The Royal Canadian Regiment

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The Royal Canadian Regiment
RCR cap badge.jpg
Cap badge of The Royal Canadian Regiment
Active 14 August 1863 - Current
Country Canada
Branch Canadian Army
Type Line infantry
Role Mechanized Infantry (two battalions)
Light Role/Paratroop (one battalion)
Light Role/Primary Reserve (one battalion)
Size Four battalions
Part of Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
Garrison/HQ RHQ – Petawawa
1st Battalion – Petawawa
2nd Battalion – Gagetown
3rd BattalionPetawawa
4th Battalion – London
Nickname Royal Canadians
Motto Pro Patria (For Country)
March Quick – "The Royal Canadian Regiment" (aka "St. Catharines")
Slow – "Pro Patria"
Anniversaries Regimental birthday – 21 December
Paardeberg Day – 27 February
Pachino Day – 10 July
Mons Day – 10 November
Kowang-San Day – 23 October
Engagements Battle of Batoche
Battle of Cut Knife
Paardeburg Drift
Battle of Ypres
Battle of the Somme
Battle of Vimy Ridge
Italian Campaign
Korean War
Kowang San
Battle of Panjwaii
Decorations Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation - 1st Battalion: Afghanistan, Operation ARCHER, 2006.
Commanders
Colonel-in-chief HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
Colonel of the regiment Colonel W. J. Aitchison, OMM, CD
Patron Judith Irving
Insignia
Tartan Maple Leaf (2nd Bn pipes and drums)
Abbreviation The RCR
Regimental cypher of The Royal Canadian Regiment

The Royal Canadian Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Canadian Army. The regiment consists of four battalions, three in the Regular Force and one in the Primary Reserve (militia). The RCR is the senior infantry regiment in the Regular Force, but its 4th Battalion (formerly the London and Oxford Fusiliers) is ranked 11th in the order of precedence among infantry regiments in the Primary Reserve. Originally stationed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the regiment's four battalions are now stationed in Ontario and New Brunswick. With many of its soldiers drawn from Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces in recent decades, the regiment maintains a general connection as the "local" infantry regiment for eastern Canada.

The RCR maintains a Regimental Headquarters (RHQ) in Petawawa, Ontario, which has no operational command role but handles regimental affairs outside the responsibility of the individual Battalions. The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum is located within historic Wolseley Hall in London, Ontario. Wolseley Barracks in London has been continuously occupied by some element of the regiment since construction of Wolseley Hall was completed in 1888. At various times Wolseley Barracks has been the home of the Regimental Headquarters, the 1st and 2nd Battalions, and remains the home of the 4th Battalion today.

Battalions[edit]

Battalion Home Brigade Notes
1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment CFB Petawawa (Ontario) 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Mechanized infantry
2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment CFB Gagetown (New Brunswick) 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group[1] Mechanized infantry
3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment CFB Petawawa (Ontario) 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Light infantry. Includes a parachute company.
4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Wolseley Barracks and Stratford Garrison (Ontario) 31 Canadian Brigade Group Light infantry; Reserve

Lineage[edit]

The Royal Canadian Regiment originated on 14 August 1863 and incorporates both Regular and Reserve Force components.[2]

The Royal Canadian Regiment originated on 21 December 1883 as the Infantry School Corps. It was redesignated as the Canadian Regiment of Infantry' on 14 May 1892, as the The Royal Regiment of Canadian Infantry on 24 May 1893, as the The Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry on 1 April 1899 and as The Royal Canadian Regiment on 1 November 1901. On 25 April 1958, it was amalgamated with The London and Oxford Fusiliers (3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment) retaining its designation. The 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (London and Oxford Fusiliers) was redesignated as the 4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (London and Oxford Fusiliers) and as the 4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment on 22 May 1990.[2]

The London and Oxford Fusiliers (3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment) originated in Woodstock, Ontario on 14 August 1863 as the Twenty-second Battalion Volunteer Militia Rifles, Canada or The Oxford Rifles. It was redesignated as the 22nd Battalion The Oxford Rifles on 13 April 1866, as the 22nd Regiment The Oxford Rifles on 8 May 1900, as the The Oxford Rifles on 29 March 1920, as the 2nd (Reserve) Battalion, The Oxford Rifles on 18 March 1942 and as The Oxford Rifles on 1 June 1945. On 1 October 1954, it was amalgamated with The Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) (Machine Gun) and redesignated as the The London and Oxford Fusiliers (3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment). On 25 April 1958, it was amalgamated with The Royal Canadian Regiment and redesignated as the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (London and Oxford Fusiliers).[2]

The Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) (Machine Gun) originated in London, Ontario on 27 April 1866 as the 7th Battalion Infantry, "Prince Arthur's Own". It was redesignated as the 7th Battalion Infantry on 1 May 1866, as the 7th Battalion "London Light Infantry"' on 15 February 1867, as the 7th Battalion "Fusiliers"' on 16 January 1880, as the 7th Regiment "Fusiliers" on 8 May 1900, as The Western Ontario Regiment on 29 March 1920 and as The Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) on 1 August 1924. On 15 December 1936 it was amalgamated with the Headquarters and A Company of the 2nd Machine Gun Battalion, CMGC and redesignated as The Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) (Machine Gun). It was redesignated as the 2nd (Reserve) Battalion, The Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) on 29 January 1942, as the 2nd (Reserve) Battalion, The Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) (Machine Gun) on 24 March 1942 and as The Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) (Machine Gun) on 1 April 1946. On 1 October 1954, it was amalgamated with The Oxford Rifles.[2]

The 2nd Machine Gun Battalion, CMGC originated in London, Ontario on 1 June 1919 as the 2nd Machine Gun Brigade, CMGC. It was redesignated as the 2nd Machine Gun Battalion, CMGC on 15 September 1924. On 15 December 1936, it was amalgamated with The Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment).[2]

Perpetuations[edit]

The Royal Canadian Regiment perpetuates The Loyal London Volunteers, the 1st Regiment of Middlesex Militia and the 1st Regiment of Oxford Militia of the War of 1812. The RCR perpetuates the 1st Battalion (Ontario Regiment), CEF, the 33rd Battalion, CEF, the 71st Battalion, CEF, the 142nd Battalion (London's Own), CEF, the 168th Battalion (Oxfords), CEF and the 2nd Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps, CEF of the Great War. [2]

Operational History[edit]

The Fenian Raids[edit]

The 7th Battalion Infantry was called out on active service on 1 June 1866. The battalion served on the St. Clair frontier and was removed from active service on 22 June 1866.[2]

The 22nd Battalion, "Oxford Rifles" was called out on active service on 1 June 1866. The battalion served on the St. Clair frontier and was removed from active service on 22 June 1866.[2]

Two companies of the 7th Battalion "London Light Infantry" were called out on active service on 12 April 1870. They served on the St. Clair frontier and were removed from active service on 21 April 1870.[2]

North-West Rebellion[edit]

The Infantry School Corps mobilized "C" Company for active service on 10 April 1885. Half of the company served with Middleton's Column, the other half-company with the Battleford Column, of the North-West Field Force.[2]

The 7th Battalion "Fusiliers" was mobilized for active service on 10 April 1885. It served as part of the Alberta Column of the North-West Field Force. The battalion was removed from active service on 24 July 1885.[2]

South Africa[edit]

On 14 October 1899, eight companies of infantry were authorized for active service in South Africa. These companies were taken on strength of the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry on 20 October 1899, and designated the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry on 27 October 1899. The battalion embarked for Africa on 30 October 1899, where it fought as part of the 19th Brigade, IX Division. The overseas battalion was disbanded on 31 December 1900.[2]

On 5 March 1900, a Provisional Battalion of Infantry' was authorized to be formed for active service at Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was redesignated the '3rd (Special Service) Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry' on 31 March 1900. The unit served in a garrison role at Halifax and Esquimalt, British Columbia. The battalion was disbanded on 1 October 1902.[2]

The 7th Battalion "Fusiliers" contributed volunteers for the Canadian Contingents during the South African War.[2]

The Great War[edit]

The Royal Canadian Regiment was called up on active service on 6 August 1914 and embarked for Bermuda for garrison duty on 10 September 1914. The regiment embarked for Great Britain, via Halifax, on 26 August 1915. On 1 November 1915 it disembarked in France, where it fought as part of the 7th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The overseas component of the regiment was disbanded on 15 September 1920.[2]

Details of the 7th Regiment "Fusiliers" were called up on active service on 6 August 1914 for local protection duties.[2]

Details of the 22nd Regiment "The Oxford Rifles" were called up on active service on 6 August 1914 for local protection duties.[2]

The 1st Battalion (Ontario Regiment), CEF was authorized on 10 August 1914 and embarked for Great Britain on 26 September 1914. It disembarked in France on 12 February 1915, where it fought as part of the 1st Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion was disbanded on 15 September 1920.[2]

The 33rd Battalion, CEF was authorized on 7 November 1914 andmbarked for Great Britain on 1 April 1916. It was redesignated the 33rd Reserve Battalion, CEF on 6 April 1916 and it provided reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field until 6 July 1916, when its personnel were absorbed by the 36th Battalion, CEF. The battalion was disbanded on 17 July 1917.[2]

The 71st Battalion, CEF was authorized on 1 April 1916 and embarked for Great Britain on 1 April 1916. It provided reinforcements to the Canadian Corps in the field until 30 September 1916, when its personnel were absorbed by the 44th, 54th and 74th Battalion(s), CEF. The battalion was disbanded on 11 April 1918.[2]

The 142nd Battalion (London's Own), CEF, was authorized on 22 December 1915 and embarked for Great Britain on 31 October 1916. On 12 November 1916, its personnel were absorbed by the 23rd Reserve Battalion, CEF to provide reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field. The battalion was disbanded on 27 July 1917.[2]

