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Royal 22e Régiment

Royal 22e Régiment

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The Royal 22nd Regiment (Royal 22e Régiment) is an infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

 and the most famous francophone
The adjective francophone means French-speaking, typically as primary language, whether referring to individuals, groups, or places. Often, the word is used as a noun to describe a natively French-speaking person....

 organization of the Canadian Forces
Canadian Forces
The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

. The regiment comprises three Regular Force battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

s, two Primary Reserve battalions, and a band, making it the largest regiment in the Canadian Army. The ceremonial home of the regiment is La Citadelle in Quebec City
Quebec City
Quebec , also Québec, Quebec City or Québec City is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec and is located within the Capitale-Nationale region. It is the second most populous city in Quebec after Montreal, which is about to the southwest...

, where the regimental museum is housed. The regiment is nicknamed the Van Doos, an anglicized
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 mispronunciation of the first two syllables of vingt-deuxième ("22nd" in French). The French language
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 name for the regiment, Royal 22e Régiment, is used officially in both French and English. The regiment's regimental headquarters is located in Quebec City, with all three of its regular battalions stationed at various bases in the province of Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

. The regiment serves as the "local" infantry regiment for Quebec.


The ancestor of the regiment was formed in the early days of the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 as part of the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

, when volunteers from all over Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 were being massed for training at Valcartier, Quebec, just outside of Quebec City. The first contingent of 30,000 volunteers, which became the 1st Canadian Division
1st Canadian Division
Formed in August 1914, the 1st Canadian Division was a formation of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The division was initially made up from provisional battalions that were named after their province of origin but these titles were dropped before the division arrived in Britain on October 14,...

 of the Canadian Expeditionary Force
Canadian Expeditionary Force
The Canadian Expeditionary Force was the designation of the field force created by Canada for service overseas in the First World War. Units of the C.E.F. were divided into field formation in France, where they were organized first into separate divisions and later joined together into a single...

, were grouped into numbered battalions, regardless of origin. The existing reserve regiments were not mobilized, due to the belief of the Defence Minister
Minister of Militia and Defence (Canada)
The Minister of Militia and Defence was the federal government minister in charge of the volunteer army units in Canada prior to the creation of the Canadian Militia, before the creation of the Canadian Army....

, Sam Hughes
Sam Hughes
For other people of the same name see Sam Hughes Sir Samuel Hughes, KCB, PC was the Canadian Minister of Militia and Defence during World War I...

, that a new "efficient" structure was required. In the process, the new structure failed to create French-speaking units, such as those that had existed in the reserves. Over 1000 French-Canadian volunteers were scattered into different English-speaking units. This was not an oversight. Ontario (Hughes's political base) was in the process of forbidding teaching in French, or of French, in the school system (Regulation 17
Regulation 17
Regulation 17 was a regulation of the Ontario Ministry of Education, issued in July 1912 by the Conservative government of premier Sir James P. Whitney. It restricted the use of French as a language of instruction to the first two years of schooling. It was amended in 1913, and it is that version...

), causing outrage in French Canada and a lack of support for the war of the "King and country" that was perceived as seeking to destroy the Francophone community in Canada.

The second contingent was based, more logically, on battalions raised and trained in the various military districts in which they had been recruited, but still on an impersonal numbered basis (with the exception of some with a Highland or Irish identity). Considerable political pressure in Quebec, along with public rallies, demanded the creation of French-speaking units to fight a war that many viewed as being right and necessary, despite Regulation 17 in Ontario. When the government relented, the first such unit was the 22nd (French Canadian) Infantry Battalion, CEF. The 22nd went to France as part of the 5th Canadian Brigade and the 2nd Canadian Division
2nd Canadian Division
The 2nd Canadian Division was an infantry formation that saw service in the First World War. A 2nd Canadian Infantry Division was raised for the Second World War.-History:...

 in September 1915, and fought with distinction in every major Canadian engagement until the end of the war. While other French-speaking units were also created, they were all broken up upon arrival in France to provide reinforcements for the 22nd, which suffered close to 4000 wounded and killed in the course of the war. Two members of the 22nd were awarded the Victoria Cross
Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories....

 in that war, Lieutenant Jean Brillant
Jean Brillant
Jean Baptiste Arthur Brillant, VC, MC was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.-Biography:...

 and Corporal Joseph Kaeble
Joseph Kaeble
Joseph-Thomas Kaeble, VC, MM was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest military award for gallantry in the face of the enemy given to British and Commonwealth forces...


