Regiments Main Page


Cavalry/Armoured Regiments
1900-13 | 1914-39 | 1940-63 | 1964-99


Infantry Regiments
1900-20 | 1921-36 | 1937-50 | 1951-99

Cavalry/Armoured Regiments
1st Hussars
1st APC Regiment
1st British Columbia Horse
2nd Dragoons
2nd/10th Dragoons
3rd Prince of Wales' Cdn Dragoons
4th Hussars
4th Hussars of Canada
IV PLDG
5th Dragoons
5th Princess Louise Drag. Gds
6th Duke of Connaught's R.C.H.
7th Hussars
7th/11th Hussars
8th Princess Louise's NB Hussars
8th Cdn Hussars (Princess Louise's)
9th (Grey's) Horse
9th Toronto Light Horse
9th Mississauga Horse
10th Brant Dragoons
10th Queen's Own Cdn Hussars
11th Hussars
12th Manitoba Dragoons

12e Régiment Blindé du Canada

13th Scottish Light Dragoons
14th Canadian Hussars
14th King's Canadian Hussars
15th Light Horse
16th Light Horse
17th Duke of York's Royal Can. H.
17th PEI Recce
18th Mounted Rifles
19th Alberta Dragoons
19th The Alberta Mounted Rifles
20th Border Horse
21st Alberta Hussars
22nd Saskatchewan Horse
22nd Saskatchewan Light Horse
23rd Alberta Rangers
24th Grey's Horse
25th Brant Dragoons
26th Canadian Dragoons
27th Light Horse
28th New Brunswick Dragoons
29th Light Horse
30th Regiment (BC Horse)
31st Regiment (BC Horse)
32nd Light Horse
32nd Manitoba Horse
33rd Vaudreuil & Soulanges Huss.
34th Fort Garry Horse
35th Central Alberta Horse
36th PEI Light Horse
Algonquin Regiment
British Columbia Dragoons
British Columbia Mounted Rifles
British Columbia Regiment
Border Horse
Calgary Regiment
Canadian Mounted Rifles
Duke of York's Royal Cdn Hussars
Elgin Regiment
Fort Garry Horse
Grey & Simcoe Foresters
Governor General's Body Guard
Governor General's Horse Guards
Halifax Rifles
King's Own Calgary Regt.
Lord Strathcona's Horse
Manitoba Dragoons
Manitoba Horse
Mississauga Horse
Ontario Mounted Rifles
Princess Louise Dragoon Guards
Queen's Own Canadian Hussars
Queen's York Rangers (1st Am. R.)
Régt de Hull
Régt de Trois-Riviéres
Royal Canadian Dragoons
Royal Canadian Mounted Rifles
Saskatchewan Dragoons
Sherbrooke Regiment
South Alberta Light Horse
Strathcona's Horse
Toronto Light Horse
Toronto Mounted Rifles
Windsor Regiment

Infantry Regiments 1900-1919
Dawson Rifles
GGFG
Kootenay Rifles
PPCLI
Royal Canadian Regiment
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CEF Battalions 1914-1920

