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History of The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada

Brief Overview

Volunteers have served since the regiment's inception in Montreal on 31 January 1862, as the 5th Battalion, Volunteer Militia Rifles of Canada. The rise of American military strength during their Civil War concerned Canada. The government authorized formation of militia regiments. Each of six Montreal Scottish chieftains responded by raising an infantry company for the 5th Battalion. Eventually, eight companies were raised. Since then, thousands of Canadian citizens have served in the Black Watch. In addition to service during the Fenian raids, they have fought in the Great War and the Second World War; bolstered NATO operations in Europe and UN peacekeeping worldwide; and helped their fellow Canadians at home during the 1998 Ice Storm (Operation ASSISTANCE) and 2011, 2017, and 2019 flooding in Quebec (Operation LENTUS).

World War I

 

The 5th Battalion, "The Royal Light Infantry of Canada" was disbanded for the purpose of reorganization on 2 June 1871. It was reorganized on 12 April 1872. This change was administrative and does not affect the lineage of the regiment. On 1 August 1906, the regiment was organized as a two battalion regiment with both the 1st Battalion and 2nd Battalion on the Non Permanent Active Militia Order of Battle.

Details of the regiment were placed on active service on 6 August 1914 for local protective duty. The 13th Battalion, which was authorized on 1 September 1914 as the '13th Battalion, CEF, embarked for Great Britain on 26 September 1914. It disembarked in France on 16 February 1915, where it fought as part of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion was disbanded on 15 September 1920.

 

The 42nd Battalion, which was authorized on 7 November 1914 as the '42nd Battalion, CEF, embarked for Great Britain on 10 June 1915. It disembarked in France on 9 October 1915, where it fought as part of the 7th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion was disbanded on 15 September 1920.

 

The 73rd Battalion, which was authorized on 10 July 1915 as the '73rd "Overseas" Battalion, CEF, embarked for Great Britain on 31 March 1916. It disembarked in France on 13 August 1916, where it fought as part of the 12th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division until 9 April 1917 when it was withdrawn from the line after Vimy and broken up to provide reinforcements. The battalion was disbanded on 19 April 1917.

 

Upon re-designation as The Royal Highlanders of Canada on 12 March 1920 (see above), it was organized as a four battalion regiment with the 1st Battalion (13th Battalion, CEF) and 2nd Battalion (42nd Battalion, CEF) on the Non Permanent Active Militia order of battle, and the 3rd Battalion (73rd Battalion, CEF) and 4th Battalion (no CEF designation) on the Reserve order of battle. The reserve units were disbanded on 14 December 1936.

 

The Royal Highlanders of Canada were disbanded for the purpose of reorganization on 1 October 1920 and reorganized the same day. This change was administrative and does not affect the lineage of the regiment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World War II

The 2nd Battalion was called out on service on 26 August 1939 and details of the battalion were placed on active service on 1 September 1939, under the designation '2nd Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, CASF (Details), for local protection duties. The details called out on active service were disbanded on 31 December 1940.

 

The regiment mobilized the '1st Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, CASF' for active service on 1 September 1939. This unit, which served in Newfoundland from 22 June to 11 August 1940, embarked for Great Britain on 25 August 1940. On 6 July 1944, the battalion landed in France as part of the 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, and it continued to fight in North West Europe until the end of the war. The overseas battalion was disbanded on 30 November 1945.

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