Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment

 

Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Dot Village With Local Names

From the Carleton Place Canadian, 04 January, 1945

Originally from The Smiths Falls Record News

 

An Italian Village – The Canadian Lanark and Renfrew Scottish are resting and training in this village for the day and will bring new Italian battles.  Their colonel, from Medicine Hat, Alta., says his men are scattered over three villages and three hills, but here is the greatest concentration of them all.

The village is one of story and atmosphere.  It stands on a hill and atop the hill is a great and decaying castle, built by the blue-blooded Maletesta family in the 1300’s as a bulwark against transgression on its Adriatic domain.  Below, the village clings to itself, its sturdy stone houses parted by the tight, cobbled streets filled now with the vehicles of modern war and peopled with a contented human amalgam of men from Victoria and Red Deer, Alta., and somewhere in Nova Scotia, of a few hundred refugees from Rimni and the districts around there and a few hundred more of the normal population.

Here you see a farmer guiding his oxen and cart down the hill to his farm.  There you see the village priest hurrying home.  The Roman Catholic soldiers attend his services each Sunday in the village church.  Here you see a plaque commemorating the dead of the last war.  In front of it hangs an ornate lamp, like something out of a Christmas card of old England.  A few feet away is a plaque to the dead of the Ethiopian war.  Its names have been obliterated by a black smudge authored by someone, sometime.

The Scottish have marked the village liberally with the names common in their new parent region, the Ottawa Valley.  Here is Lanark avenue, there O’Brien’s theatre where Italians and Canadians watch the shows together, here Lennox Lunch (the men’s kitchen), Pembroke Hotel (officers’ mess), there Beamish Stores (the quartermasters’ stores).

Over one door hangs a sign “Royal Bank of Canada.”  Inside Capt. G. L. Matthews, Ottawa, the paymaster, and his sergeant, Frank Rigley, of Verdun, Que., hold down “the warmest spot in town.”  Reading the Montreal Standard over the heat of their little oil stove is Pte. W. N. Barrington, Verdun, Que.

Rigley talks of the excellent feelings between the Canadians and Italians:  “This is the best place we’ve struck yet.  Leave out our clothes and they’ll wash them, press them and have them back in a hurry.  We gave the mother (of the family sharing the house with them) a suit of underwear for the old man yesterday and she nearly fell on her knees thanking us.”

Outside again you meet Capt. R. P. Neil, who has found two others from Pembroke, where “A” company of the Lanark and Renfrew hails from.  They are Ptes. Huntley Munro and Michael Gregg.  In Adanac Inn, the little hole in the wall that is the dry canteen, you meet Auxiliary Services Officer Michael Quinn from Perth, Ont., the regiment’s home town.

From this village and from two others – the troops have called them Smiths Falls and Carleton Place – the battalion sends its men on seven-day leaves to Rome and Florence, 48’s to a leave town on the coast, and also sends them out to train and keep tough in the neighbouring countryside.

On the outskirts, near a little hillside graveyard for the British soldiers who died fighting here, is “Tartan Dive” where the men rally at night to have a drink of wine and listen to the Italian orchestra and chew the fat.  It used to be a Fascist recreation room.  Now Sgt. Harry Jantz, of Saskatoon, is in charge of its nightly activities.

A few miles away, the scout and pioneer platoons are holding a dance.  A Canadian orchestra beats out the music while the soldiers swing it with the farm girls of the countryside.  The colonel and a few of his officers hear Major D. L. Gordon, Toronto, lecture on artillery counter-battery work then jeep over to pay the men their compliments.

There you have the unexpected pleasure of meeting an old schoolmate, and a few of his mates of the platoon, Sgt. Ray Cormier, Halifax, and Pte. Edgar Paischand, Valmarie, Sask.

Smiths Falls Record News

Story of The Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment, by Howard Morton Brown, 14 Sept. 1961

Some 13 years ago The Canadian prepared an article on the history of the Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment which has a company stationed at Carleton Place.  Here is the story recalled.

Lanark and Renfrew Regiment, July 22, 1948

Glorious pages of history, full of stirring accounts of hard fought battles on the field of honor, of meritorious commendation for efficiency and service, could be unfolded if the complete history on the Lanark and Renfrew, Scottish Regiment, was available.

One of Canada’s oldest and most famous military units at present under command of Lieut. Col. W. K. McGregor, Pembroke, the regiment, since organization in 1862 as a volunteer militia company has aided in the suppression of the Fenian Raids of 1886, contributed 2,956 men to the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the Great War, won five battle honors, and finally recruited 73 officers and over 2,000 men who served in active units in the present war.  How the regiment was organized is told in an abridged copy of its activities which have been notated from time to time through the years.

Early settlement of the Ottawa Valley started with the disbanding of the British regiments after the war of 1812.  Conditions in England and Scotland at this time were such that men discharged from the army were unable to find employment and so came to Canada.

