Regimental history

An overview of our history to today

History

Origin

It was in Trois-Rivières, at the confluence of the Saint-Maurice and Saint-Laurent rivers, that the roots of the Canadian militia were laid. Indeed, from 1651 (during the Amerindian wars), Pierre Boucher, Captain of the town of Trois-Rivières, since 1649, received an order from the Governor of New France ordering him, among other things, to obtain weapons, to exercise the inhabitants in their handling and relay them to the guard service. On April 3, 1669, the Governor of Courcelles received a letter from King Louis XIV ordering him:

“… To divide the inhabitants into companies,…; to assemble them once a month by squads or by companies…; to bring them together once or twice a year; to provide it with lead, powder and wick, to make them pass in review while letting carry out all the movements of the trade of arms … ”

Anyone from 16 to 60 years old was called to the service. Officers and men were to serve free of charge. From then on, each parish had its own company of militiamen. The more populous parishes comprised of two or more companies whose numbers vary from 50 to 80 men. Depending on the size of the population, they may have had one or more captains, lieutenants, ensigns and sergeants. Among the officers, the militia captain is a very important figure in the parish: he falls immediately under the lord. He represents the governor, the stewards as well as the peasants. Some captains even perform civilian functions such as local administrators and government spokespersons. The Militia, as an auxiliary force of the regular army, was thus maintained throughout the eighteenth century.

During the War of 1812 against the Americans, two battalions of volunteers were raised in Trois-Rivières: one from the town in which the Captain Zacharie Macaulay came from and one from the Forges Saint-Maurice, commanded by Captain Jean-Baptiste Landry. On May 24, 1812, Captain Sabrevois de Bleury was appointed major of the 3rd Battalion of the elite and incorporated militia which included Trois-Rivières and Berthier. In 1830, the county of Saint-Maurice had three Militia battalions: the first battalion consisted of Trois-Rivières and its suburbs which were made up of the fief of Sainte-Marguerite, the fief of Saint-Maurice, Pointe-du-Lac, the fief of Gatineau and the township of Caxton. The second battalion was from Maskinongé which included the following : the fief of Saint-Jean and its augmentation, Carufel and part of Lanaudière as well as all of the islands of the Saint-Laurent near the said county. Finally, the third battalion was from Yamachiche and included: the fiefs of Dumontier and Grandpré and the townships of New-Glasgow and Hunterstown.

In 1855, the Government of the Province of Canada passed the new Militia Act that leads to the direct origins of the Canadian militia today. A small force of 5,000 Volunteers was then equipped and organized into independent rifle companies. This law created several classes of militia, to include: the active militia, the sedentary militia and the Reserve. In addition, the province of United Canada was divided into nine military districts. This saw the creation of a rifle company in Trois-Rivières, made up of 63 Volunteers.

In 1865, an Irish-American organization called the Brotherhood of the Fenians, formed in 1858, began raids against Canada. The Militia was called up and a group from Trois-Rivières, returning from Upper Canada, settled on the Lower Canada line, from Valleyfield to Frelighsburg. The unit headquarters was established in Trois-Rivières at the town hall where guard is kept every night.

The most important result of this period of repeated crises was the Confederation of the Colonies of British North America in 1867. This saw the withdrawal of the regular British Troops and led to the creation of a permanent Canadian force. Thus, in 1868, by the “Militia Act”, a Ministry of Militia and Defense was established and the authorized strength was increased to 40,000 men for the Active Militia (which is the ancestor of the current Regular Force).

Two years later, in 1870, the Volunteers of company No. 1 of Trois-Rivières, which was part of the 5th Brigade Division (or battalion) of Military District No. 6, were called upon to deploy to the Red River Territory for the North West Campaign. The other companies in the Division were as follows:

  • Company no 2, Rivière-du-Loup or Louiseville;
  • Company no 3, Berthier;
  • Company no. 4, Sainte-Elizabeth;
  • Company no 5, Joliette;
  • Company no 6, Saint-Jacques;
  • Company no. 7, Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon;
  • Company no. 8, Sainte-Mélanie;
  • Company no 9, Rawdon no 1;
  • Company no 10, Rawdon no 2.

