1st Battalion, The Royal New Brunswick Regiment (Carleton and York)
Carlton St Armoury
The 1st Battalion, The Royal New Brunswick Regiment (Carleton & York) is an Infantry Battalion with its headquarters (HQ) in Fredericton, NB. It has three companies (Coy), A Coy located in Edmundston, B Coy and Administration and Headquarters Coy (Adm & HQ Coy) located in Fredericton, and a platoon (Pl), located in Saint John. Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Bertin currently commands the unit.
We are a Reserve infantry battalion.
Thursday evenings (7-10 pm), and selected weekends.
1-877-5-GO ARMY Ext 1
Early History -The regiment was formed in the year 1787 to assist the regular Imperial troops with the defence of New Brunswick, a role which it fulfilled well. During the War of 1812 many Militia men enlisted in Fencible Regiments or Regiments of the Line -- the better to serve their King. By the year 1834, the Militia of Carleton and York Counties was comprised of five battalions; one each at Wicklow, Woodstock, Kingsclear, Douglas and Fredericton.
The Fenians are best remembered for their exploits at Ridgeway, but in 1866 they were a very real threat to the peace and security of New Brunswick. As the Fenian Army began to concentrate at East Port and Calais, Maine, detachments of Miltia were called out to guard the border against attack, while others boarded HM Troop ship Simoon and sailed for Saint Andrews in Company of a British man-o-war. The Fenians however withdrew after a delusionary attack on the Customs House on Indian Island.
On the eve of Confederation, the regiment had already served the British Crown for 80 years. The events that united the provinces of British North America also put the regiment through a period of reorganization. The largely reformed Militia created a need for different types of units. To this end, on 27 Febuary 1880, No. 8 Company was detached from the 67th Carleton Light Infantry to form the Brighton Company of Engineers under Major DM Vance. This unit later became the 1st ( Brighton) Field Company of the 6th Divisional Engineers. It was the most senior Canadian Engineer Unit, predating the next most senior by 21 years.
In 1885, the New Brunswick Provisional Battalion was formed as a composite of all the regiments in the province, and was slated for service against the rebels in North-West Canada. Although the unit was speedily organized and readied for duty, the capture of Riel made the action superfluous. It was disbanded on 26 May, and the men returned home to their regiments without seeing action.
It was a different story, however, in 1899. "G" Company, 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry was recruited from the Militia of New Brunswick. It was one of the two furthest forward companies at the capture of Paardeburg, and it brought home the regiment's first battle honour: SOUTH AFRICA, 1899-1901, 1902.
When the regimental system was cast aside at the outbreak of the First World War, the men of western New Brunswick joined the numbered battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and went off to war. Thus the regiment perpetuates the 12th, 26th, 55th, 104th, 115th, 140th, 145th, and 236th (MacLean Highlanders). With the notable exception of the 26th, all of these battalions had the misfortune to be broken up to reinforce the Canadian Corps and never saw action as concrete units.
The 26th Battalion, however, became part of the 5th Infantry Brigade of the Second Canadian Division and served in France and Flanders from 1915 until the Armistice. This unit did yeoman service throughout the war, fighting in almost every major engagement in which the Canadians saw action on the Western Front. It accumulated 21 battle honours, won 266 decorations and awards, and lost one of its commanding officers, LCol AEG MacKenzie, DSO, to enemy fire at Arras.
In 1936, after 102 years of separation, the York Regiment and the Carleton Light Infantry were reunited to form the Carleton and York Regiment. Three years later, on September 1, 1939, the regiment was mobilized for active service.
Together with the West Nova Scotia Regiment and the Royal 22e Regiment, the Carleton and York Regiment formed the 3rd Infantry Brigade of the First Canadian Division. Under the Command of Lieutenant-Colonel H.N. Ganong, the regiment sailed from Halifax aboard the Monarch of Bermuda on 10 December, 1939 arriving in Brit ian later that month. There it stood guard against the expected Nazi invasion, participated in innumerable training exercises and hardened itself for the day when it would be matched against the German war machine. This day was a long time coming, but in 15 June, 1943, after three and a half years of waiting, it sailed for the Mediterranean to take part in Operation Husky.
