanding Officer (CO)||Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Atherton|
|Regiment Sergeant Major (RSM)||Chief Warrant Officer S. Mercer|
The colonel-in-chief of the RCD is HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales. The current commanding officer is Lieutenant Colonel Atherton, and the current regimental sergeant-major is Chief Warrant Officer W. Richards.
The Royal Canadian Dragoons is the most senior cavalry regiment in Canada, having been formed on December 21, 1883, 3:03 pm, as the Cavalry School Corps, as a result of the Militia Act of 1883, which also created the Infantry School Corps (now The Royal Canadian Regiment). The Militia Act of 1883 emphasized the need for a fully trained army to defend Canada, as its defences had been pierced during the Fenian raids. In 1887 it was renamed the Royal School of Cavalry. In 1892 the regiment was renamed as the Canadian Dragoons and in 1893 it became The Royal Canadian Dragoons.
It served in the North-West campaign of 1885, the Second Boer War, First World War, Second World War, past peacekeeping (such as Somalia, Korea, and Kosovo among others) and Afghanistan with distinction.
During the Boer War, the unit originally raised was named the 1st Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles, and comprised a total of 19 officers and 371 men and their horses, organized into two squadrons. The most famous casualty of the 1st Battalion was Harold Lothrop Borden. The core of each squadron was provided by experienced regular officers and men from the Royal Canadian Dragoons, the cavalry unit of the Canadian Permanent Force. For this reason, in August 1900, at the unit's own request, the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles were renamed the Royal Canadian Dragoons.
A memorial at Royal Military College Saint-Jean commemorates the centennial of The Royal Canadian Dragoons (1883 - 1983); it was erected by The Royal Canadian Dragoons who garrisoned at Fort Saint-Jean 1901-1940. To commemorate Royal Canadian Dragoons who won the Victoria Cross in the Battle of Leliefontein during the Boer War, a three-figure bronze sculptural grouping (1999) by André Gauthier (sculptor) was commissioned.
The regiment currently serves as part of 4th Canadian Division's 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group based at CFB Petawawa, Ontario, and is a dedicated reconnaissance regiment. It converted to this role in April 2003, and was equipped solely with Coyote light armoured reconnaissance vehicles.
In late 2006 the regiment was once again equipped with the Leopard tank. In March 2007, a Tank Troop was stood up and attached to C Squadron Lord Strathcona's Horse Royal Canadians for service on deployed operations in Afghanistan Roto 4 with the Leopard 2A6M. C Squadron was reformed and stationed in CFB Gagetown with the promise of tank capability in 2012.
On 10 November 1983 Canada Post issued 'The Royal Winnipeg Rifles, The Royal Canadian Dragoons as part of the Canadian Forces, Regiments, 1883-1983 series. The stamps were designed by Ralph Tibbles, based on a painting by William Southern. The 32¢ stamps are perforated 13.5 x 13 and were printed by Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited.
The springbok cap badge
The cap badge of The Royal Canadian Dragoons features a springbok.
During the Second Boer War (1899–1902), during the advance to Pretoria, the RCD set up camp in a field. Regimental legend has it that one of the sentries noticed that some springbok were behaving erratically, and alerted the officers, who ordered a stand-to. This resulted in the defeat of Boer forces that had been trying to sneak up through the fields to attack the Canadian force.
However, there is no documentary evidence of this incident. The Commanding Officer at that time, Lt.-Col. Louis Lessard, makes no mention of it in his personal papers or his official reports. It is more accurate to state that the RCD wear the springbok as a recognition for the regiment's sterling service in South Africa. The commander of the RCD then put a request to King Edward VII, the reigning monarch, to officially have their cap badge changed to the springbok, which was finally accepted in 1913.
- North West Canada 1885
- South Africa 1900
- The Great War: Festubert 1915, Somme 1916 '18, Bazentin, Pozières, Flers-Courcelette, Cambrai 1917 '18, St. Quentin, Amiens, Hindenburg Line, St. Quentin Canal, Beaurevoir, Pursuit to Mons, France and Flanders 1915–18
- The Second World War: Liri Valley, Gothic Line, Lamone Crossing, Misano Ridge, Sant' Angelo-in-Salute, Fosso Vecchio, Italy 1944–45, Groningen, Bad Zwischenahn, North-West Europe 1945
On November 7, 1900, during the Second Boer War, the Royal Canadian Dragoons engaged enemy Boers in the Battle of Leliefontein, where they rescued a minimum of three British guns from capture during a retreat from the banks of the Komati River. Three Victoria Crosses were later awarded to men of The Royal Canadian Dragoons for their actions during the course of the day:
- United Kingdom – The Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons)
- United States – 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment (Light Horse) (Bond of Friendship)
Order of precedence
First in order of precedence of Canadian armoured regiments
|The Royal Canadian Dragoons||Succeeded by
Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)
- List of Canadian organizations with royal patronage
- The Canadian Crown and the Canadian Forces
- Intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance
- List of units of the Canadian Army
- Authorized marches of the Canadian Forces
- Canadian Forces order of precedence
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- Official Canadian Forces page
- History and Uniform of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, 1883 to 1970
- RCD Website