By the end of June and beginning of July, the volunteers of the 5th Division left Montreal for Canada’s Northwest Territories. Among them were Captain François-Xavier Lambert and the surgeon Frédéric-Augustus Dame. Both would later become commanders of the Trois-Rivières Unit.

Foundation

On March 24, 1871, the four rural companies of Trois-Rivières, Louiseville, Berthier and Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon (which are at the origin of the current Regiment) were regrouped into a united battalion under the name of “Three Rivers Provisional Battalion of Infantry ”, commanded by Captain François-Xavier Lambert. With the formation of two other companies, the Unit was established on June 4, 1871 as the “86th Three Rivers Battalion of Infantry”. This infantry battalion, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Frédéric Houde de Louiseville, consists of six companies in all.

In 1855, the Militia was called up again to control the Métis insurrection under Louis Riel in western Canada. It is probable that Trifluviens took part in this campaign, but only on an individual basis. Almost 15 years later, from 1899 to 1902, Canadians took part in the Transvaal War, also known as the Boer War. Two contingents, totaling around 2,500 troops, set sail for South Africa. For the first time, units of the Canadian Army are serving overseas. Among those sent overseas, there was a large number from Trois-Rivières.

In the meantime, on May 8, 1900, the Trifluvian militia unit obtained its regimental status under the name of “86th Three Rivers Regiment”. On June 27, 1905, a military camp, commanded by Colonel Buchanan, was opened in Trois-Rivières. Five regiments, including the “86th Three Rivers Regiment”, take part in this division camp. The total strength was around 1,500 men.

In the same year, in 1905, construction began on the Joseph Bourque of Hull armoury located in Trois-Rivières. The building, located at civic number 574 rue Saint-François-Xavier, however, was not occupied until the fall of 1906. The Canadian Army underwent a reorganization on April 16, 1912, the Regiment was later decommissioned on April 1, 1914 and was not reconstituted until October 1, 1915.

First World War

World War I 1914 – 1918

At the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, the Canadian government proposed to send an expeditionary Force to fight with the British troops. The mobilization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) this marked the formation of a new Active Force to serve overseas in times of war.

The Régiment de Trois-Rivières, like all other militia units, it was not mobilized. However, it helped mobilize the 178th French-Canadian Overseas Battalion (Canadian Expeditionary Force) on 12 January 1916. Commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel R. de la Bruère Girouard, the 178th had as its motto “Vouloir c’est pouvoir”. Its recruiting territory covers Military Districts 4 and 5 in Quebec and eastern Quebec. Its headquarters were located in Victoriaville.

On March 3, 1917, the 178th embarked on their ships in Halifax and travelled to the port of Liverpool in England arriving March 15 of that year. The next day, the 178th was dissolved, like most Canadian battalions sent overseas, to provide reinforcements to Canadian units already on site, including the 22nd (later to become the Royal 22e Régiment) and 24th Battalion. It took on the name of the “10th Reserve Battalion – CEF”. By a combination of circumstances, the various sub-units of the 178th participated in the Battle of AMIENS in France. On 1 April 1920, the unit was renamed as the “The Three Rivers Regiment”, and was later reorganized on 15 August 1921. The Regiment continues to perpetuate the 178th Battalion and now displays the battle honour “AMIENS” at the centre of its Guidon.

Between two wars

During the interwar years, Canada showed little interest in military matters. In 1922, budgets were drastically reduced. Very little equipment was purchased and militiamen had to train with the outdated equipment of the First War.