The 168th Battalion (Oxfords), CEF was authorized on 22 December 1915 and embarked for Great Britain on 30 October 1916. On 4 January 1917, its personnel were absorbed by the 4th Reserve Battalion, CEF and the 6th Reserve Battalion, CEF to provide reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field. The battalion was disbanded on 4 April 1918.[2]

The 2nd Battalion, CMGC, CEF was organized in France on 21 March 1918 from the brigade machine gun companies of the 2nd Canadian Division. It provided machine gun support to the 2nd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion was disbanded on 15 November 1920.[2]

The Second World War[edit]

The Royal Canadian Regiment was called up on active service on 1 September 1939 as The Royal Canadian Regiment, CASF. It embarked for Great Britain on 18 December 1939, and on 14 June 1940 it went to France as part of the Second British Expeditionary Force, reaching a point beyond Laval, France, before being ordered back. It landed in Sicily on 10 July 1943 and in Italy on 3 September 1943 as part of the 1st Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Infantry Division. On 9 March 1945 the regiment moved with the 1st Canadian Corps to North-West Europe, where it fought until the end of the war. The overseas regiment was disbanded on 1 March 1946.[2]

On 1 June 1945, a second Active Force component of the regiment was mobilized for service in the Pacific theatre of operations as the 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion (The Royal Canadian Regiment), CASF. It was redesignated as the 2nd Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment, CIC on 2 September 1945 and as The Royal Canadian Regiment, CIC on 1 March 1946. On 27 June 1946, it was embodied in the Permanent Force as the The Royal Canadian Regiment.[2]

The Canadian Fusiliers mobilized the 1st Battalion, The Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), CASF for active service on 29 January 1942. It served in Canada as part of Pacific Command and took part in the expedition to Kiska, Alaska as a component of the 13th Canadian Infantry Brigade Group, serving there from 16 August 1943 to 22 December 1943. It embarked for Britain on 28 May 1944. There on 1 November 1944 it was redesignated as the 2nd Canadian Infantry Training Battalion, Type A (Canadian Fusiliers), CASF. The overseas battalion was disbanded on 10 August 1945.[2]

The Oxford Rifles mobilized the 1st Battalion, The Oxford Rifles, CASF for active service on 18 March 1942. It served in Canada as part of the 16th Infantry Brigade, 8th Canadian Division. On 2 January 1945, it embarked for Britain where it was disbanded on 10 January 1945.[2]

United Nations Operations - Korea[edit]

Three battalions of The Royal Canadian Regiment served in Korea as part of the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade Group, 1st Commonwealth Division. The 2nd Battalion was the first to arrive in Korea, serving from 5 May 1951 to 25 April 1952, followed by the 1st Battalion which served from 20 April 1952 to 25 March 1953, and finally the 3rd Battalion which served from 23 March 1953 to the end of the conflict.[2]

The Gulf War[edit]

'C' Company of the 1st Battalion from Wolesley Barracks in London, Ontario, served in Al Jabail, Saudi Arabia providing security for 1 Canadian Field Hospital and prisoner of war processing from 21 February to 20 March 1991. 12 Platoon of 'P' Company, from the 3rd Battalion at CFB Baden-Soellingen, West Germany, served in Bahrain as a security force from 16 January to the end of March 1991.[2]

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

The Royal Canadian Regiment is one of Canada's oldest Regular Force military units. In 2012 the regiment was assigned the perpetuation of the 1st Regiment of Middlesex Militia from the War of 1812, and as a result carries three battle honours from that conflict.

The regiment itself was formed as the Infantry School Corps on 21 December 1883 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, authorized by a Militia Act which also created the Cavalry School Corps. These school corps were created as regular units that would train the Canadian militia. The Infantry School Corps' first battle honours were earned during the North-West Rebellion in 1885, where it fought at Batoche and Cut Knife Creek. The regiment later provided personnel to the Yukon Field Force (1898–1900), which assisted the North-West Mounted Police in the Yukon during the Gold Rush. The Regiment was then in the South African (Boer) War (1899-1903), its overseas deployment was delayed by a garrison assignment in Bermuda from September 1914 until August 1915. Upon returning to Nova Scotia, its members attested for overseas service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), arriving in France in October 1915 to fight in WW1.[3]

The South African War[edit]

LCol William Dillon Otter

The regiment's name was changed to The Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry in 1893, with an new emphasis on being combat capable. William Dillon Otter, formerly of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, was the first Commanding Officer. He would later become the first Canadian-born Chief of the General Staff, the head of the Canadian Army.

During the South African War (Second Boer War), the "2nd (Special Service) Battalion" was raised from across the country to contribute Canada's First Contingent in this war, with Otter in command.[4] This battalion was quickly disbanded in 1900 upon its return to Canada, even though they were considered by many British officers to be the best infantry battalion in the country. The "3rd (Special Service) Battalion" was also raised at this time, in 1900, and was employed as a garrison force in Halifax until 1902 when it was also disbanded.

