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The Ontario Regiment RCAC Museum, Oshawa Ontario

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The Ontario Regiment RCAC Museum maintains Canada's largest collection of operational military vehicles. Our popular 'Tank Saturdays' are an experience for the senses and visitors of all ages. Join us throughout Spring/Summer to see Canadian, Commonwealth and Allied Forces' military vehicles up close and in action!

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  Regimental History
   
  CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS
   
 

The Guidon

 

 

The word Guidon is derived from the french term "Gayd-homme " or guide man. Every regiment of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps has in its possession either a Regimental Standard (in the case of a guards a regiment) or a Regimental Guidon. These banners bear the unit's battle honours and symbols denoting its historical lineage. The Guidon is treated as the Regiment's most precious possession.

 

Description

 

Our Guidon is almost identical to that used by the British cavalry. The Guidon is made of crimson silk damask cloth, measuring 27 x 41 inches, curving to a swallow-tail fly. The fringe is made of gilted thread and the cord and tassels are woven with gold and crimson.

 

The regimental badge is the centre device with white rams occupying the upper left and lower right corners of the Guidon. The ram was one of the original symbols used to denote the units of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps. Roman numerals denoting 116 and 34 adorn the bottom left and top right corners of the banner, paying homage to 116th and 34th Battalions, the Regiment's principal predecessors.

 

A selection of the Regiment's most significant battle honours are positioned in vertical rows of gold scrolls on either side of the cap badge. The regimental motto, Fidelis et Paratus, appears in gold on a gold-edged crimson scroll below the wreath of maple leaves. The gilded finial atop the Guidon's staff is comprised of a lion statant gardant royally crowned, surmounting a crown cast in gilt.

 

 

Official Presentation (1967)

The Ontarios' Guidon was consecrated and presented by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 5 July 1967 during an impressive ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
The Guidon Sergeant Major that day was MWO (SSM) James Parsons CD of Oshawa.

 

Clockwise from top: 1. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II presents the Ontarios' new Guidon to the late MWO (SSM) James Parsons on Parliament Hill, 5 Jul 1967. 2. An overview of the large parade. The four other regiments receiving their new colours along with the Ontarios included: First Hussars; Sherbrooke Hussars; Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa and the 1st and 2nd Battalions of now-defunct Canadian Guards. 3. The late MWO (SSM) Joseph Frendo-Cumbo stands at ease in the front rank of the Ontarios' contingent. 4. The Queen inspects the five regiments from her jeep accompanied by the parade commander, LCol CV Carlson CD AdeC, Commanding Officer of 2 Cdn Gds).

 

The parade was organized as part of Canada's Centennial Year celebrations. Other units who received colours that afternoon included The First Hussars, The Sherbrooke Hussars, two battalions of the Canadian Guards, and the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa.

 

Prior to 1967, our unit's Regimental colours were comprised of the Sovereign's Colour and the Regimental Colour, in the infantry tradition (owing to the Regiment's infantry heritage). During a ceremony in 1968, these colours were permanently laid up at St. George's Anglican Church in downtown Oshawa, the unit's official Regimental church.

 

 

The Guidon Party

 

The Guidon Party consists of the Bearer, two Escorts and an Orderly or Encasing NCO. The Bearer or Guidon Sergeant Major is a position held by the Ontarios' Senior Crewman Master Warrant Officer, typically the Regiment's Technical Quartermaster Sergeant or Squadron Sergeant Major of Headquarters Squadron. The two Guidon Escorts are Crewman Sergeants (or Warrant Officers) of the Regiment. The Guidon Orderly is normally held by a Crewman Sergeant.

 

Handling, Care and Display

 

The Guidon is stored for safekeeping in the officers' mess, entrusted to the care of the Regiment's junior officers. During transport, the Guidon must be safely stored in a case and personally escorted by the Orderly.

 

The Ontarios' Guidon is paraded on occasions such as change of command ceremonies, Remembrance Day, funerals for certain serving or former senior appointments, Regimental church services, the Regiment's anniversary (in September) and other significant occasions.

 

On several occasions during the 1980s, the Guidon was paraded in mounted format using three ferrets of in our Museum's collection (seen at right).

 

A more formal ceremony known as the Trooping of the Colour has taken place during the Regiment's centennial celebration (Oshawa, 1966) and its 125th anniversary celebration (Whitby, 1991).

 

On 17 September 2016, the Regiment will again troop the Guidon at its 150th Anniversary Parade at Oshawa's General Motors Centre.

 

The Guidon is always paraded by itself or with other military colors only. It may not be paraded with other flags or ensigns.

 

 

The ret'd Regimental Colours

 

Several sets of colours were borne by the Regiment between 1866 and 1966.

 

Owing to the unit's infantry origins, these consisted of two banners: a Sovereign's flag and a Regimental flag denoting the battle honours earned during the two World Wars. The Ontarios' colours were deposited at the Regiment's spiritual home, St. George's Memorial Church in downtown Oshawa, prior to the unit's departure for England in 1940.