However, in 1936, the government adopted a rearmament program. In order to achieve greater efficiency, several changes were made to the organization of the Militia. The number of infantry units was reduced and the first armoured units were created. That same year, the Regiment distinguished itself within the Canadian militia as an infantry unit since its founding. It as well as five other militia units were chosen to convert to armoured vehicle regiment, thanks to Colonel F.F. Worthington, founder of the Canadian Armoured Corps. On December 15, 1936, the Regiment was to become the “The Three Rivers Regiment (Tank)”.

However, the conversion could not have been done properly due to a lack of proper equipment. The Regiment did not hand any tanks at its disposal. In 1938, training was improvised using motley vehicles until light Vicker MK V1 tanks were shipped to the Armoured Vehicle School. Canada was therefore not ready to go to war when it broke out in September 1939. At the time, the Militia was almost deserted, poorly trained and without equipment.

Second World War

LANDING IN SICILY (JULY 43)

ITALY 1943-1945

The unit remained in Sicily until 24 September 1943 when it was dispatched to Taranto, Italy. They returned to by barges a few days later to be sent to Manfredonia Bay. Upon landing, the Regiment entered into action with the 78th British Infantry Division. Its first victory was in TERMOLIl on 6 October 1943: in the west, C Squadron faced strong anti-tank barrages and destroyed seven enemy tanks at the cost of four of its own; B Squadron, in the centre of the attack, supporting the 38th Irish Infantry Brigade, destroyed four enemy tanks. These were the main threats to Termoli. Delayed by the slow Landing Craft Tank (LCT) and under constant Luftwaffe machine gun fire, A Squadron (under the support of B Squadron who was short on ammunition) fired on everything that moved and pursued the German tanks Pz-Kpfw 1V (Panzerkampfwagen) beyond the field of operation, to the north. During this battle, the Regiment’s losses amounted to nine killed and wounded. On this occasion, the Regiment confirmed its reputation as the best armoured unit. It was also at this time when the Commander of the Irish Brigade presents Major Jimmy Walker, Commanding Officer of B Squadron, his brigade flag as a tribute. The rapid arrival of the Régiment de Trois-Rivières prevented the British Division from being repelled back into the sea.

From December 15 to 29, 1943, the Battle of ORTONA took place, as the 1st Canadian Infantry Division began the final assault on the city against the 1st German Parachute Division, which offered strong resistance. The Regiment’s losses during this battle amounted to 12 killed, 21 wounded, five Sherman tanks destroyed and a dozen others damaged.

Early in 1944, the main effort of the Allied Forces in Italy were concentrated west of the Apennines in preparation for the offensive on Rome. In March, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Fernand L. Caron, who had just succeeded Lieutenant-Colonels E.L. Booth (promoted commander of the 4th Canadian Armoured Brigade) and J.F. Bingham, the Regiment pushed westward and participated in Mount CASSINO operations, with the Polish Armoured Corps. The fighting in the town of the same name took place in and through the cellars and building through the cracked sewers.

Continuing their advance in Italy, the Canadian Forces launched an offensive in May in the Liri Valley to break through the GUSTAV AND HITLER LINES, which called for repeated assaults. The Regiment supported the 8th Indian Infantry Division and 1st Canadian Infantry Division. Supporting 3rd Canadian Infantry Battalion, commanded by Brigadier-General Paul Bernatchez (former Commander of the Royal 22e Régiment) and 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards (1st Canadian Infantry Division Reconnaissance Regiment), The 12th Canadian Armoured Regiment rushed across the Hitler Line, near the French Corps, and landed on the enemy’s rear. Meanwhile, German forces hastily withdrew from the so-called invincible line, in order to avoid encirclement. Finally, from May 14 to 26, 1944, the Regiment counted 20 killed and wounded, 17 tanks lost in mines or destroyed by shells and seven others out of service due to mechanical issues.

The advance towards Florence

After the capture of Rome, the advance in Italy continued to the northwest towards Florence. The Regiment successively supported several allied formations including the 78th, 4th, 5th and 6th British Divisions, the New Zealand, South African and Indian Divisions and the 231st Independent Brigade of Malta.

