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OVERVIEW

The King's Own Calgary Regiment has a history that dates back to 1910. The regiment has taken part in both world wars and many members of the regiment have been overseas on callouts with United Nations and NATO peacekeeping missions.

 

 

Early History

The King's Own Calgary Regiment traces its origin to the 103rd Regiment, Calgary Rifles raised April 10, 1910 at Calgary, Alberta. The regiment remained a Non-Permanent Active Militia unit during the 1914-1918 War and raised the 10th, 50th, 56th, 82nd and 137th Battalions, CEF between 1914 and 1919. And since those days past, members of the Regiment have continued the King's Own Calgary Regiment's proud military traditions by volunteering for United Nations and NATO missions.


World War I

The 50th Battalion CEF was mobilized in Calgary in November 1914, training in Calgary and Sarcee Camp. On June 19, 1915 the first draft of five officers and 200 men left for England where many became reinforcements for the 10th Battalion in France. This accounts for the inclusion of the names of Ypres and Festubert 1915 in the 50th Battalion's Battle Honours. The 50th again recruited to full strength and sailed from Halifax on October 27, 1915. On arrival in England it became part of 10 Brigade, 4th Canadian Division, CEF and arrived in France in early 1916. It took part in the battle of the Somme in October 1916, the attack on Vimy Ridge in April 1917 and the major battle at Passchendaele. In 1918 after the German breakthrough, the Regiment held its positions on the Arras front, and in August the Regiment participated in the battle of Amiens and the subsequent breaking of the Drocourt-Queant Line. In September 1918, with another unit, the Regiment cleared the Bourlon Wood and in October 1918 it participated in the capture of Valenciennes.

The unit suffered over 4000 casualties and among the many decorations won was the Victoria Cross (VC) won by Pte J.G. Pattison. In present day Calgary there is a bridge spanning the Bow River named after this soldier.


On February 11, 1941 the 14th Army Tank Regiment (The Calgary Regiment) was mobilized. In less than two weeks, 400 members of the Reserve unit plus 120 Seaforth Highlanders and 40 Edmonton Regiment reinforcements who were training at Currie Barracks, were formed into a complete unit under LtCol (later Brig) G.R. Bradbook, MC. It started training in the Mewata Armouries. The unit left Calgary on March 7, 1941 for Camp Borden and immediately started training using some old American tanks and one Valentine; their first introduction to D&M, gunnery and wireless.

On April 11, 1941 the advance party, one Major and five Sergeants proceeded to Scotland and were attached to the RTR for advanced training. On June 20, 1941 the unit left Borden for the UK. On June 1, 1941, 1 Canadian Armoured Brigade landed in Greenock, Scotland and proceeded to Salisbury Plains, where they lived under canvas. They were issued with carriers and Matilda tanks. In August 1941, they moved by rail to Linney Head, Wales to fire on tank ranges. In September 1941, the entire brigade concentrated in the Farnham Area for training with the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. LtCol Bradbrook was posted to the Middle East and LtCol J.G. Andrews took command. The Matilda tanks were replaced with Churchills and in September 1941 the brigade had an operation role in the south of England, and the unit was billeted in houses in Seaford. Along with schemes, the occasional Stand To, the firing at moving targets towed by launches and training with the Churchill tank, they were still able to get some leave. In May and June 1942, the Regiment moved to Osborne Beach, Isle of Wight, with the 2nd Cdn Div for waterproofing and to practice assault landings. After many rumours and cancellations they went back to Seaford. On August 19, 1942, the Regiment found themselves committed to Operation Jubilee, the Dieppe Raid. The Calgary Tanks, as the Regiment became known, went into history as the first tank regiment of the Canadian Army to engage in combat with the enemy. It was also the first occasion the Churchill tank saw action. The cost to the Regiment was two officers (including the commanding officer) and eleven men killed, two officers and thirty-one men wounded and 138 all ranks captured.

The unit returned to Seaford where reinforcements, reorganization and training were necessary. Later the Regiment moved to Worthing where the Churchills were withdrawn and the unit was equipped with Rams. In March 1943, LtCol C.H. Neroutsos, the Second-in-Command of the Three Rivers Regiment, took command of the Regiment on LtCol J. Begg's return to Canada to command # 2 Training Regiment at the Armoured Corps Training Centre in Camp Borden.

During the months of May and June 1943, the unit combined training with the waterproofing and issue of tropical kit. On June 17, 1943, the brigade started their move to Sicily with all identification signs removed. July 10, 1943 was the Brigade assault landing in support of the 1st Canadian Division at Pachino, Sicily with the 14th Armoured Regiment (Calgary Tanks) in the support and counter-attack role.

 

September 3, 1943 was the assault landing at Reggio Calabria in support of 1 Cdn Div and the Regiment started working up the east coast. On September 6, Italy

surrendered and resistance in the area became light. By September 20, the Regiment reached Potenza and on October 1, the Calgary Tanks supported the 1st Division in the Mota Battle, regarded as the heaviest fighting since Dieppe.On October 15 at Campobasso, a strong enemy counter attack with tanks and SP's was thrown back. On November 15, the 1st Brigade moved to the Adriactic in support of the 8th Indian Division. November 21 was the Sangro River Crossing and the capture of Lanciano was made by December 3, 1943. On December 9, the Regiment was in support of the 1st Canadian Division for the crossing of Moro River and attack of Vino Ridge at San Leonardo. This was the heaviest concentration of enemy tanks the Regiment had seen.

From December 1943 to April 1944, static positions were held in Lanciano Area where mud had taken over. It was wet and miserable, so the unit had finally billeted in houses. During this period, infantry combined tank training was carried out with the 8th Indian Division. April 1, 1944, 1 Brigade concentrated in Volturno Valley, continuing training with the 8th Indian Division until May 10. On May 11, 1944, preceded by the greatest artillery barrage since Alemein, the Calgary Regiment, still supporting the Indians, advanced to Pignataro on the left of Cassino. The Regiment then went on to Acquino and then, in a pursuit role without infantry, to the Melfa River. The complete action by the various units involved, carried through both the Gustav and Hitler Lines, and led to the fall of Rome on June 5, 1944.

June 7 to August 19, 1944 was the pursuit to Arezzo, bypassing Rome on the right. In this area fighting was so heavy that tank crews were relieved every 24 hours and a front line rest centre was created at Monte San Savino. It was in the Arezzo area that LtCol Richardson received his promotion. After overcoming resistance, the Regiment continued the advance and finally halted on the Arno River, west of Florence. Then they went to a rest area, and with leave, on to Sienna and Rome for maintenance and recreation.

August 25 to December 31, 1944 was the assault crossing of the Arno River and the advance to the Gothic Line. Here, the Regiment found themselves in mountainous country with the enemy about three thousand feet above.

There was almost continuous shelling, but the situation was now static for the winter. From January until March 15, 1945 defence positions were held in the Apennines and then the Regiment moved back to Florrence, then to Leghorn. From there, they were on to Belgium via the port of Marseilles.

From March 15 to April 8, 1945 the unit was billeted in Belgium and did some range work. On April 8, they moved to a concentration area in the Reichwald Forest and were engaged in a pepperpot shoot in support of the crossing of the Ijsel River. The Regiment then went on to Arnhem, Apeldoorn and Ede, where they were engaged in light patrol action until the end of hostilities on VE Day, May 8, 1945.

After various administrative moves, as things wound down, the unit moved to the Leeuwarden Area, then to England and finally home to Calgary, Alberta. The unit was officially disbanded December 15, 1945, and made the transition back to reserve status.


KOCR Museum

The King's Own Gallery was an original part of the Museums of the Regiments, now renamed "The Military Museums."  The Museum is open daily from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm.  For more information, visit the Military Museums website.


The King's Own Calgary Regiment (50 CEF/14 CTR) Association

The King's Own Calgary Regiment (50 CEF/14 CTR) Association honours all veterans of the Regiment from the First World War to the present day.   The 50 CEF/14 CTR refers to the Wartime designations of the Regiment; the 50th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, and the 14th Armoured Regiment (Calgary Tanks).  The Association holds annual summer reunions, and monthly luncheons on the first thursday of the month at the No. 264 Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, 1910 Kensington Road NW, Calgary.  If you previoulsy served in the Regiment, you can contact the Association by mail at:

4520 Crowchild Trail SW
Calgary, AB, T2T 5J4. 

Membership is $1.00.

 

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Copyright 2008 The King's Own Calgary Regiment Regimental Funds Foundation