The Algonquin Regiment - History

Our History

The Algonquin Regiment originated on July 1st, 1900 with the creation of the "97th Regiment of Rifles". The former Algonquin Rifles and today’s The Algonquin Regiment are truly northern Ontario’s Regiment, having been formed from companies spanning locations as far west as its first Headquarters in Sault Ste Marie to as far east as North Bay. Our independent companies can trace their official heritages back to 1863 and the Fenian Raids of 1866.

During our unit’s history, its rugged northern soldiers have answered every call for duty, and their sacrifice to Canada’s conflicts have earned our regiment 28 Battle Honours. Many of our soldiers continue to come from the north’s miners, loggers and hunters.

From 1908 to 1926, the Regiment’s Headquarters was located in Sudbury, Ontario. The present Headquarters is located in North Bay and today’s unit is composed of two rifle companies with "A" Company located in North Bay and "B" Company located in Timmins. Over the years, the Regiment has had a presence across northern Ontario at various times with companies located in Callendar, Cobalt, Cochrane, Elk Lake, Haileybury, Huntsville, Kapuskasing, Kearny, Kirkland Lake, Loring, New Liskeard, Parry Sound, Powassan, Sturgeon Falls, Sundridge, Thessalon, and Virginiatown.

Today, the Regiment also has eight affiliated Cadet Corps spanning northern Ontario.

At the outset of the First World War, several hundred of our regiment’s soldiers went overseas with the 48th Highlanders of Canada. Our regiment then raised four thousand more young men for the 122nd Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) Battalion.

In 1936, our regiment was amalgamated with "The Northern Pioneers" (at one time called "The 23rd Regiment" and "The Northern Fusiliers"). This historic regiment’s collar insignias continue to be worn by The Algonquin Regiment today. Together, our two regiments and their five overseas battalions earned the following First World War Battle Honours:

  • Ypres, 1915, '17
  • Festubert, 1915
  • Arras, 1917
  • Hill 70
  • Somme, 1918
  • St. Quentin
  • Bapaume, 1918
  • Hindenburg Line
  • Epéhy
  • St. Quentin Canal
  • Beaurevoir
  • Cambrai, 1918
  • France and Flanders 1915, 1917-18

Also in 1936, our Headquarters and part of our regiment was amalgamated with "The Sault Ste Marie Regiment" and was re-designated "The Sault Ste Marie and Sudbury Regiment (MG)" which is now "49th Field Artillery Regiment" located in Sault Ste Marie. Our regiment has deep and direct connections to the communities of all three of the 4th Canadian Division's present day combat arms units in northern Ontario.

At the outset of the Second World War, the majority of our serving soldiers were mobilized with the Grey and Simcoe Foresters. Our regiment itself mobilized for active service on May 24th, 1940. The unit originally served in Canada in a home defence role as part of the 20th Infantry Brigade, 7th Canadian Division and in Newfoundland from 1942 to 1943. The Regiment embarked for Great Britain in June 1943 and landed in Normandy with the 10th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Armoured Division. Soldiers of the Regiment fought as vanguard infantry through Falaise, fighting to secure many bridgheads over canals in Holland and into Germany, earning the following battle honours:

  • Falaise
  • Falaise Road
  • The Laison
  • Chambois
  • The Seine, 1944
  • Moerkerke
  • The Scheldt
  • Breskens Pocket
  • The Lower Maas
  • The Rhineland
  • The Hochwald
  • Veen
  • Küsten Canal
  • Bad Zwischenahn
  • North-West Europe, 1944-1945

In 1947, the Regiment was awarded the right to wear a red backing behind the unit cap badge by King George in honour of the Regiment's sacrifice during the bridgehead battles in the Second World War. Among the individual honours awarded during these engagements were three Distinguished Service Orders (DSO), two Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), ten Military Crosses (MC), three Distinguished Conduct Medals (DCM), fourteen Military Medals (MM), twenty Mention in Dispatches, and many other foreign awards.

In 1951, the Regiment mobilized two temporary Active Force companies, designated "E" and "F" to the "1st Canadian Infantry Battalion" for service in Germany with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In 1952, these soldiers were absorbed by the newly formed "2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion" for service in Korea with the United Nations.

In 1954, the Regiment back home in Ontario was converted to armour and re-designated “The Algonquin Regiment (26th Armoured Regiment) RCAC”. It reverted back to infantry in 1965.

Two soldiers of the Regiment were recipients of the Victoria Cross (VC). In the First World War, Sergeant William Merrifield VC was a member of the 97th Algonquin Rifles when he went overseas and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his valour with the 4th Battalion CEF on October 1st, 1918. In the Second World War, Sergeant Aubrey Cosens VC joined the Algonquin Regiment at Latchford and was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously while fighting with the Queen’s Own Rifles on February 25-26th, 1945.

Significant regimental memorials are located in several canal cities of Holland as well as the communities of Parry Sound, North Bay and New Liskeard.

More history on The Algonquin Regiment can be found on the History and Heritage website.

 

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