The Irish Regiment of Canada - History

Our History

Originally gazetted on 15 October 1918, the 110th Irish Regiment came into existence through the efforts of the Irish Club and the Irish Rifle Club, two Toronto-based organizations, established to promote fellowship among Canadian citizens of Irish ancestry. The 110th Regiment raised personnel for three separate battalions – the 110th Canadian Overseas Battalion, the 180th (Sportsmen’s) Battalion and the 208t8h (Canadian Irish) Battalion. Most of the personnel of the 110th Battalion were used as reinforcements for other battalions of Irish origin. The 180th and 208th Battalions fought as separate units incurring 60 percent casualties but winning nine battle honours.

During the interwar period, the Irish Regiment continued as an infantry battalion of the Non-Permanent Active Militia, garrisoned at Fort York Armoury, Toronto. It underwent a series of regimental name changes from the 110th Irish Regiment to “The Irish Regiment” (1920) to the “The Irish Regiment of Canada” (1932), its present title. In 1932, the present eight pointed star, cap badge, (Maid of Eire) the kilt (Plaid of Saffron) and the dark green caubeen were authorized and made official on 15 August 1933, making the Irish Regiment of Canada the only kilted Irish Regiment outside Ireland.

On 15 December 1936, following the disbandment of the Machine Gun Corps, the Irish Regiment was augmented by the addition of Company A of the First Canada Machine Gun Battalion. This amalgamation transformed the Irish Regiment from an infantry Battalion to a machine-gun battalion, though it never fought in this capacity. The Regiment’s name was changed to “The Irish Regiment of Canada (MG)” though the (MG) suffix was dropped on 12 August 1940 when the Irish Regiment resumed its present title.

World War II saw the Irish Regiment fully mobilized in 1940, complete with the regimental mascot, an Irish wolfhound, Captain Kilkenny. The unit was transferred to the east coast for coastal protection duties until it was shipped to England, as the 1st Battalion, Irish Regiment of Canada in October 1942. It was brigaded with the Perth Regiment and the Cape Breton Highlanders in the 11th Bde, 5 CAD. In November 1943, the Irish proceeded to Italy. From its arrival in Naples until its departure for Northwest Europe in February 1945, the Irish Regiment fought in a series of bloody, brutal battles – Montechhio (breaching of the Gothic Line), Tomba di Pesaro, Coriano, crossing of the Lamone River among others. In all, 175 officers and men of the Regiment were killed in Italy.

In February 1945, the Irish Regiment left Italy to join the Canadian Army fighting in Northwest Europe. In April and May 1945 as part of the Ist Canadian Army Corps, the Irish Regiment fought the battles of Otterloo and assisted in the reduction of the Delfzijl Pocket in Holland. The war ended on May 8, 1945 but not before another 21 members of the Irish Regiment were killed, bringing the total to 217 Irish soldiers killed. The Irish Regiment was repatriated in January, 1946 and welcomed home to Toronto with a victory parade. It was demobilized and taken into the Reserve Army. The 2nd Battalion was disbanded. On March 31, 1965 the 1st Battalion was reduced to “nil strength”and placed on the Supplemental Battle List. Through the many great efforts of veterans, military and civilians, a new unnamed infantry battalion was ordered raised in Sudbury by the Minister of Defence by converting the 58th Field Regiment, RCA. It was on March 15, 1965 subsequently designated the 2nd Battalion, Irish Regiment of Canada.

Battle Honours

World War I

  • Arras 1917-18
  • Ypres 1917
  • Hindenburg Line
  • Scarpe 1918
  • Canal du Nord
  • Hill 70
  • Amiens
  • Pursuit to Mons
  • Drocourt-Quéant
  • France and Flanders 1918

World War II

  • Liri Valley
  • Melfa Crossing
  • Montecchio
  • Coriano
  • Lamone Crossing
  • Fosso Munio
  • Conventello-Comacchio
  • Italy 1943-1945
  • Ljsselmeer
  • Delfzijl Pocket
  • North West Europe 1945

More history on The Irish Regiment of Canada can be found on the History and Heritage website.

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