Although the 42nd Brockville battalion of infantry (the “Old 42nd”) as it was formerly known, was not formed until 1866, the early settlers belonged to several units which were established at that time.  The Militia Act of 1855 authorized the formation of volunteer militia companies and the following were formed in Lanark and Renfrew counties :   Infantry company at Almonte, Dec. 5, 1862 ; at Brockville, Dec. 11, 1862 ; at Perth and Fitzroy, Jan. 16, 1863 ; at Lansdowne, June 15, 1866 ;  and Smiths Falls, June 22, 1866.

Units Are Concentrated

On October 5, 1866, these independent units were concentrated into one unit “the 42nd Brockville Battalion of Infantry.”  When the regimental command was given to Lieut. Col. Jacob D. Buell in the same year, the unit became known as the Lanark and Renfrew Regiment.  Another unit, an infantry company at Pembroke, was attached and absorbed as No. 7 company in 1871.

In 1866, the militia received training under active service conditions.  When the threat of Fenian raids assumed serious proportions in 1870, contingents from the companies stationed in the two counties were detailed for duty at Brockville, Prescott, Cornwall and along the shores of the St. Lawrence River.  In the same year, a small detachment led by Capt. Thomas Scott, was sent with the Red River Expedition to the Canadian West to help crush the Riel Rebellion.

Drill sheds (as they were then called) were under construction for the battalion in 1868 at Lansdowne, Almonte, Carleton Place, Smiths Falls and Perth.

During the succeeding five years, activities of the unit were comparatively quiet although it is said the camp of 1875, was the first “dry” one since its formation.  The original historian facetiously remarks on this point.  “The matter has since been rectified and great improvement noted in the orderly conduct of the men.”  In 1877, the Pembroke company commanded by Lieut. Moffatt was called out to aid the local civil authorities in repressing riotous raftsmen.  This occurred during the great lumbering days.

Col. Buell retired in 1896, after 20 years continuous service and was succeeded by Lieut. Co. Arthur J. Matheson.  The new commanding officer approached his task under difficult circumstances as many of the officers had reached the age of retirement, but under his direction, the regiment was able to go to camp near Prescott with a strength of 15 officers and 185 other ranks.  It is noteworthy the regiment was highly complimented on its showing during an inspection. 

For the next nine years, training was reduced to a minimum due to a reduction in militia grants but the battalion was kept together through voluntary training at local headquarters.  A brief scare in 1895 due to differences between Great Britain and America over the Venezuela boundary, (which was finally settled by arbitration) helped arouse interest in the militia and the strengthening of Canadian defences.

In 1898, Lieut. Col. J. McKay succeeded Col Matheson.  Three years later he in turn was succeeded by Lieut. Col. Lennox Irving.  During his tenure of office the 42nd was selected the rural unit to take part in the ceremony and review on the occasion of the visit of Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of York.  After the march past, General Otter addresses the regiment stating, “Well done 42nd.  It was simply splendid.”

In 1906, Lieut. Col. H. J. Mackie succeeded to the command.  During his tenure of office an amusing incident took place at the camp.

Lost Spur is Found

One of the staff officers was fond of brilliant dress.  He wore a pair of brilliant golden spurs.  One day camp orders reported the loss of a spur.  A soldier found it and brought it to the Orderly Room.  The unit, through exercises for the day, was immediately called out and a stretcher party of four men was detailed to carry the spur.  An armed guard was detailed to accompany the party.  With the regimental band leading the parade, the unit proceeded to headquarters.  The story concludes at this point.

Lieut. Col. J. M. Balderson succeeded Col. Mackie in 1908 and he remained in command until 1920.

During the Great War, the regiment enlisted and transferred men to the Canadian Expeditionary Force as follows:  First contingent, 150 ; 21st Battalion, 120 ; 38th Battalion, 285 ; 77th Battalion, 103 ; 80th Battalion, 321 ; 130th Battalion, 1,024 ; and the 240th Battalion, 963.  The 130th Lanark and Renfrew Overseas Battalion was mobilized Nov. 14, 1915, at Perth, under Lieut. Col. J. E. de Hertel, and the 240th, on June 1, 1916, at Renfrew under Lieut. Col. E. Watt.

Battle honors awarded to the regiment were, the Somme, 1916 ; Amiens, in the same year ; Arras, 1917-18, (Hindenburg Line) ; Ypres, 1917, and the pursuit to Mons in the same year.

The unit was re-organized in 1922 and Lieut. Col. J. R. Caldwell succeeded to the command.  Companies were allocated as follows : Headquarters, Perth ; “A” Company, Pembroke ; “B” Company, Renfrew and Arnprior ; “C” Company, Carleton Place, and “D” Company, Perth.

Two years after Lieut. Col. J. A. Hope, D.S.O., M.C., V.D., was given the command in 1925, the name of the regiment was changed to the Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment and became affiliated with the famous Black Watch regiment.  During his term of office, headquarters of the battalion was at Perth, on the Tay River.  In Scotland, a Lieut. Col. Hope commanded the 42nd Regiment of the Black Watch.  His headquarters was also at Perth, on the Tay.

