With over a century of service to Canada, The King’s Own Calgary Regiment (RCAC) has been at the forefront of Canadian military actions, having fought in The First and Second World Wars, and serving numerous UN, NATO and domestic missions. Today soldiers of the King’s Own continue to stand ready to perform their duty to Canadians whenever and wherever they are needed.
The history of The King’s Own Calgary Regiment (RCAC) began on April 1st, 1910 with the authorization and formation of the 103rd Regiment – Calgary Rifles. With the outbreak of the First World War the Regiment was divided into several battalions for overseas service, which the King’s Own perpetuate to this day. These battalions included the 50th, 89th and 137th all of which saw service in Europe and were comprised of men from central and southern Alberta. During the war they took part in some of the most hard-fought battles on the western front. These included The Battle of Ypres (1915, 17), The Somme (1916), Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele to name but a few. During the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Pte John G. Pattison of the 50th Battalion CEF was awarded the Commonwealths’ highest award for gallantry, the Victoria Cross, for his heroic actions on April 10th, 1917, storming a German machine-gun nest.
The conclusion of World War I and the interwar years saw the Regiment change roles and names several times, however it has always maintained its ancestral home at Mewata Armoury in downtown Calgary. In 1924 the unit was titled “The Calgary Regiment.” In 1936 it was one of a handful of infantry regiments selected to become an armoured unit. With this evolution the name was changed to “The Calgary Regiment (Tank)”. As the Second World War began soldiers of the Regiment again answered the call and training began in anticipation of deployment to the European theatre. On the 19th of August, 1942 the King’s Own as the “14th Army Tank Regiment, (The Calgary Regiment-Tank)” was the first Canadian unit of the newly formed Royal Canadian Armoured Corps to go into combat at the ill-fated Battle of Dieppe.
In July of 1943 the regiment went to Sicily with the 1st Canadian Army Tank Brigade as part of the 1st Canadian Division and then on to Italy in September of that year. The Calgary Tanks saw action at several decisive battles throughout the Italian theatre, including San Leonardo, Monte Cassino (II), the Gustav Line and Liri Valley among others. Following the Regiment’s substantial contribution in Italy, the Calgary Tanks fought as part of the 1st Armoured Brigade in North-West Europe taking part in the liberation of Holland before the conclusion of the war.