Topic: Canadian Army
Royal Canadian Artillery Observes Centennial With Big Show on Hill
Ottawa Citizen; 26 May 1955
By Dave McIntosh, Canadian Press Staff Writer
"I think all the other arms have done very well, too. But the artillery has been terrific …"
Canada's gunners will probably hark back to this message today when the Royal Canadian Artillery celebrates its centennial. It is the oldest military formation in Canada.
The ceremonies began at 12.30 p.m. when Maj.-Gen. H.O.N. Brownfield of Brockville, Ont., Honorary Colonel Commandant of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, inspected a guard of honour drawn up on the lawn in front of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.
Canadian gunners everywhere held special parties and parades. There now are 5,000 regular soldiers serving in 12 artillery units. The 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, is part of the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade in Germany.
"Artillery Day" actually marks the centennial of five units—the 2nd Field Battery of Ottawa, 7th Field Battery of Montreal, 11th Field Battery of Hamilton, 32nd Field Battery of Brockville and 57th Locating Battery of Quebec City.
Cannon fire echoed across forest clearings in Canada as long ago as 1636 when French settlers in Quebec prepared themselves for defence against the Indians.
A history of the Canadian artillery remarks that "the small cannon, if they did little to reduce the Indian population, at least impressed it."
Militia units manned some 23 guns in the defence of Quebec against Sir William Phips' attack in 1690. Volunteer gunners were in action at Pres de Ville, Que., in the Revolutionary War of 1775-76 and Canadian gunners saw action in the War of 1812-15.
In 1855, the Militia Act was passed by Canada's united Parliament (Quebec and Ontario only). Part of the 5,000-man authorized force included seven batteries of field artillery.
Gen. Strange used to turn out his gunners for sudden exercises at night, to the wrath of the sleeping citizens of Quebec.
Two regular batteries and many militia artillery units took part in the 1885 northwest campaign.
Some 38,000 of the 44,000 gunners who enlisted in the First World War served overseas. A total of 2,031 gunners were killed and another 7,953 wounded. Two batteries served in north Russia and one in Siberia.
In 1926, the RCA's motto was adopted officially. It is "Ubique, quo fas et gloria ducunt" ("everywhere, wither right and glory lead").
The sad day arrived in 1929 when the regiment—gunners refer to the RCA simply as "the regiment"—was informed it was to become mechanized but it was not until 1937 that it parted with its last horse, the same year that the first peacetime anti-aircraft batteries were formed.
In the Second World War, the gunners suffered 5,592 casualties, 1,223 of them fatal.
Gunners of the 3rd Division fired their 105-millimeter howitzers from landing craft before they set foot in France June 6, 1944. they were joined later by the 4th Division and 2nd Canadian Corps Artillery.
Canadian gunners have also served in Korea. The 2nd Regiment, RCHA, was the first on the scene, followed by the 1st, 4th, and 3rd Regiments, in that order.