From 24 to 30 June, during the engagement at the TRASIMENE Line, the Regiment fought with the 28th Brigade and then the 10th British Infantry Brigade of the 4th British Infantry Division. On June 28, the day of the final breakthrough of the Trasimeno Line, the C Squadron performed brilliantly especially in repelling the fierce counter-attacks from the 1st German Parachute Division (the same as in Ortona) north of Casalmaggiore. It is to this line of enemy defence that the Regiment suffered its heaviest losses in its history: 22 killed (including five officers) and 44 wounded as well as 22 tanks were put out of action including 16 of the 20 tanks of C Squadron. Moreover, during this engagement, five crewmen, who were the crew of a tank, were taken prisoner. They were among the only members of the Régiment de Trois-Rivières to be captured during the Second War. Most of these losses are attributed to a new anti-tank weapon of the German paratroopers, the “Faustpatrone 1” (one of the four models of the “Panzerfaust” anti-tank weapon), far superior to the British P.I.A.T. (Projector Infantry Anti-Tank) and the American bazooka.

After the clash at the Arezzo Line on July 17, 1944, A Squadron, accompanying a battalion of the 10th Brigade, completed its last operation near Ricasoli while a detachment of the Panzer Division “Herman Goering” was surprised and captured on July 21. During the advance of 27 July over the Arno, west of Florence, the Regiment supported the 21st Indian Infantry Brigade in the final assault that swept the south bank of the river.

After a short period of rest, the Regiment climbed the Apennines beyond Florence and again supported the 78th British Infantry Division, which, like its neighbors, attempted a breakthrough towards Bologna (which stands out during clear weather, which is rather rare). The difficulties inherent in the wide and deep mountain crevasses, as well as the lack of roads and the incessant autumn rains followed by an early and harsh winter, hampered the numerous attacks of the 78th British Infantry Division and the 88th American Infantry Division as well as with the 12th CAR supporting on its left flank.

North West Europe

Early in February 1945, all Canadian troops were ordered to concentrate in northwestern Europe. The tanks of the Regiment were transported to Livorno from where they set sail. Landed in Marseilles, France on March 6, the Regiment was transferred to Belgium to be re-equipped with Shermans armed with 17-pound long guns (about 8 kilos) each. Two squadrons were assigned to occupy the trenches along the Waal, west of Arnhem. Shortly afterwards, having assumed its role as an armoured unit, the 12th CAR crossed the Rhine, oblique to the north in Germany, turned west and crossed the Dutch border towards Enschede. After covering a 15-mile (24-km) front between Zutphen and Doesburg on the Yssel River, the Regiment supported the 1st Canadian Division during the April 1st assault and the Battle of APPELDOORN. It continued to press until Amersfoort and then to the Grebbe Line.

On April 27, the fighting stopped as the Royal 22e Régiment broke its last pocket of resistance with the help of the Three Rivers Regiment. As a result, the Regiment ended a nearly continuous period of operations that lasted nearly two years, during which it earned 23 honorary citations: more than twice as many as any other armoured unit in Canada. The regiment also claimed the honour of being the only Commonwealth unit to have fought alongside all the Allied Armies on the fronts of Europe and to have spent five months and 19 consecutive days without being relieved.

After the German capture in May 1945, the Regiment, still commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Fernand L. Caron, stayed near the towns of Rotterdam, Haarlem, Delft and finally at Dokkum near the Frisian Islands, until its return to England in September and then back to Canada in November.

Post-war 1946-1968

On November 30, 1945, the active forces of the Regiment were demobilized. The following year, the militia unit resumed its pre-war role: which meant it was reconstituted as a reserve and support force for civilian power. As a result, the Unit was redesignated as the Anti-Tank Regiment and changed its name to the “46th Anti-Tank Regiment, The Three Rivers Regiment” on April 1, 1946.

