Last modified: 2005-08-19 by phil nelson
Keywords: canadian army: overview |
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The Canadian Army and its colours are only slightly more complicated than the British. For every apparent rule, there are a dozen exceptions. The regular Canadian Army is a relatively recent innovation, and the Militia (or Milice, part-time reservists) is a much older institution -- which is the reverse of the British model. In the 1950s, the Canadians sought to associate some Militia regiments (almost all of them single-battalion units with no battalion numeral) with regular regiments for purposes of mobilisation, training, etc. According to this scheme:
Le Regiment de Chateauguay in 1954 became "Le Regiment de Chateauguay (4e Bataillon, Royal 22e Regiment)" and in 1956 flipped its title to "4e Bataillon, Royal 22e Regiment (Chateauguay)".
Les Fusiliers du St. Laurent amalgamated in 1954 with Le Regiment de Montmagny to become "Les Fusiliers du St. Laurent (5e Battalion, Royal 22e Regiment)" Some time later (I'm not sure when) the subtitle was omitted and the battalion disassociated itself from the R22R.
Le Regiment de St. Hyacinthe in 1956 became "6e Battalion, Royal 22e Regiment" and in 1963 added a subtitle to become "6e Battalion, Royal 22e Regiment (St. Hyacinthe). This battalion was not renumbered when the 5th was vacated, so there is no 5th R22R today.
The three Militia battalions were formed in 1869-71, thus predating the regular R22R by some 45 years. All three happened to have blue facings and carry a blue regimental colour, which matched the R22R. They would have continued to carry their old colours until and if they were presented new ones any time after 1954-56, and the details of the new ones would depend on the chronology of the title changes. For example, if the 4th Battalion received Colours between 1954 and 1956, there would most likely not be a numeral "IV" in the corner. Chances are good the 5th Battalion never received colours as such before reverting to its old identity. All three battalions probably kept their old badges, rather than substituting the R22R badge as the central device on their colours.
And if indeed the regular 1st Battalion's most recent colours date from 1959, then the Queen's Colour is still a Union Jack rather than the Maple Leaf. But I would have thought all the regular battalions had received the new national colour by now, especially since there are so few of them and they are paraded much more frequently than the Militia.
Unless you grew up in Quebec, there is something rather peculiar about seeing
these regiments walk like Brits, dress like Brits, play Brit music, carry the
Union Jack, and yet speak French!
T.F. Mills - 24 October 1997