1st & 2nd Battalions

Regular Force - Our 1st and 2nd Battalions

111_squadIn the inter-war years Canada had made do with a minuscule force of between three and four thousand men. Their job was little more than to train the Militia both for direct national defence and for the tasks associated with the provision of expeditionary forces overseas should the mother country ask for assistance and should Canada decide to answer its call. In 1947, however, permanent armed forces of some 25,000 men in peace-time were formed. Of these, 2,299 officers and 13,586 other ranks were to be in the Active Force of the army. This army was no longer to be merely a trainer of the Militia but would be available for more swift-moving international events to which Canada might have to respond. While the Militia remained the larger force numerically, its training would no longer be the first priority of the Regular Army.

The formation and reinforcement of NATO in 1949-1951, and the beginning of the conflict in Korea in 1950 added further urgency to the peace-time armed forces of Canada which were expanded in these contexts, and in the wider one of the "cold war", to over 120,000 personnel. Of these, some 5,400 officers and 44,600 other ranks were in the Army.

Canada's Armed Forces were completely reorganized at the end of World War II. When NATO was formed for Western Europe and the Korean War, the forces were expanded, resulting in the creation of three additional infantry regiments in the regular force. The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada was one of these regiments, with two regular battalions. From 1953-1970, these battalions saw service in Korea, in Germany with the NATO forces, and regular tours of duty with the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

Disaster struck the regiment in 1969. IN that year it was decided to combine the resources of six existing Regular Force regiments to form three regiments of three battalions each. The seniority of The Black Watch in the order of battle as a regular force unit only went back as far as 1953 in an unbroken lineage and therefore suffered under the government ax. The 1st and 2nd Battalions were reduced to nil strength and the combined manpower was amalgamated to form the new 2nd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment on 1 July 1970. Once again the regiment was survived by its Militia battalion, the 3rd at the time, in Montreal.

Former members of these two Regular Force Battalions still play a very strong role in Regimental life to this day and continue to wear the Red Hackle proudly. Their legacy is embodied in the strength of the Black Watch Association, and in particular the Atlantic Branch, which still draws over a thousand members at regularly held reunions.

See A Short History of the Regiment


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