History

Wars & Campaigns

Boer War
First World War

►►Western Front

►►►Trench Warfare: 1914-1916

►►Allied Offensive: 1916

►►►Allied Offensives: 1917

►►►German Offensive: 1918

►►►Advance to Victory: 1918

►►Siberia
Second World War
►►War Against Japan

►►Italian Campaign

►►►Sicily

►►►Southern Italy

►►►The Sangro and Moro

►►►Battles of the FSSF

►►►Cassino

►►►Liri Valley

►►►Advance to Florence

►►►Gothic Line

►►►Winter Lines
►►North-West Europe

►►►Normandy
►►►Southern France
►►►Channel Ports

►►►Scheldt
►►►Nijmegen Salient

►►►Rhineland

►►►Final Phase
Korean War
Cold War
Gulf War

Operations 

GAUNTLET Aug 1941

(Spitsbergen)

HUSKY Jul 1943

 (Sicily)

COTTAGE Aug 1943

 (Kiska)

TIMBERWOLF Oct 1943

(Italy)

OVERLORD Jun 1944

(Normandy)

VERITABLE Feb 1945

(Rhineland)

Battle Honours

Boer War

►Paardeberg

18 Feb 00

First World War
Western Front
Trench Warfare: 1914-1916

Ypres, 1915

22 Apr-25 May 15

Gravenstafel

22-23 Apr 15

St. Julien

24 Apr-4 May 15

Frezenberg

8-13 May 15

Bellewaarde

24-25 May 15

Festubert, 1915

15-25 May 15

Mount Sorrel

2-13 Jun 16

Allied Offensive: 1916

►Somme, 1916

1 Jul-18 Nov 16

►Albert

.1-13 Jul 16

►Razentin

.14-17 Jul 16

►Pozieres

.23 Jul-3 Sep 16

►Guillemont

.3-6 Sep 16

►Ginchy

.9 Sep 16

►Flers-Courcelette

.15-22 Sep 16

►Thiepval

.26-29 Sep 16

►Le Transloy

. 1-18 Oct 16

►Ancre Heights

1 Oct-11 Nov 16

►Ancre, 1916

13-18 Nov 16

Allied Offensives: 1917

►Arras 1917

8 Apr-4 May 17

Vimy, 1917

.9-14 Apr 17

Arleux

28-29 Apr 17

►Scarpe, 1917

.3-4 May17

►Hill 70

.15-25 Aug 17

►Messines, 1917

.7-14 Jun 17

►Ypres, 1917

..31 Jul-10 Nov 17

►Pilckem

31 Jul-2 Aug 17

►Langemarck, 1917

.16-18 Aug 17

►Menin Road

.20-25 Sep 17

►Polygon Wood

26 Sep-3 Oct 17

►Broodseinde

.4 Oct 17

►Poelcapelle

.9 Oct 17

►Passchendaele

.12 Oct 17

►Cambrai, 1917

20 Nov-3 Dec 17

German Offensive: 1918

►Somme, 1918

.21 Mar-5 Apr 18

►St. Quentin

.21-23 Mar 18

►Bapaume, 1918

.24-25 Mar 18

►Rosieres

.26-27 Mar 18

►Avre

.4 Apr 18

►Lys

.9-29 Apr 18

►Estaires

.9-11 Apr 18

►Messines, 1918

.10-11 Apr 18

►Bailleul

.13-15 Apr 18

►Kemmel

.17-19 Apr 18

Advance to Victory: 1918

Amiens

8-11 Aug 18

►Arras, 1918

.26 Aug-3 Sep 18

►Scarpe, 1918

26-30 Aug 18.