After the war, the 22nd Battalion was disbanded on 20 May 1919, sharing the fate of the other numbered battalions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. However, in the post-war reorganizations of the army, public pressure, such as resolutions by the Legislative Assembly of Quebec
Legislative Assembly of Quebec
The Legislative Assembly of Quebec was the name of the lower house of Quebec's legislature until 1968, when it was renamed the National Assembly of Quebec. At the same time, the upper house of the legislature, the Legislative Council, was abolished...

 as well as the City Council of Quebec City, demanded that a permanent French-language unit be created in the peace-time Regular Force, and accordingly a new regiment was created, made up of veterans of the 22nd Battalion, on 1 April 1920. Initially the regiment, which was given the guard of the Citadelle of Quebec
Citadelle of Quebec
The Citadelle — the French name is used both in English and French — is a military installation and official residence located atop Cap Diamant, adjoining the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada...

, was simply the 22nd Regiment, but in June 1921 King George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 approved renaming it The Royal 22nd Regiment. In 1928 the anomaly of a French-language unit with an English name was resolved, and the regiment became the Royal 22e Régiment.

In 1940, the regiment became the first Francophone Canadian unit to mount the King's Guard in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, and was the first of the three current Regular Force regiments to do so.

In the Second World War the regiment was part of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade and the 1st Canadian Infantry Division
1st Canadian Infantry Division
The 1st Canadian Infantry Division was a formation mobilized on 1 September 1939 for service in the Second World War. The division was also reactivated twice during the Cold War....

 and was involved in intense combat in Italy, (where Captain Paul Triquet
Paul Triquet
Paul Triquet, VC, CD was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for valour "in the face of the enemy" that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.-Details:...

 earned the Victoria Cross) and later in the Netherlands and northwest Germany.

During the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, 1951–1953, the regiment expanded to three battalions, each serving in turn as part of the Canadian brigade in the 1st Commonwealth Division
1st Commonwealth Division
The 1st Commonwealth Division was the name given, after July 1951, to Commonwealth land forces in the Korean War. The division was a multinational unit that was part of British Commonwealth Forces Korea, and whilst British and Canadian Army units formed the bulk of the division, Australian...

. Thus the "Van Doos" represented one-third of Canada's infantry contingent throughout the war.

During the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 the regular battalions of the regiment served, in turn, in West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 as part of 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group
4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group
4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group was a formation of the Canadian Army, then Mobile Command of the unified Canadian Forces. The formation served as the main forward deployed land element of Canada's armed forces, and was stationed in West Germany from 1957 until it was disbanded in...

, with the 1er Battalion serving permanently from 1967 until the withdrawal in 1993.

The regiment also served during the Oka Crisis. During the life of the Canadian Airborne Regiment (1968–1995) the 1er Commando was manned as a French-speaking sub-unit by soldiers of the Royal 22nd Regiment.
In the 1950s, the Canadian Army promoted a scheme of administratively associating reserve infantry regiments with a regular one. Although this project did not make much progress in most of the army, three reserve regiments did join the Van Doos, becoming battalions of the Royal 22nd Regiment:
Old regiment name Formed New battalion name Joined R22eR
Le Régiment de Châteauguay 1869 4th Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment (Châteauguay) 1954
Les Fusiliers du Saint-Laurent 1869 Les Fusiliers du Saint-Laurent (5th Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment) 1954 to 1968
Le Régiment de Saint-Hyacinthe 1866 6th Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment 1956

In the case of Les Fusiliers du Saint-Laurent, the battalion designation was in a subsidiary title, but it became nevertheless, administratively, part of the Royal 22e Régiment. However, in 1968, Les Fusiliers du Saint-Laurent dropped the subsidiary title, and ended their administrative association with the R22eR.

A stone shaft was erected on the grounds of Royal Military College Saint-Jean on 26 September 1964 to commemorate the founding of the Royal 22e Régiment (French-Canadian) 24063-005.


The 3rd Battalion, along with an attached mechanized company from the 1st, provided the basis for the Canadian ISAF
International Security Assistance Force
The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement...

 contingent in Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, from February to August 2004.

