Establishing a Legacy: The History of the Royal Canadian Regiment 1883–1953.


408 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-1-55002-817-1
DDC 356'.10971





Reviewed by Sidney Allinson

Sidney Allinson is a Victoria-based communications consultant, Canadian
news correspondent for Britain’s The Army Quarterly and Defence, and
author of The Bantams: The Untold Story of World War I.


This regimental unit history is particularly well done, likely because it was written by a distinguished army officer. Colonel Bern Horn clearly did Trojan work to distil a wealth of archives and reminiscences into a highly readable book.


He tells how The Royal Canadian Regiment started out as an infantry school corps to train the Militia. Soon it became a fully-formed army unit, and is now Canada's oldest permanent force infantry regiment. First, its soldiers took part in helping to suppress the Riel Rebellion, then provided the Yukon Field Force. A grimmer period followed, when the RCR went to South Africa with the Canadian contingent in the Anglo-Boer War, where "The Royals" acquitted themselves during the crucial battle of Paadeberg.


But it was the regiment's service in two world wars that tested the bravery and combat expertise of Canadian volunteer soldiers. The book gives a splendid account of RCR service in the 1914–1918 war, but provides most coverage of the RCR fighting in Italy during the Second World War. There are harrowing descriptions of combat in both major conflicts, and the now almost forgotten Korean War.


Numerous atmospheric photographs are included, showing regimental activities in various campaigns across the years. One photo is especially poignant, showing two senior officers together just a couple of days before both were killed in action. Good maps are also included, which help the reader follow the battles described.


Horn, Colonel Bernd., “Establishing a Legacy: The History of the Royal Canadian Regiment 1883–1953.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 20, 2024,