►Drocourt-Queant

.2-3 Sep 18

►Hindenburg Line

.12 Sep-9 Oct 18

►Canal du Nord

.27 Sep-2 Oct 18

►St. Quentin Canal .29 Sep-2 Oct 18
►Epehy

3-5 Oct 18

►Ypres, 1918

.8-9 Oct 18

►Valenciennes

.1-2 Nov 18

►Sambre

.4 Nov 18

►Pursuit to Mons .28 Sep-11Nov

Second World War

War Against Japan

South-East Asia

Hong Kong

 8-25 Dec 41

Italian Campaign

Battle of Sicily

Landing in Sicily 

   9-12 Jul 43

Grammichele 

15 Jul 43

Piazza Armerina

16-17 Jul 43

Valguarnera

17-19 Jul 43

Assoro 

  20-22 Jul 43

Leonforte

 21-22 Jul 43

Agira

24-28 Jul 43

Adrano 

29 Jul-7 Aug 43

Catenanuova

29-30 Jul 43

Regalbuto

29 Jul-3 Aug 43

Centuripe

  31 Jul-3 Aug 43

Troina Valley

 2-6 Aug 43

Pursuit to Messina

 2-17 Aug 43

 Southern Italy

Landing at Reggio

 3 Sep 43

Potenza 19-20 Sep 43
Motta Montecorvino 1-3 Oct 43
Termoli 3-6 Oct 43
Monte San Marco 6-7 Oct 43
Gambatesa 7-8 Oct 43
Campobasso 11-14 Oct 43
Baranello 17-18 Oct 43
Colle d'Anchise 22-24 Oct 43
Torella 24-27 Oct 43

The Sangro and Moro

The Sangro

19 Nov-3 Dec 43

Castel di Sangro

.23-24 Nov 43

The Moro

5-7 Dec 43

San Leonardo

8-9 Dec 43

The Gully

..10-19 Dec 43

Casa Berardi

 ..14-15 Dec 43

Ortona

20-28 Dec 43

San Nicola-San

.31 Dec 43

Tommaso

.
Point 59/ 29 Dec 43-

Torre Mucchia

4 Jan 44

Battles of the FSSF
Monte Camino

.5 Nov-9 Dec 43

Monte la Difensa-

2-8 Dec 43

 Monte la Remetanea

.
Hill 720

25 Dec 43

Monte Majo

3-8 Jan 44.

Radicosa

4 Jan 44

Monte Vischiataro

8 Jan 44

Anzio

22 Jan-22 May 44

Rome

.22 May-4 Jun 44

Advance

.22 May-22 Jun 44

to the Tiber

.
►Monte Arrestino

25 May 44

►Rocca Massima

27 May 44

►Colle Ferro

2 Jun 44

Cassino
►Cassino II

11-18 May 44

►Gustav Line

11-18 May 44

►Sant' Angelo in

13 May 44

Teodice

.
►Pignataro

14-15 May 44

Liri Valley
Liri Valley

18-30 May 44

►Hitler Line

18-24 May 44

►Aquino

18-24 May 44

►Melfa Crossing

24-25 May 44

►Ceprano

26-27 May 44

►Torrice Crossroads

30 May 44

Advance to Florence
►Advance

17 Jul-10 Aug 44

to Florence

.
►Cerrone

25 - 31 Aug 44

Trasimene Line
►Trasimene Line

20-30 Jun 44

►Sanfatucchio

20-21 Jun 44

►Gabbiano

1 Jul 44

►Arezzo

4-17 Jul 44

►Tuori

5 Jul 44

Gothic Line
►Gothic Line

25 Aug-22 Sep 44

►Monteciccardo

27-28 Aug 44

►Montecchio

30-31 Aug 44

►Point 204 (Pozzo Alto)

31 Aug 44

►Monte Luro

1 Sep 44

►Borgo Santa Maria

1 Sep 44

►Tomba di Pesaro

1-2 Sep 44

►Coriano

3-15 Sep 44

►Lamone Crossing

2-13 Sep 44

Winter Lines
►Rimini Line

14-21 Sep 44

►San Martino-

14-18 Sep 44

San Lorenzo

.
►San Fortunato

18-20 Sep 44

►Casale

23-25 Sep 44

►Sant' Angelo

11-15 Sep 44

 in Salute

.
►Bulgaria Village

13-14 Sep 44

►Cesena

15-20 Sep 44

►Pisciatello

16-19 Sep 44

►Savio Bridgehead

20-23 Sep 44

►Monte La Pieve

13-19 Oct 44

►Monte Spaduro

19-24 Oct 44

►Monte San Bartolo

11-14 Nov 44

►Capture of Ravenna

3-4 Dec 44

►Naviglio Canal

12-15 Dec 44

►Fosso Vecchio

16-18 Dec 44

►Fosso Munio

19-21 Dec 44

►Conventello-

2-6 Jan 45

Comacchio

.
►Granarolo

3-5 Jan 44

Northwest Europe
Dieppe

19 Aug 42

Battle of Normandy
Normandy Landing

6 Jun 44

Authie

7 Jun 44

Putot-en-Bessin

8 Jun 44

Bretteville

8-9 Jun 44

       -l'Orgueilleuse .
Le Mesnil-Patry

11 Jun 44

Carpiquet

4-5 Jul 44

Caen

4-18 Jul 44

The Orne (Buron)