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Infantry Regiments 1920-2000
1st British Columbia Regiment
1st BC Regt (D. of Conn.'s Own)
Algonquin Regiment
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
Black Watch (RHR) of Canada
BC Regt (D. of Conn's Own Rifles)
Calgary Highlanders
Calgary Regiment
Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa
Canadian Airborne Regiment
Canadian Scottish Regiment
 Canadian Fusiliers (C of L Regt)
Canadian Guards
Canadian Grenadier Guards
Cape Breton Highlanders
Carleton and York Regiment
Elgin Regiment
Essex Scottish
Essex & Kent Scottish
 Fusiliers de Sherbrooke
Fusiliers Mont Royal
Fusiliers du St. Laurent
48th Highlanders of Canada
Gov Gen Foot Guards
Grey & Simcoe Foresters
Halifax Rifles
Hastings and Prince Edward Regt
Highland Fusiliers of Canada
Highland Light Infantry of Canada
Irish Fusiliers
Irish Fusiliers of Can (Vancouver R.)
Irish Regiment
Irish Regiment of Canada
Kent Regiment
King's Own Rifles of Canada
Lake Superior Regiment
Lincoln and Welland Regiment
Loyal Edmonton Regiment
Lorne Scots
Midland Regiment
Mississauga Regiment
New Brunswick Rangers
New Brunswick Scottish
North Nova Scotia Highlanders
North Shore (New Brunswick) Regt
North Waterloo Regiment
Oxford Rifles
Perth Regiment
Peterborough Rangers
Pictou Highlanders
PPCLI
Prince Albert and Battleford Voltrs
Princess Louise Fusiliers (MG)
Prince Rupert Regiment
Princess of Wales' Own Regiment
Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders
Queen's Own Rifles of Canada
Queen's Rangers (1st Am. Regt.)
Queen's York Rangers (1st Am. R.)
 Régiment de la Chaudière
 Régiment de Chateauguay
Régiment de Levis
 Régiment de Maisonneuve
Régiment de Montmagmy
 Régiment de Saguenay
Régiment de St. Hyacinthe
 Régiment de Québec
Regina Rifle Regiment
Rocky Mountain Rangers
Royal 22e Regt
Royal Canadian Regiment
Royal Highlanders of Canada
Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada
Royal Regiment of Canada
Royal Regina Rifles
Royal Hamilton Light Infantry
Royal Montreal Regiment
Royal New Brunswick Regiment
Royal Newfoundland Regiment
Royal Rifles of Canada
Royal Scots of Canada
Royal Winnipeg Rifles
Saskatoon Light Infantry
Scots Fusiliers of Canada
S, D and G Highlanders
Seaforth Highlanders of Canada
South Alberta Regiment
South New Brunswick Regiment
South Saskatchewan Regiment
Toronto Regiment
Toronto Scottish Regiment
Vancouver Regiment
Victoria Rifles of Canada
Voltigeurs de Quebec
Waterloo Regiment
Westminster Regiment
West Nova Scotia Regiment
West Toronto Regiment
Winnipeg Grenadiers
Winnipeg Light Infantry
York Rangers
 Yukon Regiment

Regiments

The term Regiment has a distinctly complicated explanation in the context of the Canadian Army.

Administrative

Administrative regiments are organizations that manage the recruiting, training, employment, and basic identity of soldiers in a given role. The Canadian Army's Regular Force has grouped infantry, artillery, cavalry and engineer soldiers, among others, into numerous distinctive Regiments since the end of the First World War. The reserves in Canada have also used a regimental structure. The "regimental system" dates back to the British Cardwell Reforms, which structured British infantry units such that several battalions of men having the same regimental identity were created, with some tasked for overseas deployment and others remaining in the United Kingdom training.

Proponents of this regimental system point to the loyalty and pride engendered by this system. Detractors feel that the system promotes exclusivity and promotions based on regimental loyalties rather than true ability or the needs of the Army as a whole.

The Canadian Army partially abandoned the regimental system in the First World War, creating numbered units for the Canadian Expeditionary Force separate from the existing regiments in Canada. During the Second World War, the regimental system was maintained, though men and officers were often reassigned between regiments as needed.

Regular vs. Reserve

Regiments of the Regular Force (full-time military) and the Militia (reserve, or part-time military) were in theory structured similarly, though in peace-time practice were very different. Militia regiments tended to consist of fewer sub-units, while the Regular units were nominally organized to their full organizational strength.
Regimental Family

Within the regimental system, soldiers, and usually officers, are usually posted to a tactical unit of their own regiment whenever posted to field duty. In addition to combat units, other organizations make up the extended regimental family: regimental battle schools, serving members on "extra-regimental employment" such as peacekeeping operations or Regimental Support Staff postings to Militia units, regimental associations (retirees, sometimes referred to as "veteran's" associations), regimental bands and associated cadet corps.

In the British and Canadian armies, "the regiment" is an extended family that reaches backwards in time and outwards in space to encompass those soldiers who have come to identify with its collective memories and traditions. Each regiment develops a culture that is partly rooted in the place from which it draws its members and partly in a set of values and mores that have been created for the sole purpose of making it different from other regiments. Above all, the regiment perpetuates the memory of the battles it has fought. The battle honours on the regimental standard commemorate those battles and remind members of the regiment's unique history. People die, but the regiment lives...

This may be confusing to civilians, but it is axiomatic for Canadian soldiers. For the most part, their life and loyalty centre on the regiment - not on the army. As one captain in the Strathconas said, "Find somebody in the street who looks like a soldier...and say, 'What do you do for a living?' He might say, 'I'm a soldier,' but he's more liable to say, 'I'm a soldier in the Strathconas, I'm a soldier in the PPCLI.' Rarely have I heard people say, 'I'm a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces', because that's too big for people. I'm a Strathcona, been a Strathcona for thirteen years, that's my regiment, that's my family, that's my home."1

Other Aspects

Most regiments have a symbolic Colonel-in-Chief (often a member of the British Royal Family), as well as a Colonel of the Regiment (for regular force units) or Honorary Colonel (for reserve units - some of which have an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in addition to the Honorary Colonel) who represent the regiment in political matters, government lobbying, and protects the traditions and interests of the regiment.

