Sherbrooke Hussars

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Sherbrooke Hussars
Sherbrooke Hussars cap badge.jpg
Active 21 September 1866 – present
Country Canada
Branch Primary Reserve
Type Line cavalry
Role Armoured
Size One regiment
Part of Royal Canadian Armoured Corps
Motto In Hoc Signo Stabilitas (Latin, "In This Sign, Stability")
March "Regimental March of the Sherbrooke Hussars"

The Sherbrooke Hussars is a Primary Reserve armoured regiment of the Canadian Forces.

Sherbrooke Regiment[edit]

The guidon of the Sherbrooke Hussars

The Sherbrooke Regiment was initially formed on 21 September 1866 in Melbourne, Quebec as the Sherbrooke Battalion of Infantry, becoming the 53rd (Sherbrooke) Battalion in 1867. The regiment perpetuates the Frontier Light Infantry as well as the 1st and 4th battalions of the Eastern Township District (1812-1815) from the War of 1812. As a result the regiment carries the Theatre Battle Honour, Defence of Canada 1812-15, in recognition of the service rendered by the Frontier Light Infantry at the Battle of Lacolle Mills (1814).

On 22 March 1867, it was reorganized as two separate battalions designated the 53rd Melbourne Battalion of Infantry and the 54th Sherbrooke Battalion of Infantry It was redesignated as the 53rd Sherbrooke Battalion of Infantry on 10 May 1867 and then the 53rd Sherbrooke Regiment on 8 May 1900

The regiment provided volunteers for the 12th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1914. The following year, it provided the bulk of the 117th (Eastern Townships) Battalion, CEF, formed initially as a mounted unit, but quickly converted to infantry. This battalion became the first Empire unit to provide the King's Guard at Buckingham Palace in London. The 117th was then broken up to provide reinforcements for several other Canadian units in France. In 1920, the Sherbrooke Regiment was reformed with two battalions – the 1st Battalion perpetuated the traditions of the 117th CEF. Following the Great War, the Regiment was renamed The Sherbrooke Regiment on 29 March 1920 and re-roled as a machine gun battalion as The Sherbrooke Regiment (MG) on 15 December 1936

In 1940, parts of the regiment amalgamated with Les Fusiliers de Sherbrooke to form the Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment (27th Canadian Armoured Regiment) which was an armoured regiment, while the Sherbrooke Regiment continued as infantry.

After the end of the Second World War, The Sherbrooke Regiment re-roled as armour, becoming the 12th Armoured Regiment (Sherbrooke Regiment), perpetuating the traditions of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers. In 1958, the number was dropped, and the regiment became The Sherbrooke Regiment (RCAC), before, in 1965, it amalgamated with the 7th/XI Hussars to become The Sherbrooke Hussars.[1]

The camp flag of the Sherbrooke Hussars

There are competing and contentious claims on the wartime legacy and honours of the Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment (27th Armoured). Both the Sherbrooke Hussars and les Fusiliers de Sherbrooke, share the battle honours, and elements of the wartime unit's name. However, the armoured corps lineage shows the Sherbrooke Hussars (RCAC) as the heirs.[2]

7th/XI Hussars[edit]

The 7th/XI Hussars was formed in 1936 through the amalgamation of the 7th Hussars and XI Hussars. In 1940, 400 of its men were mobilised as infantry with the 1st Battalion, Royal Rifles of Canada. It was redesignated the 2nd (Reserve) Regiment, 7th/11th Hussars on 27 February 1941. The regiment itself became the 16th (Reserve) Armoured Regiment, before being disbanded in 1943, with its personnel absorbed by the 5th Canadian Armoured Division. In 1946, the regiment was raised again, perpetuating the 16th Armoured Regiment, as 16th Reconnaissance Regiment (7th/XI Hussars), RCAC on 1 April 1946. It was redesignated the 7th/11th Hussars (16th Reconnaissance Regiment) on 4 February 1949. Converted to armour as the 7th/11th Hussars (16th Armoured Regiment) on 1 September 1954 and finally the 7th/11th Hussars on 19 May 1958. On 15 February 1965, it was amalgamated with The Sherbrooke Regiment (RCAC) to form the Sherbrooke Hussars.[3]

World War I[edit]

The distinguishing patch of the 5th Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles.

Details of the 53rd Sherbrooke Regiment were placed on active service for local protective duty on 6 August 1914. The 5th Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF was authorized on 7 November 1914 and embarked for Britain on 18 July 1915, arriving in France on 24 October 1915, where it fought as part of the 2nd Brigade Canadian Mounted Rifles until 3 January 1916. The Regiment was converted to infantry and became part of the 8th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division. The regiment was redesignated the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion, CEF on 24 December 1915. The battalion fought in France and Flanders until the end of the Great War and was disbanded on 30 August 1920.

The 117th Battalion, which was authorized on 22 December 1915 as the 117th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force and embarked for Britain on 14 August 1916. It provided reinforcements for units in the field until 8 January 1917 when its personnel were absorbed by the 23rd Reserve Battalion, CEF, with the battalion being disbanded on 30 August 1920.