8-9 Jul 44

Bourguébus Ridge

18-23 Jul 44

Faubourg-de-

18-19 Jul 44

       Vaucelles .
St. André-sur-Orne

19-23 Jul 44

Maltôt

22-23 Jul 44

Verrières Ridge-Tilly--

25 Jul 44

         la-Campagne .
►Falaise

7-22 Aug 44

►Falaise Road

7-9 Aug 44

►Quesnay Road

10-11 Aug 44

Clair Tizon

11-13 Aug 44

►The Laison

14-17 Aug 44

►Chambois

18-22 Aug 44

►St. Lambert-sur-

19-22 Aug 44

       Dives

.

►Dives Crossing

17-20 Aug 44

Forêt de la Londe

27-29 Aug 44

The Seine, 1944

25-28 Aug 44

Southern France
Southern France

15-28 Aug 44

Channel Ports
Dunkirk, 1944

8-15 Sep 44

Le Havre

1-12 Sep 44

Moerbrugge

8-10 Sep 44

Moerkerke

13-14 Sep 44

Boulogne, 1944

17-22 Sep 44

Calais, 1944

25 Sep-1 Oct 44

Wyneghem

21-22 Sep 44

Antwerp-Turnhout

   24-29 Sep 44

Canal

.

The Scheldt

The Scheldt

1 Oct-8 Nov 44

Leopold Canal

6-16 Oct-44

►Savojaards Platt

9-10 Oct 44

Breskens Pocket

11 Oct -3 Nov 44

►Woensdrecht

1-27 Oct 44

►The Lower Maas

20 Oct -7 Nov 44

►South Beveland

 24-31 Oct 44

Walcheren

31 Oct -4 Nov 44

Causeway

.

Nijmegen Salient
Ardennes

Dec 44-Jan 45

Kapelsche Veer

31 Dec 44-

.

21Jan 45

The Roer

16-31 Jan 45

Rhineland
The Rhineland

8 Feb-10 Mar 45

►The Reichswald

8-13 Feb 45

►Waal Flats

8-15 Feb 45

►Moyland Wood

14-21 Feb 45

►Goch-Calcar Road

19-21 Feb 45

►The Hochwald

26 Feb-

.

4 Mar 45

►Veen

6-10 Mar 45

►Xanten

8-9 Mar 45

Final Phase
The Rhine

23 Mar-1 Apr 45

►Emmerich-Hoch

28 Mar-1 Apr 45

Elten

.
►Twente Canal

2-4 Apr 45

Zutphen

6-8 Apr 45

Deventer

8-11 Apr 45

Arnhem, 1945

12-14 Apr 45

Apeldoorn

11-17 Apr 45

Groningen

13-16 Apr 45

Friesoythe

14 Apr 45

►Ijselmeer

15-18 Apr 45

Küsten Canal

17-24 Apr 45

Wagenborgen

21-23 Apr 45

Delfzijl Pocket

23 Apr-2 May 45

Leer

28-29 Apr 45

Bad Zwischenahn

23 Apr-4 May 45

Oldenburg

27 Apr-5 May 45

Korean War
Kapyong

21-25 Apr 51

Domestic Missions

FLQ Crisis

International Missions

ICCS            Vietnam 1973

MFO                 Sinai 1986-

Peacekeeping

UNMOGIP

India 1948-1979

UNTSO

 Israel 1948-    ....

UNEF

Egypt 1956-1967

UNOGIL

Lebanon 1958    ....

ONUC

 Congo 1960-1964

UNYOM

Yemen 1963-1964

UNTEA

W. N. Guinea 1963-1964

UNIFCYP

 Cyprus 1964-    ....

DOMREP

D. Republic 1965-1966

UNIPOM

Kashmir 1965-1966

UNEFME

Egypt 1973-1979

UNDOF

Golan 1974-    ....

UNIFIL

 Lebanon 1978    ....

