History of the British Columbia Dragoons
Origins of the British Columbia Dragoons date back to the formation of the Okanagan Mounted Rifles on 01 April 1908.
The first Commanding Officer, Major H.A. Perry, assumed command on 09 May 1908. The unit grew continually from its origins in Vernon, with squadrons being established in Lumby, Kelowna, and Armstrong during the period 1908 to 1911. These squadrons amalgamated on 01 April 1911 as the 1st Regiment, British Columbia Horse, only to become the 30th British Columbia Horse some 5 months later. The 30th B.C. Horse continued with the role of peacetime soldiering until the 4th of August 1914 with the declaration of war.
The unit itself did not mobilize, however, the majority of personnel were made active on the 7th of November 1914, with the formation of the Second Canadian Mounted Rifles. During the years of the war, the unit was awarded many significant battle honours, demonstrating the dedication and bravery of these soldiers while on active service.
With the armistice of 11 November 1918, the 2nd CMR was repatriated to Canada, and disbanded in April of 1919.
The inter‑war years saw the formation of the British Columbia Rifles in 1920, with the name changing to the British Columbia Dragoons in April of 1929.
In 1939, as the Second World War was declared, some soldiers of the regiment served as vital point guards at key locations within the Interior of B.C. However, the unit remained Militia cavalry until 1940 when it became apparent that mechanized forces were required rather than actual mounted soldiers.
Preparations for retraining as a mechanized armoured force were conducted throughout the early period of 1940 culminated in the formation of the 5th Canadian Motorcycle Regiment (BCD). Subsequently, the unit was designated as the 9th Canadian Armoured Regiment (BCD), and continued their training in England with tanks from 1940 to 1943. Under the latter designation the regiment was involved in numerous World War Two campaigns including the advance through Italy, and the fighting in Northwest Europe.
As the Second World War ended, the regiment was again repatriated to Canada, however this time plans did not include the unit disbanding.
During the post‑war period, the unit assumed numerous roles with many associated changes of equipment, vehicles, weapons and uniforms to achieve its present status as an armoured regiment.
Recently, Federal Government guidelines involving considerable growth in personnel and equipment establishments were set for the Reserve Forces of Canada. New personal weapons, uniforms, vehicles and equipment have been received by the B.C. Dragoons, with the promise of further funding to allow an increase in strength.
These guidelines have shown that the Regiment formed in 1908 will continue with its commitments to aiding in the defence of Canada in the time honoured traditions of this very proud and capable Regiment.
The First World War
MOUNT SORREL; SOMME, 1916; Flers-Courcelette; Ancre Heights; ARRAS, 1917, ’18; Vimy, 1917; HILL 70; YPRES, 1917; Passchendaele; AMIENS; Scarpe, 1918; HINDENBURG LINE; Canal du Nord; Cambrai, 1918; PURSUIT TO MONS; FRANCE AND FLANDERS, 1915-18.
The Second World War
LIRI VALLEY; Melfa Crossing; GOTHIC LINE; Pozzo Alto Ridge; LAMONE CROSSING; Naviglio Canal; Fosso Munio; Conventello-Comacchio; ITALY, 1944-1945; Ijsselmeer; Delfzijl Pocket; NORTH-WEST EUROPE, 1945.
Post-Second World War
Description Of Cap Badge
Azure a maple leaf in autumnal tints proper within an annulus Vert edged and inscribed THE BRITISH COLUMBIA DRAGOONS in letters Or, enfiled in base by a scroll Vert edged and inscribed QUANSEM ILEP in letters Argent, the whole ensigned by the Royal Crown proper and flanked on both sides by maple leaves in autumnal tints proper.
Symbolism of Cap Badge
The maple leaves represent service to Canada and also commemorate the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion and the 11th Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF. The Crown represents service to the Sovereign. “THE BRITISH COLUMBIA DRAGOONS” is the regimental title and “QUANSEM ILEP” is the motto of the regiment.
QUANSEM ILEP (Always first)
Fare Ye Well Inniskilling (5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards)
Additional march for pipe band
Scotland the Brave
The Royal Dragoon Guards