The Second World War[edit]

The Sherbrooke Regiment mobilized the No. 1 General Base Depot, Canadian Active Service Force, on 1 September 1939, which embarked for Britain on 25 January 1940 where it provided guards for vulnerable points until disbanded on 6 July 1940. The regiment then, in conjunction with Les Fusiliers de Sherbrooke, mobilized The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment, CASF, for active service on 24 May 1940. It was redesignated as the "1st Battalion, The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment, CASF", on 7 November 1940, then as the "1st Battalion, The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment, CASF", on 15 November 1940 and upon conversion to an armoured regiment, as the "27th Armoured Regiment (The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment), CAC, CASF", on 26 January 1942 and "27th Armoured Regiment (The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment), RCAC, CASF" on 2 August 1945. In the case of the overseas unit 'Fusilier' is always in the singular. The regiment served ocverseas initially in Newfoundland from 13 August 1941 to 15 February 1942, and embarked for Britain on 27 October 1942.

It landed on Juno Beach in Normandy, France on the afternoon of 6 June 1944 as a unit of the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade.[4] One poignant casualty on DDay was the regimental padre Capt WL Brown, who was ambushed delivering medical supplies by Jeep [5] Twenty-three Canadian prisoners including SFR soldiers were killed by their captors, and the German commander Brigadefuhrer Kurt Meyer was convicted of war crimes.[6] The Regiment continued to fight in North West Europe until the end of the war.[7] The overseas regiment was disbanded on 15 February 1946.

The most famous regimental artifact is "Bomb", a Sherman III tank (British Commonwealth designation of the M4A2 Sherman), registration T 152656. This tank survived from D-Day to VE-Day without being knocked out; an unusual achievement because of the high casualty rate amongst front line combat equipment. Bomb's crewmembers, originally Troopers A.W. Rudolph, "Red" Fletcher, Trooper J.W. (Tiny) Hall, Lance-Corporal R. (Rudy) Moreault and Sergeant Harold Frutter, crew commander, kept the tank in service, despite firing over 6,000 rounds and surviving at least one enemy shell impact. Frutter was wounded in July 1944 and one other man were replaced in Normandy by Lieutenant Paul Ayriss and Trooper Ken Jeroux. Lieutenant J.W. Neill replaced Ayriss in August 1944, and was later awarded the Military Cross. Two more officers to command Bomb were Lieutenant Walter White who was wounded in April 1945 and Lieutenant Earnest Mingo who replaced him until war's end. The tank and crewmembers Rudolph, Moreault and Hall were the subject of a Canadian Army Film and Photographic Unit production entitled, "Green Fields Beyond" (number 2090) in 1945.[8] The tank was on display at the Champs de Mars park, Queen Boulevard North, Sherbrooke, Quebec and in Sept 2011 was relocated to the front lawns of the William Street Armoury, 315 William Street, Sherbrooke, Quebec.[9]

In July 1940, the 7th/11th Hussars contributed about half its officers and men to The Royal Rifles of Canada which fought in Hong Kong. From the elements not sent overseas, an armoured squadron was mobilized as the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade Headquarters Squadron (7th/11th Hussars) CASF (1941). This subunit was disbanded overseas in 1943 and personnel were reassigned.

The 7th/11th Hussars mobilized an armoured squadron designated known as the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade Headquarters Squadron (7th/11th Hussars), CASF, for active service on 27 February 1941. This unit departed Canada for the United Kingdom on 9 October 1941. The squadron was disbanded on 1 January 1943 and its personnel absorbed by Headquarters, 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade.

Post amalgamation[edit]

The history of The Sherbrooke Hussars from 1965 to present has been distinguished by success by surviving. The Canadian Army doctrine changed in the 1950s from mobilizing units in Canada for overseas service, to maintaining standing forces in Europe. As a NATO Charter signatory, Canada's focus was to support first the 27th Infantry Brigade in Germany and later 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade. The role of reserve units changed to training individual soldiers to augment the regular force.[10] Throughout the period members of The Sherbrooke Hussars deployed on Exercise REFORGER 'call-outs' to Germany, including a formed Jeep light armoured reconnaissance troop attached to the 8th Canadian Hussars. Other operational deployment included United Nations missions in Middle East (UNEF and UNDOF) as support trades, such as drivers, Cyprus (UNFICYP) as peacekeepers, and extensively in the Former Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR). A member of the regiment, Cpl David GALVIN attached to 12e RBC, was killed when his Cougar armoured car rolled over on 29 Nov 1993.[11] Several members of the regiment served in Afghanistan, including at least one soldier who was wounded by an IED.[12] Although individual contributions were significant, the regiment did not meet the detailed criteria for the Afghanistan theatre honours. Elsewhere, personnel served in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.[13]

National Defence budgets have always set the tone for training and recruiting tempo. For example in April 2010, both The Sherbrooke Hussars and les Fusilier de Sherbrooke were required to reduce their operating funds by 40% in the middle of their training year.[14]

The Sherbrooke Hussars has used a variety of operational vehicles, including the M4A3E8 Sherman tank (retired in 1963), the Cougar AVGP (Armoured Vehicle General Purpose), the M37 3/4 ton truck,the M38A1 1/4 ton truck, the M151A2 1/4 ton truck, the ILTIS 1/4 ton truck and the G-Wagon 1/2 ton truck.

Battle honours[edit]

Defence of Canada – 1812–1815,[15] Mount Sorrel, Somme 1916, Flers-Courcelette, Ancre Heights, Arras 19171918, Vimy 1917, Hill 70, Ypres 1917, Passchendale, Amiens, Scarpe 1918, Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, Cambrai 1918, Valenciennes, Sambre, France and Flanders 1915–18, Normandy Landing, Authie[disambiguation needed], Caen, The Orne, Bourguebus Ridge, Faubourg de Vaucelles, Saint-André-sur-Orne, Falaise[disambiguation needed], Falaise Road, Clair Tizon, The Laison, Antwerp-Tournout, The Scheldt, The Lower Maas, The Rhineland, The Hochwald, Xanten, The Rhine, Emmerich-Hoch Elten, Zutphen, Deventer, North-West Europe 1944-1945, Honorary Distinction Hong Kong 1941


War Of 1812[edit]

The Frontier Light Infantry

1st and 4th battalions of the Eastern Township District (1812-1815)

The Great War[edit]

5th Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF

117th (Eastern Townships) Battalion, CEF

Notable Sherbrookes[edit]

Including post-war service:

Second World War Gallantry Awards:,[16][17]


Rank Surname Names Decoration Immediate Or Periodic Date

LtCol GORDON Melville Burgoyne Kennedy DSO I 08Jul44

Major HOUSTON Ross Melvin DSO P Jul44-Feb45

Major WALSH Vincent Owen DSO I 07Jun44

Major RADLEY-WALTERS Sidney Valpy DSO & MC P Aug44-Apr45 (see above)

Capt BRENNAN John Paul MC I 28Apr45

Lt CLOUT Edward Albert MC I 03Mar45

Lt GOODWIN George Douglas MC I 28Apr45

Capt GOULD Thomas Garfield (Gary) MC I 26Feb45

Lt NEILL John Wesley MC I 26Feb45

Capt SPAFFORD Elliott MC P Jun44-Mar45

Lt WARRINER Robert Alfred MC I 29Mar45

Other Ranks

Service # Rank Surname Names Decoration Immediate Or Periodic Date

F30544 Trooper BARLETT David Douglas MM P Jul44

D46374 Sergeant BEARDSLEY Ralph Robert MM I 08Jul44

F30573 Sergeant BOWERS Victor Ray MM P 27Feb45

B112892 Lance Sergeant CONNELL Armond Thomas MM I 23Apr45

H26395 Sergeant CUDDIE Lloyd William MM I 22-24Jul44

D46904 Lance Corporal DAVIS Milton David MM I 26Apr45

D46072 Squadron Sergeant Major HOWLAND Ernest Arthur MM P 13Aug44

F29861 Squadron Sergeant Major NICHOLSON Claude Linden MM P 07Jun44

H63854 Sergeant RIGBY Arthur MM I 10Apr45

L8857 Trooper SCHULER Vernon Peter MM I 08Mar45

M104311 Sergeant SODEMAN Eugene Frederick MM I 26Feb45

"I" – Immediate award for a specific act of gallantry. "P" – Periodic Award. Not for a specific act, but can encompass gallant behavior over a period of time or noteworthy service.


Order of precedence[edit]

Preceded by
The Queen's York Rangers (1st American Regiment) (RCAC)
The Sherbrooke Hussars Succeeded by
12e Régiment blindé du Canada


Further reading[edit]

  • The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, an illustrated history, by John Marteinson and Michael R McNorgan, published by the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps Association, 2000. ISBN 1-896941-17-6
  • The Postwar Sherman in Canadian Service by Rod Henderson, Service Publications, Ottawa, 2012 ISBN 978-894581-76-9
  • Sherbrooke Hussars by Ronald Cohn Jesse Russell (Jan 1 2013)

'Hughes, David The British Armies in World War Two: An Organisational History Volume Six: The Canadian Army (The Nafziger Collection, Inc., West Chester, OH, 2003) ISBN 1-58545-105-3

  • Lieutenant-Colonel H.M. Jackson, The Sherbrooke Regiment (12th Armoured Regiment), (n.p., 1958). Limited print run.
  • Garneau, Grant, The Royal Rifles of Canada in Hong Kong, 1941-1945, Baird O'Keefe Pub Inc, (Sherbrooke, 2001), ISBN 9781894439053

External links[edit]

  • [1] Audio recording of Normandy veterans Gary Gould
  • [2] The Sherbrooke Hussars Website
  • [3] Armoured lineages and official history
  • [4] Order of Precedence
  • [5] Canadian War Museum Website