 

After the Guidon was presented in 1967, these colours were laid up at St. George's in 1968. The colours were subsequently moved to the McLaughlin Branch of the Oshawa Public Library where they hang directly above the main entrance (visible on exit).

 

The old colours were borne by two lieutenants and escorted by a Colour Sergeant Major and two Senior NCOs. Our Regiment's last infantry colours were paraded in 1966 during the colourful Trooping of the Colour ceremony and mounted roll past held at the GM headquarters in Oshawa. This event was attended by over 4000 people and held in the presence of Ontarios's Lieutenant Governor. The colours of Ontario County Volunteers and the 34th Regiment (shown at left) now hang in our Regimental Museum.

 

 

Battle Honours

 

The Ontarios have earned a long list of battle honours during active duty in two World Wars.

 

  World War I

Somme, 1916; Arras, 1917; Vimy, 1917; Hill 70; Ypres, 1917; Passchendaele; Amiens; Arras, 1918; Scarpe, 1918; Drocourt-Queant; Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord; Cambrai, 1918; Valenciennes; France and Flanders, 1916-18.

 

  World War II

Pursuit to Messina; Sicily, 1943; Colle d'Anchise; The Gully; Casa Berardi; Ortona; Point 59; Cassino II; Gustav Line; St Angelo in Teodice; Liri Valley; Aquino; Trasimene Line; Sanfatucchio; Arezzo; Advance to Florence; Italy, 1943-45; Arnhem, 1945; North-West Europe, 1945

The bold-faced battle honours were selected to emblazoned on the Regimental Guidon.

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Regimental Marches

 

 

       The official Dismounted March

John Peel

(Traditional)

 

D'ye ken John Peel and his coat so gay?

D'ye ken John Peel at the break of day?

D'ye ken John Peel when he's far, far away?

Or his hounds and his horn in the morning?

 

For the sound of his horn brought me from my bed,

And the cry of his hounds which he oftime led,

Peel's 'View, Halloo!' could awaken the dead,

Or the fox from his lair in the morning.

 

Yes, I ken John Peel and his Ruby, too!

Ranter and Ringwood, Bellman so true!

From a find to a check, from a check to a view,

From a view to a kill in the morning.

 

John Peel (c.1776-1854) was a farmer and huntsman who lived in Cumberland, England. The subject of this traditional 18th century English folk melody, Peel was renowned for a pack of fox hounds he kept on his farm.

 

       The Official Mounted March

My Boy Willie

(Traditional/T.L. Wallace)

 

O, where have you been all the day,
My boy Willie?
O, where have you been all the day,
Willie, won't you tell be now?
I've been all the day, courting a lady gay,
But she is too young to be taken from her Mammy.

 

O, can she brew, and can she bake,
My boy Willie?
O, can she brew, and can she bake,
Willie, won't you tell be now?
she can brew, and she can bake,
and she can make a wedding cake,
But she is too young to be taken from her Mammy.

 

O, can she knit, and can she spin,
My boy Willie?
O, can she knit, and can she spin,
Willie, won't you tell me now?
She can knit, and she can spin,
and she can do 'most anything,
But she is too young to be taken from her Mammy.

 

O, how old is she now,
My boy Willie?
O, how old is she now,
Willie, won't you tell me now?
Twice six, twice sev'n,
Twice twenty and eleven,
But she is too young to be taken from her Mammy.

 

My Boy Willie was also adopted as the march of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps.

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Regimental Band

 

During the nineteenth century, bands played a very prominent role in the life of Canada's regular and militia army units.

 

Since 1866, the 34th Battalion and its successor units through to the 116th Battalion, 182nd Battalion, and the Ontarios maintained excellent brass marching bands. The band was awarded top national honours in 1948 at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. The band's primary patron, Col RS McLaughlin, funded the band's instruments and uniforms for several decades. Col McLaughlin went so far as to build a band shell at Oshawa's Memorial Park to provide the bandsmen with their own venue to entertain the citizens of Oshawa.

 

The Regiment maintained its award-winning band until 1968 when, due to a reorganization of the Canadian Army and the newly-branded Canadian Armed Forces, the unit's band establishment was eliminated by the federal Liberal government of the day.

 

Not one to miss a beat, the late Captain Bill Askew, a naval veteran of World War II and long-time officer with the 1913 Ontario Regiment Cadet Corps helped refashion the bandsmen and women into the present-day Oshawa Civic Band.

 

Many of the Regiment's bandsmen have would play with the Civic Band over the next three decades. Some former bandsmen including Capt Askew and other veterans, continue to perform with the Civic Band at concerts in Oshawa's Memorial Park and, from to time, at military functions such as the Regimental Ball (held each May) and the Regiment's annual Parkwood Promenade.

 

The band of the 1913 Ontario Regiment Cadet Corps has, for the past 30 years, provided the Regiment with its marching music at public events including the annual Remembrance Day parade, Change of Command ceremonies and Oshawa's annual Fiesta Week parade.