In August 2007 a battle group based on the 3rd Battalion of the Royal 22nd Regiment returned to Afghanistan, replacing the 2nd Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment
The Royal Canadian Regiment
The Royal Canadian Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Canadian Forces. The regiment consists of four battalions, three in the Regular Force and one in the Primary Reserve...

 in Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 province. The battle group was made up of a company from each of the regiment's three regular battalions. It also included combat support and service support from all the units of 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in Valcartier, Quebec. There was a reconnaissance squadron from the 12th Regiment blindé du Canada
12e Régiment blindé du Canada
The 12e Régiment blindé du Canada is a Canadian Forces armoured regiment based in CFB Valcartier, on the outskirts of Quebec City...

, a composite tank squadron from Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)
Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)
Lord Strathcona's Horse is a regular armoured regiment of the Canadian Forces. Currently based in Edmonton, Alberta, the regiment is part of Land Force Western Area's 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group...

 (with troops from the other two armoured regiments), a battery from the 5th Regiment light artillery du Canada, an engineer squadron from 5 Combat Engineer Regiment
5 Combat Engineer Regiment
5 Combat Engineer Regiment is a regular force regiment of the Canadian Military Engineers commanded by a lieutenant-colonel...

. The battle group, awarded the Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation, was "instrumental in dismantling improvised explosive device networks, re-capturing checkpoints and returning them to Afghan control, enhancing the capacity of Afghan forces and providing guidance on community building and local governance."

The Royal 22nd Regiment also provided about 150 trainers (OMLT) for the three Afghan "Kandaks" serving with them. As well it provided a protection company for the PRT in Kandahar.

The regiment distinguished itself in Kandahar through its determined and successful efforts to establish Afghan police sub-stations, protected by ANA and Canadian presence, in an ever-widening secure zone in the former Taliban home districts of Zhari and Panjawaii. Light infantry elements often fought toe-to-toe with the Taliban, relying heavily on sniper
A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

 fire and man-portable grenade launchers to gain the edge over the militants. The battle group, and its associated OMLT and PRT elements, had 10 men killed in action during the six-month tour. The many wounded included Captain Simon Mailloux
Simon Mailloux
Captain Simon Mailloux, B.A., CMR, Master of Science, MSc, University of Glasgow , is a serving officer in the Canadian Forces. He was severely injured on 16 November 2007 in an IED incident in Afghanistan and, as a result, his left leg was amputated...

 a Van Doos platoon
A platoon is a military unit typically composed of two to four sections or squads and containing 16 to 50 soldiers. Platoons are organized into a company, which typically consists of three, four or five platoons. A platoon is typically the smallest military unit led by a commissioned officer—the...

 commander who returned two years later to Kandahar even though his leg had to be amputated.

A second Van Doos battle group, this time based on the 2nd Battalion, deployed to Kandahar from March to November 2009 and was the vanguard of the much-vaunted "key villages" http://www.cefcom.forces.gc.ca/pa-ap/fs-ev/2009/06/30-eng.asp program, wherein Canadian soldiers cleared urban areas of Taliban activity during sweeping combat operations and then installed sub-units permanently in those hamlets, guarding the approaches to Kandahar City. The composition of this battle group was nearly identical to previous incarnations, and it was able to rely heavily on the recently-deployed CH-146 Griffon
CH-146 Griffon
The Bell CH-146 Griffon is the Canadian military variant of the Bell 412EP, a multi-use utility helicopter. The CH-146 is used in a wide variety of roles, including aerial firepower, reconnaissance, search and rescue and aero-mobility tasks....

 and CH-47 Chinook
CH-47 Chinook
The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is an American twin-engine, tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter. Its top speed of 170 knots is faster than contemporary utility and attack helicopters of the 1960s...

 helicopters to perform a wide variety of airmobile operations, as well as traditional mechanized manoeuvres. The Griffon helicopters proved especially capable at spotting Taliban movements and directing accurate artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 fire on them, preventing Taliban groups from effectively re-infiltrating areas cleared.

Over the course of the seven-month Roto 7, 10 soldiers from the battle group were killed in action ("Roto 7" denoting that this was the eighth consecutive Canadian battle group deployment in Kandahar since 2006, as rotations are numbered starting at "0"). An additional five Canadian soldiers, all belonging to the battle group's parent organization, Task Force Kandahar, also died during that period. The vast majority of these soldiers were killed by the Taliban's lethal employment of anti-vehicle or anti-personnel improvised explosive devices.

