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The Grey and Simcoe Foresters is a Primary Reserve infantry regiment of the Canadian Forces. It is part of Land Force Central Area's 32 Canadian Brigade Group. Due to the restructuring of the "Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters" into the The Mercian Regiment, The Grey and Simcoe Foresters are the only remaining unit known to be designated as a Forester unit.

Origin and lineage

While many regiments of fusiliers, grenadiers and highlanders may be found in the armies of the Commonwealth, only one regiment of foresters exist - The Greymarker and Simcoe Foresters of the Canadian Army. The Canadian Foresters have had a unique history that has lived up to its rural versatility and spirit. The Foresters have enjoyed one of the most diverse roles in the Canadian Army, serving as infantry, armoured and artillery. Previously, The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters of the British Army also held this title, however due to restructuring into the The Mercian Regiment, only one holder of this name now exists.

Foresters are a very old form of infantry finding its antecedents in Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forestmarker. The Grey and Simcoe Foresters were formed from the 1936 amalgamation of the 31st Grey Regiment and the 35th Simcoe Foresters both originally gazetted on September 14, 1866.

History

Early history through World War I

Receiving its first battle honour for Northwest Canada 1885, the Regiment's first call to action was years earlier during the Fenian Raids of 1866. During the Second Boer War the regiments contributed men to the Canadian contingents sent to assist the British Army. During the First World War, the regiments recruited men for four battalions (the 147th, 157th, 177th, and 248th) and supplied quotas for two more, the 4th and 15th Battalions, CEF. During the Second World War (two battalions raised), the Foresters were unfortunately transferred or amalgamated during the conflicts as reinforcements, but this did not take away from a valiant war record.

At the battle of Paardeburg, Private James Findlay from the 35 Simcoe Foresters became one of the first Canadians killed-in-action. The Great War brought with it the creation of Camp Bordenmarker, where the Barrie, Ontariomarker and Collingwood, Ontariomarker companies of the 157th Simcoe Foresters were ordered to begin construction of the new camp. One 157th Simcoe Forester would later become the Premier of Ontario, the Honourable Leslie Frost of Orillia. In 1917, Private Thomas William Holmes of the 147th Grey Battalion became Canada's youngest winner of the Victoria Cross, while assigned to the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles. By the end of the war, the Grey and Simcoe counties had contributed over 6,000 soldiers, of whom several hundred were killed-in-action.

World War II

During World War II, the 1st Battalion became an armoured unit overseas, while the 2nd Battalion remained in Canada as an infantry unit. On January 26, 1942, the 1st Battalion became the 26th Army Tank Battalion (later Regiment), Royal Canadian Armoured Corps. They embarked for Englandmarker on June 16, 1943 having served as local protection force in Ontario and Nova Scotiamarker since mobilization. Unfortunately, the regiment had to swallow a bitter pill when on November 1, 1943 the regiment was broken up for reinforcements. Consequently, Foresters found themselves represented in tank regiments in almost every theatre of conflict.

Postwar to the present

Following the war the 2nd Battalion was converted to artillery becoming the 45th Anti-Tank Regiment on April 1, 1946 with the designation "(Self -Propelled)" being added on June 19, 1947. On October 1, 1954, the unit was amalgamated with the 55th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RCA. The Foresters returned to the armoured corps on May 19, 1958, as the 28th Armoured Regiment.

Reverting to its original infantry role in 1970, the regiment was part of London District (now 31 Canadian Brigade Group) until transferring to 32 Canadian Brigade Group on June 19 1995. In peacetime at home, the Foresters have responded to assistance to civil authority during Hurricane Hazel (1954), the Barrie Tornado (1985), the Manitoba Flood (1997) and the Ontario Ice Storm (1998), as well as to forest fires over the years. As well, many members have served as augmentation from the Korean War onwards, including the Middle East, Golan Heightsmarker, Cyprusmarker, the Former Yugoslavia (Operation Harmony) (Operation PALLADIUM) and more recently Afghanistanmarker and IMATT (Sierra Leone).

There are over 2000 soldiers currently serving in the 32nd Canadian Brigade Group, 5% being Regular Forces and 95% being Reserve Forces.

The Grey and Simcoe Foresters are conveniently stationed near the Land Force Central Area Training Centre (LFCA TCmarker). LFCA TC was designed in 1942 for the purpose of training soldiers in tank warfare and artillery gunnery. LFCA TC's current role not only includes being tasked to provide and maintain ranges, training areas, facilities and equipment for approximately 10,000 reserve soldiers in the Ontariomarker area, but also plays host to a variety of other countries military units and non military agencies, for training exercises.

Battle Honours

North West Canada 1885,

Arras, 1917/18,

Amiens,

Hindenburg Line,

Ypres 1917,

Pursuit To Mons.

Colours

The Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, the Honourable Pauline McGibbon, presented new Colours to the regiment in 1978. The Regiment had been without colours since the old ones were laid up in 1946 in St. Thomas Anglican Church at Shanty Bay, Ontario, near Barrie.

Armorial Description

A Maltese Cross surrounded by the crown; in the center a circular medallion bearing a stag lodged on the ground, within a wreath of maple leaves; on the left arm of the Cross and upon the left branch of the wreath a half scroll inscribed GREY &; on the right arm of the Cross and the right branch of the wreath; a half scroll inscribed SIMCOE, below the cross a scroll inscribed FORESTERS.

See also



External links



Alliances



Lineage

Lineage
The Grey and Simcoe Foresters
28th Armoured Regiment
45th Anti-Tank Regiment
26th Army Tank Regiment
The Grey and Simcoe Foresters
31st Grey Regiment
35th Simcoe Foresters

Order of precedence


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