The colors were presented to the battalion at Barriefield, July 13, 1930, by Miss Constance M. Dawes, and the ceremony of dedication took place the same afternoon.  Hon. Major H. H. Bedford Jones, D.D., officiated at the dedication.

A few years later, Col. Hope commanded the Bisley rifle team.  He was succeeded in 1931 by Lieut. Col. E. H. Wilson, V.D., who remained in command until 1933 when Lieut. Col. P. H. Gardner, M.C., V.D., was appointed commanding officer.

During his tenure of office, the regiment resumed training at Petawawa Military Camp for the first time since the war years.  He had the honor of being present at the Coronation of King George VI.

In 1938, the present commander, Col. Beatty, succeeded Col. Gardner.  During this visit of the King and Queen in 1939, his regiment was given a prominent part in the ceremonies at Ottawa and Kingston.

Aids at Ottawa Function

At Ottawa the regiment was credited with preventing what might have developed into a serious situation on the evening Their Majesties attended a parliamentary dinner at the Chateau Laurier.  Over 300 strong, the battalion’s duty was to line Mackenzie avenue and control the traffic and crowds.  About eight o’clock, the crowd began to press forward and civilian “casualties” occurred right and left.  The situation rapidly got out of hand.  But the pipe band was brought forward and played in front of the Chateau.  Soon the temper of the crowd changed and the situation was under control.

A personal bodyguard for the Queen was selected from the unit and stationed in the hall leading to the East Block of the Parliament Buildings.  It was commanded by Capt. A. Wallace.

At the outbreak of the present war, guards were established for a time at each armory, and shortly afterward the regiment was required to detail a guard of two officers and 50 other ranks over the Magazine, Pump House, and Main Gate at Petawawa camp. 

The regiment provided a guard over aliens interned at Centre Lake, in December, 1939.  Within a short time, a complete company of 250 officers and men were supplied to the Governor General’s Footguards, under command of Major Harold Baker.

Appointments announced in 1943 were : D. E. Jamieson, Smiths Falls, and now of Pembroke, will shortly receive his commission and will be appointed adjutant.  Lieut. W. R. Eliott, Renfrew, is training officer.  The following N.C.O.’s will be appointed assistant instructors with the rank of warrant Officer H, Sgt. Major J. B. Rouselle, Headquarters Company, Renfrew ; C.Q.M.S.P.J. Rooney “B” Company, Almonte ; C.Q.M.S.C.A. Clarke, “C” Company, Smiths Falls, and Sgt. L. E. Fagan, “D” Company, Carleton Place.

The spring of 1946 marked a turning point in the history of this famous regiment as it came under the scrutiny of the Department of National Defense under new plans announced for the Canadian Army in the post-war period.

The regiment was placed under command of Col. William Boyd, of Smiths Falls, who succeeded Major Alex Bathgate, of Pembroke, who was in command for a short time after Lieut. Col John McLaren Beatty.  A short time later, Col. W. K. McGregor, of Pembroke, succeeded Col. Boyd.

The regiment became known as the 59th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Lanark and Renfrew Scottish (Reserve).  Instead of the old time companies in an infantary regiment, the unit was divided into artillery batteries.

The 176th Battery was subdivided into two troops.  “A” Troop is located at Perth under Capt. W. Arbuthnot ; “B” Troop at Smiths Falls under Capt. Gordon Thom.  Headquarters is at Carleton Place under Major C. R. Ryan who commands both troops.

The 17th Battery is located at Renfrew and the 177th Battery at Pembroke.

In command of Headquarters in Carleton Place for the 176th Battery are : Major Ryan, Lieuts. G. W. Comba, Ivan Romanuke, Ronald McFarlane, M.B.E., John Dunlop ; Battery Sergeant Major E. M. Evoy, M. M. and Bar, Battery Quarter Master Sergeant, W. E. Fraser ; sergeants H. Neil, Thomas Poynter and Transport Sergeant Thomas Leach.

The first post-war camp was held at Point Petre that year.  The camp is located on Prince Edward Island, near Picton.  A considerable number from this area attended and were introduced to the new equipment allotted the regiment.  This included the main weapons, the 40-mm. Bofors gun and the 20-mm. Polsten rapid-fire gun.

The following year, the next camp was held at the Royal Canadian School of Artillery (L.) at Picton on the site of the former airport.  More advanced training was given and as a result of the men’s progress, the regiment was complimented on its showing.

At this camp, guns were fired at Point Petre.

During the winter of 1947, considerable training took place at various troop headquarters.  Carleton Place made use of the 40-mm. Fofors, gun tractor and 15-cwt. Transport allotted to them.  Many lectures were given and some schemes were completed.  The year 1948 saw a repetition of previous training at the artillery school during the annual camp, just completed.

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