From 1946 to 1950, the Commander of the Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Frank Spénard, reinstated courses in French. This practice, which had previously been abandoned, around 1930, would be continued by all following commanders.

On June 19, 1947, the Trifluvian Unit reassumed its pre-war title as an armored unit under the name of the “24th Canadian Armored Regiment, The Three Rivers Regiment”. At the same time, another Canadian armored unit, the Sherbrooke Regiment, had already chosen to be named the 12th Canadian Armored Regiment. A little less than two years later, on February 4, 1949, the Regiment adopted its French name “Le Régiment de Trois-Rivières, 24th Canadian Armored Regiment”, which finally constitutes the recognition of the Unit as having an origin from Quebec. Since then, the Regiment has retained its French distinction. On May 19, 1958, its name was changed again to “Le Régiment de Trois-Rivières, RCAC”.

Meanwhile, in the summer of 1950, the Regiment produced a tank troop for service in Korea. By the end of the Korean war, in 1953, the Regiment had never been called to serve.

At the beginning of the sixties, the primary role of the Canadian Militia was changed and was required to take an active role in Civil Protection. The efforts of the Regiment were concentrated in these efforts; However, this phase was short-lived. Around the same time, on September 23, 1963, the Régiment de Trois-Rivières created its affiliation with the “Royal Tank Régiment” of London, England, an alliance approved by HM Queen Elizabeth II. The ceremonies take place in Trois-Rivières in the presence of Major-General H.M. Liardet, Colonel-Commandant representing the “Royal Tank Regiment” and Lieutenant-Colonel Roland Gauthier, Commandant of the Trois-Rivières Regiment. In 1964, the Regiment resumed its regular training in order to fulfill its role as an armored unit within the Canadian Militia. Since the 1960s, the training of militiamen from Trois-Rivières has continued uninterrupted. The training and instruction has reached a most satisfactory level.

In 1967, as part of the centennial celebrations of the Canadian Confederation, the Canadian Forces wanted to make their contribution by allowing Reserve units to develop a program to present military demonstrations to cities. The Trois-Rivières Regiment (RCAC) was designated by the Eastern Quebec Headquarters to form a Centennial Platoon composed of 30 militiamen (one officer, one sergeant, three corporals and 25 men) with the aim of touring the Mauricie region (Trois-Rivières, Berthierville, Batiscan and La Tuque) and presenting two demonstration to the population: the feu de joie and sunset ceremonies followed by a military concert performed by the Regiment’s fanfare .

The 12e RBC - From 1968 to today

Valcartier – Regular forces

Following the unification and reorganization of the Canadian Armed Forces, and on the recommendation of General Jean-Victor Allard, Chief of the Defence Staff to form a French-language battle group, the Honourable Leo Cadieux, Minister of National Defence, promulgated on May 6, 1968, the formation of a new regiment as a unit of the Regular Force, related to the Régiment de Trois-Rivers: the 12e Régiment blindé du Canada.

At the same time, the Valcartier Regiment became the armoured component of the newly formed 5th Combat Group stationed at the Valcartier garrison. It quickly took its place among The Royal Canadian Dragoons, The Lord Strathcona’s Horse, The 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s), The Fort Garry Horse, and the Royal 22e Régiment. This new unit, commanded by LCol J.P. LaRose, adopted the history, customs and traditions of the 12th Canadian Armour Regiment (TRR) and carries the battle honours of the 12th CAR and thus of the 178th French Canadian Battalion. Consequently, the 12e Régiment blindé du Canada is composed of a regular regiment located at the Valcartier garrison and a reserve regiment at Trois-Rivières.