UNGOMAP

Afghanistan 1988-90

UNIIMOG

Iran-Iraq 1988-1991

UNTAG

Namibia 1989-1990

ONUCA

C. America 1989-1992

UNIKOM

Kuwait 1991    ....

MINURSO

W. Sahara 1991    ....

ONUSAL

El Salvador 1991    ....

UNAMIC

Cambodia 1991-1992

UNAVEM II

Angola 1991-1997

UNPROFOR

Yugosla. 1992-1995

UNTAC

Cambodia 1992-1993

UNOSOM

Somalia 1992-1993

ONUMOZ

Mozambiq. 1993-1994

UNOMUR

 Rwanda 1993    ....

UNAMIR

Rwanda 1993-1996

UNMIH

Haiti 1993-1996

UNMIBH

Bosnia/Herz.1993-1996

UNMOP

Prevlaka 1996-2001

UNSMIH

Haiti 1996-1997

MINUGUA

Guatemala 1994-1997

UNTMIH

Haiti 1997    ....

MIPONUH

 Haiti 1997    ....

MINURCA

C.Afr.Rep. 1998-1999

INTERFET

E. Timor 1999-2000

UNAMSIL

Sie. Leone 1999-2005

UNTAET

E. Timor 1999-2000

Exercises

 

The Boer War

The Boer War is known outside of Canada as the Second Boer War, and also as the South African War both in Canada and abroad (though not in South African Africa where it is known to some as the Anglo-Boer War, or in Afrikaans as the Anglo-Boereoorlog or Tweede Vryheidsoorlog (Second War of Independence). (The first Boer War had been fought from 16 December 1880 to 23 March 1881.)

The war was fought from 11 October 1899 to 31 May 1902 and marked the second overseas employment of soldiers of the Canadian Army (the first had been the Nile Expedition of 1884-1885, though these soldiers served in a combat support capacity rather than in a combat role). The war was fought between the British Empire and two independent Boer republics of the Orange Free State and the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic). The war resulted in the two independent republics being absorbed into the British Empire.

The South African War, 1899-1902, pitched an Empire that boasted possession of one-fifth of the world's surface and a quarter of its population, against the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, two small Afrikaner republics whose combined fighting forces numbered no more than fifty thousand men. While long-standing ethnic conflict and a more recent struggle over the exploitation of gold and diamonds had embittered relations between Afrikaans speakers and the largely English-speaking foreigners, strategic objectives, and European rivalry over the partition of Africa precipitated the intervention of British troops and subsequent military conflict.1

When the British government asked for Canadian help, the opposition party in Canada was strongly in favour, while French-Canadians were widely opposed. The Liberal government was split, and Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier eventually sent infantry and mounted units. While Canadians did not served in the earliest clashes of the war, they did develop a good reputation at Second Battle of Paardeberg and later at Leliefontein, where three Canadians were awarded the Victoria Cross and one the Queen's Scarf.

The war remained deeply unpopular in Quebec, where many people viewed it as crushing a democratic minority group reminiscent of French-Canadians themselves. The war would later become notorious for the inauguration of modern concentration camps.

Background

The discovery of gold on the Witwaterstrand in 1886 brought with it a flock of businessmen, mainly British, whose ideals clashed with those of the puritanical Dutch people who founded the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. The Boers, as they were known, feared losing control of their fledgling countries at the voting booth, and pledged not to permit Uitlanders ("outsiders") the right to vote. Harshly taxed and treated under the civil law code, the expatriate Britons in South Africa were able to drum up support in the British Isles, mainly by promise of profits from the gold and diamond resources yet untapped in the colonies. In 1899, Britain demanded that its citizens be enfranchised.

The Boers declined to be bullied, and Britain began to concentrate substantial forces along the borders between its South African colonies - the Cape Colony and Natal - and the two republics. That proved to be a gross miscalculation; the Boers were not a diplomatic people, nor one easily intimidated.2

The Boers struck first in the belief that war was inevitable. Their military was a citizen's militia, similar in idea to Canada's but different in make-up. The Boers were excellent horsemen and hunters, able to make good use of terrain, cover, and concealment. Organized into small groups they called "commandos", Boer soldiers crossed into Natal and the Cape Colony on 12 October 1899 and fought a series of successful skirmishes, placing Mafeking, Kimberley and Ladysmith under siege.

