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The Algonquin Regiment
150px
Cap badge of the Algonquin Regiment
Active 1865 - Present
Country Canada
Branch Canadian Army-Primary Reserves
Type Line Infantry
Role Light Role
Size Two Companies
Part of Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
Garrison/HQ Martin Leo Troy Armoury, North Bay, Ontario
Nickname(s) The Algoons, Gonks
Commanders
Current
commander
Lieutenant-Colonel P.J. Bryden

The Algonquin Regiment is a Primary Reserve infantry regiment of the Canadian Forces comprising two companies. A Coy (Alpha Company) is located in North Bay, Ontario and B Coy (Bravo Company) is located in Timmins, Ontario. The regiment falls under the command of 33 Canadian Brigade Group.

History[edit | edit source]

Early period[edit | edit source]

The Algonquin Regiment began in 1865 as the Volunteer Infantry Company in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Some members of this company served in the Wolseley Expedition against the Red River Rebellion in 1870. The threat of Fenian raids on Canada, ultimately convinced the government of the day to maintain a militia force at the head of Lake Superior. In 1886, a battalion was authorized in the Algoma District with companies in Rat Portage and Gore Bay. An additional company was formed in Sault-Ste-Marie in 1889 and lastly in Sudbury in 1896. The Sudbury company later became the nucleus of the 97th Regiment of Rifles.

On 1 July 1900 the 97th Regiment of Rifles was formed with four independent companies of militia. Company headquarters were established in Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Thessalon and Sturgeon Falls. On 23 June 1903, the regiment was redesignated the 97th Regiment (Algonquin Rifles). The regiment sent volunteers to the South African War and, on occasion, were called out in Sault Ste. Marie to conduct defence of property and maintenance of peace in the face of rioting strikers.

First World War[edit | edit source]

The 97th Regiment (Algonquin Rifles) recruited to its full active strength and supplied 12 officers and 251 other ranks to the 15th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. Captain E.F. Armstrong began recruiting in Nipissing and Sudbury in late 1915 resulting in the formation of the 159th (First Algonquins) Battalion. The battalion was mobilized on 5 July 1916, trained at Camp Borden in Angus, Ontario, during that summer and fall of 1916, and embarked for England on 1 November 1916, with a strength of 1,004 men. The battalion remained intact until 20 January 1917, when it was absorbed into the Eighth Reserve Battalion and used to reinforce units already in France. As the result of not having enough men at any particular battle, the unit received only the general "Great War 1916-1917" battle honour.

Following the end of the war the 159th (First Algonquins), 228th (Northern Fusiliers) and 256th (Toronto) were perpetuated in the Algonquin Rifles. In 1933, the unit was renamed The Algonquin Regiment. The regiment decided to keep the bull moose symbol of the 97th Regiment (Algonquin Rifles) on a redesigned cap badge. In 1936, "A" Company in Sudbury was removed from the regiment and amalgamated with the Sault-Ste-Marie Regiment to become the Sault Ste. Marie/Sudbury Regiment, and the 23rd Regiment (Northern Pioneers) were amalgamated into The Algonquin Regiment.

Second World War[edit | edit source]

When war broke out the Algonquin Regiment was only 250 men strong. Recruitment and training soon became their primary concern.[1] The regiment recruited from an area extending from Bracebridge and Parry Sound to the south and Timmins and Cochrane to the north. It was not until 22 July 1940, that the regiment went into active service. On 4 September 1940, the first battalion loaded up, the Algonquin Regiment (Active Force), and arrived at Camp Borden three days later.[2] There was not enough space, however, for training exercises and they were moved to Current River Camp in Port Arthur, Ontario and again to Camp Shilo in Manitoba on 4 June 1941. The regiment was transferred to Niagara-on-the-Lake and assigned guard duty on the Niagara and Welland canals in November, 1941, before finally being asked for their first draft for overseas enforcements on 14 January 1942. In February, 1942, the regiment was transferred to Newfoundland and assigned protection duties at Torbay airport and Cape Spear. In January, 1943, the regiment was chosen for operations overseas, was moved to Debert Camp in Nova Scotia and, for administration purposes, was assigned to the 20th Brigade of the Seventh Canadian Infantry Division. The regiment embarked on the RMS Empress of Scotland in Halifax on 10 June 1943, and sailed the following day for England with a complement of 4,500 troops. Upon arriving in Liverpool the regiment proceeded to Heathfield and was made part of the 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade of the Fourth Canadian (Armoured) Division.

