- The Rocky Mountain Rangers
Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= The Rocky Mountain Rangers
caption= Cap badge of the Rocky Mountain Rangers
dates= 1885 - Present
type= Line Infantry
size= One Battalion
Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
garrison=JR Vicars Armoury
Kamloops, British Columbia
motto="Kloshe Nanitch" ("Stand guard")
march="The Meeting of the Waters"
The Rocky Mountain Rangers is a
Primary Reserve infantry regimentof the Canadian Forces. The regimental headquarters are located at JR Vicars Armoury in Kamloops, British Columbia. It has an alliance with The Green Howards in Richmond, North Yorkshire, England.
The Rocky Mountain Rangers are part of the
39 Canadian Brigade Groupand also part of Land Force Western Area
The Rocky Mountain Rangers draw on the heritage of the militia unit of the same name raised on the eastern reaches of the Rocky Mountains during the
North West Rebellionof 1885.
Commanded by Major Stewart, a former cavalry officer, the Rocky Mountain Rangers was a body of mounted irregulars, consisting of cowboys and ranchers from what is now southern Alberta. After rebellion had been quelled, Major Stewart requested the unit be placed on the General Service list as a permanent militia unit. He was not successful and the unit was disbanded after being in existence little more than three months. There is no official lineage to The Rocky Mountain Rangers Regiment currently located in British Columbia. The connection is in name only. The
South Alberta Light Horsereserve regiment is officially considered the unit perpetuating the Rocky Mountain Rangers of 1885
July 1 1898, five independent rifle companies were formed in the interior of British Columbia at Kamloops, Nelson, Kaslo, Rossland and Revelstoke. These units were named by their location (Kamloops Rifle Company etc.) The independent companies were renamed the Rocky Mountain Rangers in 1900 but remained independent companies. No regimental headquarters was established at this time. The same year saw nineteen men from the unit depart to fight in the Second Boer War.
April 1 1908an additional company was formed in Nelson, this unit with the three southern companies were amalgamated to form the 102nd Regiment with headquarters in Nelson. An independent company was formed in Armstrong. The Rocky Mountain Rangers were reduced to two companies in Kamloops and Revelstoke. In 1909 these two remaining companies were amalgamated with the others to form the 102nd Regiment Rocky Mountain Rangers. In 1912 a reorganization of the regiment saw the companies in Rossland, Nelson, Kaslo and Revelstoke disbanded, the headquarters relocated to Kamloops and the Armstrong company amalgamated. Later that year, the Revelstoke company was reinstated and more companies added at Kelowna, Salmon Arm, Vernon and Penticton.
With the advent of the First World War, the 102nd Regiment Rocky Mountain Rangers was placed on active service for local protection duties. In 1916 the unit raised the 172nd Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force for overseas deployment. On arrival overseas the battalion was dispersed to augment other Canadian infantry units. Although the men did not fight as Rocky Mountain Rangers, the regiment was awarded
battle honoursby virtue of their contribution in the battles of Arras, 1917, Hill 70, Ypres 1917, Amiens, Hindenburg Line and Valenciennes. Princess Patricia presented a set of unofficial colours to the 172nd battalion in 1916. The Battle Honours were emblazoned on the colours after the war.
The 102nd Regiment continued to serve in a reserve capacity for much of the war. One of its tasking was to staff internment camps at Revelstoke, Mara Lake and Vernon. The 102nd also provided substantial numbers to the 54th (Kootenay) Battalion of the CEF. In 1917 the 172nd Battalion was reduced to nil and disbanded to be perpetuated by The Rocky Mountain Rangers. In 1920 the regiment renamed The Rocky Mountain Rangers and reorganized to four companies. The unit organization remained basically the same until the start of the Second World War.
In August 1939 the regiment was called out for local defense duties, to guard vulnerable points along the CPR/CNR railroads. This task was taken over by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police by early 1940 as the regiment was down to almost nil strength due to re-enforcement drafts to other active units.