The unveiling of the South African War Memorial in Toronto Canada in 1908

In the Boer War, the Toronto company of the 2RCRI fought Canada's first overseas battle at Sunnyside, Cape Colony, on January 1, 1900, defeating a Boer commando in an action led by Australia's Queensland Mounted Infantry. The unit as a whole then joined and played an instrumental role in the victory at the Battle of Paardeberg Drift (18–27 February 1900), including an advance by night towards the enemy lines, quietly digging trenches on high ground 65 yards from the Boer lines. On February 27, 1900, the Boers, staring into the muzzles of Canadian and British rifles, surrendered, thus removing the commando blocking the way to the first Boer capital, Bloemfontein, Orange Free State. This date has since been celebrated by the Regiment as Paardeberg Day. Having delivered the first unqualified good news of the war for the British Empire, the Regiment also distinguished itself on the march north, arriving first at the gates of Pretoria.

During the South African War Private Richard Rowland Thompson[5] was awarded a Queen's scarf,[5] one of the four presented to soldiers of the Dominions, a further four scarves crocheted by Queen Victoria went to non-commissioned officers of the British Army.

A small statuette (1999) by André Gauthier (sculptor) commemorates the centennial of the Royal Canadian Regiment’s Battle of Paardeberg during the Boer War.

The end of the Victorian era and the Great War; 1900–1919[edit]

In October 1901 the regiment received new colours from the Duke of Cornwall and York (later King George V) during his visit to Canada,[6] and the regiment's name was changed to The Royal Canadian Regiment. In 1914, the regiment was deployed to Bermuda for garrison duties from September 1914 to August 1915 when it returned to Halifax and reattested for overseas service. The RCR arrived in France in October 1915 to join the new 3rd Canadian Division. The regiment combined with Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and the 42nd and 49th Canadian Infantry Battalions to form the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade. Battle honours awarded to The Royal Canadian Regiment for its actions in the First World War included: "Mount Sorrel, Somme, 1916, Flers-Courcelette, Ancre Heights, Arras, 1917, 18, Vimy, 1917, Hill 70, Ypres, 1917, Passchendaele, Amiens, Scarpe, 1918, Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, Pursuit to Mons, FRANCE AND FLANDERS, 1914–18".[7]

The distinguishing patch of The RCR as part of the 7th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division of the CEF.

Among the honours and awards to members of the regiment in the First World War was the Victoria Cross (VC) won by Lieutenant Milton Gregg. The RCR also recognizes the VC won by Lieutenant Frederick William Campbell, who was an officer of the 1st (Western Ontario) Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, one of the battalions now perpetuated by The RCR.

The inter-war years; 1919–1939[edit]

The RCR remained a Permanent Force regiment between the wars and returned to its role of providing instruction to the Militia through garrisons in London (Ontario), Halifax (Nova Scotia), Toronto (Ontario) and Montreal (Quebec).

The Second World War; 1939–1945[edit]

On 1 September 1939 the regiment was mobilized as part of the Canadian Active Service Force as Canada prepared for participation in the Second World War. When war was declared on September 10, the RCR had already been allocated to the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade, a formation made up entirely of Ontario units. Moving to the United Kingdom in December 1939 as a component of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division, the RCR saw hard training for almost four years.

On 10 July 1943, the RCR landed at Pachino in the opening waves of the Allied invasion of Sicily - the last member of the regiment to participate in these original waves - George F. Burrows of Chatham Ontario - passed away on April 11, 2012 in Windsor, Ontario at the age of 88. The regiment and its sister units in the 1st Brigade, The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment and the 48th Highlanders of Canada fought in several battles as the division advanced north and then east towards Messina. After the 38-day campaign on the island was completed, the regiment was involved in another amphibious landing at Reggio di Calabria on the Italian mainland in September.

The RCR fought in several battles of the Italian campaign, including key engagements in the Moro River valley near Ortona in December 1943. During 1944, the regiment took part in attacks on German defensive lines called the Hitler Line and the Gothic Line.

The regiment was transferred to northwest Europe in February 1945 during Operation Goldflake and took part in the liberation the Dutch city of Apeldoorn. The regiment received 28 battle honours for its participation in the Second World War.[8] The regiment returned home to Canada in 1945.

The post-war period and the Korean War; 1945–1953[edit]

In 1950 the regiment was called upon to contribute to Canada's forces for the Korean War. A new Active Service Force (Special Force) was to be raised, and the regiment expanded to a two-battalion, then a three-battalion, organization. The 2nd Battalion, followed by the 1st and 3rd Battalions, each saw service in Korea. The 2nd Battalion helped stabilize the 38th parallel, most notably at the Chail-li sector. In October 1952, the 1st Battalion fought the Chinese at the battle of Kowang San (Hill 355 - Little Gibraltar). It was replaced by the 3rd Battalion, which took over the Jamestown Line on Hill 187, where it fought one of the last engagements before the armistice in 1953. After the end of the Korean War, the regiment was reduced to two battalions, when the 3rd Battalion was disbanded in July 1954.

