The Lorne Scots (Peel, Dufferin and Halton Regiment) - History
The Lorne Scots have been an established institution in Peel, Dufferin and Halton Counties for almost 150 years. The Regiment's origin is traced to the 20th Halton and 36th Peel Battalions of Infantry, both raised in September 1866.
Both units were Regiments of the Line. However, their Scottish heritage was sown with the Marquis of Lornes' visit to the 20th Halton Battalion in 1879. They formed a pipe band in 1881 and started wearing tartan trews and diced glengarries. The 20th Halton Rifles became the 20th Halton Battalion, Lorne Rifles. Many of today's regimental traditions date back to this historic visit.
A number of officers and men from the 20th and 36th served in composite battalions during the Northwest Rebellion of 1885 and the South African War. During the First World War, regiments as such were not mobilized, but soldiers and formed groups of men were organized and placed in numbered battalions. The 36th Peel Battalion and the 20th Halton Rifles provided 16 officers and 404 other ranks to the 4th Battalion of the 1st Canadian Division. Subsequently, many more men from the two regiments were allotted to the 20th, 36th, 58th, 74th, 76th, and 81st Battalions. The 126th, 164th, and 234th Battalions were raised exclusively in Peel, Dufferin and Halton Counties.
In 1923, the 36th Peel Regiment was reorganized to become the Peel and Dufferin Regiment. Sir Robert Peel's personal crest, the Demi Lion, was adopted as the Regimental crest. It remains the key centerpiece of today's Lorne Scots cap badge. After becoming the Lorne Rifles in 1931, permission was granted from the senior duke of Scotland, The Duke of Argyll, to use his personal tartan and his 'boar's head' crest. It can be seen in the unit's collar badges today. On December 15, 1936, The Lorne Rifles and the Peel and Dufferin Regiments were amalgamated to form the present regiment, The Lorne Scots (Peel, Dufferin and Halton Regiment).
The Lorne Scots was one of the first regiments to be mobilized in the Second World War but never served as a cohesive regiment. Instead, members of the Regiment were organized into defence platoons and attached to various brigade, division and army headquarters.
Members of The Lorne Scots served in every theatre of war in which Canada fought with the exception of Hong Kong. A platoon of Lornes served with the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada at the capture of Boulogne. Fifty percent of the platoon was killed or captured. Other platoons took part on the raid at Dieppe and landed on the beaches of Sicily. Since the war, the Regiment has participated at a variety of military functions. One highlight was the presentation of the colours by the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, The Honourable W. Earl Rowe, in the autumn of 1963.
The British Army underwent a major reorganization in the 1960s and as a result, the unit's allied regiment, The Lancashire Fusiliers, bestowed the revered primrose hackle to the Lorne Scots. It is proudly worn on the soldiers' headdress to this day.
The Regiment's first ever colonel-in-chief, The Duke of Kent, visited the Regiment in 1979, 1983, and 1991. On his most recent visit, the unit was presented new Regimental and Queen's Colours to commemorate the Regiment's 125th birthday.
Today, the Regiment continues to serve its local community and Canada overseas. The Lorne Scots have gained a reputation for excellent marksmanship and some unit members have represented Canada at many shooting competitions such as the World Championships, the Olympics, the Pan-American Games and the Bisley Competition in England. Warrant Officer Larry Fish was one of the country's best competitors.
The Lorne Scots provided soldiers to assist Canadians during the 1997 Manitoba Floods and the 1998 Ice Storm in eastern Ontario. Overseas, the Regiment has provided troops to peacekeeping missions around the world, including operations in Cyprus, Cambodia, Croatia and Bosnia. Most recently, many Lornes have served with the International Security Assistance Force in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.
The Lorne Scots stand out as one of only a handful of Regiments in the Canadian Army to wear a Hackle. The Primrose Hackle worn by the Lorne Scots was originally awarded to the Lancashire Fusiliers in the United Kingdom as a Battle Honour for their service to the Crown. In 1968, the Lancashire Fusiliers were to be amalgamated with the other Fusilier Regiments in England to become the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and would lose the ability to wear the Hackle. Not willing to let the Hackle disappear forever, they gave the Primrose Hackle to the Lorne Scots to wear in trust.
The Lorne Scots continue to live up to their motto: Air Son Ar Duthchais - "For our heritage".
More history on The Lorne Scots can be found on the History and Heritage website.
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