The Midland Regiment
The Midland Regiment traditionally drew soldiers from the Counties of Northumberland, Durham, and Victoria-Haliburton in the Province of Ontario. Militia soldiers from these areas formed a company for the York Volunteers in the War of 1812 and were captured at Fort York in April 1813. Soldiers from these areas didn't see action as a battalion until the Midland Battalion joined the Northwest Field Force and fought at Batoche during the Northwest Rebellion in 1885.2
A number of officers and other ranks served with The Royal Canadian Regiment in South Africa during the Boer War.
First World War and Postwar Perpetuations
The 40th Regiment contributed to a number of battalions of the CEF including the 2nd, 39th, 77th, 139th, 155th, 235th and 254th Battalions.3
On reorganization as the Northumberland (Ontario) Regiment in March 1920, the 1st Battalion, Northumberland (Ontario) Regiment perpetuated the 139th Battalion, CEF while the 2nd Battalion perpetuated the 235th Battalion, CEF. The Northumberland Regiment reorganized on 15 November 1926, and the 1st Battalion perpetuated the 39th Battalion while the 2nd Battalion perpetuated the 139th Battalion. The reserve battalion was disbanded on 14 December 1936.4
After the war, The Northumberland Regiment perpetuated the 39th and 139th Battalions, CEF and
The Durham Regiment perpetuated the 136th Battalion while the 235th Battalion was not perpetuated after 1926.5
Two soldiers of the Midland Regiment represented the unit at the Coronation of H.M. King George VI. During the Royal Visit of 1939 soldiers of the regiment paraded at Kingston during the Royal Procession.
As a note of trivia, the Right Honourable Vincent Massey, High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, was the Honorary Colonel of the regiment and it was he who handed Canada's declaration of war on 10 September 1939 to His Majesty King George VI.
On 20 July 1940 an active battalion of the regiment was mobilized and by 12 August 1940 had recruited to full strength. The unit trained locally and troops were billeted in civilian housing. Battalion headquarters was located at Millbrook and moved to Cobourg when the 2nd (Reserve) Battalion was authorized. The 2nd Battalion continued to train in a part-time capacity.
Companies of the 1st Battalion were distributed in various localities: Headquarters Company in Lindsay; "A" Company in Cobourg, "B" Company in Campbellford, Havelock and Norwood, "C" Company in Port Hope and "D" Company in Orono and Bowmanville. The unit performed home defence duties in Ontario, the Maritimes, Alberta and coastal duties in British Columbia, later moving to a regular infantry role in the 16th Brigade of the 6th Canadian Division. The unit served
While in Ottawa, the local newspaper profiled the officers of the regiment, remarking that the 1st Battalion "might well be called 'schoolmasters battalion' with all four company commanders former tutors." In addition to the four company commanders, a number of other officers in the unit had been school teachers. The regiment's recruiting area included Northumberland, Victoria and surrounding counties while some men came from as far away as Lanark and Renfrew.7
The assistant adjutant, Lieutenant Harold Robert Stuart Ryan was at one time the youngest mayor in Canada when he was elected in Port Hope in 1939. Already a lawyer, he left both legal practice and the mayoralty to join the Army, starting as a signaller in The Durham Regiment before joining the Midlands in February 1940. After the war he helped found the Queen's Law Faculty in 1957 and was active in the Anglican Church. He died in April 2004 at the age of 93.8
From an article in The Ottawa Citizen 15 April 1941
Soldiers of the Midland Regiment went to a number of units throughout the Army overseas, and at least two dozen soldiers were later commissioned as officers, most of whom served overseas. Several dozen men also went to the Royal Rifles of Canada and served at Hong Kong.
Northwest Canada 1885
The collar badges were issued in mirrored pairs, with the beaver and log on a shortened rayed 8-point star. A number 1 (presumably for "First Battalion" was underneath the beaver, and scrolls bore the title MIDLAND REGIMENT as well as the motto EXCELSIOR.
Service Dress shoulder titles read MIDLAND.
The drab slip-on shoulder title for Battle Dress had the title MIDLAND rendered in black thread. These were worn by units in Canada early in the war and by reserve units.
Also during the Second World War, an arc-shaped shoulder flash in regimental colours was adopted, presumably for the active battalion, reading MIDLAND REGT.
The regiment's British affiliates were the Durham Light Infantry and the Northumberland Fusiliers. The Regimental March was "The Standard of St. George" and mottos were Excelsior and Semper Paratus.
A plaque in British Columbia pays tribute to Private Allan Milton Olsen of the regiment who died on active service in a vehicle accident. Olsen was 22 years old and is buried in his hometown of Coboconk, Ontario.11
Photo from BC Veterans website
IN MEMORY OF
C65050 PRIVATE ALLAN MILTON OLSEN
"D" COMPANY, THE MIDLAND REGIMENT
ROYAL CANADIAN INFANTRY CORPS, CANADIAN ACTIVE SERVICE FORCE,
WHO LOST HIS LIFE ON 5 NOVEMBER 1942,
DURING A PATROL ON THE KAIEN ISLAND HIGHWAY,
WHEN HIS BREN GUN CARRIER SLIPPED OFF A BRIDGE
PINNING HIM UNDERNEATH THE CREEK BELOW.
WORLD WAR II, 1939 - 1945
ORIGINAL MEMORIAL LOCATED AT
N 54 DEG 18 MIN 57 SEC - W 130 16 MIN 18 SEC
PRIVATE OLSEN IS BURIED IN COBOCONK, ONTARIO
THE BRITISH COLUMBIA VETERANS COMMEMORATIVE ASSOCIATION
5 NOVEMBER 2018