...despite their small, well-equipped force of professional artillery, (they were not) inclined to engage in costly frontal assaults against the besieged garrisons. Instead, they maintained desultory bombardments and waited for the British to make the next move, naively believing that they could now negotiate an amicable settlement from a position of strength.3

Military Overview

When the second Boer War broke out in late 1899, Canadian Parliament was not in session, and the government of Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier refused to commit to a coherent position on the matter; opinions among the population were split as to whether the British use of force in South Africa was legitimate protection of democratic rights among individuals, or simply British imperialism. After a leak to the press of a mistaken telegram of thanks from the British government to Canada, for an offer of troops she had not made, Canada was forced to announce a contribution of 1,000 men to the cause in October 1899.

Historians struggled ever since the war to explain both the cause of the war, and Canada's participation in it. After 1918, some historians interpreted Canada's involvement as the result of a British conspiracy, tied in with several Canadian officials of British heritage, including the Governor-General and the General Officer Commanding the Canadian Militia. In the 1950s, the notion of a conspiracy was exposed as mythical, and in the 1960s, still other interpretations began to emerge, defining Canadian "imperialism" simply as an expression of Canadian patriotism.4

Whatever the motivation, beginning on 9 December 1899, British forces in South Africa had experienced what they called "Black Week", which prompted the British government to appeal for more troops. Two battalions of mounted rifles and three batteries of artillery were offered as a second contingent from Canada. A privately raised cavalry regiment was also mustered for service.

Canadian Contingents: South Africa and Halifax

First Contingent

Second (Special Service) Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry - 1000 men were raised under Lieutenant Colonel Otter (the senior soldier in Canada, with combat experience at the Battle of Ridgeway, the Fenian Raids of 1866, and command of a column in the North West Rebellion of 1885), sailing for south Africa sixteen days after formation. The battalion landed at Cape Town on 30 November 1899, and in mid-February 1900 The Royal Canadian Regiment, as it was becoming known, joined the British 19th Infantry Brigade. It saw action at Paardeberg, Israel's Poort, Thaba Mountain, Doorn Kop, and marched into Pretoria, the enemy capital on 29 May as part of Lord Roberts' conquering army. The war passed into a guerrilla campaign, but the 2nd Battalion had signed enlistment papers for "six months, or one year if required." The Regiment embarked for home at Cape Town on 7 November 1900, reached England on 29 November, and returned to Canada on 23 December, where the battalion was promptly disbanded.5


A troop of Strathcona's Horse pose in a studio in 1900. LAC photo.

Second Contingent

In December 1899, as the RCR was getting acclimatized in South Africa, two mounted Units - the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles and 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles - were raised in Canada, along with three batteries of artillery. The two mounted battalions (rebadged in August 1900 after arrival in South Africa as The Royal Canadian Dragoons, and the Canadian Mounted Rifles, respectively) numbered 371 men each, divided into two squadrons and a headquarters staff. The Royal Canadian Field Artillery sent three batteries designated "C", "D" and "E" in early 1900, each battery with six 12-pounder field guns. Finally, a privately raised cavalry regiment titled Lord Strathcona's Horse, with 600 men divided into three squadrons, arrived in Halifax in March 1900 to sail to South Africa. These units served throughout 1900, with the Second Contingent leaving South Africa on 12 December 1900. The Strathcona's left the country in early January 1901. The first Victoria Cross ever awarded to a soldier in a Canadian unit was that bestowed on Sergeant A.H.L. Richardson of Lord Strathcona's Horse, for actions taken on 5 July 1900 at Wolve Spruit, when Richardson rescued a fellow cavalryman under heavy enemy fire, lifting him onto his horse and carrying him to safety.

The contingents were all reliant on the Non-Permanent Active Militia (N.P.A.M.) to fill their ranks. The experience of the 1st Hussars, a part-time cavalry regiment from in and around London, Ontario, was typical. Six Hussars, eager to fight, even if it meant as infantry, joined "B" Company of the RCR when it stood up in London in October 1899 and went overseas. Major Arthur Hamilton King and 14 of his Hussars joined "A" Squadron of the 1st Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles in December, King taking a drop in rank in order to fill one of the limited number of officer positions. He sailed as a troop leader.