Since 1973, the 12e Régiment blindé du Canada or one of its sub-units has served nine times in United Nations (UN) missions and once with NATO. It has served 4 times in Cyprus (in 1973, 1977, 1983 and 1990), and provided a squadron of about 30 members in Cambodia in 1992. It has also provided a sqn three (3) times in the former Yugoslavia with UNPROFOR including the following squadrons: A squadron in 1992 in Croatia and Bosnia with the 2RCR BG; D squadron in 1993 in Bosnia with the 2R22eR BG; and D squadron in 1995 in Bosnia with the 3R22eR BG. A Squadron deployed to Bosnia in 1996 with the 5 Canadian Multinational Brigade Group under the auspices of NATO’s Implementation Force (IFOR).  Finally, the Regiment minus D Squadron participated as a regimental group in the former Yugoslavia from November 1993 to May 1994. The 12e RBC is deemed to be the unit which has served the most times in the former Yugoslavia as a squadron and battle group (regiment) compared to any other unit in the Canadian Forces. 

Since 2004, the Regiment deployed a reconnaissance and tank elements on six rotations in both Kabul as part of OP ARCHER and Kandahar the province as part of OP ATHENA in Afghanistan. It also commanded the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) in 2006-07, the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in 2009 and the 404 Maywand (Afghan Police HQ) in 2010-11 in addition to providing an impressive number of personnel for the tactical headquarters in Kabul, brigade (Task Force Kandahar) and battle groups. The Trois-Rivières Regiment also contributed to the mission in Afghanistan by providing personnel for the National Support Element and for ​​civil-military cooperation tasks. In 2012, the Regiment participated in OP ATTENTION in northern Afghanistan where members trained with the Afghan Army.

The Regiment has also contributed, as a unit or sub-unit as well as individual members from the Regiment to several other UN missions around the world including: Indochina, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Pakistan, Western Sahara, Nicaragua, Iraq, Zaire, Congo, Mali and Haiti (1996 and 2010).

Tragically, not all of these deployments were accomplished without the ultimate sacrifice. The Regiment has suffered the loss of seven of our soldiers. We remember our following comrades: Capt C.E. Laviolette, Indochina on April 7, 1973; Sergeant J.R.A. Dupont, Sherbrooke Hussars, Cyprus on April 23, 1977; Cpl P.D. Galvin, Sherbrooke Hussars, Bosnia on November 29, 1993; MCpl L.P.S. Langevin, Bosnia on November 29, 1993; Cpl J.F.Y. Rousseau, Bosnia September 25, 1995; Cpl R Renaud, Kandahar on January 15, 2008 and Cpl K. Blais in Kandahar on April 13, 2009. The Regiment also has a number of its members that have suffered physical and psychological injuries as a result of its missions.

Other than missions under the guise of the United Nations and NATO, the Regiment has participated in several major domestic operations, including: an internal security operation in Montreal, OP ESSAY, during the October Crisis in 1970; the security of Olympic facilities and athletes, OP GAMESCAN, in 1976 in Montreal; guard outside the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul prison complex, OP PROMENADE / LUTE, in Montreal; OP SALON during the Oka Crisis of 1990; OP SAGUENAY to help disaster victims in Saguenay Lac St-Jean during the floods in the summer of 1996 and in 1998, to OP RECUPERATION to help disaster victims in the Montreal region following an ice storm and a blackout regional.

In terms of operational readiness, the Regiment has won the national RAMSHEAD competition five times in its nine appearances, an unmatched record. It has also won the MERRITT Recognition Competition twice in four appearances.

The Regiment has experienced an evolution of its structure and equipment. When it left on May 6, 1968, the Regiment consisted of a command squadron and A squadron equipped with Ferret vehicles. In 1973 the Regiment had four squadrons in addition to the command post, namely A Squadron equipped with Lynx vehicles, and meanwhile, both, B and C Squadron were equipped with Ferret vehicles and the non-rank squadron. In 1979 the Regiment received a fleet of Cougars, a wheeled vehicle with a 76 mm gun. It became the main vehicle of the Regiment until 1996 when the Cougar and the Lynx were replaced by the Coyote. A vehicle equipped with a surveillance suite and a 25mm gun. It was in the late 1990s that C Squadron was stood down. The 12e Régiment blindé du Canada (Milice) located in Trois-Rivières kept the Cougar vehicle until the end of the 1990s when it switched from a tank regiment to an armored reconnaissance regiment operating with the G-Wagon. With the deactivation of the 4th Brigade in Germany in the early 1990s, the Valcartier Regiment received the Leopard 1 tanks in 1993. The first tanks arrived in Valcartier during the summer of 1993. B Squadron became the Regiment’s tank squadron while A and D squadron were reconnaissance squadrons operating on the Coyote.