In June 1940 the regiment, redesignated The Rocky Mountain Rangers CASF, was ordered to mobilize to full wartime strength. The active service 1st Battalion was employed on west-coast defense duties in various communities in the Vancouver area, Prince Rupert and on Vancouver Island. During one notable deployment, the battalion marched from Kamloops to Vancouver as a training exercise under simulated war conditions. The 500 km march took 14 days with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius. This march was re-enacted by the unit's serving members in 1998.
The situation developing in the Pacific presented a real and immediate threat to the Pacific coast and the BC interior. To meet this threat the reserve unit, now re-designated the 2nd Battalion, was assigned to the 39 (Reserve) Brigade Group and tasked to provide protection of vulnerable industrial points along the CPR railroad lines in the interior and to recruit and train as part of a brigade group in defence of the west coast. With its headquarters remaining in Kamloops, the battalion was spread along the main and southern CPR rail lines from Ashcroft in the west to Fernie in the east.
In 1943 the 1st Battalion, then part of the 13th Infantry Brigade, sailed from Vancouver Island to the American base on the island of Adak in the Aleutian Island chain where the Battalion underwent specialized training for the assault on the Japanese-occupied island of Kiska. The Rocky Mountain Rangers formed the core of the 16th Canadian Combat Team for the assault on Kiska. The force sailed from Adak on
13 Augustfor a scheduled assault on Kiska two days later. As it was, the Japanese had abandoned the island several days before under the cover of fog and darkness including a cannon which was later brought back to Vernon Military Camp, (Now Vernon Army Cadet Summer Training Centre). The Rangers remained on the island until the middle of January 1944, unfortunately losing an officer and several men to booby traps and friendly fire. Later that year the 1st Battalion sailed to Europe as part of the 13th Infantry Brigade. This operations is commemorated every year with the unit's Christmas dinner being designated as Kiska dinner. Upon arrival in England the Rangers were welcomed and hosted by the British infantry regiment, The Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales Own Yorkshire Regiment), the beginning of a close relationship which continues today. The two regiments were officially designated allied regiments in 1948. As in the First World War the 1st Battalion was broken up to augment other under strength Canadian units. Once again over 5000 Rocky Mountain Rangers fought overseas with other Canadian units.
In 1946 the unit was reverted to reserve status with HQ in Kamloops and companies in Kamloops, Prince George, Salmon Arm, Armstrong and Revelstoke. In 1952 the company in Revelstoke was relocated to Whitehorse. This company became inactive three years later. In 1959 the Armstrong company headquarters was relocated to Revelstoke. This organization remained until 1970 when the companies in Prince George and Salmon Arm were reduced to nil strength. In 1978 the company in Revelstoke was relocated to Salmon Arm. In 1998 the company in Salmon Arm was reduced to nil strength and relocated on paper to Kamloops.
The original Regimental Colour presented to the regiment by Princess Patricia in 1916, though never consecrated, now hang in St Paul's Cathedral in Kamloops. In 1983 Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, presented the first official consecrated colours to the regiment in a ceremony at Kamloops. A replacement Regimental Colours was presented in 1998 following the official reversion to green facings used by the rifle regiments in place of the blue facing used by line infantry regiments.
The Freedom of the City of Kamloops was presented to the regiment in 1982 and in Salmon Arm in 1992. In 2008 the unit saw the deployment of 12 of its soldiers to Afghanistan. As well in 2008, the unit commemorated its 100th anniversary, one of the first reserve units in British Columbia to do so.
There are several
Royal Canadian Army Cadetsunits spread across British Columbiawhich are affiliated to the Rocky Mountain Rangers. Cadets are not soldiers; they are part of an organization dedicated to developing citizenship and leadership among young men and women aged 12 to 18 years of age with a military flavour, and are not required to join the Canadian Forces.
Cadet units affiliated to the Rocky Mountain Rangers receive support and also are entitled to wear traditional regimental accourtments on their uniform
Order of precedence
* [http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/rocky_mountain_rangers/ Rocky Mountain Rangers homepage]
* [http://www.okmilmuseum.ca/okmilmuseumrmrngr.htm Okanagan Military Museum, Rocky Mtn Rangers page]
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