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1st Hussars, Canada

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Ontario, Canadamap
Surnames/tags: Canadian_Militia Cavalry
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1st Hussars

Early Days

The 1st Hussars traces its roots to the formation of the St. Thomas Troop of Volunteer Militia Cavalry in March 1856 and the First Troop of Volunteer Militia Cavalry of London in July of the same year. In 1863, these units were redesignated the St. Thomas Troop of Cavalry and the London Troop of Cavalry, respectively. Both troops were put on active duty in southwestern Ontario in response to the Fenian raid of 1866, but neither had contact with the invading forces.

Boer War

Although the 1st Hussars did not participate as a unit in the Boer War, 27 of the regiment's members went to South Africa with other units. Six Hussars, eager to fight, even if it meant as infantry, recruited in London in October 1899 for "B" Company of the Royal Canadian Regiment and went overseas: Albert E. Cole, from London; William Collins; Peter C. Ingamells from London; Raymond Habgood Little; Edward Taylor; and, George Taylor. Major Arthur Hamilton King and 14 of his Hussars joined "A" Squadron of the 1st Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles in December 1899, including Mortimer S. Wigle, Angus Alanson MacDonald, William Richard Maycock, Lambert Rudolph Wigle, William Tilley, Edward Herbert Tripp and George Arundel Forbes, all of Essex County. King took a drop in rank in order to fill one of the limited number of officer positions and sailed as a troop leader.

Great War

As with the Boer War, the 1st Hussars did not participate as a unit in the Great War. Members were distributed to 1st Western Ontario Battalion and 7th Canadian Mounted Rifles. Once in England these units were re-distributed or re-named. Members saw service with the Canadian Light Horse, and units where horsemanship was required such as the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps, Canadian Forestry Corps and other units.

Second World War

In the Second World War, the 1st Hussars provided Divisional Cavalry for 1st Canadian Division, Canadian Active Service Force. The Canadian Armoured Corps (CAC) was raised in August 1940 and the 1st Hussars found themselves organised within it. In spring of 1941, 1st Hussars, now the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars) (6 CAR), became part of the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade, which departed to England in October 1941.


The 1st Hussars is currently an armoured Primary Reserve regiment of the Canadian Forces, currently based in London and Sarnia, Ontario.

Notable members

First World War flying ace, recipient of the Victoria Cross and Distinguished Flying Cross, William Avery (Billy) Bishop, was a lieutenant in the regiment before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps.

On D-Day, 2 Troop 'C' Sqn commanded by Lieutenant W. F. (Bill) McCormick failed to contact the infantry but kept going, returning an hour and a half later after a 10-mile ramble inland through Bretteville and almost into Carpiquet. By crossing the Caen-Bayeux railway line the troop became somewhat fortuitously "the only unit of the allied invasion forces known to reach its final objective on D-Day."

Robert Gordon Rogers, OC OBC (August 19, 1919 – May 21, 2010), was the 24th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia from 1983 to 1988. During the Second World War, he served with the 1st Hussars of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, landing on Juno Beach on D-Day in 1944.

Private Albert E. Cole, of B Company, 2nd Royal Canadians during the Boer War (recruited from 1st Hussars) was specially honored by Queen Victoria and other members of the royal family when they visited Netley Military Hospital in England. Noticing his regimental name, the Queen asked to see Cole, the only wounded Canadian patient present in hospital. She inquired as to the circumstances under which he was wounded. Cole replied: "It was on the occasion of Col. Pilcher’s march to Sunnyside, your Majesty. Our regiment advanced to the attack and while crossing the open ground I was shot through the foot." A newspaper reporter who asked for Coles opinion of the Boers received the following reply: "I guess they are sticking to it all right. But the forty-two prisoners we captured at Sunnyside were all English." The encounter received extensive press coverage in both the United Kingdom and Canada. [1] Cole had actually shot himself in the foot while loading his rifle in camp on 16 January 1900, and had lied to avoid embarrassing himself, his regiment and his country. [2][3][4]

Battle Honours

South Africa 1900
Somme 1916
Ancre Heights
Arras 1917
Vimy 1917
Scarpe 1918
Hindenburg Line
Canal Du Nord
Cambrai 1918
Pursuit to Mons
Normandy Landing
Le Mesnil-Patry
The Orne
Bourguebus Ridge
Faubourg de Vaucelles
Verrières Ridge–Tilly-la-Campagne
Falaise Road
Quesnay Wood
The Laison
Calais 1944
The Lower Maas
The Rhineland
The Hochwald
North-West Europe 1944-1945

See also


  • McNorgan, Michael R. The Gallant Hussars: A History of the 1st Hussars Regiment 1856-2004 (The 1st Hussars Cavalry Fund, Aylmer, ON, 2004) ISBN 0-9694659-1-2 pp. 15-16


  1. Pte. A.E. Cole from Canada. "Honored by the Queen". Herald newspaper. London, England. February 28th 1900.
  2. Cole’s file, Library and Archives Canada
  3. Diary of Private Floyd, member of B Company, confirm that Cole was accidentally wounded on 16 Jan 1900.
  4. Birch, James H., Jr. and Henry David Northrop. History of the War in South Africa. London, Ont.: McDermid & Logan, 1900 p 529)

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