 

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Regimental Camp Flag

 

 

The Regiment's Camp Flag was officially approved by the Director of Armour in January 2004. The flag features a modified double blue/gold colour scheme with a superimposed gold cap badge. Click on the flag image to download a full-size version.

 

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Ceremonial Dress

 

Since the early 1950s, the Regiment has worn a uniform described as 'blues' or 'patrol dress' as its Number 1 order of dress.

 

These uniforms are entirely financed by private (non-public) funds raised by generous benefactors including unit's honorary appointments, the Regimental Foundation and ret'd or serving members. in 2004, a modest grant from the City of Oshawa assisted with the purchase of several new uniforms.

 

For several decades, neither the CF or DND have supported purchase of ceremonial dress for regular or reserve regiments. Sadly, owing to a lack of private funds and the expense entailed with dress uniforms (often $1000-$2000 each), many Canadian army units have abandoned their ceremonial dress altogether.

 

The wearing of the dark blue (soldiers and NCOs) and midnight blue (RSM and officers) began in the 1950s. The blue serge, complete with chain mail on the tunic and distinctive yellow cavalry stripe on the breeches, was adopted by most units of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps.

 

Owing to the Regiment's pre-1936 infantry tradition, the officers -- for a period in the post-war years through the mid-1960s -- wore scarlet waist sashes as opposed to the current white buck leather crossbelt. Also owing to the unit's infantry lineage, only officers of field rank wore spurs.

 

In the early 1960s only the CO and RSM wore the distinctive white crossbelt. However, during preparations for the Presentation of the Guidon by Queen Elizabeth II in 1967, several sets of new uniforms and regalia were purchased by the foundation with the assistance of Col RS McLaughlin. The unit's officers and regimental sergeant major adopted formally adopted the white buck crossbelt and spurs, discarding the remaining remnants of the unit's infantry dress traditions.

 

While Canada's armoured regiments employ a range of distinctive wire or wire/leather combination crossbelts, the Ontarios have always maintained the standard pattern white buck version complete with silver (chrome) pickers and cartouche pouch.

 

 

Non-commissioned Members

 

Soldiers and Senior NCOs wear a dark blue serge with a single wide gold stripe on each trouser leg (denoting the unit's cavalry or armoured designation). Standard issue parade boots complete this order of dress.

 

Warrant Officers do not wear the crossbelt but do, however, wear a sword sling mounted under their tunic. As is the tradition in many other armoured units throughout the Commonwealth, the shoulders of the Ontarios' tunics are adorned with chain mail. Properly attired Warrant Officers wear George boots (no spurs) vice the standard issue parade boot. (Unlike their cousins in Canadian infantry units, Senior NCOs of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps do not wear a crimson sergeant's sash.)

 

Officers and Regimental Sergeant Major

 

All Officers and the Regimental Sergeant Major wear a midnight blue (virtually black) version of the serge, accompanied by a white leather cross belt and sword sling, mounted under the tunic. All officers and the RSM are entitled to wear spurs on their George boots.

 

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Motto

 

Fidelis et Paratus (Latin). Translated: Faithful and Prepared.

 

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Mascots

 

The Regiment has employed a variety of official and non-official mascots during active and peacetime duty. Several different dogs appear in photos of the Regiment during both world wars.

 

In a nod to the tradition of the Ontarios' allied unit, the Royal Regiment of Wales, a male goat named Tearloch was purchased by the recruit training course (summer 1975) and presented to a newly-appointed Regimental Goat Major.

 

Tearloch was quartered on the farm of Major William (Bill) Clarke in Newtonville (east of Oshawa) but was later moved to a pen near the regimental tank hangar at the Oshawa airport for bad behaviour. A wily animal at the best of times, Tearloch paraded with the unit on a number of occasions during the 1970s but succumbed to poor health in 1979.

 

To this day, Tearloch's noseplate, a gift from one of the Regiment's 1970s-era 'Summer Courses' hangs in the Junior Rank's Mess.

 

 

Related articles about similar Regimental mascots in Canada and the UK

   

Gruff justice as billy goat is demoted

The regimental goat of the 1st Battalion Royal Welch has been demoted - after refusing to keep in step at a parade to mark the Queen's birthday.

   
Batisse, the Royal 22nd's mascot goat, is unemployed
Budget cuts kill the regiment's band. Will Batisse the 7th be next? (3 Mar 1994)

 

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Our address

1000 Stevenson Rd N , Oshawa, ON  Canada  L1J 5P5  

 

Tel 905.728.6199  

 

Email  info@ontrmuseum.ca

 

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Driving directions: From Hwy 401 (Exit 415) at Stevenson Rd, drive north approx 4.5km (8min) to the Oshawa Municipal Airport.

 

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Preserving the 150-year history of our Regiment and its soldiers for future generations.

 

Last updated: 23-Dec-2016