Any war is a horrific event that may last years. Wars leave a legacy of death and destruction. They aren’t just for soldiers and battlefields but for new weapons that make destruction possible on our lands, beneath our seas, and in our air. They bring suffering and death to all families, races and nationalities. No matter where you live during the wars, they can effect you; seeing families destroyed, lives taken and children screaming in horror. In each World War Canada took apart defending their parent country, helping the countries that needed their help. We, as Canadians, should feel proud because many men from our Canadian Troops gave up their families, their friends even their lives to give the countries that needed them the freedom that Canadians had.
The Black Watches were a famous Scottish army command known as the Royal Highland Regiment. The troop was founded when there were threats of local trouble in Scotland. So eight leaders each raised a company of soldiers designed to keep peace. The first duties included controlling the uprising clans in the Scottish Highlands.
The Battalion’s worth as a military was proven on many occasions. The troops were called out to serve for many months on the Canadian border of the Niagara Peninsula and the Eastern Townships during the Fenian Raids of 1886 and 1870. The Canadian Troops also set out in aid of the civil power in 1877 during the Orange Riots, the Quebec riots which were a year later and served at the smallpox Riot of 1885. Due to Canada’s service over seas in Africa, the Royal Highlanders were awarded the battle honour, South Africa 1889-1900.
1905 was the year that the Royal Highlanders Regiment was formally allied with the Black Watch Troops in Scotland, and in 1906 that army was ordered to form a second army. It was the only two-army command stationed in one city for years.
On August 1st, 1914 Sir Robert Borden, the Prime Minister of Canada, offered the Black Watch’s of Canada to help Great Britain in a war against Germany, Great Britain accepted the offer. 300 of the men volunteered. During World War I, three more Black Watch armies were formed. By the end of the month the Black Watch has over 1,000 men. Over 60% of the original soldiers were of British origin.
During the first acts of war, the Canadian army lost over a hundred officers, and nearly 460 other ranks. It was during this war that the unit won it’s first Victorian Cross. Which is England’s highest military honour.
2 more Victorian Crosses were won in 1918. The medals won by Private J.B. Croak and Corporal H.J. Good. The army took part in battles around Amines, Chaulnes and Roye. During August of 1918 the Canadian army attacked the Germans outside of Hangar Woods.
The Black Watch Regiment served from 1914 to 1918 during World War I. During the war approximately 1,000 men were still at full strength while there were 5,881 casualties and nearly 1,110 were dead.
In 1939, the Black Watch held war training on the football practice field of the McGill University in Montreal. Many of the men were students at the University. The Black Watch wore kilts though the men came from all nationalities. There were Scots, Irish, Poles, Ukrainians and lots of Americans. The Watch symbolised the best young men that Canada had to offer.
Dawn of September 1, 1939 the Second World War began. The Germans armies began to attack Poland. Britain and France honoured their pledge to Poland and declared war on Germany few days later. This time however, the Canadian Troops did not automatically enter into the war. The Canadian Armies very much had support for the British. So Canada instead showed their support as they sent soldiers over to mainly help with the food and the manufactured goods.
On September 10th King George VI announced that Canada had declared war, defending Britain and their allies.
The Canadian troops helped defend the United Kingdom when Nazi invasion was threatened. They also made an unsuccessful attempt to help Britain defend Hong Kong against the Japanese. The Royal Highlanders fought for 20 long months in Italy. After the fighting in Italy they were part of the front lines during D-Day on June 6, 1944.
From June 6, 1944, until the defeat of Germany, 11 months later, Canadians fought steadily. They took part in almost 30 battles across France, Belgium, Holland, and into Germany.
Perhaps the greatest battle ever took place in Canadian history was D-Day, at May-sur-Orne and St. Andre on July 25th, 1944 in Normandy. The Americans, British and Canadians under went months of special training before D-Day. Supplies were produced in South England. Engineers planned an underground water pipeline to France, and prefabricated harbours were assembled. Air, sea and ground forces rehearse and rehearsed to ensure perfect timing and co-operation. D-Day was known as Operation Overlord. It began with allies landing on the coast of Normandy. The coastline was filled with guns, pillboxes, wire, mines, and beach obstacles that the British allies had to get through. From there on the Canadian troops moved inward towards Paris to fight off the Germans that had already taken over most of t he country.
After the Second World War the Black watch Troops were deployed in the Netherlands for a further two months. Then returned to Canada to be demobilised from the Active Army.
The Black Watch was one of the armies that served in Korea, in Germany with the NATO forces and regular tours of duty with the UN Peacekeeping forces in Cyprus.
Then June of 1970 the regular armies of the Black watch and two other regiments were reduced to nil strength and removed from the Order of Battle.
The Black Watch is now it’s traditional role as a Militia Regiment in Canada’s armed forces. August 1992 they were granted the freedom in the city of Montreal. In 1997 and 1998 the towns of Ormstown and Huntingdon
were granted the Regiment and the Freedom of their cities.