The Royal Canadian Regiment

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= The Royal Canadian Regiment

caption= Regimental cypher of The Royal Canadian Regiment
dates=December 21, 1883
branch=Land Command
type= Line infantry
role= Light Infantry (one battalion)
mechanized infantry (two battalions)
Reserve (one battalion)
size= Four battalions
command_structure= Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
garrison=RHQ – London
1st Battalion – Petawawa
2nd Battalion – Gagetown
3rd Battalion – Petawawa
4th Battalion (Reserve) – London
ceremonial_chief= HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
colonel_of_the_regiment=Major General Walter M. Holmes, MBE, CD (Retired)
short_title= "The RCR"
nickname= "Royal Canadians"
motto= "Pro Patria" (For Country)
identification_symbol_2= [ Leaf (2nd Bn pipes and drums)]
identification_symbol_4=The RCR
march=Quick – "The Royal Canadian Regiment" (aka "St. Catharines")
Slow – "Pro Patria"
battles= Battle of Ypres
Battle of the Somme
Battle of Vimy Ridge
Italian Campaign
Korean War
Battle of Panjwaii
anniversaries=Regimental birthday – 21 December
Paardeberg Day – 27 February
Pachino Day – 10 July
Mons Day – 10 November
Kowang-San Day – 23 October

The Royal Canadian Regiment (The RCR) is an infantry regiment of the Canadian Forces. The RCR is the senior infantry regiment in the Regular Force, but its 4th Battalion (formerly the London and Oxford Fusiliers) is ranked 11th in the order of precedence among Reserve Force infantry regiments. The regiment consists of four battalions, three in the Regular Force and one in the Reserve Force (militia). The regiment's four battalions are 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 eastern Canada.

The RCR maintains a Regimental Headquarters (RHQ) in London, Ontario, which has no operational command role but handles regimental affairs outside the responsibility of the individual Battalions. The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum is also located in London, in the historic Wolseley Hall. 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 1st and 2nd Battalions, and remains the home of the 4th Battalion today.


Early history

The Royal Canadian Regiment is one of Canada’s oldest Regular Force military units. The regiment 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 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 South African War

The regiment's name was changed to The Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry in 1899. 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, although this battalion was quickly disbanded in 1900 on its return to Canada. 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 let 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, Blomfontein, 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 the queen went to non-commissioned officers of the British Army.

The end of the Victorian era and the First World War; 1900–1919

In 1901, 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". [Canadian Army General Order 110 of 1929]

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 Expeditionary Force, one of the battalions now perpetuated by The RCR.

The inter-war years; 1919–1939

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).

The Second World War; 1939–1945

On 1 September 1939 the regiment was placed on active service as Canada prepared for participation in the Second World War. Moving to the United Kingdom in December 1939 with the 1st Canadian Infantry Division, the RCR saw hard training for almost four years. On 10 July, 1943, the RCR landed at Pachino as part of the Allied invasion of Sicily. After fighting across the island, the regiment was involved in another amphibious landing at Reggio di Calabria. The RCR was also part of the fierce battle at Ortona and then took part in attacks on the German defensive lines in Italy called the Hitler Line and the Gothic Line.

The regiment was transferred to north west Europe in February 1945 and took part in the liberation the Dutch city of Apeldoorn. Battle honours awarded to the regiment for the Second World War were: "LANDING IN SICILY, Valguarnera, Agira, ADRANO, Regalbuto, SICILY, 1943, Landing at Reggio, Motta Montecorvino, Campobasso, Torella, San Leonardo, The Gully, Ortona, CASSINO II, Gustav Line, LIRI VALLEY, Hitler Line, GOTHIC LINE, LAMONE CROSSING, Misano Ridge, RIMINI LINE, San Martino–San Lorenzo, Pisciatello, Fosso Vecchio, ITALY 1943–45, Apeldoorn, NORTH-WEST EUROPE, 1945" [Canadian Army Orders, Issue No. 597, 26 May 1958] (Capitalized honours were approved for emblazonment on the regimental colour.) The regiment returned home to Canada in 1945.

The post-war period and the Korean War; 1945–1953

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. In February 1952, the 2nd Battalion fought the Chinese at the battle of Kowang San. 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.

The Cold War; 1953–1992

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).

The 3rd Battalion was renumbered as the 4th Battalion in 1970 when a new 3rd Battalion (on the Regular Force establishment) was reactivated. 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 Expeditionary 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 changed from the 3rd to 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). 3RCR was later deployed to Germany, stationed in Baden-Soellingen 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. 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 ot 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 [ The Royal Canadian Regiment – Operations Since 1945] between 1966 and 1992.

In 1977 3RCR was posted to CFB Baden-Soellingen in Germany. 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 3RCR (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.

The peacemaking era; 1992–2004

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. Queen 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. The unit returned to Bosnia for a tour with the stabilization force, SFOR, in 1998 and 1999.

The 1st Battalion has served as peacekeepers in the Sinai Peninsula, in Bosnia and Kosovo.

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 3 RCR Battalion Group took on ISAF operations.

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.

