Category Archives: Uncategorized

Evolution of Queen’s Own Officer’s Tunics

Fresh off the presses!!!

After along time researching and searching Sergeant Graham Humphrey has finally found the evolution of the Queen’s Own Rifles officer’s tunics from 1860 – today. Enjoy!

QOR and Upper Canada College: 150th Anniversary of Affiliation

Major Francis Collier Draper
Major Francis Collier Draper

On 12 January 1866 No 11 Company “Upper Canada College” of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada (QOR) was formed under the command of Captain Frank C. Draper.

Draper seems like an excellent choice to fill this role as he was both a UCC Old Boy (1844-52) and had been a QOR officer since 1863. In 1874 he would resign his commission and become Toronto’s Chief Constable (i.e. Police Chief).

Creation of Upper Canada College Company of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada (Gazette)
Creation of Upper Canada College Company of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada (Gazette)

The following article is excerpted from “COLBORNE’S LEGACY: Upper Canada College 1829-1979″ by Richard B. Howard

“It is Difficult to Establish a Date on which the College Rifle  Company, alias the Rifle Corps, later the Cadet Battalion, held its first official parade…..

The first hint of any military enthusiasm at UCC is mentioned earlier, when during the 1837 Rebellion, a troop of boys offered their services to the Lieutenant-Governor. …..

Early in Principal Cockburn’s regime, military drill was the subject of much attention in schools in England, Canada, and the United States. Ways were sought to promote what was thought of as a patriotic  spirit. The aim was to foster love of country along with a disposition to defend it, and to develop obedience and discipline. The important habit of prompt obedience could then be carried over into the classroom. By 1865 drill had been introduced into schools in many Ontario centres, including Toronto, London, and Port Hope. The College was probably one of the earliest participants; it is known that in 1863 the older boys paraded weekly under a Major [Henry] Goodwin, a strict disciplinarian but “kind-hearted” and “cheery.”

In 1865 Fenian troubles were creating much unease in Canada, and several Upper Canada College students asked Principal Cockburn’s permission to transform the recently formed cadets into a company of the Queen’s Own Rifles.

In December of that year an unknown number of pupils were enrolled, and in January 1866 the company was attached to the 2nd Battalion, Queen’s Own Rifles.

Thus , Upper Canada College was possibly the second Canadian school to have an “official” cadet corps, following Bishop’s College School in Lennoxville, Quebec, whose corps was organized in 1861.

The Queen’s Own were called out on March 8, 1866 , and though the College boys were not specifically mentioned, they appeared at every parade and march anyway (they even had their own marching song).

On St. Patrick’s Day the company waited for any trouble arising
out of the parade, but nothing happened . When the Fenians actually struck at Fort Erie on June 1 , the Queen’s Own were ordered out to meet them.  School was dismissed for the day and the College company reported for duty only to find that, by orders of General Napier, they must “…. remain in garrison to guard the armouries and official stores. Some students wanted to “desert” to join the battalion at the front, but evidently no one did.

“They performed the duty which was given them. ” After the raid there were plenty of volunteers in Toronto, and so the College company was released; but, just in case, it was “agreed that should the College bell ring at any time out of class hours, the members of the Company would . . . assemble at the Armoury.” The bell did, in fact, ring once, and the College boys were the first to report to the armoury, but it was a false alarm. A dense crowd gave them three cheers.

It has been thought that the Upper Canada College Rifle Company received “battle honours” for its passive though honourable role in the Raid. Not so. The Queen’s Own Rifles did not receive such honour; neither did the College. However, General Napier did give them honourable mention in his report, and it is true that they were called out for service (along with Bishop’s College School) — apparently the only time in Canadian military history this has happened.

Over thirty years later, the government decided to present medals to those who were engaged on active service in the Fenian Raid: the College Rifle Company, though denied the privilege of fighting, had performed some important functions, and all the members of the company still living received a medal.”

As of October 22, 1886, the Rifle Company officially became a Cadet Corps (#17) affiliated with The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada. During the First World War, the Cadets’ association with the Queen’s Own had lapsed, and by 1923 two regiments, the Toronto Regiment (now the Royal Regiment of Canada) and QOR were requesting that the Corps affiliate itself with them. After some dispute between the three parties, the College settled on the Queen’s Own again by 1927.

In 1976 the compulsory “Battalion” was disbanded to be replaced the following year by a voluntary Cadet Corps. This lasted until 1988 when it was officially disbanded as of April 15th.

Over most of these 144 years, the connection between UCC and the QOR remained very strong. Many Old Boys went on to serve with the QOR – some even becoming Commanding Officer. Even today, the Regiment values this long and distinguished relationship between one of Canada’s oldest continuously operating schools and Canada’s longest continuously serving infantry regiment.