The 1st CMR sailed for Capetown on 21 February 1900, arriving on 21 March. For the next 10 months the unit fought across the veldt, participating in skirmishes, reconnaissance patrols, ambushes and convoy escorts. As no arrangements had been made for reinforcements to replace casualties, and because the supply system was very haphazard, the regiment was a much-reduced, rag-tag collection of soldiers by the end of October 1900. In that time, however, these soldiers became experts at their craft. Their knowledge of minor tactics, their skill at camouflage, their ability to ride long distances living off the country matched that of the Boer enemy. As well, the 1 CMR had been renamed the Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD) effective, 1 August 1900. This was the result of a request made by the commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Louis Lessard, and stemmed from the fact that 1 CMR had been built around an RCD cadre, just as 2 CMR (now simply called the CMR) had been built around the North West Mounted Police.6

By late October 1900, the war was supposed to be over, but the Boers had changed over to guerrilla fighting. The Royal Canadian Dragoons were operating at Belfast in the Transvaal under the command of Major-General Horace Smith-Dorrien, DSO, astride the rail line running from the Transvaal capital of Pretoria to the Indian Ocean. Protecting this strategic communications line was a powerful force of cavalry, infantry and artillery under Smith-Dorrien, and raiding parties were sent out to intimidate local farmers and kill or capture guerrillas. On hearing of a major concentration of Boers assembling thirty kilometres south, two columns were dispatched on 1 November. Smith-Dorrien commanded the eastern column (5th Lancers, 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders, artillery and three troops of the CMR) and the western column was under the command of an infantry officer (King's Shropshire Light Infantry, artillery, Royal Canadian Dragoons). The columns marched 25 kilometres through sleet and mist, but fatigue and exposure forced a withdrawal without contacting the main enemy body. Cold weather was as much an enemy as the Boers, who managed to harass the columns with their excellent German small arms. On 6 November, Smith-Dorrien launched another column from Belfast, towards a Boer farm named Leliefontein.7

The column, including British infantry and artillery as well as Canadian mounted troops, was met by a force of 300 Boers. Sergeant Edward J.G. Holland, manning a horse-drawn Colt machine gun, covered the retreat of the slow-moving baggage train.

Because the baggage train moved so slowly, protecting it was a difficult chore. The veldt was treeless, with long rolling ridges, two or three kilometres from crest to crest, and the Canadians' tactics called for one field gun to limber up and withdraw to the next ridge back, while the other gun and the (Royal Canadian) Dragoons held off the angry Boers. Then the other gun would withdraw leaving just the Dragoons - who had one of the Colt machine guns on a galloping carriage with them - to hold off the enemy. The resumption of fire by the second field gun was the signal for the Dragoons to follow the gunners, and then the whole process would be repeated. But the pace of withdrawal was in reality dictated by the measured tread of oxen.

Soon the Boers were buzzing around both flanks, compelling the Dragoons, less than a hundred strong, to form a deeper and deeper arc and further stretching Colonel Lessard's meagre resources...8

At this point a column of mounted Boers intervened; two troops of Dragoons under Lieutenants R.E.W. Turner and H.Z.C. Cockburn, who had dismounted in order to fire their weapons effectively, were located with the Colt machine gun. A group of Boers were obliged to also dismount at 250 yards range while others continued in their charge. Sergeant Holland managed to mount his gun while Smith-Dorrien finally recognized what was happening at the rear of his column. British infantry arrived with troops of the CMR to push the Boers off. Turner and Cockburn were both wounded, and they, along with Holland, were awarded the Victoria Cross.9

Turner went on to command the 2nd Canadian Division in the First World War, retiring as a Lieutenant-General, Holland served in that war as a major, in command of Borden's Armoured Battery. Lieutenant Cockburn died a year before the next war started, in 1913, when he was kicked in the head by a horse.10

In January 1902, a 2nd Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles, paid for by the British, would serve briefly in South Africa. In total, from 1900 to 1902, 7,368 men would serve in Canadian units in South Africa, of whom 89 were killed or died of wounds. Some 252 were wounded, 135 more died by accident and disease.

The 3rd (Special Service) Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry consisting of 1000 men was raised and sent to Halifax to replace the British garrison there and free them for war service. This battalion served from March 1900 to September 1902 when it was again relieved by a British battalion.

