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The King's Own Calgary Regiment (RCAC)

The King's Own Calgary Regiment (RCAC) are a Canadian Forces Reserve armoured regiment, who parade regularly at Mewata Armouries (where their headquarters are located) as well as training at the Area Support Centre in Calgary as well as at Canadian Forces Base Wainwright.  The Regiment has contributed many men to overseas Peacekeeping missions in recent years, as well as providing instructors and resources for training courses for units throughout the Calgary Garrison and 41 Canadian Brigade Group.

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History

On 15 May 1924,when the First Battalion of the Calgary Regiment was redesignated simply "Calgary Highlanders" and formed into its own regiment, the Second Battalion of The Calgary Regiment was likewise redesignated to become simply The Calgary Regiment.   Thus were born two equally proud units, both direct descendants of the 103rd Regiment (Calgary Rifles) that had been created on 1 April 1910.

The new Calgary Regiment inherited the history of several CEF battalions that had fought in the Great War, including the Battle Honours of the 50th (Calgary) Battalion, and now proudly lay claim also to the memory of John George Pattison (shown at right) who was awarded the Victoria Cross for actions on 10 April 1917 at Vimy Ridge.  He was killed in action less than two months later.   Seventeen hard earned Battle Honours were granted the 50th for service with the 4th Canadian Division in France and Flanders.

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In 1936, after extensive reorganization of the Militia, the Regiment was briefly retitled as a Machine Gun Regiment, and then later in the year redesignated Calgary Regiment (Tank) becoming one of just six Infantry regiments in Canada so designated.  In 1939, the unit was not mobilized, and some officers and men enlisted in other units mobilizing for war, including the Calgary Highlanders.  Mobilization came in February 1941, as 14th Army Tank Battalion (The Calgary Regiment (Tank))

The home service component of the Calgary Regiment (Tank) was redesignated in April 1941 as the 14th (Reserve) Army Tank Battalion (The Calgary Regiment(Tank)), and in 1942 the designation "Regiment" was subsituted for "Battalion."  The former infantry (Tank) regiments, along with the former horse cavalry units, were mechanized and formed the new Canadian Armoured Corps (which would be granted the Royal prefix in 1945).

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While this unit trained in Canada as part of the reserve army, the overseas battalion trained on a variety of equipment in England, and on 19 August 1942 provided the armour support component of the Dieppe Raid. While the tanks of the Calgary Regiment were for the most part unable to get off the landing beaches, the crews resolutely stayed at their posts, finding the armour of their Churchill tanks impervious to the German anti-tank weaponry found defending the beach.   Many crews stayed in their tanks until every round of their ammunition was expended, covering the landing and eventual withdrawal of the infantry and foot-borne soldiers.  Many tank crews thus went into captivity having sacrificed their freedom for the lives of the withdrawing soldiers.

The Regiment was rebuilt in England, becoming the 14th Canadian Armoured Regiment and re-equipping with Sherman tanks.   As part of the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade, the unit landed in Sicily in July 1943 and onto the mainland of Italy in September.  The brigade fought independently and in support of many different formations during the long campaign in Italy.  With the rest of the Canadians in that theatre, they repatriated to First Canadian Army in Holland in the spring of 1945, where they ended the war.  Eventually, sixteen more Battle Honours were granted, to join those of the 50th Battalion CEF on the Regimental Guidon.

Several changes in designation occurred postwar.

22 July 1946: 14th Armoured Regiment (King's Own Calgary Regiment)
4 Feb 1949: The King's Own Calgary Regiment (14th Armoured Regiment)
19 May 1958: The King's Own Calgary Regiment (RCAC)

Relationship

Contacts between the Calgary Highlanders and the KOCR have been steady since the inception of both units.  Both units have shared Mewata Armoury for decades; when the units had full war service battalions serving overseas in World War Two, there still remained reserve components in Calgary representing both Regiments.

Opportunities for training together post-1945 were at their height during the Cold War, when the King's Own trained as an Armoured Regiment with the Calgary Highlanders serving as Mechanized Infantry.   Both units trained according to the doctrines they would have used on the North German Plain in the event of a Third World War on European soil. 

The bands of both regiments are equally renowned, and the Regimental Band of the King's Own Calgary Regiment has performed with The Regimental Pipes and Drums of the Calgary Highlanders often over the years.  

When the Highlanders were presented a new Queen's Colour by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in June 1990, the KOCR were also full participants on parade, being inspected by Her Majesty as well as performing a very impressive roll past with their Cougars and Iltis vehicles. 

With the end of the Cold War, and the shift away from heavily armoured units, contacts have been fewer though the Regiments do train together when schedules permit, notably on Brigade level exercises.

The Regiment is always actively recruiting prospective soldiers interested in the challenges and experiences they will find in a Reserve Armoured Regiment.


Interesting Facts

The Regimental March of the King's Own Calgary Regiment is "Colonel Bogey", the same tune that gained popularity in the motion picture The Bridge On The River Kwai.  Coincidentally, "Colonel Bogey" was the march adopted by the Tenth Battalion, CEF, forerunners of the Calgary Highlanders.

The motto of the KOCR (as well as the Calgary Highlanders) is ONWARD, also the motto of the City of Calgary.

The first cap badge of the Calgary Regiment (shown above) was inspired by the Coat of Arms of the City of Calgary.   The sunburst violates custom, however, in that the sunburst is above the Crown.   When the Regiment was redesignated as King's Own after the Second World War, the offending sunburst was removed.  The current badge is still very heavily influenced by the City's coat of arms.

The Regiment has an alliance with the King's Own Royal Border Regiment of the British Army.


War on Terror

Corporal Nathan Hornburg of Nanton, Alberta was killed on 24 September 2007 by enemy fire during a mortar attack after he dismounted to repair the track on a Leopard tank. Broken tracks are "something that we see on a regular basis, unfortunately" said the commander of Canadian forces in Afghanistan, Brigadier General Guy Laroche. Three other soldiers were wounded in an ensuing firefight. Corporal Hornburg was taking part in Operation SADIQ SARBAAAZ (Honest Soldier) in the Panjwaii district, in conjunction with Afghan National Security forces, in terrain familiar to the Canadians who saw action there in the fall of 2006 during Operation MEDUSA.

 

 


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