|The Royal Canadian Regiment|
Cap badge of The Royal Canadian Regiment.
|Active||21 December 1883 – Present|
|Role||Mechanized infantry (two battalions)|
light role/paratroop (one battalion)
light role/primary reserve (one battalion)
|Part of||Royal Canadian Infantry Corps|
|Garrison/HQ||RHQ – Petawawa |
1st Battalion – Petawawa
2nd Battalion – Gagetown
3rd Battalion – Petawawa
4th Battalion – London
|Motto(s)||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
|Decorations||Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation – 1st Battalion: Afghanistan, Operation ARCHER, 2006.|
|Colonel-in-Chief||HRH the Duke of Edinburgh|
|Colonel of The Regiment||Honorary Colonel The Right Honourable David Johnston PC CC CMM COM CD|
|Patrons||Judith Irving, Mike Holmes|
|Tartan||Maple Leaf (2nd Bn pipes and drums)|
The Royal Canadian Regiment (The RCR) (French: Le Regiment Royale Canadien) 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. The RCR is ranked 9th in the order of precedence amongst Canadian Army regiments, but is the most senior infantry regiment that has regular force battalions.
The RCR was originally authorized as the Infantry School Corps on 21 December 1883, and established its first three company stations at Fredericton, New Brunswick; St Jean, Quebec; and Toronto, Ontario. In 1887 a fourth company was authorized and the next year was established at London, Ontario. Now consisting of three Regular Force battalions and one Reserve Force battalion, 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 anglophone 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.
|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||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 of the Royal Canadian Regiment:
|CASF||Canadian Active Service Force|
|CEF||Canadian Expionary Force|
|CIC||Canadian Infantry Corps|
|CMGC||Canadian Machine Gun Corps|
|RCIC||Royal Canadian Infantry Corps|
The Royal Canadian Regiment has been awarded a total of 58 battle honours. In the list below, battle honours in capitals were awarded for participation in large operations and campaigns, while those in lowercase indicate honours granted for more specific battles. Battle honours in bold type are emblazoned on the regimental colours.
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 (1812–15) and the 1st Regiment of Oxford Militia (1812–15) from the War of 1812, and as a result carries three battle honours from that conflict. The RCR was also assigned the perpetuation of The Loyal London Volunteers which was accompanied by a non-emblazonable Honorary Distinction.
The regiment itself was formed as the Infantry School Corps on 21 December 1883, 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 first companies stood up in Fredericton NB, St Jean-sur-Richelieu QC, and Toronto ON in 1883, with a fourth company standing up in London ON several years later. 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 Expionary Force (CEF), arriving in France in October 1915 to fight in WW1.
The regiment's name was changed to The Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry in 1893, with a 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. 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.
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 was awarded a Queen's scarf, 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.
In October 1901 the regiment received new colours from the Duke of Cornwall and York (later King George V) during his visit to Canada, 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".
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 Expionary Force, one of the battalions now perpetuated by The RCR.
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).
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 – died 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 (codenamed Operation Baytown) at Reggio di Calabria, as part of Allied invasion of 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 the Battle of Monte Cassino in attacks on German defensive lines called the Hitler Line and later 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. The regiment returned home to Canada in 1945.
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.
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).
In 1989, the designation of the Reserve battalion was shortened to 4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment. This amalgamation also brought to the regiment the perpetuation of a number of battalions of the First World War Canadian Expionary 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 (3rd Battalion) was renumbered as 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 between 1966 and 1992.
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 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.
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. 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 ...".
The unit returned to Bosnia for a tour with the stabilization force, SFOR, in 1998 and 1999.
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.
In August 2006, the 1st Battalion deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Athena, replacing the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) for a six-month tour of duty in theatre.
In February 2007, the 2nd Battalion replaced the 1st Battalion in Afghanistan for a tour of duty.
In September 2008, 3rd Battalion replaced 2nd Battalion, PPCLI, 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. The predeployment training of a platoon from the battalion was filmed for the reality television series Combat School.
In April 2010, the 1st Battalion deployed for Task Force 1–10
In February 2012, the 2nd Battalion formed the core of Rotation 1 of the Canadian Contribution Training Mission – Afghanistan and deployed to Kabul on Operation Attention till November 2012.
In October-November 2018, an 82-strong contingent from all four battalions and 38 members of the Royal Canadian Artillery Band provided the Queen's Guard at Buckingham Palace, St James's Palace and the Tower of London, as well as Windsor Castle.
The RCR has contributed personnel to Canadian Forces Joint Task Force-Ukraine since 2014.
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.
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.
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. The Colonel of the Regiment is former Governor General of Canada The Right Honourable David Johnston, who accepted the appointment on August 4, 2018.
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. The current honorary lieutenant-colonel (HLCol) of the 4th Battalion is Colonel Bruce W. Burnham, of Ilderton, Ontario.
On 5 June 2012, Judith Irving was officially appointed first patron of the Regiment.
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.
"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.
The companies of the battalions of The RCR are lettered sequentially across the regiment:
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:
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. 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", 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.
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. The 3rd Battalion of The RCR, similarly, adopted the Pipes and Drums of the 2nd Battalion, The Canadian Guards, when they were disbanded. 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 '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.
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).
None; first in precedence of infantry regiments
|The Royal Canadian Regiment||Succeeded by|
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
The Lincoln and Welland Regiment
|4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment||Succeeded by|
The Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada
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