Topic: Battle Honours
On 16 August 1812, a force comprised mainly of British Regulars and Canadian Militiamen totaling 1360 crossed the Detroit River under the command of Major General Isaac Brock to attack Fort Detroit. Defended by Brigadier General William Hull and a force of approximately 2500, it was by a series of ruses and feints that Brock led his opponent to believe that the besieging force as much stronger that it actually was. As a result, Fort Detroit was surrendered to Brock with few losses on either side. The strength of 1360 for Brock's force does not include the First Nations warriors that were present, and the number is taken from the published Prize Money list for those eligible for reward for being present at the action (see the list below).
Following the War of 1812, the 41st (The Welch) Regiment of Foot was awarded the Battle Honour "DETROIT" for its role in the action.
In 2012, the Canadian Government decided to award Battle Honours to War of 1812 units and to link these honours to perpetuating modern Canadian Army units. Eleven separate Battle Honours were awarded to units of the Canadian Militia at Detroit. These eleven honours are perpetuated today by five infantry regiments, one armoured reconnaissance regiment and one artillery regiment of the Canadian Army.
Out of Brock's force of 1360 officers, non-commissioned officers and men, 1076 belonged to line infantry units which might be eligible for battle honours. Of these, 302 were on the roll of the 41st Regiment and 774 belonged to the Canadian Militia regiments at Detroit.
540 of those present (70% of 774) belonged to the regiments of Militia that are now perpetuated by the Essex & Kent Scottish Regiment. These are the 1st and 2nd Regiments of Essex Militia and the 1st Regiment of Kent Militia. The remaining 30%, or 234, share eight awarded Battle Honours and are now held by five perpetuating regiments:
- The Queen's York Rangers perpetuate the 1st and 3rd Regiments York Militia which, combined, had 87 officers, NCOs and men present.
- The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry perpetuates the 2nd Regiment York Militia which, combined with the 5th Regiment Lincoln Militia had 65, all ranks, present.
- The Lincoln and Welland Regiment perpetuates the 5th Regiment Lincoln Militia which, combined with the 2nd Regiment York Militia had 65, all ranks, present.
- The 56th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, perpetuate the 1st and 2nd Regiments Norfolk Militia which, combined, had 68, all ranks, present.
- The Royal Canadian Regiment perpetuates the 1st Regiment of Oxford Militia and the 1st Regiment of Middlesex Militia which, combined, had one officer and 13 NCOs and men present at Detroit.
The largest single regimental presence by the Canadian Militia at Detroit for which a Battle Honour was awarded was the 1st Regiment Essex Militia which paraded 312 all ranks. The smallest single regimental presence by the Canadian Militia at Detroit for which a Battle Honour was awarded was the lone officer of the 1st Regiment of Middlesex Militia, followed by the 13 NCOs and soldiers of the 1st Regiment of Oxford Militia.
The force structure and unit strengths shown in the following table has been extracted from The Publications of the Champlain Society; Select British Documents of the Canadian War of 1812, Volume 1 (Toronto, The Champlain Society, 1920)
British Forces Listed as Eligible to claim Prize Money from their Involvement in the Surrender at Detroit 16 August 1812.
|Offrs / NCO / Men||British Army BHs Awarded||Canadian BHs Awarded (2012)||Currently held by|
|General and Staff Offrs||9 / -/ -|
|Field Train Department||1 / 1 / -|
|Commissariat||1 / 2 / -|
|Militia Staff Officers||4 / - / -|
|Royal Artillery||1 / 5 / 24|
|41st Regiment of Foot||13 / 26 / 263||41st (The Welch) Regiment of Foot||The Royal Welsh|
|Royal Newfoundland Fencible Regiment||4 / 8 / 41|
|Provincial Marine Department||5 / 9 / 119|
|1st/3rd Regts York Militia||4 / 6 / 77||1st Regt York Militia|
3rd Regt York Militia
|Queen's York Rangers|
|2nd York/5th Lincoln Militia||3 / 3 / 59||2nd Regt York Militia|
5th Regt Lincoln Militia
|Royal Hamilton Light Infantry|
Lincoln and Welland Regt
|1st Regt York Militia||2 / 3 / 19|
|2nd Regt Norfolk Milita||6 / 3 / 59||1st Regt Norfolk Militia|
2nd Regt Norfolk Militia
|56th Fd Arty Regt, RCA|
|1st Middlesex (attd to Norfolk)||1 / - / -||1st Regt Middlesex Militia||The Royal Canadian Regiment|
|Oxford Militia||- / 2 / 11||1st Regt Oxford Militia||The Royal Canadian Regiment|
|1st Essex Militia||22 / 32 / 258||1st Regt Essex Militia||E&K Scot|
|2nd Essex Militia||23 / 11 / 131||2nd Regt Essex Militia||E&K Scot|
|1st Kent Militia||9 / 8 / 46||1st Regt Kent Militia||E&K Scot|
|Troop of Essex Militia Cavalry||1 / 1 / 4|
|Indian Department||5 / 11|
|49th Regiment||- / - / 1|
|Officers (regts not mentioned)||3 / - / -|
|Total||117 / 131 / 1112||1||11||5 Inf + 1 Armd Recce + 1 Arty unit|