Researching The Royal Canadian Regiment

Bucephalus

By: Dudley D. Spencer
Pro Patria No. 9, August 1971

In 1921, the Company Commander of B Company, The RCR, Toronto, was by virtue of his rank allowed a charger. This permitted him to wear riding; breeches and spurs. The daily parade state had a space for entry of "Officer's Chargers". The animals had no names given them, just a burnt number on both front hoofs. This particular horse was number 34.

Originally an RCD remount he was found unsuitable for cavalry use and was passed on to The Regiment. Our Major was getting on in age and service and was close to retirement. His equilibrium as an equestrian was nil and he spent much time dismounted (but not by choice!). His fanny was often very sore so he gave up riding this unruly beast.

Pte Bill Tapp was the groom for this horse. Bill was a product of "Black Dan's" Transport Section and a veteran of four years in France. He could do anything with a horse.

Bill spoke to this horse as follows: "You cannot walk, you can't trot or canter, you are useless around here and will probably go to the glue factory soon". He took the beast out each day and found that for all his faults the horse loved to jump and could clear a six foot fence as though he had wings.

Tapp conferred with Sgt Major Lynn of the Veterinarian Corps and they both agreed that the animal showed some talent. That November, Horse 34 and Sgt Major Lynn entered all the jumping events and won all the jumping Blue Ribbons. Bill Tapp and Sgt Major Lynn had not been given permission to enter the events and had paid the entry fees themselves. They were both put on charge for not having permission to enter the jumping competition but because of the favourable publicity received they were only "Admonished".

Wheels were turning in the military machine and suddenly our horse was taken back on strength of the "Drags". Colonel Timmis rode him in competitions all over North America and won every event they took part in.

Now a horse which was so famous had to have a name, and they came up with a dandy. It appears that Alexander The Great (356 B.C.) , King of Macedonia, had a wonderful steed which was called Bucephalus. This name was given to our wonder horse.

So "Bucephalus", who was secretly trained by Bill Tapp and Sgt Major Lynn, gave all the glory to Colonel Timmis and the "Drags".

Pro Patria

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