Summary

Historian J.L. Granatstein selected 12 key military events that shaped Canada for an article in Legion Magazine in 2012. The Boer War was included. His summary read:

English Canada found itself caught up in the British imperialism of the late Victorian era, public opinion literally forcing Sir Wlifrid Laurier's Liberal government to raise troops for the Dominion's first real overseas military mission. The Boers of South Africa went to war to protect their Afrikaans-speaking Transvaal and Orange Free State from being swallowed by British commercial interests. It was not Canada's war, most especially not in the opinion of French Canadians, but (T)he Royal Canadian Regiment, hurriedly manned by Canada's tiny regular force and by recruits off the street, found itself fighting on the veldt. The RCR distinguished itself at Paardeberg in February 1900 and participated in the taking of Bloemfontein and Pretoria. But as the war turned into guerrilla skirmishes, the RCR departed for home and new infantry, artillery and cavalry contingents arrived from Canada. The conflict dragged on into 1902, the Canadians suffering approximately 500 dead and wounded of the 7,368 who served. The Boer War demonstrated that Canadians could give a good account of themselves on the field, but it also proved to the Québecois population that even a francophone prime minister could not resist the clamour of anglophones to support Britain.11

Battle Honours

Battle Honours for the war were awarded to units of Canada's regular army (known as the Permanent Active Militia) in December 1905. The Royal Canadian Dragoons received battle honours for "North-West Canada 1885" and "South Africa 1900", and The Royal Canadian Regiment received "Saskatchewan", "North-West Canada 1885", "South Africa 1899, 1900" and "Paardeberg", reflecting the service of these regiments in all military campaigns they participated in to date, including the North-West Rebellion in 1885.

On 15 June 1933, additional bestowal of the South Africa battle honour, with appropriate dates, was made to units of the Non-Permanent Active Militia that had contributed troops to the South African war. Entitlement to the honour was based on the size of the contingent they raised; these contingents were earmarked for specially raised forces.12 The example of the 1st Hussars was given above. As another example, the 1st Regiment Prince of Wales Fusiliers was granted the Battle Honour "South Africa 1899-1900" for the services of eighteen soldiers and one officer with the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, RCR, a soldier serving with the 1st Battalion, CMR (who forewent his commission to do so), a lieutenant serving with Strathcona's Horse (who had been a captain with the 1st P.W.F.), a lieutenant with the 4th Contingent (Reinforcements), and ten troopers of the South African Constabulary.13 

Notes

  1. Miller, Carman Canada's Little War: Fighting for the British Empire in Southern Africa 1899-1902 (James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Toronto, ON, 2003) ISBN 1-55028-800-8 p.5
  2. Greenhous, Brereton "The South African War" We Stand on Guard: An Illustrated History of the Canadian Army (Ovale Publications, Montreal, PQ, 1992) ISBN 2-89429-043-8 p.55
  3. Ibid, p.55
  4. Miller, Ibid, p.7
  5. Greenhous, Ibid, p. 55
  6. McNorgan, Michael R. The Gallant Hussars: A History of the 1st Hussars Regiment 1856-2004 (The 1st Hussars Cavalry Fund, Aylmer, ON, 2004) ISBN 0-9694659-1-2 pp. 15-16
  7. Greenhous, Ibid, p.76
  8. Ibid, pp.75-76
  9. McNorgan, Ibid, p.20
  10. Ibid, pp.17-19
  11. Granatstein, J.L. "12 Military Events That Shaped Canada" Legion Magazine (November/December 2012)
  12. Grodzinski, John R. "THE SYSTEM OF BATTLE HONOURS IN THE CANADIAN ARMY" (The Regimental Rogue, accessed online at http://regimentalrogue.com/battlehonours/grod_btlhnrs.htm) The source, as well as Regiments and Corps of the Canadian Army seem determined to spell Paardeberg as "Paardeburg"(sic) at least 50% of the time. However, the document produced by the Directorate of History and Heritage spells it "Paardeberg". See A-DH-267-000/AF-003, page 2-2-234, available online at http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/his/ol-lo/vol-tom-3/par2/doc/rcr.pdf
  13. Duguid, Archer Fortescue History of the Canadian Grenadier Guards, 1760-1964 (Gazette, Montreal, PQ, 1965) pp.52-53

     

 

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