Topic: Battle Honours
How one Canadian Army regiment celebrates two battle honours that happened on the same dates 650 miles apart.
A regiment's list of battle honours is often colloquially described as "the major battles our regiment fought in." Often the speaker hasn't examine the list closely, other than as a simple list of place names and so they pass on what they have heard without deepening their understanding through personal study. With the evolution of Canadian Army regiments over past decades, it is possible for a regiment's list of honours to present apparent conflicts when two honours overlap in time, but were widely separated geographically. A careful study of a regiment's past, especially of the diverse regimental origins that lad to subsequent amalgamations to form the modern regiment is needed to unravel the conflict. In such cases, the battle honours were won by two separate regiments which, later joined to form the current regiment with its combined list of battle honours. One such example is found with the Royal New Brunswick Regiment.
The Carleton and York Regiment
Themselves a result of the 1937 amalgamation of the York Regiment and the Carleton Light Infantry, The Carleton and York Regiment was mobilized for the Second World War in 1939. After landing at Pachino, Sicily, on 10 July 1943, as a battalion of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade (1st Canadian Infantry Division), the regiment fought throughout the Sicily and Italy campaigns.
Among the Battle Honours awarded to the Carleton and York Regiment for actions in Italy was the honour "GOTHIC LINE." The defining dates for eligibility for this battle honour are 25 August to 22 September 1944.
The North Shore Regiment
In 1922, the Northumberland (New Brunswick) Regiment was redesignated as the North Shore (N.B.) Regiment. The regiment was mobilized in 1940 and, after training in England, landed at Normandy on 6 June, 1944, as a battalion of the 8th Infantry Brigade (3rd Canadian Infantry Division).
Among the Battle Honours awarded to the North Shore (N.B.) Regiment for actions in Northwest Europe was the honour "THE SEINE, 1944." The defining dates for eligibility for this battle honour are 25 to 28 Aug 44.
The Royal New Brunswick Regiment
In 1954, these two proud Canadian regiments were amalgamated again, with one another and also with the New Brunswick Scottish and the 28th Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery. This resulted in the two battalions of The New Brunswick Regiment being formed; the 1st Battalion, NBR (Carleton and York) with HQ at Saint John, and the 2nd Battalion, NBR (North Shore) with HQ at Newcastle (later Bathurst), NB. In 1956, the regiment would be granted the Royal honorific, becoming The Royal New Brunswick Regiment (RNBR).
With the pace of administration of Battle Honours lagging behind the speed of reorganization of the Militia, the RNBR would be granted the following Battle Honours in 1957, combining those earned by both the Carleton and York Regiment and the North Shore (N.B.) Regiment:
1st Battalion, The Royal New Brunswick Regiment (Carleton and York) and 2nd Battalion, The Royal New Brunswick Regiment (North Shore) - "LANDING IN SICILY, Valguarnera, SICILY 1943, Landing at Reggio, Gambatesa, The Sangro, The Gully, Point 59, CASSINO II, Gustav Line, LIRI VALLEY, Hitler Line, Melfa Crossing, GOTHIC LINE, LAMONE CROSSING, RIMINI LINE, San Fortunato, Naviglio Canal, ITALY 1943-45, NORMANDY LANDING, CAEN, Carpiquet, BOURGUEBUS RIDGE, Faubourg de Vaucelles, FALAISE, Falaise Road, Quesnay Wood, The Laison, Chambois, The Seine, 1944, Moerkerke, THE SCHELDT, Breskens Pocket, The Lower Maas, Kapelsche Veer, THE RHINELAND, Waal Flats, The Hochwald, THE RHINE, Emmerich - Hoch Elten, Zutphen, Apeldoorn, Kusten Canal, Bad Zwischenahn, NORTH-WEST EUROPE 1944-45" (Cdn Army Orders, Issue No. 573, 9 December 1957)
It is through this series of amalgamations and changes of name that one regiment can today celebrate two battlefield actions which took place on the same day, though over 600 miles apart.
Renaming the 2nd Battalion, The Royal New Brunswick Regiment (North Shore)
In 2011, Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced that the name of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal New Brunswick Regiment (North Shore) will be changed back to the North Shore Regiment. It is yet to be confirmed if this constitutes a reversal of the 1956 amalgamation of regiments that formed the two battalions of The Royal New Brunswick Regiment, which the renaming would appear to indicate. If this reversal is confirmed then the two remaining units, "The Royal New Brunswick Regiment" and the "North Shore Regiment," should revert back to their pre-amalgamation lists of battle honours.