In 2004, following a restructuring of the Army, the Regiment in Valcartier lost its tanks and became fully reconnaissance. It was not until 2006 that a tank troop was reactivated and attached to the LdSH(RC) during Roto 4 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. This troop operated on the Leopard 2 A6M. 2009 marked the return of a tank squadron to the Regiment, with the reactivation of C Squadron for deployments to Afghanistan in 2010-2011. C Squadron operated on Leopard 2 A4M and Leopard 2 A6M. Finally, following another restructuring of the Army and the Armored Corps, the tanks again left Valcartier in the summer of 2012 to form a joint squadron with the RCD in Gagetown where about 50 members of the 12e RBC are currently assigned. The current configuration of the Valcartier Regiment is of two armored reconnaissance squadrons (one of which is assigned to the reconnaissance task for the Brigade), a half squadron whose task is to support the other squadrons and the command and services squadron. The 12e Régiment blindé du Canada (Milice) in Trois-Rivières is made up of a reconnaissance squadron as well as a command and service squadron. It is one of the most active reserve regiments in the Army and is responsible for the other armored units of the 35th Brigade.

The 12e Régiment blindé du Canada was twinned with the 12e Régiment de Chasseurs de Sedan, France, between 1972 and 1984, followed by the 8e Régiment de Hussards d’Altkirch in the Alsace region, France, between June 1984 and July 1993, and then the 2e Regiment d’Hussars of Sourdun, France. Due to a restructure of the French Army, the Regiment was assigned yet another armoured unit, the 8e Régiment Chasseurs, in Gap, France whom it continues to maintain its unit affiliation. In addition, the Regiment has an affiliated relationship with the Royal Tank Regiment of Bovington, England, through the latter’s twinning with the Régiment de Trois-Rivières on September 23, 1963.

Tradition

Regiment toast

(Toast to the 12th CAR Veterans Association Regimental Dinner, Ottawa, October 25, 1995)

“The Regiment is not the officers and men who serve there. The Regiment is not the officers and men who founded it, or those who served there in times of war or peace; the Regiment is not only those officers and men who will proudly bear its name in future years. The Regiment is much more than those who serve there. It would take a much more eloquent spokesperson than I to adequately define this intangible thing that we are honoring right now.

The Regiment is tradition – the Regiment is service – the Regiment is love of the country – the Regiment is our unwavering loyalty to the Crown and everything it stands for – the Regiment is first and foremost a passion. Those who served there yesterday, those who serve today and those who will serve there tomorrow have added and will continue to add honor and prestige. They are honored by this opportunity. From year to year the faces among the ranks change. From year to year the young men and women will come to take the place of the elders, but the Regiment continues. When all is a memory, the Regiment will be there – prestigious in the past, always ready for new challenges.”

Brigadier William Murphy
Commander
1st Canadian Armoured Brigade

Credit to Mr. Tojo Griffiths

Collar dogs

The 12e Régiment blindé du Canada, the only Regular Force armoured unit with a French-language name, is also the only regiment that continues to observe the tradition of wearing the coat of arms of its hometown, Trois-Rivières, on the collar dogs of its uniform as an emblem. The Regiment was conferred the “Key to the city” by the City of Trois-Rivières in 1978.

THE COAT OF ARMS: Azure (blue) with a silver chevron is laid upon a fleur-de-lys, and accompanied by three fish on the second (two in chief, one in point).