The Regimental Colours of the RCR.

The Cold War; 1953–1992[edit]

In 1954 two London, Ontario, Militia regiments, the Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) (MG) and The Oxford Rifles were amalgamated and redesignated The London and Oxford Fusiliers (3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment). This unit thus became the Reserve component of The RCR. In 1958, it was renamed 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (London and Oxford Fusiliers).

The 3rd Battalion was renumbered as the 4th Battalion in 1970 when a new 3rd Battalion (on the Regular Force establishment) was reactivated. In 1989, the designation of the Reserve battalion was shortened to 4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment.[9] This amalgamation also brought to the regiment the perpetuation of a number of battalions of the First World War Canadian Expeditionary Force, including the 1st, 33rd, 71st, 142nd and 168th Battalions as well as the 2nd Battalion of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps. The amalgamation also saw the total battle honours for the First World War, based on the combined list of amalgamated components of the regiment, increase to the full list seen below.

The Militia battalion changed from the 3rd to the 4th Battalion in 1970 when The Canadian Guards were reduced to nil strength and the soldiers of that regiment's 2nd Battalion (at CFB Petawawa) became the restored 3rd Battalion, The RCR, on the Regular Force order of battle. At the same time, the 2nd Battalion of The RCR was relocated to CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick, and reconstituted from the soldiers of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada as its two battalions there were also reduced to nil strength and removed from the active regiments in the army's Regular Force order of battle.

During the 1950s and 1960s, battalions of The RCR were stationed as part of 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group at Fort York, Germany. These deployments were executed by 1RCR (1955–57 and 1962–65) and 2RCR (1953–55 and 1965–70). 3rd Battalion was later deployed to Germany, stationed in Baden-Söllingen 1977–84 and 1988–93.

All three Regular Force battalions of The RCR were deployed during the October Crisis in 1970 as part of the government's response to the FLQ. Major John Hasek became the first commander of the Skyhawks Parachute Team when it formed in 1971. The three Regular Force battalions were also deployed in to support the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec.

Throughout the Cold War period, The RCR participated in Canada's contributions to United Nations peacekeeping. For battalions of the regiment, this meant rotating tours on the island of Cyprus. The six-month tours of this mission, named Operation Snowgoose, were executed by elements of the regiment 13 times[10] between 1966 and 1992.

In 1977 the 3rd Battalion was posted to CFB Baden-Soellingen in Germany.

Century of Service Plaque The Royal Canadian Regiment 1883-1983, Royal Canadian Military College Saint-Jean

In 1983, a Century of Service plaque at the Royal Military College Saint-Jean commemorates the centennial of the Royal Canadian Regiment, 1883-1983 Canada's oldest permanent force infantry regiment. Elements of the regiment garrisoned at Saint John sur Richelieu from 1884-1908 and 1924-.

In 1984 the battalion was rotated to Winnipeg. In 1988 the battalion was rotated back to Baden until the base was closed in 1993 at which time it was disbanded in Germany and subsequently stood up at CFB Borden, Ontario, as a "10/90" battalion. The "10/90" concept created an infantry battalion in each Regular Force regiment with approximately 10 per cent of its personnel being full-time Regular soldiers, while the remaining positions were filled by Reserve Force soldiers from affiliated units in the region. These units existed until 1996 when the three 10/90 battalions were stood down and replaced by light infantry battalions on the Regular Force order of battle. Initially formed without specific regimental affiliation, within the year the light infantry battalion was relocated to CFB Petawawa and officially designated the 3rd Battalion, The RCR.

In 1990, HQ and Duke of Edinburgh's Company (the first rifle company) of the 1st Battalion deployed to Cornwall, Ontario, as part of Operation Kahnawake. The 2nd Battalion, as part of 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, deployed to the Montreal region to partake in Operation Salon. These deployments were part of the government's response to the Oka Crisis.

In 1991, M Company and a platoon from P Company from 3rd Battalion(CFB Baden-Soellingen, Germany) and C Company[11] from 1RCR (CFB London, Ontario) served in the Persian Gulf during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the first Gulf War. These companies were employed on airfield and field hospital security duties.

The peacekeeping era; 1992–2004[edit]

In 1992, soldiers from the English-speaking N Company of the 3rd Battalion (Major Devlin), based out of Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Baden-Soellingen in Germany, as an attachment to the French-speaking Royal 22e Régiment, operationally secured the Sarajevo airport during the Yugoslav wars. This operation saw a re-deployment of the entire battle group from Croatia to the Sarajevo Theatre of Operations, under the command of General Lewis MacKenzie.

Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, made mention of this operational force and its commitment to international peace while she was in the National Capital Region that same year during Canada's 125th, stating:

“I am delighted to be here with you once again, to share in this day of national celebration, and, as a member of the Canadian family, to wish Canada a happy birthday on this one hundred and twenty fifth anniversary of Confederation. We have an occasion, and a country, worth celebrating ... I want to say a special word about the brave Canadian soldiers who today seek to bring peace, under the United Nations auspices, to a dangerous situation in Bosnia. They serve both Canada and the cause of peace with courage and conviction. As Queen of Canada, I salute their contribution with pride ... You have inherited a country uniquely worth preserving. I call on you all, wherever you live, whatever your walk of life, to cherish that inheritance, and to protect it with all your strength. May God bless each and every one of you as you go about that task. And may God bless Canada. “ (Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, on the 125th anniversary of Confederation, July 1, 1992).

Shortly thereafter the Governor General of Canada bestowed the "Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation" to N Company, an official unit honour granted only three times in Canadian history. The official warrant stated:

"... The first was to the 1st Battalion of the Royal 22e Regiment Battle Group (Including N Company, 3rd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment) for having opened the airport in the besieged city of Sarajevo in July 1992 (OP HARMONY). The Commendation was officially presented to the unit by Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, CC, CMM, COM, CD, Governor General of Canada and Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces during a ceremony which took place at the Citadel in Quebec City on 9 September 2002 ...".[12]

The unit returned to Bosnia for a tour with the stabilization force, SFOR, in 1998 and 1999.

The 1st Battalion has served as peacekeepers in the Sinai Peninsula, in Bosnia and Kosovo.

In 2000, the 2nd Battalion had the honour of mounting the Queen's Guard at Buckingham Palace, when a detachment came to London to commemorate the Canadian involvement in the Second Boer War, and to celebrate the re-opening of Canada House. Later that year, H Company Group of 2nd Battalion deployed to eastern Africa as part of UNMEE. As the United States prepared militarily and politically to launch military actions against Iraq, 2 RCR formed a provisional battle group and was warned off that if the government decided to participate, it would deploy. The government decided against participation and instead decided to return to Afghanistan. I Company Group deployed to Kabul on 26 May 2003 to form the Defence and Security Company for the construction of the Canadian camp. It returned to Canada in August of that year after 3rd Battalion Group took on ISAF operations.

The "Leadership Award"(2000) by André Gauthier (sculptor) was commissioned for The Royal Canadian Regiment.

In March 2004 the same company deployed to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as part of Operation Halo (Operation "Secure Tomorrow" as the United States called it) to conduct security operations as part of the Multinational Interim Force. This force was set in place in order to set the conditions for the United Nations to take over. I Company conducted a relief in place with H Company Group in June. H Company changed roles to the UN force and redeployed to Gonaïves, Haiti. It returned to Canada in September of that year.

The camp flag of The RCR.

Afghanistan; 2006–present[edit]

In August 2006, the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Athena, replacing the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry for a six-month tour of duty in theatre.

In February 2007, the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment replaced the 1st Battalion in Afghanistan for a tour of duty.

In September, 2008, 3rd Battalion replaced 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry as part of Operation Athena, Roto 6, forming the core of the Task Force Kanadahar Battle Group. It served until relieved in place by 2nd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment in April 2009.

In February 2012, the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment formed the core of Rotation 1 of the Canadian Contribution Training Mission – Afghanistan and deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, on Operation Attention till November 2012.

Recognition[edit]

The Freedom of the City was exercised by the Royal Canadian Regiment in Fredericton, New Brunswick on 2 June 1973[13] and in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador on June 19, 2005.[14]

On 10 November 1983 Canada Post issued 'The Royal Canadian Regiment, The British Columbia Regiment' 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 × 13 and were printed by Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited.[15]

Battle honours[edit]

The Royal Canadian Regiment has been awarded a total of 57 battle honours. Battle honours in bold are emblazoned on the regimental colour of each battalion.

The War of 1812[edit]

  • DEFENCE OF CANADA - 1812-1815 - DÉFENSE DU CANADA; DETROIT; NIAGARA
  • Honorary Distinction: The non-emblazonable honorary distinction DEFENCE OF CANADA - 1812-1815 - DÉFENSE DU CANADA[2]

The North West Rebellion[edit]

South Africa[edit]

The Great War[edit]

The Second World War[edit]

The Korean War[edit]

Honorary appointments[edit]

Colonel-in-chief[edit]

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was appointed as the colonel-in-chief of The Royal Canadian Regiment on 8 December 1953. Prince Philip has had only one predecessor in this appointment, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, from 1929 to 1942.

Colonel of the regiment[edit]

The colonel of the regiment, through such appointment, holds the pre-eminent position in the conduct of regimental affairs. He is the senior member of the Regimental Council, an advisor to The RCR Association Board of Directors and The RCR Trust Fund.[16] The Colonel of the Regiment is Colonel (Ret'd) W. J. Aitchison, who accepted the appointment on February 24, 2011.[17]

Honorary lieutenant-colonel, 4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment[edit]

The honorary lieutenant-colonel, through such appointment, is specifically an adviser and mentor to the 4th Battalion, as the Colonel of the Regiment is to the Regiment as a whole. The Honorary Lieutenant Colonel is a member of The RCR Senate and acts as an adviser to The RCR Association Board of Directors and The RCR Trust Fund.[16] The current honorary lieutenant-colonel (HLCol) of the 4th Battalion is Colonel William (Bill) Pettipas, CD of London, Ontario.

