Researching The Royal Canadian Regiment

The Regiment's Name

By Brigadier-General C. F. Winter, Reserve of Officers.
The Connecting File, Volume VI, No. 4; December 1927

About 1887-88 a movement was started. in Ottawa by the late Captain Brown-Wallis, an employee of the Department of the Interior, and formerly one of the original officers of the 100th Regiment, raised in Canada about the time of the Indian Mutiny 1858-9, to secure the name "The Royal Canadian Regiment," for the regiment of the British Regular Army serving as the lineal successor of the old "100th" - the 1st Battalion "Leinster Regiment".

The idea was to have them recruited in Canada and adopted in every way as the "Canadian Regiment". Captain Brown-Wallis invited the late Colonel John MacPherson, Director of Stores, Militia Department, the late Lieut.-Colonel Harrison, 49th Battalion, Hastings Rifles, and myself to act as a local Committee to assist him, and we interviewed the Minister of Militia and Defence, and His Excellency the Governor-General, Lord Lansdowne, who at the time was very favourably disposed towards the proposal.

At the time our Infantry of the Canadian Permanent Force were known as the "Infantry School Corps," and it had not occurred to any of us of the local Committee that we were trespassing upon the preserves of our own Canadian Permanent Unit. Happening one day, however, to meet Colonel W. D. Otter, as he then was, he, metaphorically speaking, jumped on me with both feet for my association with a committee that was endeavouring to steal the name to which his own corps in Canada had a prior claim.

I had known Colonel Otter for some years, had served under him in the Northwest in 1885, where he was particularly kind to me when I was severely wounded at Cut Knife Hill, and had the greatest possible respect and regard for him. I at once explained that I had never realized that our action in support of Brown-Wallis was calculated to deprive our own Canadian Corps of its proper and dearly cherished name, and that I fully recognized that his Corps, raised and serving in Canada, had a better claim to the name, "Royal Canadian Regiment," than a unit of the Imperial Forces, recruited in Ireland, and having no connection whatever with Canada, except that over forty years before it had been raised here, but had now practically no Canadians at all serving in its ranks.

We at once dissolved the Committee, and Colonel Otter set to work, with the result as we know it, and the name "Royal Canadian Regiment" was given to the men most deserving of it.

Pro Patria

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