The regiment went ashore at Sicily at Roger Beach on 10 July, 1943 in the wake of the 1st Brigade assault. It stayed in reserve until the 17th when the 3rd Brigade assumed the lead up highway 117 at iazza Armerina. The next day it was heavily engaged on the right flank during the Brigade attack on the German defences as Grottacalda, west of Valguarnera. Lead by LCol. FD Tweedie, it forced the enemy to abandon its position and took 45 prisoners in the process. As the first and second brigades pushed on to Regalbuto through Leonforte, the regiment took the route to Cantenanuova on the right flank of the advance. This town was cleared on the 30th, and the regiment patrolled northward past Mont Criscina and on to Regalbuto on 3 August. Eight days later, after crossing the Simeto River, the Sicilian Campaign came to a close for the Canadians. They were quartered on the edge of the Catania Plain to rest after the fighting and prepare for the assault on the Italian mainland.
The Carleton and Yorks and the West Nova Scotia Regiment were chosen to lead the Canadian Division ashore at Reggio. After practicing on the beaches south of Augusta, they were trucked to Catania on 1 September. That night they boarded LCI's and sailed north to Mili Marina, opposite their objective across the Strait of Messina. In the early morning of the 3rd, the regiment put to sea in a flat calm. Upon landing at Fox Beach, it swung right and moved quickly through the suburbs and on into Reggio where the commanding officer, LCol JEC Pangman, setup his headquarters in the main plaza. After the battalion objectives were secured, two platoons were dispatched on a mounted flying patrol to the southwest along highway 106. The patrol reached Melito that day, stopping on the way long enough to capture 1,000 Italian prisoners at Point Pellaro. It turned north from Melito and fought a series of sharp clashes with paratroops from the Nembo Division, finally reaching Bagaladi on the 4th and San Lorenzo on the 5th as the Italians fell back before them.
After turning its areas over to the 51st Division (British), the regiment moved past the Gulf of Squillace and on toward its most exacting tasks of the war. Employing mules to move equipment and supplies, it moved along the torturous mount ian trails of Calabria through Campochiaro and Gambatesa. By Christmas it had fought across the Sangro River at Ateleta and through the infamous Gully, south of Ornita. The New Year found the regiment fighting at Terre Mucchia, a place better known as Point 59. On 4 January this strategic nut was finally cracked and the regiment finally settled down to a winter routine of patrolling, resting amd retraining.
Personnel of the Carleton and York Regiment under sniper fire, Campochiaro, Italy, 23 October, 1943.
With spring in the air, the regiment came out fighting at Cassino II on the Gustav Linein the Liri Valley, and distinguished itself at the Hitler Line on 23 May, 1944. Supported by tanks from the 51st Battalion, Royal Tank Regiment, the Regiment cracked this line in four hours despite fighting against troops of the 90th Panzer Grenadier Division at Capo Vicenzo. Following on the heels of the retreating Germans, it reached the Melfa River on the 25th. By good fortune, "D" Company crossed the river undetected and took the 361st Grenadier Regiment by surprise. The rest of the regiment fared somewhat worse, suffering such heavy casualties at the river that they named the crossing place Death Valley. By night fall, the Bridgehead was secured and supporting units moved to expand it.
Following this action, the regiment went into reserve until its next major task at the Gothic Line. It fought there from 30 August to 3 September using grenade and bayonet to pry the Germans out of their pill box network near Borgo Santa Maria.
On 18 September, the regiment reached the Banks of the Ausa River in front of the Rimini Line. Caught in an exposed position, it was fired upon with every weapon the defending paratroopers could bring to bear. Major JP Ensor (commanding in the absence of LCol Danby who had been wounded on the 14th), worked to consolidate what his men had already won, knowing that launching a further attack in daylight would be suicidal. At 2130 hrs on the 19th, the Regiment crossed the Ausa River in the face of a wide-awake defence and won a solid footing on the south-west slopes of San Fortunato Ridge - a much disputed piece of real estate.
With the Rimini Line behind it, the regiment came down into Romagna, entering Cesena on 19 October and reached the Savio River the next day in spite of an increasingly active rear-guard. Following the assault over the Savio River, the Carleton and Yorks amid the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry led the way to the Ronco in the chase across the rivers of the Lombard Plain. The Ronco and Montone Rivers were crossed in due course and after passing through Russi, the regiment drew up front in the Lamone River. On 10 December, it made an assault crossing of this barrier establishing a firm bridgehead and captured 84 prisoners at a cost of 12 casualties. From the Lamone, it moved to the Naviglio Canal crossing its dry watercourse on the night of the 12th and captured another 45 prisoners.