THE OUTER ORNAMENTS: The shield, stamped with a beaver sitting on its tree trunk, and supported by two scrolls (branches) of maple leaves of sinople (green color) crossed at the point in a long necklace (cross): on a banner of silver at the bottom, the motto: “DEUS NOBISCUM QUIS CONTRA”.

Toast to the Fallen Comrade

You may have noticed the table alone at the end of the central aisle. It has been put to symbolize people very dear to us… our fallen comrades. She is here to remind us of their efforts, to remind us that some members of our profession have fallen in combat. They are unable to be with us, but we want to recognize their ultimate sacrifice.

This table, with a simple cover… it represents the fragility of our comrades in the face of oppression.

The tablecloth that covers it is white… it symbolizes the purity of their intentions to respond to the call to arms of their nation.

The rose represents the families and their loved ones who continue to keep the faith by remembering their sacrifices.

The red ribbon surrounding the vase means determination, determination to give oneself body and soul for a just cause.

The slice of lemon is there to remind us of the bitterness of their battle.

Salt is a symbol of the tears of the grieving families.

The glass is upside down … They cannot feast with us.

The chair is empty… They are absent.

We will remember!!! All of you who have served with them or who live freely through them, remember. The homeland relied on them and they gave their lives to save it. Do not abandon them, pray for them and continue to cherish them. We will always remember them. Ladies and gentlemen, our fallen comrades.

Madames et messieurs, nos camarades disparus.

Affiliated units

  • United Kingdom : Royal Tank Regiment since 1963
  • France : 4e Régiment de Chasseurs since 2013
  • France : 2e Régiment de Hussards 1993 to 2012
  • France : 8e Régiment de Hussards 1984 to 1993
  • France : 12e Régiment de Chasseur 1972 to 1984

Black beret of armored units

Black Beret of armored units

There used to be a custom that, after the battle, the victorious Regiment adopted the headdress of the defeated regiment as a trophy. The tradition of the black beret, worn by the Armoured Corps, seems to come from the Royal Tank Regiment which adopted the beret of the French Army instead of the cap with a visor worn by the remainder of the British Army, to drive the tanks. It was also believed to have been chosen to hide the greases and oils of the tanks of the time. In 1924, the black beret became the official headdress of the Royal Tank Regiment. It was therefore authorized in the British Army and, consequently, in the Canadian Army. On December 15, 1936, the Three Rivers Regiment adopted the Black Beret when it went from infantry to armoured vehicles.

Songs

Regimental Badge

  • AZURE: Blue is a symbol of truth, justice, fidelity and loyalty. It is drawn from the colours of the old parish militia companies, the coat of arms of the governor of Trois-Rivières, Pierre Boucher (founder of the Canadian militia), and those of the City of Trois-Rivières.
  • OLD GOLD: This colour, which symbolizes life, light, wisdom, intuition and balance, is also that of friendship and brotherhood.
  • BROWN: Red is the color of blood and heart. It embodies activity and strength and represents the blood shed by the Regiment’s combatants during the Second World War, as well as during its successive missions, with the U.N. and the N.W.T.
  • THE BEAVER ON HIS ECOT: symbolizes the spirit of work and tenacity.
  • THE THREE FISH: each fish symbolizes one of the three rivers. Also recalled are the Aboriginal people of the region, the Attikameks, whose name means “white fish” in the Amerindian language.
  • THE FLEUR DE LYS: indicates the French origins of the city.
  • MAPLE LEAVES: Underline Canadian belonging.
  • THE SILVER CHEVRON: is taken from the coat of arms of Pierre Boucher, the first governor of Trois-Rivières and founder of the Canadian militia.
  • THE MOTTO: “DEUS NOBISCUM QUIS CONTRA” is translated as “If God is with us, who will be against us?” A verse from St Paul’s Epistle 8-31 to the Romans.