On 16 July 1944, an advance party left for Normandy, France, with the regiment as a whole arriving a couple of days later. The morning of July 25, 1944, all four companies of the Algonquin Regiment landed on Juno Beach where, in the following days, learnt of their ensuing mission to support the Fourth Canadian Armored Division in closing the Falaise Gap.[3] August 9, 1944 the regiment, supporting BCR (British Columbia Regiment), jointly forming 'Worthington Force' were tasked with taking Hill 195, taking an unfortunate wrong turn at 02:00 hours they ended up four miles east of Hill 195, closer to Hill 140, deep in German territory.[4] The regiment suffered heavy losses with total casualties of 128 men and 47 tanks. The leader of the force, BCR commander Lt. Col Don Worthington, was killed and the Algonquins' commander, Lt. Col. Art Hay, was seriously wounded. R.S.M. A. J. Primeau was killed by the same mortar bomb that seriously wounded Hay .[5] Leading up to August 31, 1944, the Algonquin Regiment, moving within the Fourth CAD, were tasked with filling the gap to the south at Hill 240, fighting alongside the Polish Armoured Division.[6] The period from August 31 to September 8 was a period of rapid movement into Belgium, halted on the eighth at the Leopold Canal. Fighting, all day and suffering multiple setbacks resulting in numerous casualties across all the regiments, ended August 14 with the Allies across the Leopold Canal desperately holding back the German counterattacks.[7] The regiment continued with the Fourth Division north out of Belgium into the Netherlands in a progression of battles for the north shore of the Sheldt area eventually leading to the liberation of Welberg and Steenbergen.[8] The operation to liberate Welberg was initiated on October 31, 1944, however with "D" Coy resting, all "A", "B" and "C" coys fell short of their objectives facing massive German counterattacks. Fighting continued on until November 1 when the regiment retreated back to a few km outside of Welberg. On November 2 they launched their second attack, this time along the right side of the town, fighting continued throughout the night.

By the end of November 3 all four coys had reached their target objectives and succeeded in the liberation of Welberg.[9] From November 5 to 8 the Algonquin Regiment rested in the Steenbergen area, the period proceeding became known as the "winter war" (November 1944-February 1945). Leading into Operation Blockbuster, this dislodgment of the German hinge in Hochwald on February 27, fighting to close the Hochwald gap began by mid day of March 3, 1945, the allies had completed their objectives. Over the next couple month the Algonquin Regiment continued to fight, as they had been the entire war, under the Cnd Fourth Division crossing the Rhine with the last round up (April 16-May 4) and cease fire called just past Rastede Germany.[10] As of January, 1946, the Algonquin Regiment's final death toll was 65 officers and 1235 other soldiers.[11]

Alliances[edit | edit source]

Recognition[edit | edit source]

The Freedom of the City was exercised by The Algonquin Regiment in Timmins, Ontario on Sept 22, 2012 and on Sept 22, 1977.[12]

Music[edit | edit source]

"Molly" by Honorary Chaplain Edward H. Capp, published in Ottawa by Orme & Son, circa 1906 was dedicated to the 97th Regiment, Canada (Algonquin rifles). First line: "Hear the tramp of soldiers marching" Chorus: "One kiss, Molly e'er I go" [13]

Order of precedence[edit | edit source]

Preceded by
The Cape Breton Highlanders
The Algonquin Regiment Succeeded by
The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's)

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Angus and Griffen (1997). We Lived a life and Then Some: The Life, death, and Life of A Mining Town. Toronto: Between The Lines. 
  2. Angus and Griffen (1997). We Lived a Life and Then Some: The Life, Death, and Life of A Mining Town. Toronto: Between The Lines. 
  3. O'neil, Henrietta T.. Finding Bill. 
  4. Copp, D. Whitaker and S. Whitaker (2004). Normandy: The Real Story: How Ordinary Allied Soldiers Defeated Hitler. Toronto: The random House Publishing Group. 
  5. Copp, D. Whitaker and S. Whitaker (2004). Normandy: The Real Story: How Ordinary Allied Soldiers Defeated Hitler. Toronto: The random House Publishing Group. 
  6. Cassidy (1948). Warpath: The Story of The Algonquin Regiment. Toronto: Ryerson. pp. 110, 111. 
  7. Cassidy (1948). Warpath: The Story of The Algonquin Regiment. Toronto: Ryerson. pp. 141–154. 
  8. Cassidy (1948). Warpath: The Story of The Algonquin Regiment. Toronto: Ryerson. pp. 169. 
  9. Catsburg (2010). Five Days In November. 
  10. Cassidy (1948). Warpath: The Story of The Algonquin Regiment. Toronto: Ryerson. pp. 320. 
  11. Cassidy (1948). Warpath: The Story of The Algonquin Regiment. Toronto: Ryerson. pp. 337. 
  12. Freedom of the City
  13. "L'immortel 22ème Canadien-français". http://amicus.collectionscanada.gc.ca/m5-bin/Main/ItemDisplay?l=0&l_ef_l=-1&id=498079.295835&v=1&lvl=1&coll=17&rt=1&itm=22579563&rsn=S_WWWraaWDnlOb&all=1&dt=SW+%7cregiment. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 

External links[edit | edit source]

[1]

  • [1]| The Algonquin Regiment History

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