ANAVETS Shoulder to Shoulder

September 2016

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SHOULDER TO SHOULDER 25 After more wrangling, Quebec Conservative caucus-leader Leon Balcer turned on "the Chief" and demanded that Pearson bring in "closure" to pass the bill; other Quebec members supported him. The Maple Leaf flag - scorned by Diefenbaker as resembling a bacon wrapper - was adopted by 163 votes to 78. As a young sergeant in the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, I was given the "privilege" of lowering the Red Ensign and running up the new flag at one of the ceremonies that took place across Canada. But uneasy about it, I went home and talked to my ex-RSM father. "If you do it, you'd better not set foot in this house again," he said. My fiancée's father, another old soldier, said the same thing. My ex-navy brother said: "It's a bacon wrapper." I went back to my regiment and told my squadron commander I wouldn't do it. "I'll have you charged with disobeying a lawful command," he said. "You'll be finished in the army." When the day came he gave me another chance - but again I refused. The parade brought tears to my eyes as I watched the dear old flag come down. Later, I reported to my sergeant-major, as I'd been ordered to do. "What do you want?" he said. I told him. "You get the hell outta here," he said, "or you'll really be in trouble - and with me this time!" Thinking he didn't under- stand I tried to explain. "Bugger off!" he said. I never heard another word about it. I don't know how he'd done it, but when it came to bacon, my sergeant-major, WOII A.W. Nichols, RCD, had saved mine. And, like most Canadians I came to love the new flag. But when I see it going up the pole I might be forgiven if once in a while I smile - and sometimes think of breakfast. C urrently the Rocky Mountain Rangers is serving as an infantry regiment in 39 Canadian Brigade Group, with companies located in Kamloops and Prince George, BC. The Regiment has a very interesting history, and dates from July 1st, 1898, when five independent rifle companies were formed at Kamloops, Revelstoke, Kaslo, Nelson, and Rossland. In 1900 these independent rifle companies were renamed as Rocky Mountain Rangers, but as no regimental HQ was formed, they continued to remain and operate as independent rifle companies. Eight years later in 1908 an additional company was formed in Nelson, and this company, along with the three other companies in Nelson, Kaslo, and Rossland were amalgamated and became the 102nd Regiment with their regimental HQ located in Nelson. The first commanding officer was Lieutenant-Colonel W.J.H. Holmes. This left just two independent rifle companies of Rocky Mountain Rangers, one in Kamloops, one in Revelstoke, and a newly formed infantry company in Armstrong. However, in 1909 two of these companies were amalgamated into the 102nd Regiment as E and F companies, leaving the Armstrong Infantry Company as the last remaining independent company. A reorganization of the regiment in 1912 saw the companies in Rossland, Nelson, Revelstoke, and Kaslo disbanded due to poor numbers and training standards. Regimental HQ was moved to Kamloops and the Armstrong independent infantry company was finally amalgamated into the regiment. The new commanding officer was Lieutenant-Colonel J.R. Vicars. More companies were established, Kelowna in 1913, and Vernon, Salmon Arm, Penticton all in 1914. Canada declared war against Germany on the August 4, 1914, and the 102nd Regiment was placed on active service on August 6, 1914, for local protection duties. These duties mainly consisted of guarding the network of railway lines and bridges in the area. Other members of the regiment were tasked with guarding the enemy alien internment camps located around BC. On July 15, 1916, the regiment was authorized to raise and recruit for the 172nd Overseas Battalion, C.E.F., and this battalion left for Great Britain on October 25, 1916. Unfortunately this battalion was not to fight as a formed unit. On January 1, 1917, the 172nd Battalion was reduced to nil strength and the men were transferred to the 24th Reserve Battalion, C.E.F., where they were used to provide reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field. The 172nd Overseas Battalion, C.E.F., was finally disbanded on July 17, 1917. On August 26th, 1939, personnel of the regiment were placed on active service for local protection duties. Once again guarding the cross-Canada railway lines and bridges throughout the centre of British Columbia. The regiment was mobilized for active service as the 1st Battalion, The Rocky Mountain Rangers, Canadian Army Special Force, on January 1st 1941. A 2nd Battalion continued to serve in the reserve army. The regiment served in Canada in a home defence role as part of the 18th Infantry Brigade, 6th Canadian Division as part of the Pacific Coast Defences. It took part in the expedition to Kiska, Alaska as a unit of the 13th Canadian Infantry Brigade Group, serving there from 16 August 1943 to 12 January 1944. It embarked for the UK on May 25th 1944, where the battalion was disbanded on January 28th 1946. Since the end of World War Two this regiment has gone through several changes to its order of battle, with companies being formed and disbanded all over the central region of British Columbia at various times. The regiment contributed a large number of soldiers to the various Afghanistan Battle Groups and, on May 9th, 2014, was awarded the Battle Honour "Afghanistan". The regiment continues to soldier on in the defence of Canada. THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN RANGERS by Bill Nangle CD

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