The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders

A brief history

History - The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders - St. Andrew's Society of Winnipeg

An infantry regiment within the Army Reserve, the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada form part of the combat arms capability of 38 Canadian Brigade Group. Organized with a Battalion Headerquarters (Command elements), a Rifle Company (A Coy) and a Headquarters Company (HQ Coy) comprised of the Pipes & Drums, Regimental Stores and the Regimental Museum, the Camerons fulfill both military and ceremonial functions at home and abroad. As an infantry regiment, te unit's main focus it to provide trained infantry soldiers to meet the operational requirements of the Canadian Forces. Whether it is augmenting Regular Force units on overseas operations such as Afghanistan or fighting floods and forest fires at home, the Camerons provide a ready source of training soldiers.


History

On 1 February 1910 Western Canada's first highland regiment, the 79th Cameron Highlanders of Canada, was gazetted, after lobbying by the Scottish community in Manitoba from as early as 1905. The Regiment staged its first official parade on 9 October 1910 and was presented with its first stand of colours by the wife of the Lieutenant Governor, Mrs. D.C. Cameron. The availability of the number "79" was fortuitous and enabled the new Canadian regiment to emulate its namesake in Scotland. This association with the imperial Cameron's became official on 31 January 1911 a contingent of 61 Cameron's, parading with their allied regiment, participated in the coronation of King George V.


History - The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders - St. Andrew's Society of Winnipeg
The First World War

When the First World War broke out the Commanding Officer of the 79th Cameron Highlanders of Canada placed his regiment at the disposal of the Department of Militia and Defence. Under Sir Sam Hughes' mobilization plan however, militia regiments were now to remain in Canada acting as drafting units. Only a company of 7 officers and 250 other ranks were initially accepted. They mustered at Camp Valcartier, Quebec where, along with drafts from three other Highland Militia Regiments, they formed one of the new overseas units - the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) CEF. The 79th Cameron's next task was to supply a company (10 officers, 250 other ranks) for the 27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion. The first complete Cameron battalion, the 43rd, was form on 18 December 1914. They left Winnipeg on 29 May and embarked for England on 1 June 1915 with a complement of 39 officers and 1020 other ranks. Assigned to the 9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division, the 43rd Battalion CEF (Cameron Highlanders of Canada) arrived in France on 22 February 1916 and served with distinction until the end of the war.


The Second World War

The Cameron's were officially notified of the impending war on 1 September when ordered to mobilize and recruit to a strength of 807 all ranks. Within seventeen days, the Battalion was at full strength. In April 1940, under a new War Department directive, the Cameron's turn in their kilts, and the new battledress trousres and blouses were issued. They would not fight in the traditional highland garb as had the Regiment had twenty-five years earlier. The 1st Battalion embarked for overseas on 16 December 1940, arriving in the UK on Christmas Eve as part of the 6th Infantry Brigade of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division.


On 19 August 1942, they took part in the raid of Dieppe. Although the Cameron's made the deepest penetration of the day, the main landing at Dieppe had been unsuccessful. The unit returned to France on 7 July 1944 and was quickly back in action, capturing the French town of St. Andre-Sur-Orne on 17 July 1944. By 5 May 1945, the Cameron's were in Germany, having fought their way through France and Holland. Garrison duty kept the Battalion in Germany and Holland until the end of the September when they returned to England and then back to Canada, arriving home in Winnipeg on 22 November 1945.


For further information on the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, please visit their website: http://thequeensowncameronhighlandersofcanada.net.