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The Canadian Guards

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Canadian Guards
Cap Badge of The Canadian Guards
Active16 October 1953 – 6 July 1970
Country Canada
Branch Canadian Army
TypeFoot guards
SizeFour battalions (1953-57)
Two battalions (1957-68)
One battalion (1968-70)
Part ofRoyal Canadian Infantry Corps
Garrison/HQCamp Petawawa (1st and 2nd Battalions)
Camp Valcartier (3rd Battalion)
Camp Ipperwash (4th Battalion)
Camp Borden (Regimental Band) 1953–1957
Motto(s)A mari usque ad mare (From Sea to Sea)
MarchQuick: "The Standard of St. George"
Slow: "From Sea to Sea"
Colonel-in-ChiefHM The Queen
Colonel of
the Regiment
Major General R. Rowley
PlumeRed over white, left side of bearskin cap
TartanRoyal Stewart (pipes and drums)

The Canadian Guards was an infantry regiment of the Canadian Army that served in the same role as the five regiments of Foot Guards in the British Army. The regiment was formed on 16 October 1953, by Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds, the Chief of the General Staff of the Canadian Army, with the redesignation of four separate battalions:

The Canadian Guards not only served as the Household Division of Canada, but was also the country's first national military regiment.

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The Regimental Colour of 1st Battalion, The Canadian Guards.
The Regimental Colour of 1st Battalion, The Canadian Guards.

The regiment was created when it was decided that the composite 1st and 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalions that were created for the 27th Canadian Infantry Brigade should not be given a specific territorial identity. The Guards would be able to recruit nationally, and the chief of staff of the Canadian Army, Lieutenant General Guy Simonds, said there was nothing wrong with infusing the standard of the Household Brigade into the Canadian Army.[1]

A year later, a militia component was added, when the existing Governor General's Foot Guards and Canadian Grenadier Guards were designated the 5th and 6th Battalions.

Throughout their existence the regular components of The Canadian Guards maintained a regimental band as well as pipes and drums. In common with the pipes and drums of the Scots Guards in the British Army, pipers of The Canadian Guards were granted the privilege of wearing the British Royal Family's household tartan – the Royal Stuart tartan. The Canadian Guards wore a white-over-red plume on the left side of their bearskins. Ceremonial dress uniform was similar to that worn by The Canadian Grenadier Guards.

The 3rd and 4th Battalions were disbanded in 1957 to make way for the formation of Regular Army armoured regiments, the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's) and The Fort Garry Horse, leaving the 1st and 2nd Battalions and the Regimental Depot in the Regular Force.

In October 1957, the 1st Battalion received its first stand of colours, while the 2nd Battalion was deployed to Germany as part of 4 CIBG. Two years later, the 1st Battalion replaced the 2nd Battalion, with the 2nd Battalion receiving its colours in 1960.

In the late 1960s, as part of a reorganization of the Canadian Army, it was decided to disband The Canadian Guards. The 1st Battalion was disbanded on 1 October 1968, and the 2nd Battalion was reduced to nil strength on 6 July 1970 [2] (its personnel and equipment going to the new 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment). The role of Household Troops then reverted to the two surviving militia units, which resumed their separate identities in 1976. Some members were reassigned to The Canadian Airborne Regiment.

Colonel Strome Galloway, who commanded the Guards' 4th Battalion from 1955 to 1957 and was the first and last regimental lieutenant-colonel, believed that the disbanding of the Guards was a "political decision" by powerful "francophone" elements. "Our crime," Galloway wrote, "was that we were 'too British' in uniform and character to pass muster with the Francophone hierarchy which dominated the Defence Department at the time. The Unification program was the official excuse, but the program itself was partly a gimmick to 'Americanize' the Canadian forces and eliminate, as far as possible, the British traditions of the past."[3]

The camp flag of The Canadian Guards.
The camp flag of The Canadian Guards.


In the Canadian Forces, units may make formal, official links between each other called affiliations. These affiliations are "to foster continuous fraternal connections between military organizations beyond the close, professional relationships which are always encouraged."[4] The two Reserve Force foot guard regiments, the Governor General's Foot Guards (GGFG) and the Canadian Grenadier Guards (CGG), were affiliated with the Canadian Guards, and from 1954 to 1976 they used Canadian Guards battalion numbers in token of the affiliation. Despite the battalion numbers, the GGFG and the CGG were considered separate regiments from the Canadian Guards. The affiliations automatically ceased when the Canadian Guards were put on the Supplementary Order of Battle in 1970.[5]

  • Governor General's Foot Guards (5th Battalion, The Canadian Guards)[6]
  • The Canadian Grenadier Guards (6th Battalion, The Canadian Guards)[7]


Notable members


  1. ^ Marteinson, John and Harris, Stephen J. We Stand On Guard – An Illustrated History of the Canadian Army (1992)
  2. ^ Canadian Forces Publication A-DH-267-003/AF-002 -- Part Two: Infantry Regiments
  3. ^ Strome Galloway, The General Who Never Was (Belleville, Ontario: Mika, 1981), page 277.
  4. ^ The Heritage Structure of the Canadian Forces. Directorate of History and Heritage. 4 January 1999. p. 8-1. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  5. ^ The Heritage Structure of the Canadian Forces. Directorate of History and Heritage. 4 January 1999. p. 8-4. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  6. ^ "Governor General's Foot Guards". Official Lineages Volume 3, Part 2: Infantry Regiments. Directorate of History and Heritage. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  7. ^ "The Canadian Grenadier Guards". Official Lineages Volume 3, Part 2: Infantry Regiments. Directorate of History and Heritage. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  8. ^
  9. ^

William J. Patterson (1997). A regiment worthy of its hire : The Canadian Guards, 1953-1970. Ottawa: Canadian Guards Regimental Association, 1997.

Army Historical Section (1964). The Regiments and Corps of the Canadian Army. Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1964.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 February 2019, at 02:39
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