The Regiment's traditions include Battle Honours which are shared regardless of which battalion/tactical unit earned them, special dress distinctions, common uniform and insignia components, and a distinctive regimental march.

Regiments usually have a regimental headquarters, located in a historically significant home station, which supports the regimental committee (sometimes called the Regimental Senate) and administers to the regular members and the association(s) of retired members. A Regimental Kit Shop is often part of this headquarters also, providing private purchase kit such as regimental accoutrements for dress uniforms or field kit emblazoned with regimental insignia.

Tactical Units

Infantry

The Regiment as a tactical unit of infantry does not exist in Canada; in foreign armies of the 20th Century, a regiment was simply a brigade-sized formation.

An Infantry Regiment, however, may produce more than one tactical unit; usually an Infantry Battalion. The Canadian Army generally had single-battalion infantry regiments, the major exceptions being the Second World War, and the peacetime regular Canadian Army after 1945.

During the Second World War, the Canadian Infantry Corps was created as a larger administrative organization to oversee all infantry regiments, and provide trained reinforcements outside the regimental training stream.

Cavalry/Armour

Cavalry (and later, Armoured) regiments were usually composed of one tactical regiment. One exception was the two tactical regiments of Le 12e Régiment blindé du Canada and Le 12e Régiment blindé du Canada (Milice), one Regular Force and one Militia battalion of the same Regiment. Given the single unit nature of these units, there has been a tendency also for soldiers to identify with the (Royal) Canadian Armoured Corps as a whole; visible signs of this are the standard black beret adopted across the corps and jealously guarded. Like infantry units, armoured regiments are granted Battle Honours.

Artillery

Artillery regiments have traditionally been felt to belong to a single regiment, the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery. However, artillery units are also designated as numbered regiments. These regiments, however, share a common cap badge and uniform, and soldiers tend to identify with the artillery as a whole rather than specific numbered units. Artillery regiments are not granted battle honours, and the artillery pieces are considered to be the equivalent of the Colours of an infantry regiment or guidon of an armoured regiment.

Engineers

Engineers also have used tactical units designated "Regiments" but like the artillery, a common cap badge is worn. These regiments are not entitled to battle honours, though they have adopted the legend "UBIQUE" (latin for "everywhere") as a form of honour and the word appears on cap and collar badges.

History

The Infantry Regiment was the basic unit of European armies by the 1700s, with major militaries heavily influenced by the French army of the time. French, Prussian, Austrian and Russian regiments were organized on similar lines (generally referred to as the "Continental system", which was also employed by the US Army in the 20th Century) while the British developed their own unique regimental system.

The Continental System

The Continental system provided armies with the means to organize their combat units administratively and tactically. While precise establishments of regiments would vary as new weapons were introduced in the 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries, the basic regiment in Continental-styled armies was made up of two to four battalions. In time of war, new regiments could be raised by forming around cadres of existing units. The new regiments would be named after their commander (and often had been funded by him), though once large standing armies became economically and politically feasible (or necessary), units began to be numbered or named after the geographic location of their home station, sometimes with the addition of an honorific indicating an elite status such as Guards, or based on the types of weapon employed such Grenadier, Fusilier, Musketier, etc.

Grenadier companies and light infantry companies in European regiments of infantry became commonly re-employed in action, sometimes as entire battalions. Modern weapons eventually erased the distinctions of these units, and Continental-styled armies crystallized into a three-battalion organization by the First World War, fighting under a single commander. They would be organized into higher formations such as brigades and divisions, though brigades were phased out in most armies, a notable exception being the Schützen Brigades of German armoured divisions early in the Second World War.

By the Second World War, the tactical nature of Continental regiments was made obvious; German infantry regiments superficially adopted traditional names from the "Old Army" pre-1918, but with the exponential growth of the Wehrmacht in the years leading up to the Second World War, and then the stresses of combat employment, many traditions went by the wayside. Regiments became tactical combat organizations, with the permanent assignment of supporting companies of infantry guns, anti-tank guns, heavy mortars, anti-aircraft guns, and engineers.

The British system

The British adopted a unique regimental system for several reasons.

Historically, the British Army has been a small force by European standards, and the retention of three battalions per regiment was not possible, without reducing the number of regiments.

