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TOPIC: Battle honours demanded
Battle honours demanded 5 Years, 8 Months ago
Posted 14 hours ago
CORNWALL — With the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 only a musket shot away, Bill Shearing is among a group of historical militia advocates taking aim at no other than the National Department of Defence.

The group, calling its effort, Honour our 1812 Heroes (HOH), want the highest recognition for the regiments that were created from volunteers of the general populace to safeguard Ontario and Quebec during the War of 1812.

“By the time a peace treaty was signed on 24 December 1814, hundreds of Canadian soldiers — and their aboriginal warrior allies — had been killed or wounded defending their homeland and families,” said the HOH in a lengthy public relations statement.

“Unfortunately, their valour and sacrifice has largely been forgotten,” the HOH continued.

The HOH said the Dept. of National Defence (DND) could redress these sacrifices with two measures:

• securing official recognition for the Canadian military units,

• awarding the highest award for a regiment, known as Battle Honours, which would preserve the legacy of the War of 1812 soldiers to those units which have succeeded them.

Battle Honours are distinctions “awarded to provide recognition and to record a combatant unit’s active participation in battle against a formed and armed enemy.”

But current DND guidelines have stonewalled HOH efforts.

“In this respect, perhaps the worst culprit is the DND which has steadfastly denied any official link between the Canadian regiments of the War of 1812 and their modern counterparts,” the HOH states.

“Still worse, the DND has refused to acknowledge the valour of the Canadian regiments and soldiers that fought in the War of 1812 by granting Battle Honours they won in that conflict, which might be placed on the regimental colours of their modern counterparts.”

A unit’s colours are the flags which bear the unit’s badge, motto and Battle Honours.

One such unit is the local S,D and G Highlanders Regiment, which can claim kinship with the 1st Regiment, Dundas Militia, 1st Regiment, Stormont Militia, and the 1st and 2nd Regiments, Glengarry Militia.

Shearing is a retired colonel of the Highlanders.

He has joined the HOH cause, even though this places him in the uncomfortable position of criticizing military hierarchy.

At this, Shearing leans back and, with a wry smile, explains that a subordinate officer can sometimes overcome opposition from a superior by discreetly lobbying an even higher ranking officer — in this case Minister of Defence Peter Mackay.

Realizing the (DND) has dug in its heels, he has started to rally local support to exert “political” will on the DND.

Local MP Guy Lauzon has already written to Mackay.

“I offer my full endorsement and support for this recognition and hope (the DND) can see that it comes to fruition,” stated Lauzon, who adds the Lost Villages Historical Society (which preserves the link of the communities that were threatened by the Americans) also supports the HOH.

Shearing added talks have recently taken place with the Chesterville and Glengarry historical societies.

Military officers, such as Shearing, place a great deal of pride in formal recognition.

“My frustration is that I believe, in the military, that heritage should be a key thing.

“And (official honours are) a motivator, in turn, for the current regiment."

Shearing said war tales of hardiness and toil give a sense of perspective to new recruits, especially.

In past incidents, Shearing, to motivate a disheartened soldier, would tell of the ordeal the Second World War Highlanders endured for 51 days, from the landing of Normandy to the push through France.

Shearing agrees with the points HOH makes to extend Battle Honours to, not just the S,D and G Highlanders, but several other units.

HOH believes the DND is following its Battle Honours guidelines far too stringently.

One stumbling block is the broken link between War of 1812 units, who operated under the British Army, and modern Canadian Army units that are recognized from 1855 onwards.

Shearing cites the inconsistencies of DND guidelines.

For example, according to the DND, the S,D and G Highlanders were formed in 1922.

And yet, the Highlanders were given Battle Honours stemming from contributions of the 154th Battalion, which had fought in the First World War (1914-18).

Many of these soldiers of the 154th continued to serve afterwards with the Highlanders.

Still another inconsistency exists with another S,D and G based battalion, the 59th, which suffered 94 casualties, but received no honours.

The HOH also points out that various American units have received equivalent honours.

One detriment that led to the lack of recognition for Canadian War of 1812 combatants was the lack of continuity, for both the units and commanding officers.

The British general in command, Sir George Prevost, was unable to apply for Battle Honours on his Canadian soldiers behalf due to his early departure from Canada and his death in 1816.

The Canadian units had no representatives themselves due to their disbanding shortly after the war.

Not all the units were forgotten, however. Three units received the Battle Honour “Niagara” for their participation in the Battle of Lundy’s Lane.

Strangely, two other crucial battles that halted American advances, in our backyard, at Crysler’s Farm, and Chateauguay, south of Montreal, did not receive Battle Honours.

Redress has been absent since then.

Although the DND espouses to a theme of perpetuation in order for an existing unit to become the “safe-keeper” of “deeds and sacrifices” performed by previous units which have an identifiable link with the current unit.

Unfortunately, DND adheres to a policy that will not permit any perpetuation of a military unit that exists before 1855 (the year Upper and Lower Canada re-formed into the United Canadas.

Furthermore, the HOH claims the DND won’t issue Battle Honours on War of 1812 units, claiming they were under the command of the British Army.

Likewise, the British say engagements fought on Canadian soil should be under the DND’s responsibility.

When contacted, the DND had little to say about HOH’s requests.

“As you know, the War of 1812 was instrumental in the continued development of Canada’s military forces and many current serving Canadian Regiments embrace their local military heritage from the wartime period,” said Melanie Villeneuve, communications advisor.

“The Government of Canada, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces are committed to the commemoration of the War of 1812 as part of Canada’s heritage.

“Once these initiatives have been finalized, they will be officially announced by the Government of Canada as part of events planned to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

HOH said the DND’s refusal flies in the face of a $28 million budget to commemorate War of 1812 events across the country.

Specifically, HOH wants the DND to enact these measures:

• a specific link established between modern units and their War of 1812 predecessors;

• the awarding of a new theatre Battle Honour: Defence of Canada, 1812-1815, to have enacted new Battle Honours stemming from engagements at Detroit, Queenston, Miami and Niagara, and new Battle Honours for Crysler’s Farm and Chateauguay.

These new honours would apply to all modern units which can claim links to War of 1812 units.

HOH is asking that residents help their cause by writing to Peter Mackay, Minister of Defence, House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1A 0A6
OutWest (User)
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Re:Battle honours demanded 5 Years, 8 Months ago  
Looks like you done a lot of home work on this issue.
The best of luck to you on obtaining this" Battle Honour"
woody (User)
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Gender: Male Woody Location: Bowmanville Ontario Birthdate: 1942-09-23
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Re:Battle honours demanded 5 Years, 8 Months ago  
Im sorry but I posted it as I thought it would be of interst to members as I know many here are history buffs and it would be nice for the present day regiments to be able to show how thier predessors played a part in the forming of our country
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