Ontario Regiment (RCAC)

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Place Category: General Services

  • History:

    The Ontario Regiment (RCAC) is one of the oldest continuing Regiments in Canada and one of the senior armoured regiments in the country. Militia units have existed in what is now the Region of Durham since the earliest days of the 19th century.

    In 1856, A Highland Rifle Company was raised by Capt James Wallace, in Whitby, Ontario, and became Number 6 Coy of the 2nd Battalion, volunteer Militia Rifles of Canada, later named “The Queen’s Own Rifles of Toronto” in April 1860. During the period of national tension that gripped Canada in the early 1860’s, other volunteer militia infantry companies were formed in Ontario County. In 1862, two formed in Oshawa, two in Whitby and one each in Prince Albert, Greenwood, Uxbridge, Columbus and Brooklin. Many men were mobilized for service during the anxieties of 1864-66, when Fenian invaders massed south of the Niagara Frontier. The Oshawa Rifle Company took part in the Battle of Ridgway, in June 1866, as part of a Provisional Battalion of Ontario Infantry.

    The Ontario Regiment was officially formed from the nine independent rifle companies on September 14, 1866. It was called the 34th (Ontario) Battalion of Infantry. In later years men of the Regiment served in the Northwest Rebellion of 1885 when they were attached to the Queen’s Own Rifles and the 10th Royal Grenadiers (now the Royal Regiment of Canada) and during the South African War, when Ontarios were attached to the 1st (Special Service) Battalion of The Royal Canadian Regiment as well as The Royal Canadian Dragoons.

    In September 1915, the Second-in-Command of the 34th (Ontario) Battalion, Major Sam Sharpe was authored to raise the 116th Battalion CEF, from Ontario County. This Battalion fought with great distinction in France and Belgium. Another Battalion, the 182nd was also raised from the county, but it did not serve in action as a unit, being broken up after its arrival in England and its men sent as reinforcements to other Canadian Battalions. The Ontario Regiment became a tank battalion at Camp Borden during the late 193O’s, then mobilized for World War Two on September 1, 1939. Within six days, 594 men had enlisted for active service. The Regiment fought with distinction in several theatres during the war, beginning in Sicily in 1943, on through Italy and the battle of Liri Valley and Cassino. In 1945, the Regiment entered the Northwest European Theatre winning honours at Arnhem.

    Following WWII, The Ontarios continued as an armoured regiment using Mark IV Sherman Tanks. From 1969 until 1980 the unit was tasked with a reconnaissance role. In 1980, the unit was re-designated an armoured regiment, this time using the Cougar armoured vehicle, but still maintained a reconnaissance troop. Now that the Cougar has been retired, the Regiment has re-rolled once again to a reconnaissance unit.

    Since 1928, the regiment has valued its alliance with the Welch Regiment (Now The Royal Regiment Of Wales) of the British Army. Several exchange visits have taken place over the years including July 1989 when a 35 man guard represented the Regiment in Cardiff, where HRH CHARLES, Prince of Wales on the occasion of the Regiments Tercentenary, inspected the Royal Regiment of Wales. The Regiment received the Freedom of the city of Oshawa and the County of Ontario in 1966 and the Freedom of the Region of Durham in 1979. The Current Commanding Officer of the Ontario Regiment is LCol Dave Parry.

    Source: Wikipedia Encyclopedia. Available online: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_Regiment