49th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA - History

Our History

The 49th (Sault Ste. Marie) Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, began as the 51st Regiment in 1913 - renamed the 51st Regiment Soo Rifles in February 1914. The creation of this regiment marked what is known as the official beginning of the group that would later become known as the 49th Field Artillery Regiment. Given guard duty at the Sault Ste Marie Canal during World War I, many members of The Soo Rifles volunteered with the Canadian forces overseas, earning the Regiment six battle honours. During World War II, many members of the then titled Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury Regiment transferred to the 1st Canadian Division for service in Europe.

Members of the 49th have participated in the Boer Wars, both World Wars, and as reinforcements for the Regular Army in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in the Middle East, Cyprus, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The Regiment has also participated in civil rescue and rehabilitation operations, including flood-fighting efforts in Southern Manitoba and the Ice Storm of 1998 in Eastern Ontario. The Regiment was granted the Freedom of the City of Sault Ste. Marie on July 1st, 1967.

On August 4, 1914, Britain declared war on Germany - marking the start of the First World War, which lasted four years and cost more than 60,000 Canadian lives. At the onset of the war, Canada's Minister of Militia immediately pledged Canada to raise an expeditionary force of 25,000 men. As a result of Canada’s entry into the war, the Soo Rifles were placed on active service just two days later (August 6th) for local protection duties at the locks of the Sault Ste. Marie Canal. Two months later, in October, a company of 125 men of all ranks went to England with the 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion in an effort to support Britain and her allies.

Later in 1915, a second company of 125 men went overseas with the 19th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). This was followed in 1916 by a third detachment of 150 men from Sault Ste. Marie joining the 37th (Northern Ontario) Battalion, (CEF). Previously, in November 1915, the 119th Battalion (CEF) was organized, followed in March 1916 by the organization of 227th Battalion (CEF).

Upon arrival in England, the CEF battalions were customarily dispersed as reinforcements - with the provision that Honours would be awarded to the perpetuating regiment (the regiments that supplied the men) for each battle joined by 250 or more officers and men of that particular CEF Battalion. As a result, Battle Honours earned by the members of the 49th are as follows:

Arras 1917-1918


Hill 70

Hindenberg Line

Ypres 1917

Pursuit to Mons

The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery has two mottos: “Ubique” (Everywhere) and “Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt” (Whither Right and Glory Lead). The first motto “Ubique” takes the place of all battle honours in recognition of the artillery’s service in all battles and campaigns.

In 1920, the 51st Regiment was re-organized and re-designated The Soo Rifles, and authority was given to recruit a local militia force - to be known as the Sault Ste. Marie Regiment - to replace the 51st. Due to reduced government financing for militia in the 1920s, there was only enough money and materiel for 125 men (all ranks) per training session. Despite these restrictions, the Regiment considerably exceeded its quota.

On December 15th, 1936, the Sault Ste. Marie Regiment amalgamated with part of the Algonquin Regiment (‘A’ Company) from Sudbury to form the Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury Regiment.

In August 1939, the Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury Regiment was placed on active duty to protect the Sault Ste. Marie Canal. By November, it was determined that such duty could be effectively performed by non-permanent active militia, so the Regiment reverted to that status and its members were discharged. About 85 men opted, instead, to be inducted into the Canadian Armed Service Force.

The Regiment experienced many changes, adopting an artillery role in 1946 and its current name on January 1st, 1981. The year 2013 marked the 100th anniversary of the Regiment, and “Artillery Day”, an annual celebration of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, took place on May 26th.

More history on the 49th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA can be found on the History and Heritage website.

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