Prince Albert Volunteers

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Prince Albert Volunteers
Active1885, 1913–1936, 1941–1946
Country Canada
BranchCanadian Militia, Canadian Army
Garrison/HQPrince Albert, Saskatchewan
EngagementsBattle of Duck Lake
Battle honours
  • North West Canada, 1885
  • The Great War, 1916–17

The Prince Albert Volunteers is the name of two historical infantry units headquartered in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. The unit was first raised in 1885 during the North-West Rebellion and disbanded after hostilities ceased. In the 20th century, the unit was operational from 1913 to 1936 and 1941 to 1946.

North-West Rebellion[edit]

The Prince Albert Volunteers or Prince Albert Rifles were organized in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, North-West Territories, for service in the Canadian Militia during the North-West Rebellion.

"Gentleman" Joe McKay, an Anglo-Métis scout of the North-West Mounted Police was sent to Prince Albert from Fort Carlton to enlist about 20 men as volunteers on 20 March 1885. On the 21st, 22 men were sworn in before Lieutenant Colonel Sproat. The volunteers were commanded by Captain Moore, who had retired from the Canadian militia. On the 23rd they arrived at Fort Carlton and were armed with Snider-Enfield rifles.

They saw their only action fighting alongside the police against Gabriel Dumont's Métis forces at the Battle of Duck Lake on March 26, 1885, where they suffered the heaviest casualties of combatants involved: of the 41 Volunteers sent, nine were killed.[1] Most of those who died are buried at St. Mary's Anglican Church cemetery just west of Prince Albert. Nine of them were killed at Duck Lake, their bodies left on the field until emissaries from Louis Riel arranged for their safe retrieval by citizens of Prince Albert.

For the remainder of the rebellion the Volunteers stayed penned up in the stockade at Prince Albert, safeguarding the community until relieved by General Frederick Middleton and his Northwest Field Force after the Battle of Batoche.

All the Volunteers who served during the rebellion received the North West Canada Medal and a grant of 320 acres (130 ha) of land, or scrip of $80 in lieu.[2]

Members killed at Duck Lake[3][edit]

  • Constable Joseph Anderson
  • Constable James Bakie
  • Constable Skeffington C. Elliott
  • Constable Alexander Fisher
  • Constable Daniel McKenzie
  • Constable Daniel McPhail
  • Constable Robert Middleton
  • Captain John Morton
  • Corporal William Napier

20th century[edit]

A infantry unit was again created in Prince Albert on January 2, 1913, named the 52nd Regiment "Prince Albert Volunteers". The 52nd Regiment was allied with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in England.[4] Like most other Non-Permanent Active Militia (NPAM) units, the 52nd Regiment was not mobilized as a unit in the First World War, but many from the regiment signed up with the 53rd Battalion, CEF.[5]

In the post-war reorganization of the NPAM, the 52nd Regiment was merged with 102nd Regiment (Saskatoon Fusiliers) in 1920 and became the 2nd Battalion (Prince Albert Volunteers), the North Saskatchewan Regiment. In 1922 the battalion was granted the perpetuation of the 53rd Battalion, with its theatre of war honour, The Great War, 1916–17. In 1924 the battalion again became a distinct regiment as the Prince Albert Volunteers.[5] The regimental badge was the head of an American bison, in quarter-profile facing the viewer's right, above a scroll with the regiment's name.[6] In 1927, the PAV became allied to the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment in England.[7]

In the 1936 Canadian Militia reorganization, the PAV were merged with the Battleford Light Infantry as the Prince Albert and Battleford Volunteers (PABV). In 1941, the cavalry unit based in the Battlefords, 16th/22nd Saskatchewan Horse (Reserve), was converted to infantry under the name 2nd (Reserve) Battalion, the Battleford Light Infantry (16th/22nd Saskatchewan Horse). The Battlefords personnel from the PABV were transferred to this unit, and the remainder of the PABV in Prince Albert were renamed to the Prince Albert Volunteers once again.[5]

On March 5, 1942, the active service 1st Battalion, PAV, was formed.[5] This battalion was stationed in Vernon, British Columbia, as part of the 19th Infantry Brigade until October 1943, when it was transferred to the 15th Infantry Brigade Group in northern British Columbia.[8] The 15th Brigade was involved in the Terrace mutiny in November 1944. The 1st Battalion, the Prince Albert Volunteers, was disbanded on November 30, 1945, and the regiment reverted to being a solely militia organization.[5]

After the Second World War, 1946, the infantry in the Battlefords and Prince Albert were merged for the second time as the Prince Albert and Battleford Volunteers. After further amalgamations, Prince Albert's infantry subunit is now part of the North Saskatchewan Regiment.[5]


  1. ^ Stanley, George F. G. (1960). The Birth of Western Canada: A History of the Riel Rebellions. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  2. ^ "North West Canada Medal". War Medals (1866-1918). Veterans Affairs Canada. 2017-07-10. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  3. ^ Council, Northwest Territories (1886). Journal of the Council of the North-West Territories of Canada ... A. E. Forget.
  4. ^ "ARCHIVED - Item Display - A Nation's Chronicle: The Canada Gazette - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Personnel, Government of Canada, National Defence, Chief Military. "Volume 3, Part 2: Infantry Regiments - THE NORTH SASKATCHEWAN REGIMENT". Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  6. ^ "ARCHIVED - Item Display - A Nation's Chronicle: The Canada Gazette - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  7. ^ "ARCHIVED - Item Display - A Nation's Chronicle: The Canada Gazette - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  8. ^ "". Retrieved 2018-11-06.

Other source:

  • Light, Douglas W. (1987). Footprints in the Dust. North Battleford: Turner-Warwick Prineters Inc.