Category Archives: Second World War

Ben Dunkelman Heritage Toronto Plaque Unveiled

On the afternoon of Thursday June 8, 2017, a plaque was unveiled next to the site of the Tip Top Tailor building by Heritage Toronto, the Dunkelman family and the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, honouring the legacy of distinguished military officer and entrepreneur Ben Dunkelman.

Below are remarks given by Lieutenant Colonel Sandi Banerjee, CD, Commanding Officer of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada:

Major General Holmes,  Member of City Counsel and Heritage Toronto, The Dunkelman Family: Rose, Lorna, Deenah, Daphna, David, Jonathan, Members of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, Ladies and gentlemen. 

It’s an honour for me to bring greetings from Ben’s Regiment on this historic occasion.

On the day I took command of The QOR, I received a very appropriate gift from a friend and mentor. Like Ben, this gentleman was also a warrior and Brigade Commander – he sent me a copy of Dual Allegiance, which reminded me all too well of the challenges and the conflicting demands one faces as a ‘citizen soldier’.

In his book, Ben mentions a special parade in Toronto, one to honour returning soldiers from the First World War. Thought he never glamorizes warfare, he states, “…from the moment of that Toronto Parade I have been sure of one thing: I am a Canadian, proud of Canada’s heritage and proud – if need be – to fight for it.”

Today I stand before you equally proudly of the fact that our Regiment welcomed Ben and all Canadians equally those many years ago. Without thought to religion or family background, The QOR of C has been a home to tens of thousands of proud Canadians with the same thoughts as Brigadier Dunkelman: not to seek conflict, rather to serve those who cannot protect themselves.

Toronto and Torontonians have a rich history and association with Canada’s Armed Forces. We stand in front of HMCS York, steps from Fort York Armoury and historic Old Fort York. We are standing very near the grounds where The QOR of C gathered before stepping off for Ridgeway to protect southern Ontario from invading forces 151 year ago. Though our early days, sending expeditionary forces to the Nile and Boer Wars, the World Wars, the Korean conflict, peace enforcement missions and the war in Afghanistan, or todays’ deployments in the Middle east, Africa and eastern Europe: Toronto has always supported our men and women in harm’s way.

The Regiment recently returned from two very special events overseas: the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and just prior to that, our commemorations in Normandie, where Ben and his fellow Band of Brothers served. There we received not one but two honours: The Freedom of the City of Bernier sur Mer, where we were the only Toronto Regiment to land on D-Day, and the FotC of Anisy, where again, this Toronto Regiment was the only Allied unit to achieve their D-Day objective. These came at enormous costs, but as Ben showed by his personal example, the costs of freedom, of human dignity and decency, are borne by ordinary citizens accepting extraordinary responsibilities in times of great need.

I can also tell you that the people of Normandy, of France, have never forgotten the sacrifices of this Toronto Regiment and of the million Canadians who liberated them through two World Wars.

It is entirely appropriate then, that we gather here today to similar remember: to honour a proud Torontonian and Canadian who served twice to protect those in harm’s way. I would like to thank the City of Toronto and Heritage Toronto for bestowing this honour on a member of our Regiment and our city. May it serve as a reminder to all who come across it of a great man and our joint history together, a reminder of our City and her soldiers who have carried a part of Canada with them across the globe.

Thanks also to Captain Rob Chan and his family for their efforts in working with Heritage Toronto to make this happen.

You can read more about Ben Dunkelman here.

Dunkelman, Ben Heritage Toronto Plaque

1998 Interviews with Three QOR D-Day Veterans

On this 72nd Anniversary of D-Day, we’d like to share these interview transcripts. As part of a school project, Ryan Lutz and Andrew Brooks interviewed each veteran in his home on Sunday, November 15, 1998.  The interviews were recorded on audio tape and transcribed to this document by James Lutz

Other interviews with these three veterans:

  • Charles Dalton (and his brother Elliot Dalton) is interviewed on the DVD “Canadians on D-Day: The Juno Beach Centre”.
  • Rolph Jackson is interviewed on the DVD “D-Day: Canada’s 24 Hours of Destiny” and in Lance Goddard’s related book “D-Day Juno Beach: Canada’s 24 Hours of Destiny”.
  • Jack Martin is interviewed on the DVD “D-Day: Canada’s 24 Hours of Destiny” and in Lance Goddard’s related book “D-Day Juno Beach: Canada’s 24 Hours of Destiny”.

Questions Asked of the Veterans:

  1. What was your rank when you landed on D-Day?
  2. What was your first reaction when you heard you were going to land on June 6?
  3. What were the days like leading up to the landing on D-Day?
  4. What was it like and what were your feelings when you were coming in on the landing craft?
  5. How did everyone else feel?
  6. What happened when the ramp dropped when you landed? What were your feelings at this time?
  7. When you first got onto the beach, what were your feelings and what did you do?
  8. What was the atmosphere like during the battle?
  9. What did you do when you got close to the enemy? Did you feel a sense of relief or accomplishment when you got near?
  10. What was your first reaction when you started taking prisoners?
  11. What was your first reaction when you looked back on what you had just done, after the battle?
  12. What did you do you after the battle?
  13. What are your feelings at the present day?
  14. Do you have any other comments on D-Day and your experience?

Interview with Charles Dalton

Major Charles Dalton receiving the DSO from General Montgomery
Major Charles Dalton receiving the DSO from General Montgomery

Charles Dalton joined the Cadet Corps of the Queen’s Own when he was 15.  He was a 34-year-old Major when he commanded B Company.  A and B Companies made up the first wave which landed at 0812 hours.  B Company was on the left, and A Company, commanded by his brother Elliot Dalton, was on the right.  Major Dalton was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.) for his leadership in the war and later served as Honorary Colonel of the QOR. 

What happened when the ramp dropped when you landed?  What were your feelings at this time?

When I said “Follow me!” and dashed down the ramp into 12 feet of water, I disappeared.  I had an 85-pound pack on my back with ammunition and food and so on plus I had a life preserver on, so we all sank just like stones.  So when people say we ran up the beach, I say “Run?  I was barely crawling up the beach!”  And we were full of water because the impregnated battle dress we were wearing at the time kept the water from running out.

The man next to me was hit seven times down his arm.  I didn’t get touched.  We scrambled up the beach and when I looked back, I was horrified to see that there was nobody following me.  Now, one of the difficult things about leading is that you never can look back, because if you look back, the people behind you then get the feeling that you’re stopping and that the smart thing to do is get down out of the line of fire.  When I looked back I thought they had gone to ground, but in fact they were lying at the water’s edge and Germans were firing at them as they lay wounded.

So in 10 minutes, of the 120 men I had with me, we were all either killed or wounded.

When you first got onto the beach, what were your feelings and what did you do?

Of course you’re always frightened, no question about that, but all I could think of was that our Medical Officer had said “Now look, 50% of you are going to be casualties.  If you’re hit, one of two things will happen.  If you’re dead, your problems will be over.  If you’re wounded, you’re going to get better.  So just lie there and keep quiet and wait for the medical people to catch up with us, but nobody else will stop to help you, because if they do the whole thing will stop.”

So I kept thinking, what I’m really worrying about is whether I’m going to survive, but it looks as if you don’t have much choice in this whole thing.  So the important thing is that I can give the leadership that they’re expecting from me because I have their lives in my hands.  If I make the wrong decision, we’ll all wind up being killed or wounded, and if I don’t make any decision, we’ll have the worst chaos of all.  So I’d better just get on with the idea of doing the best job I can and forgetting about whether I’m going to be sacrificed as we land on the beach.