Patron[edit]

On 5 June 2012, Judith Irving was officially appointed first patron of the Regiment.[18]

Regimental Sculptor[edit]

On 26 June 2013, Christian Cardell Corbet was officially appointed the first Regimental Sculptor. This took place at Canada House, London, UK where Corbet was presented with a regimental tie following the unveiling of his portrait bust of the Colonel in Chief of The Regiment, HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, KG, KT.[19][20][21]

The RCR cap badge[edit]

"An eight-pointed diamond cut star; upon the star a raised circle surmounted by the crown; within the raised circle, the block letters "VRI", the Imperial Cypher of Queen Victoria." (Description of the badge of The RCR as presented in Regiments and Corps of the Canadian Army, published by the Army Historical Section, 1964)

The letters VRI on the cap badge of The RCR stand for Victoria Regina Imperatrix, which is Latin for "Victoria, Queen and Empress". The right to wear the imperial cypher and crown was granted to the regiment by Queen Victoria in 1893.

When a royal or imperial cypher forms part of the badge of a regiment it is normal for it to change with each succeeding sovereign. During the period 1901 to 1919, the officially authorized versions of the regiment's cap badge were those with Edward VII's and George V's cyphers, although the regiment continued to use the "VRI" ensigned badges throughout this time while petitioning for their formal return. In 1919, George V granted The Royal Canadian Regiment permission to wear "VRI" in perpetuity – a unique privilege.

Company designations[edit]

The companies of the battalions of The RCR are lettered sequentially across the regiment:

  • 1st Battalion – A to F
  • 2nd Battalion – G to L
  • 3rd Battalion – M to R
  • 4th Battalion – S, T and X (S Company consists of a Company Headquarters as well as two rifle platoons located in London, Ontario, and 3 Platoon located in Stratford, Ontario. T Company consists of a Company Headquarters located in Stratford, Ontario, and X Company consists of the Battalion Headquarters personnel.)

In the Regular Force battalions, the first four companies are rifle companies, and the latter two are combat support (weapons) and administration company (combat service support).

When on parade, companies parade in alphabetic order. Companies are normally addressed by the NATO phonetic alphabet for their designation letter with the following exceptions:

  • A Coy, 1RCR, is designated and always referred to as "Duke of Edinburgh's Company" or, colloquially, "Duke's Company"
  • C Coy, 1RCR, is known as "Charles" Company. This unique designation was adopted during the Korean War, as the company was noted for maintaining a very high standard of dress and deportment.[22]
  • M Coy, 3RCR, is often referred to as "Para" Company, short for Parachute Company, at the discretion of the commanding officer, although this title is not officially recognized by the regiment as other than a colloquial nickname

Regimental bands[edit]

Bugles and Drums[edit]

The first band of The RCR was formed under "A" Company of the Infantry School Corps in 1894, when Sergeant Charles Hayes, a graduate of Kneller Hall Music College, enlisted in January 1894.[23] That same year the corps also reported training nine buglers for the Militia.

By 1899, the authorized establishment for the regiment included four "Sergt. Trumpeters or Drummers" on the staff of the Regimental Depots along with 16 "Trumpeters, Buglers or Drummers" between the stations of the regiment. By 1901, the authorized establishment had changed to one "Sergt. Trumpeters or Drummers" and 12 "Trumpeters, Buglers or Drummers",[24] possibly indicating a consolidation of musicians into a regimental band rather than a training cadre at each garrison.

The regiment reported having an active band throughout much of the First World War, once their instruments were smuggled forward for them to use. With few lapses, the regiment maintained a Drum and Bugle band at least until the 1990s, when the 1st Battalion had a Drum and Bugle Corps within the ranks of C Company.

Pipes and Drums[edit]

In 1970, following a review of the regular army, a number of infantry battalions were disbanded. The Canadian Guards and the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada lost both of their regular battalions, with personnel being distributed to The Royal Canadian Regiment. The 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment adopted the Pipes and Drums of the Black Watch, becoming the Pipes and Drums of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment.[25] The 3rd Battalion of The RCR, similarly, adopted the Pipes and Drums of the 2nd Battalion, The Canadian Guards, when they were disbanded.[26] In 1977 the 3rd Battalion Pipes and Drums were redesignated the Special Service Force Pipes and Drums.

The 2nd Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment currently maintains the only Pipes and Drums in the Canadian regular army.

The RCR Band[edit]

The 'Drum and Bugle' and 'Pipe and Drum' bands of the regiment are notable in that all members are trained infantry soldiers employed secondarily as musicians. The RCR Band, in contrast, was a professional brass and reed band manned by military musicians. This band was formed in London in the 1950s, transferred to CFB Gagetown in the 1970s and disbanded in the 1990s.