You can read more:


Museum Website Milestones

We’re very excited to report that our website just exceeded over 200,000 individual page views by over 65,000 visitors since we launched in early 2012!

While most of those are from Canada, we do have visitors from over 130 other countries exploring our site.

When not take a look around at our extensive resources!

Three Recent Visitors to the Museum

We don’t often share much of the day to day goings on at the Museum so I thought perhaps I’d write briefly about three recent visitors to the museum.

Robert Catsburg

Author Robert Catsburg and Curator John Stephens in our museum office.
Author Robert Catsburg and Curator John Stephens in our museum office.

On September 25, I was pleased to meet Mr Robert Catsburg of Holland who is just wrapping up his third historical account of fighting which took place in Holland during WWII. POLDERFIGHTING is a detailed account of the 8th brigade near Oostburg, from 20 to 30 october 1944. It is based on the message log of the brigade, containing all radio messages and numerous other sources including many German and Dutch.The volume amounts 300 pages and will be translated and published in Canada in 2016 or 2017.

Robert shared a draft of his book which made clear the incredible amount of research he had done on the British, Canadian and Germany units involved, and on the significant impact this had on the local Dutch population.

We were happy to contribute in a small way to his project (the QOR were part of this action) and are certainly looking forward to a copy of the English translation when it is completed!

Mark Dalton

The strangest of coincidences led me to meeting Mark Dalton at the annual Upper Canada College Association Day event on September 26.  While he was looking for the UCC archivist, I overhead him mention he name to another staff member and took the opportunity to introduce myself. While we’d exchanged emails in the past, we’d never actually met but Mark will be familiar to many in the QOR family as the son of Lieutenant Colonel Elliot Dalton who was among, if not THE first to step ashore as a Company Commander on Juno Beach on D-Day. Incredibly, his uncle Charles commanded the other company in the first wave.

Mark told me he had actually planned to head over to Casa LOma to see the museum again so we met there and took a tour of our new layout and exhibits plus a bit of a “Curator’s backroom tour” as well. Mark snapped a photo of the piece of a landing craft that we have on display that was brought back by his father after the war. Mark and his wife and daughter are about to head over to France this week where among other activities, they will be visiting the Juno Beach Centre.

Mark has also kindly offered to temporarily loan us some albums that belonged to his father so that we can scan the information they contain and we are certainly looking forward to tackling that project!

Arthur Manville

During the following week I was very pleased to give a tour to Mr. Arthur Manville who is the Honorary Librarian of the Royal Canadian Military Institute (RCMI). Arthur has no military background but his interest in things military began in the mid-l960s when he was living in Ottawa and became an Associate Member of The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa Officers’ Mess. From that developed an interest in military history and he became an enthusiastic collector of British campaign medals.  For many years he was a member of The Military Historical Society (London) and The Society for Army Historical Research (London), and then began writing in 1983 after a trip to India and Pakistan with the MHS visiting regimental centres. He is very much a student of military history and an amateur military historian, having had articles published in the above society journals, RCMI Year Books and for the past several years in RCMI Members’ News. He has been a member of RCMI Library Committee since 1996 and was appointed Honorary Librarian 2001.  Arthur was accompanied on his tour by Mr. Jim Lutz who is a member of our Museum Board of Governors and the RCMI.

Sports in the Regiment 1922-1923

With the Pan American Games now taking place in Toronto, we thought it might be appropriate to repost this article.

The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum and Archives

As we kick off the 2014 Winter Olympics, we thought we’d share a few snippets of sports related regimental history.

The following is an excerpt from the 1922-1923 QOR Association Annual Report.

Sports in the Regiment

A phase of development in the life of every regiment that is, perhaps, one of the most essential to its success, and perhaps one of the most neglected, it in the world of sport. “Playing the game,” win or lose, must be inculcated in the mind of any who take a part, and this last devolves upon efficient leadership. It is such an ideal that the QOR has endeavoured to induce and maintain, that its part in the development of National life may not be confined to the discipline of the parade ground but to include self-discipline in the everyday life of its members. The Queen’s Own Rifles Athletic Association, therefore, became a reality…

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Regimental Christmas Cards from the First and Second World War

We thought we’d reblog this post from December 2013 with samples of our Regimental Christmas Cards.

The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum and Archives

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.

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Canadian Army Journal Apr 1952

Canadian Army Journal Apr 1951

Canadian Army Journal Apr 1950

Canadian Army Journal 1964

Canadian Army Journal 1963

Canadian Army Journal 1963 1

Canadian Army Journal 1962

Camouflage 1941

Battledress Ballads 3 Can Inf Div

Battle Intelligence 1946 British

Basic Physical Training Tables 1944 British

Basic Physical Training Tables Efficiency Tests 1944

Basic Physical Training Tables Efficiency Tests 1944 2

Basic Physical Training Tables Efficiency Tests 1944 1