Maj. Dalton, Semple, Mr. Jackson, taken by Hugh Lamb
Maj. Dalton, Semple, Mr. Jackson, taken by Hugh Lamb

What did you do when you got close to the enemy?  Did you feel a sense of relief or accomplishment when you got near?

The pillbox I was assigned to attack was supposed to have been taken out by the Engineers and the Tank Corps, but that didn’t happen because it was too rough and the tanks tended to sink right off the landing craft.  So it wasn’t until later, after I had been hit, that I recognized that I wasn’t going to be able to get in this pillbox because it had a steel door and a 36 grenade wasn’t about to blow the door in.  So I finally decided that if I used my Sten gun at the two machine guns that were firing, but they had a shield over their guns so that nobody could fire in.  So I had a ladder that we put up the wall, and then I fired at the shield with the hope that the bullets would ricochet off them and fly around inside their pillbox.  And actually they did, so the machine guns stopped firing, but we were still no closer to getting in.

Meanwhile, one of the German officers got his 9mm revolver out and fired at me and it drilled through my helmet and down the ladder I slid.  One of the stretcher bearers was there and said to me, “Sir I thought you were smarter than that, to stick your head over the top of that wall”.  I said, “I wasn’t trying to be smart, I was just trying to find some way to stop these people from firing, and at least I’ve accomplished that much.”  So when the tanks came up, they did just that.

What did you do you after the battle?

It was about 8:30 in the morning, I guess, and I was walking along the beach trying to catch up with the rest of the company.  A medical officer saw the bandage on my head and he took the dressing off and put another bigger one on.  He said, “You will be back in England by tonight,” but I wasn’t back in England that night, I was lying on stretcher on the beach until 3 o’clock in the morning.  People came along and put cigarettes in my mouth and gave me some rum, but after a while you realized you were terribly uncomfortable with all that sand inside your clothes.

So on the third day we were put on a tank transporter which was large landing craft, and we were stacked up three high in stretcher. By that time, cigarettes were getting pretty scarce, but here’s the kind of comradeship we had.  I would light a cigarette and take two puffs and then pass it to the man above me who took two puffs.  And if nobody cheated it would go all the way up to the top rack and back down and I would get the last puff.  Well, most people would say “Here I am, and I don’t even know if I’m going to be alive by morning, so I’m going to take a really good drag on it,” but nobody did.  And that’s what people missed when they got home, and that’s why a lot of them signed up to go to Korea.

Interview with Rolph Jackson

Rfn Jackson in Belgium Oct 1944Rolph Jackson was a 23-year-old Lance Corporal on D-Day.  He was in charge of a Bren Gun Section of B Company which was in the first wave, landing at 0812 hours.

What was your first reaction when you heard you were going to land on June 6?

We figured it was the only way we could get home.  We were awfully tired of being away from home.  We’d come over in ’41 in the summer and the English got used to us and we got used to the English, but it was an awful lot of training.  It was a job.  We knew it was going to be tough.  You people are not brought up with Canadian history, but we had our forefathers, our fathers’ generation’s reputation to live up to from World War I.  And we did it.

What was it like and what were your feelings when you were coming in on the landing craft?

Let’s get it over with!  When we first saw the beach, it was on the dark side of dawn.  It was British war time which is two hours ahead of solar time.  It was double daylight, if you follow me.  You could see outlines against the dark side.  The beaches were under bombardment.  You could see the ships at sea, a massive flotilla, the most ships I’d ever seen.  We landed while part of the bombardment was still going on.  Many of us that survived felt it would have been better to land without the bombardment because the beaches were manned when we got there.

We had rocket craft that had 1400 rockets.  They fired them in batteries of 20, and they killed a lot of cows.  Unfortunately a Yankee Thunderbolt [aircraft] was patrolling the beach and they took out one of their Thunderbolts.  That was the first casualty we saw.

What happened when the ramp dropped when you landed?  What were your feelings at this time?

Our landing craft had two sections of infantry, about 20 men, and a section of engineers.  They were demolition engineers.  We landed at the sea wall.  I’ve seen the Yankee beaches and they were very shallow, but ours was very steep.  I was – if you’ll pardon me – up to my balls in water.

We hit the beach and it was a slaughterhouse.  They cut us to ribbons.  Of the 10 men in my section, 7 were dead and 2 of us were wounded.   Two of us crossed the wall.  In our platoon, there were 6 men left by 2 o’clock the next morning, 6 out of 36.  I was hit in the hand in the water and knocked off my feet.

I lost a lot buddies.  I seen them go down.  The sea was red with blood.  Most of them went down in the water, and I think quite possibly drowned rather than was shot.  We had to walk 25 or 30 yards in the water.

Lance Corporal Roph Jackson
Lance Corporal Roph Jackson

When you first got onto the beach, what were your feelings and what did you do?

How did we feel when we were on the beach?  Fairly angry.  We were carrying a lot of assault equipment.  If you were carrying anything but a rifle, you didn’t make it.  Was I scared?  You didn’t think about it.

We cleared one dugout.  We presumed it was cleared – they didn’t come out after the 36 [hand grenade] went down there.  German grenades were concussion, and ours were shrapnel.  I have a piece of German grenade in my shoulder still.  The doctor gave me some sulfa because I had been shot in the hand.

We did what the Americans didn’t do.  We had Dieppe for training.  At Dieppe the soldiers stopped to help the wounded.  We learned you can’t stop under fire because a moving target is harder to hit.     We were told under no circumstances to stop and help the wounded.  No way.  Get in behind the enemy and take him out.

Was I scared?  I guess maybe we were.  We didn’t think about it.

What did you do you after the battle?

That night I wasn’t looking forward to having to dig in with one hand.  I saw the M.O. [Medical Officer] and he evacuates me because I have bones smashed.  I spent most of the night getting back to the dressing station.  I fell asleep against a stone wall and maybe got 3 hours sleep.

Interview with Jack Martin

Jack Martin was a 20-year-old Rifleman (private) on D-Day.  He was from Toronto, and his father and 4 brothers had all served in the QOR.  Rifleman Martin was with the mortars who landed with C Company in the second wave at 0830 hours.

What were the days like leading up to the landing on D-Day?

We were confined to barracks – that was C.B. – waterproofing the Bren Gun Carriers.  We had scissors and were cutting each others’ hair.  I got a beaver cut.

What was it like and what were your feelings when you were coming in on the landing craft?

I was on a Landing Craft Tank with the Bren Gun Carriers.  I was lying on the gunwale looking onto the water for mines.  This was all new to me . . . I was just a kid of 20!

How did everyone else feel?

I never gave any notice to anybody else.  I was just looking after this guy [meaning himself].

What happened when the ramp dropped when you landed?  What were your feelings at this time?

When the ramp went down, we landed on dry sand and we ran right off.  There was a captain giving us directions and he had blood streaming down his face.  That scared me more than anything else.  We were ordered to run right up to the wall for protection.  I ran like hell.  One of the other landing craft had flipped in the water.  I couldn’t see what happened to the men because we were told we couldn’t stop on the beach.  I thought it was a great accomplishment that we had gotten that far.

What was the atmosphere like during the battle?

It was hectic!  This was our first time in battle.  It means something if it’s permanent when they hit you.

What did you do when you got close to the enemy?  Did you feel a sense of relief or accomplishment when you got near?

We were the mortars, so we didn’t get too near the enemy.  We had to support the infantry.  We were near the self-propelled guns which were firing at a German 88 [88mm gun].  An SP was hit, and it was loaded with ammo, so it blew sky-high.  It was the worst explosion I ever heard, and I served from D-Day through to VE Day.  The gun from the SP came whizzing through the air at me and right over our heads.  It sounded like a freight train.

What was your first reaction when you looked back on what you had just done, after the battle?

I was tired.  I got into my slit trench and went to sleep.  We were in a barnyard, and during the night a German staff car pulled into the barnyard.  The men in it went to sleep.  In the morning, some of our soldiers woke the Germans – there were 2 officers and an NCO – and they were really surprised when we woke them up!

What are your feelings at the present day?

It was something to have lived through.  I’m one of the few left.  We were all volunteers, you know.  I have no regrets.  I had lots of great friends.

Further Information about these Veterans

Charles Dalton died in 1999 – see below for his obituary from the Queen’s Own Rifles website (qor.com).

Rolph Jackson died in 2006 – see below for his obituary from the Queen’s Own Rifles website (qor.com).

Jack Martin died in 2016.

Charles Dalton’s obituary from the QOR website:

Colonel C.O.
Charles Dalton DSO, KStJ, ED
OC ‘B’ Company
D-Day
1910 – 1999

Colonel Charles Osborne Dalton, the last surviving D-Day company commander of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada who was recognized for his gallantry with the Distinquished Service Order by Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, has died aged 88.

As Company Commander of B Company, then-Major Dalton, along with his younger brother, Elliot – who commanded A Company – led the two front line assault battalions on Juno Beach for The Queen’s Own Rifles – Canada’s oldest continuously serving infantry regiment.

The brothers, who had developed a strong bond, were known in the Regiment as “Mark I and Mark II” to distinguish the elder from the younger brother.

“The Dalton brothers were legends, everybody was devoted to them and had tremendous respect for them,” said Barney Danson, chairman of the Canadian War Museum’s advisory committee and colleague of Col. Dalton. “You always had confidence in what they were doing and they always had the human touch. But they both commanded great respect.”

At his brother Elliot’s funeral service in 1994, Col. Dalton said as D-Day approached and he began to realize he may never see his brother again, he tried to come up with some parting words.

But as they parted on their respective landing crafts he said quite simply: “I’ll see you tonight.”

As the landing craft ramp dropped in front of Bernieres-sur-Mer, Major Dalton turned to his men shouting, “Follow me!”, as they plunged into two to three metres of water, trudging their way to shore.

As they made for the seawall, Maj. Dalton turned back to see his men laying on the sand.

“I thought they had gone to ground for cover, then realized they’d been hit,” he remembered.

The company had landed directly in front of a concrete strong point and were immediately met with fierce machine-gun fire. Almost half of the company was lost in the initial dash across the beach. As he and his men tried to capture a German gun emplacement, Maj. Dalton was shot in the head, the bullet ripping off his helmet and peeling off his scalp.

Despite severe wounds, Maj. Dalton continued to lead his men across the beach and was personally instrumental in knocking out one of the pillboxes.

“With blood pouring down the side of his face, he still encouraged us to continue on,” said Joe Oggy, a retired Corporal, who was under Maj. Dalton’s command at the time.

His greatest fear, he once said, was not being wounded or killed but failing to lead his men. The citation of the DSO read, in part: “By this officer’s example of leadership and bravery, and his coolness in the face of stiff opposition, the enemy fortified position was quickly overrun, and the company which followed in the landing on the beach suffered no casualties from the beach defences.

“The casualties were the heaviest suffered by any Canadian unit that day. In the end, 56 other ranks had been killed in action; seven died of wounds. Six officers and 69 other ranks had been wounded.

As Maj. Dalton was evacuated to a hospital in England, his brother Elliot was mistakenly told that Charles had been killed.

“While I was sad to hear my brother had died, I didn’t really have time to grieve, as we were still fairly busy,” Elliot Dalton recalled.

However, Elliot was wounded a few days later and sent to the same hospital as his brother. As the nurse wheeled Elliot to the bed marked Maj. Dalton, he noticed a patient lay there with the sheet pulled over his head.

When the nurse asked the patient why he was in the bed, Maj. Charles Dalton replied; “Because I’m Major Dalton.”

During his recuperation, Maj. Dalton had the honour of meeting Queen Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

By August, Maj. Charles Dalton had recuperated well enough to return to combat with the Queen’s Own and served through the Channel Ports campaign as second-in-command of the Regiment during the fighting of the Scheldt in Belgium in the fall of 1944.

He was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, and appointed to command the Non-Commissioned Officers School at Ravenstein, Holland. He returned to Canada in March, 1945, to command the Small Arms School at Long Branch, Ont., and retired from active service in September, 1945. From 1968 – 1975 he was the Honorary Colonel of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada.

Born in Toronto, Col. Dalton enlisted with The Queen’s Own Rifles Cadet Company in 1925 and the 2nd Battalion Militia a year later at the age of 16.

He volunteered for active service and was sent to England in March, 1940, as an instructor to the Canadian Infantry Training Unit. In 1943, he rejoined the Regiment and was soon promoted to Major and made Officer Commanding B Company.

“He and his brother were very distinguished guys. Charlie was the archetypal dashing young officer,” said Cpl. Oggy. “He really had a lot of style. He was elegant and acted the part of a fine officer.”

“He was fantastic. He was a buddy. His brother was the same way, very down to earth. We would follow him to hell if we had to. His friendliness and rank meant nothing to him as far as we were concerned, he was a buddy and we respected him. He never talked as an officer ordering this and that, he and his brother were good leaders.” Cpl. Oggy said.

His command responsibilities followed him to civilian life. After the war he joined Canadian Breweries Ltd. as Assistant to the Vice-President of Sales and was appointed Sales Manager of the Carling Breweries Ltd. in 1946. He was made President of Carling Breweries Ltd. in 1951. He was appointed Executive Vice-President Canadian Operations, Canadian Breweries Ltd. in 1964 and Executive Vice-President of Canadian Breweries Ltd. in 1965.

He also became Vice-President of Canadian Executive Overseas from 1969 to 1971. He was a popular and much sought after-dinner speaker.

“He was a reserved person. And yet he was amazingly articulate and spoke exceedingly well and he was asked to speak a great deal because he could express and talk about the war with a light touch and good humour but didn’t treat it lightly,” said Mr. Danson, who served as a Liberal Minister of Defence.

Colonel Charles Osborne Dalton was awarded the Distinguished Service Order by Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery for “leadership and bravery, and his coolness in the face of stiff opposition.”

During his recuperation from a head wound, Colonel Charles Osborne Dalton had the honour of meeting Queen Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

Rolph Jackson’s obituary from the QOR website:

Rifleman
Rolph Jackson
“B” Company
D-Day
1921 – 2006

Rolph Jackson was born April 6, 1921, in Toronto, a ninth generation descendant of Loyalist settlers from the U.S. Originally, the Jackson family came from County Armagh in Northern Ireland. His mother died when he was age six and his sister Lenore, two. The family struggled as their Dad had work only occasionally, especially during the lean Depression years. Rolph was sent to live with his uncle at age nine in 1930 on a farm in Grey County, near Holland Centre. His sister went to live with an aunt in the West.

Life on the farm in the 1930’s was difficult and the harsh environment in which he was raised significantly shaped his life. Rolph moved back to Toronto in 1937 to be with his father and to look for work. Rolph joined The Queen’s Own Rifles militia in December 1939, shortly after WW11 began. When the Third Division was mobilized for overseas service, he “went active” on 5 June, 1940, at age 19, enlisting in Baker Company of the 1st Battalion. He trained with them in Newfoundland and Sussex, N.B. prior to departing for England in the summer of 1941.

During embarkation leave, Rolph came back to Toronto and had a visit with Olive Lipski and family. She wrote him faithfully and he wrote back when he could.

On D-Day, his Baker Company was especially hard-hit, only Rolph and two others (Doug Hester and Bob Nicol) in his section survived. Rolph was wounded in the hand and after recovery remained in England until the end of the war.

Following Rolph’s return, he and Olive were married on 9 October, 1945, at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Toronto. Their daughter Chrystal was born in late 1947 and they soon decided they needed more room. They bought their first house: an “ugly four room” one and lived there from 1948 to 1952. After working at a variety of temporary jobs, Rolph got work at The Toronto Star in 1950 as a pressman and he worked there until retirement.

The Jackson family moved to a larger six-room bungalow in Scarborough (Pharmacy and Eglinton-St. Clair) just one block away from a public school that Chrystal attended beginning that Fall. Olive and Rolph lived there from 1952 until 1966 when Chrystal graduated from Grade 13 and they moved to the house on Roosevelt in East York. It was reasonably close to downtown for work for Rolph and a good community to live in.

The family attended Emmanuel Lutheran for a number of years in the 1950’s and early ’60’s where Olive taught Sunday School. She was also involved with the women’s group and helped with Christmas pageants. They had a lot of fun and liked to go to dances, shows and played cards a lot. Olive and Rolph were members of RCL Branch 344 from the 1970’s, when they met in a building on Elm Street (long since demolished), before moving to its current Lakeshore Avenue location.

They also took many interesting vacations: to the eastern United States, California, Mexico, Caribbean, Hawaii and to Europe four times, including memorial trips to Normandy as well as tours to Greece and the former Yugoslavia.

Rolph loved the out-of-doors. For many years he would take a friend and go canoeing and fishing in Algonquin Park, even into his 70’s when his friends weren’t able to go any longer.

After his wife died in 2001, Rolph lived as a widower in the house with his black cat, Midnight. His health declined and he eventually sold the house at 53 Roosevelt Road in 2005. He moved into Sunnybrook Hospital, Hees Wing, where he resided at the time of his death, just three days after the 62nd anniversary of D-Day.

—————————————————————–

This document may be cited as:  Lutz, Ryan and Andrew Brooks.  Interviews with Three D-Day Veterans of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada.  Toronto, 1998. 

Version of May 15, 2016

Launch of the “From Vimy to Juno” Travelling Exhibit

On Thursday March 31, we were pleased to host the launch of the “From Vimy to Juno” travelling exhibit and education program. The exhibit was created by the Juno Beach Centre in partnership with the Vimy Foundation and with funding support from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Thanks to the Liberty Entertainment Group, operators of Casa Loma, the reception was held in the beautiful Casa Loma library with about 150 people present through the evening.

The formal remarks phase of the event was MC’d by Juno Beach Centre Executive Director Jenna Zuschlag Misener and included remarks by Jeremy Diamond, Executive Director of the Vimy Foundation; Major Shawn Stewart, Deputy Commanding Officer of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada; and the Juno Beach Centre Association President Mr Don Cooper. The formal portion of the evening was concluded by the Honorable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs who spoke and formally announced the Government of Canada’s support of this project.

QOR Brass Quintet at Vimy to Juno launch

We were also pleased to have three regimental skirmishers present and a brass quintet from the Regimental Band which performed throughout the evening.

A contingent of re-enactors from both WWI and WWII also provided excellent displays and contributed to the exhibit atmosphere with their period dress.

_MG_7438

Thanks also to our museum volunteers who helped through the evening.

At the end of the night the exhibit was moved to the Austin Room on the third floor and accessible from our Museum area where it will remain until April 17 when it will then move on to its next location.

The exhibit includes a major educational component and JBC has worked with Lisa Kaplan at Casa Loma on how this can be effectively used by visiting school groups over the coming weeks.

You can see more photos of this event on our Flickr site.

History of the Lance Corporal Rank in The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada

The practices throughout the history of the Regiment come and go, and over time you see reference to “Lance” rank but only used in the Regiment as an Acting Corporal. During the Second World War you see the use of Lance Corporal on parade states and promotion list but you will not see a photo of the wearing of a one chevron on the uniforms of any QOR Rifleman. Simply they just wore the rank of Corporal since it is an Acting Corporal rank in a Rifle Regiment. Below is a write up of a Memo that was written for the Regiment in 1942 but rewritten in 1954.


MEMO: RE: LANCE CORPORALS

ARMY HISTORICAL RESEARCH, VOLUME V, 1926

This book contains quite a lengthy and comprehensive article entitled “The Lancespessade and the History of Lance Rank” in the British Army, and covers a period of several hundred years, giving quotations from many authoritative sources on the subject.

The following are several quotations taken from the article:

“The term lance as a qualifying prefix to non-commissioned ranks, is peculiar to the British Army today, and is an interesting link with that period which the Military Organization of the Middle Ages was being transferred into that which, in its essentials, is still current: that is to say, with the end of the 15th, and the beginning of the 16th centuries. The word is derived from the italian lancia spezzata, literally a broken or shattered lance, Lance Corporal usually defined as the title of that rank which was granted to the lowest officer that “hath any commandment” and “signifies Deputie Corporal.”

“By the beginning of the 17th century, in England at least, the Lancespessade had become and Infantryman only, and almost exactly the equivalent of the Lance Corporal of present day.”

“Lance the Corporal of the Cavalry unit is to supply and do all duties of the Corporals and Lancespessades of the Foote.” The definition of a Lancespessade is given as “he that commands over ten soldiers, the lowest officer in a foot company.”

The article makes it quite clear that the rank of Lance Corporal was peculiar to the Infantry alone in the British Army, until long after the organization of Rifle Regiments, and it contains no reference to this rank ever having been introduced into Rifle Regiments.

REGULATIONS FOR RIFLE CORPS.

These Regulations were originally issued in 1800, by Colonel Coote Manningham, who is usually referred to as the originator of rifle regiments, and has become the first Commanding Officer of the Rifle Corps, now the Rifle Brigade. They are reprinted in a book bearing the same title, published in 1890, with certain amendments added.

Article 11 dealing with the Formation of the Corps, in so far as it relates to Sergeants and Corporals states as follows:

“The four Sergeants are to command a half platoon or squad each. The senior Corporal of each company is to act as Sergeant in the first squad.

The four Corporals are to be divided to the four half platoons. One soldier of peculiar merit is to act in each company as Corporals, and to belong to the third squad.

The Acting Sergeant and Acting Corporal are to be the only non-commissioned officers transferable from squad to squad.

In every half platoon one soldier of merit will be selected and upon him the charge of the squad devolves in the absence of both non-commissioned officers of it. As from these four Chosen Men (As they are called) all Corporals and Acting Corporals are to be appointed, the best men alone are to be selected for this distinction.

The graduation of rank and responsibility, from the Colonel of the Regiment to the Chosen Man of a squad, has how been detailed, and on no instance to be varied by whatever officer may command it.”

STANDING ORDERS OF THE RIFLE BRIGADE

These Standing Orders issued in 1911, make no mention of Lance rank, wither in the text or in the various sample forms of parade states, reports, etc., in the back of the book. Acting Corporals are shown.

Article 11 – Formation of the Regiment, section 18 states:

“Corporals and Acting Corporals are responsible to the Sergeants of their respective sections.”

A copy of the Standing orders referred to above was received by me from the O.C. The Rifle Brigade in 1925, and he states at that time that they were the last published Standing Orders, and that no material changes or amendments had been made since date of issue.

THE KING’S ROYAL RIFLE CORPS

In several volumes of the above covering a period of from 1820 up to some time in the 1890’s. There are a number of parade states, casualty lists, awards of various kinds such as good conduct badges, marksmen’s badges, etc., I could not find in these volumes any reference to Lance rank, but Acting Corporals are mentioned.

THE QUEEN’S OWN RIFLES OF CANADA

RE: LANCE RANK

REGIMENTAL ORDERS

Regimental Orders are complete from the first R.O. Issued in 1860 until the present date, and are on file in the records of the Regiment.

From the first R.O. Issued in April 26, 1860 until 1866, there is no mention of Lance rank in any form whatever. There were, however, appointments made as Acting Corporals.

R.O. May 19, 1865 states “The proper regulation chevrons for NCO’s of the QOR are as follows and will be worn on both arms:

For Corporals – 2 black stripes on a red ground.”

There is no mention of Lance Corporals, or the chevrons that they would wear.

In R.O. January 22, 1866, the promotion of a private to the rank of Lance Corporal appears for the first time. Further promotions to that rank appear in subsequent orders up to the year 1874, when they cease, and from that year on appointments to be Acting Corporals appear again, and continue to the present time. There has not been an appointment to Lance rank since 1874, a period of 68 years.

No R.O. Appears in 1865, 1866 or any subsequent year authorizing Lance rank, nor does any R.O. Appear in 1874 or subsequent years abolishing them.

NOMINAL ROLLS FOR ANNUAL MUSTER

The nominal rolls of all companies and units of the Regiment for the Annual Muster parade each year are complete from 1860 until the present time, and are on file in the records.

On these Muster Rolls Acting Corporals appear from 1860 until 1865 inclusive. In the years 1866 to 1874 Lance Corporals appear, and commencing with the year 1875 until the present time Acting Corporals are shown, but no Lance Corporals.

REGIMENTAL STANDING ORDERS

Regimental Standing Orders were issued only in the years 1862, 1872, 1880, 1883, and 1925. Copies of all these are on file in the records.

There is no mention in any of these Standing Orders of Lance rank, not even in those issued in 1872, a year in which some Lance Corporals existed in the Regiment. The lowest rank mentioned is that or Corporal, and the lowest rank badges provided for this is of Corporal.

CONCLUSIONS

  1. Lance rank originated in the Foot Regiments, later Infantry, of the British Army, and was peculiar to that branch of the service for several hundred years. During the 19th century it was adopted by some other red-coated regiments of other branches of the service, but not by Rifle Regiments.

  2. Lance rank was not in force in The Rifle Brigade in 1925, as will be seen by their Standing Orders issued in 1911, and the statement of the [Officer Commanding] that unit in 1925, and it is extremely unlikely that it now exists in that regiment.

  3. Lance rank was not in force in The King’s Royal Rifle Corps as will be seen from their chronicle up to the South African War.

  4. The Queen’s Own Rifles, when authorized as a rifle regiment, on organization in 1860, undoubtedly adopted the “Regulations for Rifle Corps” as was practised at the time by The Rifle Brigade and The King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

  5. The deviation from Regulations for Rifle Corps and the Standing orders of the Regiment, in The Queen’s Own Rifles from 1866 to 1874 is hard to account for now.

    It is possible that the Officer Commanding in 1866, through carelessness or otherwise, permitted this unauthorized deviation from the Regulations to creep in. It is quite clear, however, that he did not provide for the change in Regimental Orders, nor did he change the Standing Orders to provide for it.

    By 1872, another Officer Commanding was in command of the Regiment. He revised Standing Orders in 1872, but again no provision was made for Lance rank.

    By 1874, the late General Sir William Otter has assumed Command of the Regiment, and was, as is well known, a great stickler for regulations of the service and tradition. It is quite evident that it was he who abolished the unauthorized Lance rank in the Regiment no doubt to conform with the standing Orders of the Regiment which were based upon the “Regulations for Rifle Corps.”

    He did not issue an order abolishing Lance rank, probably because there had never been a regimental order authorizing it, but just let it fade out.

  6. With the exception, therefore, of the short period 1866-1874, when Lance rank was entirely unauthorized in The Queen’s Own Rifles, it has not existed in the Regiment. Nor has there been at any time during the Regiment’s 82 years of existence, and order authorizing it in the Regimental Standing orders.

  7. It is quite clear from the foregoing, that The Queen’s Own Rifles, in having Acting Corporals instead of lance Corporals, is following not only a Regimental custom, but a Rifle custom which was duly authorized on the organization of Rifle regiments in the British Service, and is still the practice in two of the best known Rifle regiments in the British Army.


I hope you enjoyed this article as it shows reflection into the history and traditions of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada and our sister regiment’s in England. Throughout my research and studying of photos of The Queen’s Own Rifles throughout the history I have only found one photo (pictured below) that shows the wearing of one chevron and this photo was taken when the Regiment was deployed to Korea in 1955. After the above article was written you will see in photos the addition of a QOR Collar Dog above the Corporal Chevron (pictured below) which would be the present “Master Corporal” or meaning the Section Commander.

Sincerly,

MCpl Graham Humphrey

 

Seen here is an Acting Corporal during the Deployment to Korea in 1955
Seen here is an Acting Corporal during the Deployment to Korea in 1955 – QOR Museum Photo
Rifleman in line to call home - QOR Museum Photo
Rifleman in line to call home – QOR Museum Photo

Regimental Museum acquires medals of Lt Col Stephen Lett, DSO

Thanks to the tremendous generosity of several members of the Regimental family, the museum has recently been able to acquire the medals of Lieutenant Colonel Stephen McLeod Lett, DSO who commanded the 1st Battalion, The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada in Europe from 25 August 1944 to 30 November 1945.

Lett was invested in the Distinguished Service Order at Buckingham Palace 4 July 1945 in recognition of a personal reconnaissance on 20 September 1944 while planning for an attack on Fort de la Creche.

He was awarded the Bronze Lion (Holland) 22 December 1945 for his leadership and initiative leading The Queen’s Own Rifles and at times the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade. He was also Mentioned in Despatches, 9 March 1946.

We’ll be creating a more detailed profile on Lt Col Lett in the coming weeks but its worth noting that he had served in The Queen’s Own Rifles prior to the Second World War. He also came from a somewhat military family as his father had served in both the Boer War and the First World War with the Canadian Field Artillery, and his grandfather Dr. Stephen Lett, had served in the artillery with the Volunteer Militia and was on Active Service at Port Colborne, Welland and Fort Erie during the Fenian Invasion of 1866.

Lieutenant Colonel Stephen McLeod Lett, DSO
Lieutenant Colonel Stephen McLeod Lett, DSO

 

Rolph Jackson artifacts return to Normandy for Colonel-in-Chief visit

As Colonel in Chief of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, The Duchess of Cornwall met veterans and serving members of the regiment on Thursday June 5 and toured the Juno Beach Centre.

At Juno Beach Centre, 5 June 2014 from L to R: the Prime Minister's wife Lauren Harper, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, and Lieutenant Colonel John Fotheringham, CD
At Juno Beach Centre, 5 June 2014 from L to R: the Prime Minister’s wife Lauren Harper, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, and Lieutenant Colonel John Fotheringham, CD

Former QOR Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel John Fotheringham is a Director of the Juno Beach Centre and recently passed on a request from them. They asked if it might be possible for us to make available some artifacts that related to D-Day and the Queen’s Own that the Duchess could see during her visit.

We checked around our collection and decided that items which had belonged to Lance Corporal Rolph Jackson might fit the bill. They had to be fairly small and easy for John to pack in his luggage when he headed to Normandy so we settled on six items.

  1. Identity tags
  2. A French “invasion” 5 franc note
  3. A new testament
  4. A bundle of pay books
  5. A separate pay book
  6. A letter written to his girlfriend (and eventual wife) just before D-Day
Lance Corporal Rolph Jackson's New Testament
Lance Corporal Rolph Jackson’s New Testament
Last letter from Rolph Jackson to Olive Lipski before D-Day
Last letter from Rolph Jackson to Olive Lipski before D-Day
Rolph Jackson identity tags
Rolph Jackson identity tags
French 5 franc "invasion" notes from Rolph Jackson Collection
French 5 franc “invasion” notes from Rolph Jackson Collection
French 5 franc "invasion" notes from Rolph Jackson Collection
French 5 franc “invasion” notes from Rolph Jackson Collection
Inside of one of Rolph Jackson's pay books with a photo of Olive Lipski, who he would later marry.
Inside of one of Rolph Jackson’s pay books with a photo of Olive Lipski, who he would later marry.

D-Day Rifleman

Here is a visual of what a Rifleman would have looked like on D-Day.

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Field Service Marching Order with respirator slung. Gas cape rolled on Belt. Veil camouflage around neck. Shell dressing under netting of helmet. Emergency rations in hip pocket.

A.V. Battle dress will be worn, patches, (Canada & QOR), sewn on, when other collected.

The A.V. Battle dress will be worn for a minimum of 48 hrs, as soon as possible. If any effects on body are noticed, they will be reported immediately.

HAVERSACK

  • Mess tins
  • Holdall (towel, soap, razor, etc.)
  • Knife, fork and spoon
  • 24 hour rations
  • Cardigan
  • Beret
  • Boot laces
  • 4 x 2
  • Cigarettes
  • Pair of socks
  • Brown mug

LARGE PACK

  • Leather jerkin
  • Boots (anklets if required)
  • Cap comforter
  • Towel
  • Boot brush, dubbin & polish
  • Canvas shoes
  • Shirt, Angola
  • Boot laces
  • Drawers, Celular
  • Writing kit
  • Vest, Summer
  • 3 pairs socks
  • Housewife
  • Cigarettes
  • Greatcoat packed on outside of pack, held on by kicking straps

Other

  • Respirator of Assault marching personnel only attached to pack.
  • G-1018 blanket, folded as for kit layout rolled in ground sheet, strongly lied and properly labelled. (This makes a roll about 2 ½ feet long.)
  • All packs, Haversacks, Greatcoats (inside belt), ground sheet, to be marked with Rank, Name, Number and Coy mark.
  • Assault troops are all that land on “D” day.
  • 1 suit of denim to be collected at a later date.
  • Serge suit for all assault personnel, both riding & marching, less those with coys, will be turned in when notified to coy stores. They will be marked as laid down. They will be returned after “D” day.
  • Serge suit for those on follow up vehicles will be put in their Blanket rolls.

Here are some Pre Invasion photos from our Archives:

May 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo
Pioneer Cpl 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
Pioneer Cpl 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo

To see the War Diaries for Pre and Invasion visit the link below

https://qormuseum.org/history/timeline-1925-1949/the-second-world-war/war-diaries-1944/

Cheers,

MCpl Graham Humphrey

More 1945 QOR Baseball Photos

From our archives – more photos of the champion 1945 QOR Baseball Team:

1945 BB-8 1945 BB-7 1945 BB-6 1945 BB-5 1945 BB-4 1945 BB-3 1945 BB-2 1945 BB-1

1945 Baseball Team

Thanks to Master Corporal Humphrey’s research, we’re able to share a program from the September 1945 Softball Championship of the Canadian Forces in the Netherlands. Inside the program we find the team lines ups for The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada and the Perth Regiment.

Cover of September 1945 Baseball Championship of the Canadian Forces the  in Netherlands
Cover of September 1945 Baseball Championship of the Canadian Forces the in Netherlands
Line up of September 1945 Baseball Championship Team of the Canadian Forces the  in Netherlands
Line up of September 1945 Baseball Championship Team of the Canadian Forces the in Netherlands

The following photo posted in our last blog includes almost all the members listed above and would suggest they won this game!

04143 - The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada Baseball Team September 1945 Canadian Army Champions and Canadian Armed Forces Champions (Click the photo for team member names)
04143 – The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Baseball Team September 1945
Canadian Army Champions and Canadian Armed Forces Champions
(Click the photo for team member names)

Enlisted Uniforms of the Queen`s Own Rifles of Canada in World War Two

The Queen’s Own mobilized for the Second World War on 24 May 1940. The Regiment’s first assignment was the defence of the two strategic airfields of Botwood and Gander, Newfoundland then a posting to New Brunswick for additional training and integration into 8th Brigade. Eventually, the Regiment was posted to England, in July 1941, as a part of the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade of the 3rd Canadian Division. During the Regiment’s training in the UK, the Colonel-in-Chief, Queen Mary, visited the battalion in Aldershot.

The Queen’s Own’s first action came forming part of the assault wave of the D-Day invasion, 6 June 1944. The Dalton brothers — Majors Charles O. and H. Elliott– were the assault company commanders in the landing. The Regiment hit the beach at the small Normandy seaside resort of Bernieres-sur-Mer, shortly after 0800 hours, on 6 June 1944. They fought through Normandy, Northern France, and into Belgium and Holland, where they liberated the crucial channel ports. In capturing the tiny farming hamlet of Mooshof, Germany, Sergeant Aubrey Cosens was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

The last action of the war for The Queen’s Own Rifles came at 1200 hours on 4 May, when C Company attacked a cross roads just east of Ostersander, Germany. It was taken by 1500 hours, and the order came to discontinue fire on the enemy unless fired upon. Unfortunately, two members of The Queen’s Own lost their lives on this the last day of the war in Europe. The official cease-fire came at 0800 hours on 5 May 1945 followed by VE Day on 8 May. The battalion paraded to a church at Mitte Grossefehn and Major H.E. Dalton, now the acting Commanding Officer, addressed the Regiment. During the war 463 Queen’s Own were killed in action and are buried in graves in Europe and almost 900 were wounded, many two or three times. Sixty more QOR personnel were killed serving with other units in Hong Kong, Italy and Northwest Europe.

Mobilization

During the mobilization of the Regiment in 1940 the regiment was sent straight to Camp Borden (CFB Borden). There, the Regiment got its first issue of uniforms which consisted of; Canadian Battle Dress trousers and blouse, shirt, ammo boots, Anklets,  and the pre-war QOR wedge cap. The QOR has been using the Rifleman green wedge cap ever since roughly the 1870s. The cap is a green melton wool with a scarlet Pom-pom attached to the front as well as two Rifleman small buttons. Scarlet piping is added along the top seam of the cap as well the QOR cap badge mounted on the left side.

Wedge Cap 1 - Graham
Pre war QOR Wedge cap – QOR Museum

Request for approval of the wearing of Coloured F.S. Cap NDHQ 14 October 1940

Coloured F.S. Cap

Reg H.200-1-17 of 7 Sept.

The coloured F.S. Cap worn by this Regiment, both 1st and 2nd battalions, is described below. It has been in use for many years but it is not known whether or not details are in possession of N.D.H.Q.

The pattern of the cap is slightly different from the issue cap, being more rounded in front.

Officers

Colour of cap, flaps and crown – Black

Piping top, front and back seems – Black

No piping on flaps.

Scarlet grenade 1″ in diameter attached at front of top where two top seams meet.

Height of flap at back……………….. 2 1/4″

Height of crown seam, midway….. 4″

Height of crown seam, 1/4 way back

from front seam……………… 3 3/4″

Height of junction of top seams

at front…………………………2 1/2″

Other Ranks

Colour of cap, glaps and crown – Rifle Green.

Piping top, front and back seams – Scarlet.

No piping on flaps.

Scarlet wool ball 1″ in diameter attached at front of top where two top seams meet.

Height of flap at back……2″

Height of crown seam, midway…… 3 7/8″

Height of crown seam, 1/4 way back

from front seam………3 3/4″

Height of junction of top seams

at front…….. 2 3/4″

May the above be forwarded for approval,

Please.

Lt Col

Commanding 1st. Bn. Q.O.R. of C. (CASF).

Camp Borden – 1940 Rfn Jim Wilkins Personal Photos
Camp Borden – 1940 Rfn Jim Wilkins Personal Photos
Camp Borden – 1940 Rfn Jim Wilkins Personal Photos
Camp Borden – 1940 Rfn Jim Wilkins Personal Photos
Camp Borden – 1940 Rfn Jim Wilkins Personal Photos
Camp Borden – 1940 Rfn Jim Wilkins Personal Photos
QOR cap badge 1940
QOR cap badge 1940 made of white metal – Graham Humphrey’s Collection

Regimental Orders by Major MacKendrick E.D. Comd 1st Bn QORofC

Camp Borden, Ontario 12 July 1940

Dress, Officers & Other Ranks

Extract C.A.S.F. R.O.521

  1. The collar of the battle dress may be worn open on all occasions during the summer season.
  2. The regulation Khaki shirt will be worn with battle dress. The wearing of various coloured shirts and collars is not permitted.
  3. Other ranks will not wear ties
  4. The collar of the blouse may be lined to protect the neck.
  5. The ribands of orders, decorations, and medals will be worn in undress, service dress and battle dress in the prescribed manner.
QOR in Sussex, New Brunswick 1940 – QOR Museum Photo
QOR in Sussex, New Brunswick 1940 – QOR Museum Photo
QOR in Sussex, New Brunswick 1940 – QOR Museum Photo
QOR in Sussex, New Brunswick 1940 – QOR Museum Photo

1940

7 August 1940 Botwood and Gander, Newfoundland

6 December 1940 Sessex, New Brunswick

Before leaving Borden in August 1940 the Regiments dress was fresh new stocks of the new Canadian made battle dress uniform. Consisting of ankle boots, ankle gators, wool trousers, suspenders, wool tunic, and wool greatcoat. As well, Canadian-made Pattern 37 webbing which consisted of basic front pouches, web belt, cross straps, canteen and holder, entrenching tool and sheath, bayonet frog, and the chest respirator were included. Additionally, Canadian-made denim working uniforms were adopted for use in training and work around camp.  The headdress was the QOR pre-war Rifleman green field service cap, the Mk1 helmet, or a wool winter toque. Shoulder insignia was a black pin-on QOR title or a worsted black QOR on a wool slip-on worn on the epaulette of the battledress.  The standard rifle was the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield No. 1 Mk. III* with the long bayonet (termed a ‘sword’ in Rifle regiments) which had been in use since the First World War. Transferring from Newfoundland to Sussex, New Brunswick several changes occurred with the exchange of the Mk1 helmet to the new Mk2 helmet, and the adoption of a winter wool cap. This was worn squarely on the head with the Regimental cap badge fixed centre on the front of the front flap of the cap.

Regimental Orders by Major MacKendrick E.D. Comd 1st Bn QORofC

Camp Sussex, N.B 11 mar. 1941

Wearing of Chevrons on Greatcoats; Chevrons will be worn on both arms of greatcoats in the following manner: – above the elbow, the points of the 1 bar chevrons 9 inches, the 2 bar 9 ½ inches, and the 3 bar 10 ½ inches from the top of the sleeve, point downwards.

Regimental Orders by Major MacKendrick E.D. Comd 1st Bn QORofC

Camp Sussex, N.B. 21 dec 1940

Dress – Winter Order

Attention is drawn by the Brigade Major to the following Brigade Orders.

(a) Winter caps will be brought into wear for all purposes with effect from 27 Nov. 1940

(b) Greatcoats and/or overshoes may be worn in camp and on training parades at the discretion of Officers Commanding units.

(c) Until further orders greatcoats and overshoes will be worn on all parades, both training and ceremonia,l at which more than one unit is present.

(d) Greatcoats will be worn on all occasions in “Walking-Out Order” on duty in the town of Sussex and on leave or pass until further orders. Overshoes may be worn at  discretion of Officers Commanding units in “Walking-Out Order”.

Wearing of Winter Caps; Winter caps will be worn squarely on the head. (Bde. Order 176)

Newfoundland – 1940 Rfn Jim Wilkins Personal Photos
Newfoundland – 1940 Rfn Jim Wilkins Personal Photos
QOR in Newfoundland 1940
QOR in Newfoundland 1940 – QOR Museum Photo
QOR in Newfoundland 1940
QOR in Newfoundland 1940 – QOR Museum photo
QOR in Sussex, New Brunswick 1940
QOR in Sussex, New Brunswick 1940 – QOR Museum photo
QOR in Sussex, New Brunswick 1940
QOR in Sussex, New Brunswick 1940 – QOR Museum photo

1941

With the transfer of the Regiment to England in July 1941, a number of changes to the accoutrement of the Regiment occurred. The change from the QOR pin-on or worsted QOR slip-on to a red stitched “QUEEN’S OWN RIFLES” on a rifle green backing occurred. Since the shoulder title didn’t include “CANADA”, the QOR adopted the white-stitched “CANADA” title – either curved or straight – which was stitched below the Regimental shoulder title. Also, we see the addition of a QOR Decal on the Mk II helmet which consisted of a red, green, red, green, and red. At this time, each Regiment in the Canadian military was permitted to adopt a lanyard colour. The QOR retained their red lanyard, which differs from the the black lanyard worn by today’s Rifle regiments. This red lanyard was worn until the end of the war.

Canadian made 1940
Canadian made 1940 – Graham Humphrey’s Collection
British made 1943
British made 1943 – Graham Humphrey’s Collection
Canada shoulder title curved made in 1940
Canada shoulder title curved made in 1940 – Graham Humphrey’s Collection
Canada shoulder title straight made in 1941
Canada shoulder title straight made in 1941 – Graham Humphrey’s Collection
QOR Helmet decal seen here in 1942
QOR Helmet decal seen here in 1942 – QOR Museum Photo

22 May 1925 Standing Orders and Instructions

204. WHISTLE CORD shall be of red cord worn around left arm under shoulder strap.

QOR Red whistle lanyard
QOR Red whistle lanyard – Graham Humphrey’s Collection

15 Dec.  1942 Standing Orders and Instructions

  1. Dress

Officers

(b) Officers will wear black anklets and boots and black ties with battledress, in field service dress, black shoes and socks, black tie and F.S.Green.

Other ranks

(e) A red whistle cord will be worn on the left shoulder by all officers, warrant officers and sergeants.

(i) Some of the irregularities noticed in the dress of the Cdn. Corps are as follows:

The wearing of canvas shoes when walking out. The battle dress blouse undone at neck, except when marching easy. Men either without F.S. Cap or carrying it under shoulder strap.

(j) Badges – On joining the unit each man will be provided free with regt. Badges, cap, shoulder badges Q.O.R., Canada and Div. Patch also cap F.S. Green. From then on he will be held responsible that he is always in possession of these articles.

(k) The F.S. Cap green will not be worn when on duty with troops, but will be only worn off duty, church parades or when walking out.

(o) Chin straps and regimental flashes will be worn on the left side of the helmet.

(p) Good conduct Stripes are awarded after two years good service and are worn on the left arm below the elbow.

QOR Officer looking over the channel
QOR Officer looking over the channel – QOR Museum Photo
QOR Sgt in Holland 1945
QOR Sgt in Holland 1945 – QOR Museum Photo
  1. Order of dress

Uniformity of dress is to be stressed at all times.

(a) Battle Order

  • Battle Dress – anklets
  • Steel Helmet (With of without net as ordered)
  • Web Equipment (braces to be worn)
  • Respirator (slung over right shoulder under waistbelt. Mounted personnel will wear respirator at alert)
  • Water Bottle (on right side)
  • Haversack (with ground sheet or gas cape as ordered)
  • Sword under left arm
  • Gas cape (on shoulder if ordered)
  • Entrenching tool
  • G1098 ammunition.

(b) Marching Order

  • As above except – pack carried in place of haversack.
  • Haversack slung at left side.
  • Respirator at “Alert Position”.

(c) Fatigue Order

  • Battle dress, denim and boots.
  • Other equipment as ordered

(d) Church Parade Order

  • Battle Dress and anklets.
  • F.S. Green Cap.
  • Respirator and helmet (if ordered)

(e) Guard and Picket Order

  • Battle Dress and anklets
  • Steel Helmets
  • Skeleton web
  • Respirator at “alert position”
  • Gase Cape (rolled on shoulder)
  • Detector sleeves

(f) Walking Out Order

  • Battle Dress
  • F.S. Green Cap
  • Anklets – (may or may not be worn).
  • Black shoes and socks may be worn by those in possession of them in lieu of boots.

(g) Drill Order with Pouches

  • Steel Helmet
  • Web braces, belts & pouches
  • Sword at left side of the belt
  • Battledress and anklets

(h) Piquet Order

  • F.S. Khaki cap
  • Waistbelt and sidearm
  • Battledress and anklet

With the formation of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, the QOR was place in its 8th Brigade with Le Regiment de la Chaudiere and the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment. The Divisional formation patch was of French Grey Melton wool fabric which measured 3 inches by 2 inches. A number of shades of this French Grey were seen throughout the war.

Canadian made 1940 Third Division flashes
Canadian made 1940 Third Division flashes – Graham Humphrey’s Collection
British 1943 made Third Division flashes
British 1943 made Third Division flashes – Graham Humphrey’s Collection
QOR 1943 tunic
QOR Riflemans 1943 tunic – Graham Humphrey’s Collection

Starting in 1941, the headdress of the Canadians changed from the pre-war QOR Rifleman Green Wedge to a Khaki wool “Field Service Cap”. This was worn with a slight angle to the right and centred on the head. The location in which the QOR cap badge was mounted was on the left side similar to the QOR rifle green wedge cap.

Canadian made 1941 Field Service Cap
Canadian made 1941 Field Service Cap – Graham Humphrey’s Collection
QOR Rifleman England 1942
QOR Rifleman England 1942 – QOR Museum Photo

1943 In mid 1943, the headdress of the Canadians changed once again with the adoption of the beret. In keeping with rifleman tradition, the wearing of a rifle green backing behind the cap badge was authorized. The backing was of Melton Rifle Green wool and roughly measured 25cm by 25 cm with the Cap Badge centred within the patch. The wearer would have the leather band of the beret two fingers over the eye brows with the Cap badge over the middle of the left eye. The excess material was draped over the right side and pulled back.

Canadian made 1944 Beret with QOR Badge and Backing
Canadian made 1944 Beret with QOR Badge and Backing – Graham Humphrey’s Collection

In 1943-44, a different QOR cap badge was introduced. Mainly seen on replacements of this time period, the cap badge contains less detail and the Arabic number “2” less defined.

1943-44 QORofC Cap Badge - Graham Humphrey's Collection
1943-44 QORofC Cap Badge – Graham Humphrey’s Collection

1944 With the coming invasion of France, the 3rd Division was issue additional kit and equipment. The most noticeable was the Mk III “turtle shell” helmet which offered more protection for the wearer than the Mk II helmet.

The second most noticeable change was the adoption of the high-top buckle boots which were tried in Italy and widely issued to the 3rd Division. This lead to the term “3rd Div boots” or “Invasion boots”. Constructed with 9 eyelets and a buckle at the top of the boot, these boots put on a more modern look and were sought-after boots.

British made Mk III “Turtle shell” Helmet with Canadian helmet net, scrim and Dressing
British made Mk III “Turtle shell” Helmet with Canadian helmet net, scrim and Dressing – Graham Humphrey’s Collection
Rfn Jim Wilkins “Invasion boots” – Rfn Jim Wilkins Collection
Rfn Jim Wilkins “Invasion boots” – Rfn Jim Wilkins Collection

Invasion Boots or High Boots - QOR Museum's Collection Invasion Boots or High Boots - QOR Museum's Collection

“Invasion boots” – QOR Musuem’s Collection

QOR in England 1944 – QOR Museum Photo
QOR in England 1944 with “Invasion boots”  – QOR Museum Photo
QOR in England 1944 – QOR Museum Photo
QOR in England 1944 with “Invasion boots” – QOR Museum Photo

Introduced around mid-1944 was the British-made canvas insignia. Examples of this come in the 3rd Division French Grey flashes, Canada titles, and “QUEEN’S OWN RIFLES” shoulder titles. These had a tendency to fade and fray.  This characteristic was not desireable.

British made Canvas QOR title 1943
British made Canvas QOR title 1943 – QOR Museum’s Collection

1945 Introduced to all Companies of the Battalion on March 19 1945 was the “Windproof Smock” which is know as today. “Coys issued with sniper jackets which beside being good camouflage are quite serviceable and waterproof” (War Diary March 19 1945 Reichswald Forest, Germany)

IMG_6870
Windproof Smock worn by this Reenactor

With the war coming to a close, the QOR was put onto occupation duty in 1945-46. To display that they were an occupation force, a single 2 cm wide occupation bar was added at the base of the 3rd Division patch. With the QOR being the senior Regiment in this Brigade, a green occupation bar was added on top of the 3rd Division patch as well.

Battledress number A is a 1945-46 occupation blouse. Notice the addition of the occupation stripe and the tailored collar with black cloth.

Battledress number B is the Battledress of the Commanding Officer of the Occupation force, Lt. Col. J. N. Medhurst OBE ED 4th Bn, QOR of C (CAOF) 8 June 1945 – 25 December 1945.

A
A – QOR Museum’s Collection
A
A – QOR Museum’s Collection
B
B – QOR Museum’s Collection
B
B – QOR Museum’s Collection

As well, a new QOR shoulder title was introduced with a more foliage green backing and hand-embroidered “QUEEN’S-OWN-RIFLES”. As well the custom of blackening web gear is seen again during 1945-46 period mainly walking out belts, pistol, pistol ammunition pouches and ankle gators.

1945 British made QOR title and Canada title
1945 British made QOR title and Canada title – Graham Humphrey’s Collection
QOR Holland 1945
QOR Holland 1945 – QOR Museum’s Photo
QOR Holland 1945
QOR Holland 1945 – QOR Museum’s Photo

Thank you for reading! Any additional information, questions or correction please send to museum@qormuseum.org

Cheers,

MCpl Graham Humphrey

Bernières-sur-Mer

Ever wonder what Bernières-sur-Mer looked like on June 6, 1944? Well here is an Aerial photograph taken roughly around 1100hrs on June 6th.

Bernières-sur-Mer June 6th 1944 1100hrs
Bernières-sur-Mer June 6th 1944 1100hrs

Cheers,

MCpl Graham Humphrey

Regimental Christmas Cards from the First and Second World War

As we approach another holiday season, we’re sharing some of the Regimental Christmas Cards that will be on a temporary exhibit at the Museum starting 1 December. This first series is primarily from the First World War with one from 1941. The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada perpetuate the 83rd, 166th and 198th Battalions represented below.