Perpetuated Units

Perpetuated Unit : Boulton’s Mounted Infantry – 1885

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During the North West Rebellion of 1885, Major Charles A. Boulton recruited a Mounted Infantry troop from the population of the Russell-Birtle district in Manitoba. Each town provided one troop of mounted men to the unit, whose total strength was 5 officers and 123 men. Known variously as “Boulton’s Mounted Infantry” “Boulton’s Mounted Corps” “Boulton’s Scouts or “Boulton’s Horse”, they joined General Frederick Middleton’s column as they advanced towards Fish Creek and Batoche.

It was the scouts of Boulton’s unit who discovered the Métis ambush at Fish Creek and gave warning to Middleton’s troops. Sergeant Darcy Baker was killed in the battle. The unit was in constant support of the column, scouting, guiding and carrying messages to and from units in the column. At the battle of Batoche, on 8-12 May, they dismounted and took part in the final successful attack on the rebel stronghold. Lt. Edward Brown was killed in the attack.

After the fall of Batoche, and the subsequent capture of Louis Riel, the column joined in the search for Big Bear and the prisoners he had taken at the Frog Lake massacre. With the release of the prisoners and surrender of the last of the rebel leaders, the campaign came to an end. Boulton’s unit was officially disbanded on 18 September 1885 and the men returned to their civilian occupations.

When the 32nd Manitoba Horse was formed in the same area on 1 April 1912, they considered Boulton’s unit to be their ancestor. When the Manitoba Horse was amalgamated with the Fort Garry Horse in 1936, the perpetuation of Boulton’s unit and it’s Battle Honours passed to the Fort Garry Horse.

North West Campaign

Perpetuated Unit: 226th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force 1916-1917

The 226th Battalion was formed for active service in March, 1916, under the command of LCol R.A. Gillespie. Most of the recruits came from two Manitoba Militia regiments, the 32nd Manitoba Horse and the 106th Winnipeg Light Infantry. The towns covered by this unit included Russell, Roblin, Minnedosa, Portage la Prairie, Dauphin, Virden, and other small communities in Western Manitoba.

The battalion went overseas to England in December 1916 where it completed its infantry training. Not destined to fight as a unit, the 226th “Men of the North” Battalion was broken up to provide reinforcements for the Canadian Corps at the front. In April of 1917 the 226th was disbanded and absorbed into the 14th Reserve Battalion.

After the war, perpetuation of this unit was granted to the Manitoba Horse and passed to the Fort Garry Horse by amalgamation in 1936. The 226th is also perpetuated by the Royal Winnipeg Rifles via their amalgamation with the Winnipeg Light Infantry in 1955.

Associated Unit: The Winnipeg Troop of Cavalry 1878-1898

The first Cavalry units in the Winnipeg area were the St. Boniface Volunteer Troop, formed in September 1871, and disbanded in 1874. There was also a troop formed in Headingley in 1871, and disbanded in 1872.

The Winnipeg Troop of Cavalry was formed 8 September, 1878 in response to the departure of Dominion troops from Fort Garry. Troops from the east had been stationed in the Winnipeg area since the Red River Expedition of 1870. The troop, with an authorized strength of 3 officers and 42 men, took part in one or two week’s annual drill and training, using horses hired from local farmers and surplus artillery uniforms and equipment.

The first commander was Captain George H. Young, from the Winnipeg Field Battery. In 1882, Captain Cornelius Knight took over command of the troop. The troop acted as an escort and provided mounted orderlies for the visit of the Governor General in 1882, an honour they would be given again in 1885.

During the 1885 North West Rebellion, the troop was placed on active service and worked with the Cavalry School Corps on the lines of communication throughout the campaign. Inspected by the Deputy Adjutant-General in July 1885, it was reported that “this is the best troop of volunteer Cavalry I have inspected in Canada”. After the rebellion, training continued with annual summer camps, however equipment and uniforms became increasingly worn and were seldom replaced.

In the late 1890s the name of the troop was changed to the Winnipeg Dragoons but by 1898, the unit was non-effective and was disbanded on March 1st of that year.

Associated Unit: 6th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1915

The 6th “Western Canada” Battalion was formed for active service in August 1914, under the command of LCol R.W. Paterson of the 34th Fort Garry Horse. Most of the recruits came from the 34th Fort Garry Horse with detachments from the 20th Border Horse, the 18th Mounted rifles, the 32nd Manitoba Horse, the 15th Canadian Light Horse from Alberta, and the 22nd Saskatchewan Light Horse.

The battalion was brought up to strength in Valcartier where it became part of the 2nd Brigade of the First Infantry Division C.E.F. The battalion went overseas to England in October of 1914 where it continued to train in an infantry role until March of 1915, when, since it was composed of dismounted cavalrymen, it became the Canadian Cavalry Reserve Depot, later to be renamed the Fort Garry Horse. It was from the 6th Battalion that the Garrys inherited the maple leaf in their cap badge and the Regimental March, “El Abanico”.

After the war, perpetuation passed to the Border Horse and later, by amalgamation to the XII Manitoba Dragoons in 1935. The XII Manitoba Dragoons were placed on the supplementary order of battle in 1964.

The Fort Garry Horse Museum and Archives