Music[edit]

  • "Hurrah for our boys in khaki" by Fred & Chas Adams, which was respectfully inscribed to the Royal Canadian Regiment, was published in Toronto by R.S. Williams & Sons, circa 1900. First line: "We've heard in song and story about the soldiers of the Queen" Chorus: "They fought the Boers at Paardeberg."[27]
  • "The Regimental March of the Royal Canadian Regiment" by Lieut. Langford and G. Offen was published by Capt. F.A. Lister, R.C.R., 1910. First line: "Oh! we're crushing the gravel again today"[28]
  • "March, The Royal Canadian Regiment" by Arthur W. Hughes was published in Toronto and Winnipeg by Whaley, Royce & Co., circa 1900.[29]

Perpetuation[edit]

War of 1812: The Royal Canadian Regiment perpetuates the 1st Regiment of the Middlesex Militia (1812–15) and the 1st Regiment of the Oxford Militia (1812–15).

First World War: The Regiment perpetuates a number of units of the Canadian Militia and the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) of the First World War:[30]

Alliances[edit]

See also[edit]

Order of precedence[edit]

Regular Force:

Preceded by
None; first in precedence of infantry regiments
The Royal Canadian Regiment Succeeded by
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry

Reserve Force:

Preceded by
The Lincoln and Welland Regiment
4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Succeeded by
The Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada

Arms[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ 2 RCR[dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Canadian Forces Publication A-DH-267-003 Insignia and Lineages of the Canadian Forces. Volume 3: Combat Arms Regiments.
  3. ^ http://guysboroughgreatwarveterans.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-25th-battalion-nova-scotia-rifles.html
  4. ^ "Canada & The South African War, 1899–1902 - 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry". Canadian War Museum. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  5. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  6. ^ "The Royal tour" The Times (London). Monday, 21 October 1901. (36591), p. 3.
  7. ^ Canadian Army General Order 110 of 1929
  8. ^ Canadian Army Orders, Issue No. 597, 26 May 1958
  9. ^ http://www.4rcr.ca/history.html
  10. ^ The Royal Canadian Regiment – Operations Since 1945[dead link]
  11. ^ [2][dead link]
  12. ^ DH&R - Canadian Honours Chart
  13. ^ Freedom of the City
  14. ^ Freedom of the City
  15. ^ Canada Post stamp
  16. ^ a b Regimental Publications – Regimental Standing Orders[dead link]
  17. ^ Petawawa Post, March 3, 2001[dead link]
  18. ^ Senior Appointments of The Royal Canadian Regiment
  19. ^ Senior Appointments of The Royal Canadian Regiment
  20. ^ Senior Appointments of The Royal Canadian Regiment
  21. ^ http://www.christiancorbet.com/#!__main/biography
  22. ^ The Royal Canadian Regiment - "Charles" Company
  23. ^ The Royal Canadian Regiment; 1883–1933, by Fetherstonagh
  24. ^ The Royal Canadian Regiment – Establishments 1899 and 1901[dead link]
  25. ^ 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Pipes and Drums
  26. ^ Pipers of the Canadian Regular Army 1950–2000, by Pipe Major Hugh MacPherson CD, BA (Privately Published)
  27. ^ "Hurrah for our boys in khakiL". Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  28. ^ "The Regimental March of the Royal Canadian Regiment". Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  29. ^ "March, The Royal Canadian Regiment". Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  30. ^ The Royal Canadian Regiment – Perpetuated Units[dead link]

Books[edit]

  • Lt. Col. (RET) Reverend Lyman R. Coleman, Honorary Chaplain to The Royal Canadian Regiment. "Called To Serve" (The Regimental Warehouse; 31 May 2010).
  • Lt. Col. (RET) Reverend Lyman R. Coleman, Honorary Chaplain to The Royal Canadian Regiment. "In This Sign"
  • Strome Galloway "Sicily, to the Siegfried Line" (The Regimental Warehouse; 3 July 2009)
  • Strome Galloway "Some Died at Ortona; The Royal Canadian Regiment at War in Italy 1943" (The Regimental Warehouse; 3 July 2009)
  • Bernd Horn "Establishing a Legacy: The History of the Royal Canadian Regiment 1883-1953" (Dundurn; 19/05/2008) ISBN 1550028170
  • "Presentation of colours to the Second Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, by Field Marshal His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh K.G., Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment, nominated by Her Majesty the Queen to make this presentation, Fort York, Germany, 17th October, 1955." (Aldershot, Gale & Polden, The Wellington Press, 1955)
  • "Honour roll : the Royal Canadian Regiment : Northwest Rebellion 1885 to United Nations operations Korea 1950-53" (Ottawa : Public Relations, the Royal Canadian Regiment, 1961)
  • "Standing rules for officers' messes of the Royal Canadian Regiment" (Canada; Director of Artillery, ©1913)
  • "A short history of the Royal Canadian Regiment, 1883-1964" (London Ont. : The Regiment, 1964.)

External links[edit]