By 2300hrs that night, the battle for the canal began in ferocity as the Germans started to counter-attack. Enemy tanks, supported by infantry, struck repeatedly at the bridgehead while their artillery maintained consistently accurate fire along the canal bank. By 0900hrs the next morning, the company of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment on their right flank had been overrun and the situation was steadily worsening. Closely pressed on all sides, the regiment fought back gallantly while C Company manhandled its six pounder guns into repelling attack after attack of the Panzers. The tanks of the British Columbia Dragoons came rumbling into the beauregard bridgehead, ensuring a secure crossing point for the Division. By the time the armour arrived, the infanteers had withstood 13 determined counter attacks by crack Whermacht troops and had done so with a minimal number of casualties. However the regiment was not done with Naviglio; it crossed it again once more entering Agnacavallo on the 21st and again on the night on 4 January, 1945. It closed up to the Senio River at Colignola the following day and met only scattered resistance.
Relieved on the Seino River line by troops of the 19th Brigade, 8th Indian Division on 2 Febuary 1945 the regiment bade farewell to the Eighth Army and was transported by land and sea to North West Europe. Here it rejoined the First Canadian Army that it had left behind in England and moved into the assembly areas in the Reichswald.
The regiment crossed the Ijssel River in Holland on the 12 April, and by the following day was halfway to Apeldoorn, rolling up the weakening Nazi resistance as it moved forward. After a brief pause at Apeldoorn, it pressed on Westward, reaching Voorthuizen on the 17th and advancing east of Nykerk and within one mile of Amersfoort by the 20th. On 22 April, 1945 the combat operations of the regiment came to a close.
When the men of the regiment were repatriated to Canada, they were given a well deserved heroes' welcome. The 1st Battalion, The Carleton and York Regiment was demobilized on 30 September, 1945; (a second battalion served in the Reserve Army throughout the war)
On 1 June, 1945 the 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion, (The Carleton and York Regiment), was mobilized for service with the Canadian Army Pacific Force under the command of LCol JP Ensor, MBE. Following the Japanese surrender, this unit was disbanded without seeing action in the Pacific theatre.
The Saint John Fulfillers (MG) and the New Brunswick Rangers were both placed on active service for protective duty on 1 September, 1939 and were mobilized for war on 1 January,1941.
The Rangers, reorganized as the 10th Independent Machine Gun Company (The New Brunswick Rangers), landed in Normandy on 26 June, 1944 and fought as a part of the 10th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division from Normandy to Bad Zwischenahn. The active unit was disbanded on 15 February, 1946. A 2nd Battalion served in the Reserve Army.
In 1946 The New Brunswick Rangers and the Saint John Fulfillers (MG) disappeared into the new born South New Brunswick Regiment, which itself vanished only 173 days later when it was designated the New Brunswick Scottish Regiment.
Miraculously, The Carleton and York Regiment was left unscathed and continued with peacetime duties. In 1952, a company of the regiment packed up its kit and sailed for Europe aboard RMS Scythia. Upon landing in Germany, it became part of the 27th Brigade, 1st Canadian Division at Hanover. When this duty was completed, the company returned home where it too was reorganized.
In 1954, the Carleton and York Regiment and the New Brunswick Scottish were amalgamated to form the First Battalion, The New Brunswick Regiment (Carleton and York), a designation to which the prefix "Royal" was added in 1956.
Since that time the regiment has soldiered steadily along, being re-equipped, redistributed, reduced in strength and, at the end of the era of snakes and ladders (National Survival), rejuvenated and given a role and mission.
Members of the Regiment train and supervise the "Summer Guard" in Downtown Fredericton.
The regiment today still preserves the ideals of the colonial citizen-soldier and is the product of over 200 years of re-organizations, re-designations, three wars, alarums, hard work, bravery and loyalty. It is the focus of the affections of all those that served in it, it is a repository of tradition, and is a living memorial to those of its members who died for higher ideals in wars throughout the world. The regiment is a huge extended family of those who serve, those who have served and those who wish it well.
The following battle honours have been authorized for emblazonment on the Regimental Colour:
Other battle honours which the Regiment holds for various battles and engagements are: