The Calgary Highlanders
The Calgary Highlanders is a reserve infantry regiment that was originally raised in 1910 as the 103rd Regiment (Calgary Rifles).
In 1921, the Calgary Regiment was divided into two Battalions; the 1st Battalion became the Calgary Highlanders and the 2nd Battalion became the King's Own Calgary Regiment.
The Calgary Highlanders have won Battle Honours in both world wars. The regiment's first major battle was the counter-attack at Kitchener's Wood during the Second Battle of Ypres during the First World War, where the regiment suffered over 600 casualties, 22 April 1915.
The Calgary Highlanders
The Calgary Highlanders trace their lineage to the 103rd Regiment (Calgary Rifles), a militia regiment raised in the city in 1910. When the First World War broke out in 1914, the 103rd contributed men to the 10th Battalion, which was being mobilized at Valcartier in Quebec.
The 10th Battalion saw their first action at the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915 when they counter-attacked Kitchener’s Wood near the town of St. Julien in Belgium following the German’s first use of chlorine gas on the Western Front.
The battalion suffered eighty percent casualties in the fierce 6-hour battle. During the war, two soldiers of the “Fighting Tenth” were awarded the Victoria Cross for valour; Pte Harry Brown at Hill 70 on 16 August 1917 and A/Sgt Arthur George Knight at Villers-lez-Cagnicourt on 2 September 1918.
Following the war the Canadian militia was reorganized. The 10th Battalion’s memory and battle-honours were perpetuated by the newly-organized 1st Battalion, The Calgary Regiment, the Calgary Highlanders.
Second World War
The Calgary Highlanders were mobilized on September 1, 1939 on the outbreak of the Second World War. In August 1942 the mortar platoon of the battalion was involved in the Dieppe Raid. The battalion landed in France in July 1944 and fought with honour for the rest of the war in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. The fierce action at the Walcheren Causeway in Holland in October 1944 is commemorated annually with pride.
At the end of the war, the regiment returned to Calgary, where it has maintained its headquarters through years of change. The unit has at times been equipped as Mechanized Infantry, but in more recent years has begun training for the light role. Light Infantry focus their training and operations on fast movement, relying on speed and stealth for protection, and are used in mountainous terrain, amphibious and airmobile operations, and cities.
Many Highlanders have served with regular force units on United Nations and NATO missions overseas, including Cyprus, Egypt, the Golan Heights, Croatia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Kosovo, and recently in Afghanistan. On the domestic front, many of the unit’s soldiers volunteered to assist in the firefighting efforts around Vernon in the summer of 2003.
The unit was allied with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (UK) in 1925. In 1982, HM Queen Elizabeth II graciously accepted the appointment of Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment. In 1990 HM presented the Highlanders with a new Queen’s Colour at an impressive ceremony at McMahon Stadium in Calgary. Of the 44 Battle Honours awarded to the Regiment in the two World Wars, 20 are emblazoned on the Regimental Colour. There are four Cadet Corps in the Calgary area affiliated with the Regiment.