1st Canadian Division Headquarters
The 1st Canadian Division Headquarters (1st Cdn Div HQ) leads operations for the Canadian Joint Operations Command. It is staffed and equipped to meet Canada’s military objectives to counter any potential threat.
1st Cdn Div HQ is a joint headquarters. This means that it is set up for sea, land and air operations. It is a high-readiness unit, able to move on very short notice. It works with military allies and other partners.
1st Cdn Div HQ is positioned to respond to any crisis, anywhere in the world. It is charged with four high-readiness tasks:
- Sending the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) when asked by Canada’s government. The team conducts humanitarian operations abroad, such as Op RENAISSANCE in Nepal in 2015;
- Operations to safely evacuate Canadian civilians abroad, such as in Libya in 2012 and Op PROVISION in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey in 2015;
- First rotation of military members for future operations, such as the past mission in Afghanistan; and
Providing a National Command Element. This includes all the support sections for missions in any part of the world. For example, it commands and provides all the Canadian military members and assets for Operation IMPACT, Canada’s support to the Global Coalition against Daesh.
1st Cdn Div was founded at the beginning of the First World War (WWI). It was Canada’s first fighting element of the conflict. During WWI, members of the Division brought great honour to Canada. They gained a reputation for courage, discipline and endurance. This began with the gas attack at the 2nd Battle of Ypres. Canada won respect with the efforts of soldiers who prevailed on Vimy Ridge and during the last 100 days of WWI.
In the Second World War (WWII), the Division trained long and hard in the United Kingdom. This was followed by arduous campaigns in Sicily, Italy and North-West Europe. It engaged in fierce battles at Agira, the Moro River, in Ortona and on the Hitler and Gothic Lines. These rank with the fighting at Ypres, the Somme, Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele in WWI.
1st Cdn Div was established three more times after WWII: once after the Korean War in 1954, again near the end of the Cold War, in November 1989 and then in Kingston, Ontario, under its current format in 2010. Its new mission is to provide a high-readiness headquarters, able to move on short notice to command sea, land and air missions and work with mission partners to meet national objectives anywhere in the world.
The Red Patch
The red patch has long been a badge of honour for all Canadian military members. The “old red patch” was worn for the first time during the Battle of Somme. This tradition carried into WWII.
During WWII, 1st Cdn Div earned praises from both sides of the conflict. The Germans nicknamed the Canadians of 1st Cdn Div "the little red devils." This was due to their determination and skill during the Italian campaign. The members of 1st Cdn Div continue to wear the distinctive red square shoulder patch as a symbol of recognition today.
Major-General Omer Lavoie
Division Sergeant Major
Chief Warrant Officer David Coxall
(613) 541-5010 Ext. 4283
1st Canadian Division Canadian Forces Base Kingston
P.O. Box 17000 STN Forces Kingston Ontario, K7K 7B4
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