Afghanistan; 2006–present

In August 2006, the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Archer, replacing the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.

In February 2007, the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment replaced the 1st Battalion in Afghanistan.

See also: Canada in Afghanistan


Battle honours

"Italicized battle honours are emblazoned on the regimental colour of each battalion."

The North West Rebellion

*"North West Canada 1885"

outh Africa

*"South Africa 1899–1900"

The Great War

*"Ypres 1915, 1917"
*St Julien
*"Mount Sorrel"
*"Somme 1916"
*"Ancre Heights"
*Arras 1917, 1918
*"Vimy 1917"
*Scarpe 1917, 1918
*"Hill 70"
*"Hindenburg Line"
*Canal du Nord
*Cambrai 1918
*"Pursuit To Mons"
*France and Flanders 1915–1918

The Second World War

*"Landing In Sicily"
*Landing at Reggio
*"San Leonardo"
*Gustav Line
*"Hitler Line"
*"Lamone Crossing"
*Sicily 1943
*"Motta Montecorvino"
*The Gully
*Cassino II
*Liri Valley
*"Gothic Line"
*Misano Ridge
*"Rimini Line"
*"Italy 1943–1945"
*"North West Europe 1945"
*San Martino-San Lorenzo
*Fosso Vecchio

The Korean War

*"Korea 1951–1953"

Honorary appointments


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.

Colonel of the regiment

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. [ [ Regimental Publications – Regimental Standing Orders ] ] The colonel of the regiment is Major General Walter M. Holmes, MBE, CD.

Honorary lieutenant-colonel, 4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment

The honorary lieutenant-colonel, through such appointment, is specifically an advisor 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 advisor to The RCR Association Board of Directors and The RCR Trust Fund. [ [ Regimental Publications – Regimental Standing Orders ] ] The current honorary lieutenant-colonel (HLCol) of the 4th Battalion is Douglas Black Weldon of London, Ontario.

The RCR cap badge

"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.

Company designations

The companies of the battalions of The RCR are lettered sequentially across the regiment:
* 1RCR – A to F
* 2RCR – G to L
* 3RCR – M to R
* 4RCR – S and T

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:
* A Coy, 1RCR, is designated and always referred to as "Duke of Edinburgh's Company" or, colloquially, "Duke's Company"
* C Coy, 1RCR, is known as "Charles" Company (this designation was adopted during the Korean War)
* M Coy, 3RCR, is often referred to as "Para" Company, short for Parachute Company, at the discretion of the commanding officer, although this title is not officially recognized by the regiment as other than a colloquial nickname

Regimental bands

Bugles and Drums

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. [The Royal Canadian Regiment; 1883–1933, by Fetherstonagh] 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", [ [ The Royal Canadian Regiment – Establishments 1899 and 1901 ] ] 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.

Pipes and Drums

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. [ [ 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Pipes and Drums] ] The 3rd Battalion of The RCR, similarly, adopted the Pipes and Drums of the 2nd Battalion, The Canadian Guards, when they were disbanded. [Pipers of the Canadian Regular Army 1950–2000, by Pipe Major Hugh MacPherson CD, BA (Privately Published)] In 1977 the 3RCR 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 RCR Band

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.


The Royal Canadian Regiment perpetuates a number of units of the Canadian Militia and the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) of the First World War: [ [ The Royal Canadian Regiment – Perpetuated Units ] ]
* Units of the Canadian Militia:
** The London and Oxford Fusiliers (3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment), which were formed by the amalgamation of:
*** The Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), which started as the "7th Infantry Battalion, 'Prince Arthur's Own'" in 1866, and
*** The Oxford Rifles, which started as the "Twenty-second Battalion Volunteer Militia Rifles, Canada" in 1863,
** 2nd Machine Gun Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps (1919–1938).
* Units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF):
** 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion, CEF,
** 33rd Canadian Infantry Battalion, CEF,
** 71st Canadian Infantry Battalion, CEF,
** 142nd Canadian Infantry Battalion, CEF,
** 168th Canadian Infantry Battalion, CEF,
** 2nd Machine Gun Battalion, CEF, which was formed from:
*** 4th Canadian Machine Gun Company,
*** 5th Canadian Machine Gun Company,
*** 6th Canadian Machine Gun Company, and the
*** 14th Canadian Machine Gun Company.


*GBRThe Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
*GBRThe Rifles
*JAMThe Jamaica Regiment

ee also

* The Canadian Crown and the Canadian Forces
* List of Canadian organizations with royal patronage
* The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum
* Military history of Canada
* History of the Canadian Army
* Canadian Forces
* Maroon beret

Order of precedence

Regular Force:
Reserve Force:


External links

* [ History and Uniform of the Royal Canadian Regiment, 1883 to 1970]
* [ 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment] (Defence site)
* [ The Royal Canadian Regiment] (Regimental Website)
* [ The Royal Canadian Regiment Association]
* [ The RCR Kit Shop]
* [ The Royal Canadian Regiment at]
* [ Badges of The Royal Canadian Regiment]
* [ Battle Honours of The Royal Canadian Regiment]

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