Restoring the historical designations of Canadian Army organizations

Backgrounder / April 19, 2013 / Project number: BG – 13.008

The Government of Canada has restored the historical names of five Canadian Army corps, and changed the title of another organization. The restoration of these historical names is part of the phased-in approach for restoring the use of the historic designations of the three former services that was announced by the Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Peter MacKay, in August 2011.

The historical designations of the following corps have been restored in order to honour their illustrious history of service to Canada, including in the two World Wars and Korea:

  • Royal Canadian Armoured Corps
    Originally the Canadian Calvary Corps, formed in 1910. They were designated the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps in 1945 by King George VI.
  • The Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers
    Created in 1903 as the Canadian Engineer Corps. Designated Royal Canadian Engineers in 1904 and Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers in 1936.
  • Royal Canadian Corps of Signals;
    Canadian Signals Corps (Militia), originally formed in 1903. Designated Royal Canadian Corps of Signals in 1921 by King George V.
  • Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
    Canadian infantry corps were formed in 1942 and designated Royal Canadian Infantry Corps in 1947 by King George VI.
  • The Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
    The Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers stood up in 1944 from amalgamating the related electrical and mechanical engineering elements of Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps and Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps.

The new title of the Canadian Army Military Police Group has also been adopted by the previous Land Force Military Police Group.

By restoring these historical designations, the Government is restoring an important and recognizable part of Army heritage.

The decision to restore these historical names was carefully considered and included an examination of the rationale for the change, the history of the name being changed, and the legal implications of making a name change.

These historical designations link Canadian Army soldiers to the successes of their military past and the promise of their future.  The restoration of the former names of units and corps will have a long-term positive impact on the pride associated with soldiers’ membership in those organizations and, in turn, on their operational effectiveness. 

The “royal” designation

The “royal” designation is an honour that has been bestowed on  many units of the Canadian Army, including:

  • The Royal Canadian Dragoons;
  • Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians);
  • The Royal Canadian Hussars (Montreal);
  • The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery;
  • 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery;
  • 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery;
  • The Royal Canadian Regiment;
  • Royal 22e Regiment;
  • The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada;
  • The Royal Regiment of Canada;
  • The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment);
  • The Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada;
  • The Royal New Brunswick Regiment;
  • The Royal Winnipeg Rifles;
  • The Royal Regina Rifles;
  • The Royal Westminster Regiment;
  • The Royal Montreal Regiment; and
  • The Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

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