Rather than treating the regiment as a tactical entity (which would have suffered in comparison to continental regiments of three battalions), the British concentrated on using the regiment as a recruiting tool. By the 20th Century it was not uncommon for multiple generations of individual families to have been represented on the rolls of particular regiments.

And when practice of naming Regiment for their Colonels ceased in 1751, and became linked to particular counties in 1782 (with the attendant advantage of some counties being able to support more than one regiment), the newly named Regiments were able to give a stronger sense of identity to the soldiers who joined.

While Continental-styled armies did have similar ties to geography, and similarly long histories as British regiments, the raising of new regiments in time of war often led to a lack of identity felt by new recruits. This would plague many armies right up into the Second World War; sometimes coupled with the practice of returning wounded soldiers not to their own units, but to whichever regiment needed them most.

Typical British regiments fielded just one battalion, sometimes two in exceptional cases, with the ability to generate more in time of war, all with strong ties to the county in which they were headquartered. European regiments maintained more battalions within their regiments during peacetime.

The Brigade in the British Army developed as the equivalent of the continental Regiment, usually done out of a recognition that while "new" battalions of British regiments were forming upon mobilization for war, those already in existence needed to be employed together. Just as the Continental armies fought in regiments of two, three or four battalions, the British would meet them on the field in Brigades similarly organized, only the battalions were drawn from distinctly different regiments in most cases.

By 1815, the number of regiments in the British Army had grown to over 100, with much criticism of the fact that many had only a single strong battalion and no cadre for a second battalion worthy of forming on in time of crisis. Some regiments struggled to maintain even a single battalion and had to be merged - "amalgamated" - with other units

Major reforms occurred in 1881; though about 1 in 4 of the over 100 regiments of infantry had viable second battalions, the Cardwell Reforms suggested that all regiments should be so organized - a status at one time the prerogative only of the Guards. And so many regiments were amalgamated in a series of sweeping reorganizations that ensured each regiment would have one battalion to serve abroad throughout the Empire as needed, and one battalion at home recruiting and training. That would not be sustainable with over 100 regiments, and more than sixty regiments, each with only a single battalion, were amalgamated into about thirty regiments, reducing the British Army to more manageable proportions. The last vestiges of the old regimental system were swept away when the numbers of the regiments were deleted (Canada would not do this until 1920). The stage was set for the British Army and its regimental system to face their largest tests - two World Wars.

Dictionary Definition

The entry at "The Canadian Encyclopedia" website offers a definition by M.V. Bezeau and O.A. Cooke as follows:

In Canada the meaning of the term "regiment" is complex. Infantry regiments are administrative parent organizations that raise one or more battalions for service. Armoured regiments are normally battalion-sized units, though they may have both regular and reserve force components and administrative elements. The artillery organizes its batteries into regiments, but it also traditionally calls the entire artillery branch a regiment. Engineer and communication regiments are also battalion sized. Armoured and infantry regiments are the centre of collective pride for their members and maintain close "family" relationships. For artillery and others, the branch rather than the individual regiment is the traditional family focus. In Canadian practice, a regiment's "lifetime" is the number of unbroken years of existence, though disbanded units (and their customs and battle honours) can be perpetuated by others with a proven connection. Armoured and infantry regimental precedence is determined largely by this seniority.

Order of Precedence

Order of Precedence is a sequential hierarchy of the corps and regiments of the Canadian Army. This precedence is based on the seniority of each corps or regiment, based on the date of formation. In cases of amalgamations, the order of precedence is generally taken from the most senior of the units so amalgamated.

Practical applications of the order of precedence include assigning a place on the parade ground (by tradition, senior regiments form to the right of those junior in seniority, with the right-most place - the "right of the line" - going to the most senior unit. The tradition dates back to the age of swords, when the best units were selected to take the right of the battle line. Men in battles armed with sword and shield were vulnerable to attack from their right flank and so the most steadfast men were needed there to ensure the stability of an entire armed force.

Another application includes determining the order of regimental marches to be played at a mess dinner (by tradition, the march belonging to the regiment or corps of every officer present is sometimes played by a military band).

Many references on badges, insignia, etc., are published in order of precedence instead of alphabetically, and it is customary to do so. Second World War brigades are also generally listed with the battalions in order of precedence.

Notes

1. Bercuson, David. Significant Incident: Canada's Army, the Airborne, and the Murder in Somalia (McLelland & Stewart, Toronto, ON, 1996) ISBN 077101113X p.120

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