The final Canadian combat mission began in the fall of 2010 with the 1st Battalion Battle Group (BG) commanded by Lieutant-Colonel Henri St. Louis. One of the main operations taken on by the BG was Operation Baawar
Operation Baawar
Operation Baawar , was a major Afghan-led offensive in Afghanistan west of Kandahar City. The operation took place primarily in a sector known as the Horn of Panjwaii. The combat operation started on December 5, 2010...

 beginning in December 2010 featuring a major road project and a strongpoint construction project led by engineers, tanks, and infantry.


Battalion Home Brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

1st Bataillon, Royal 22nd Regiment CFB Valcartier
CFB Valcartier
Canadian Forces Base Valcartier is a Canadian Forces Base located in the municipality of Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, approximately north of Quebec City...

5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group
5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group
5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group is a Canadian Forces brigade group that is part of Land Forces Quebec Area of the Canadian army. It is based at CFB Valcartier, near Quebec City in Quebec, Canada...

Mechanized infantry
Mechanized infantry
Mechanized infantry are infantry equipped with armored personnel carriers , or infantry fighting vehicles for transport and combat ....

2nd Bataillon, Royal 22nd Regiment Quebec City 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Mechanized infantry
3rd Bataillon, Royal 22nd Regiment CFB Valcartier 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Light infantry
Light infantry
Traditionally light infantry were soldiers whose job was to provide a skirmishing screen ahead of the main body of infantry, harassing and delaying the enemy advance. Light infantry was distinct from medium, heavy or line infantry. Heavy infantry were dedicated primarily to fighting in tight...

, Includes a parachute company
4th Bataillon, Royal 22nd Regiment (Châteauguay) Laval, Quebec
Laval, Quebec
Laval is a Canadian city and a region in southwestern Quebec. It is the largest suburb of Montreal, the third largest municipality in the province of Quebec, and the 14th largest city in Canada with a population of 368,709 in 2006...

34 Canadian Brigade Group
34 Canadian Brigade Group
34 Canadian Brigade Group is part of Land Force Quebec Area, under Land Force Command of the Canadian Forces. It is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec.-Brigade Units:...

Reserve, Dismounted infantry
6th Bataillon, Royal 22nd Regiment Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec
Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec
Saint-Hyacinthe is a city in southwestern Quebec east of Montreal on the Yamaska River. The population as of the Canada 2006 Census was 55,823. The city is located in Les Maskoutains Regional County Municipality of the Montérégie region, and is traversed by the Yamaska River which flows...

34 Canadian Brigade Group Reserve, Dismounted infantry
La Musique du Royal 22nd Regiment CFB Valcartier Land Force Quebec Area
Land Force Quebec Area
Land Force Quebec Area is responsible for all Canadian army operations and administration in the region within the province of Quebec. LFQA is headquartered in Montreal.- Regular Force :* Land Force Quebec Area Training Centre - Courcelette...

Regular Force professional band

Battle honours

  • The Great War: Mont-Sorrel*, Somme 1916 '18, Flers-Courcelette, Thiepval, Les Hauteurs d'Ancre*, Arras 1917 '18, Vimy 1917, Arleux, Scarpe 1917 '18, Côte 70*, Ypres 1917, Passchendaele, Amiens, Ligne Hindenburg*, Canal du Nord
    Canal du Nord
    The Canal du Nord is a long canal in northern France. The canal connects the Canal latéral à l'Oise at Pont-l'Évêque to the Sensée Canal at Arleux. The French government, in partnership with coal-mining companies in the Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments, developed the canal to help French coal...

    , Cambrai 1918, Poussée de Mons*, France et Flandres 1915–18*
  • The Second World War: Débarquement en Sicile*, Valguarnera, Adrano, Catenuova, Sicile 1943*, Débarquement à Reggio*, Potenza, Le Sangro*, Casa Berardi, Torre Mucchia, Cassino II, Ligne Gustav*, Vallée de la Liri*, Ligne Hitler*, Ligne Gothique*, Borgo Santa Maria, Passage du Lamone*, Ligne Rimini*, San Martino-San Lorenzo, San Fortunato, Cesena, Italie 1943–1945*, Apeldoorn, Nord-Ouest de l'Europe 1945*
  • Corée 1951–53*

* Translated to French in 1958 from original English awards in 1957.

Victoria Cross recipients

  • Corporal Joseph Kaeble
    Joseph Kaeble
    Joseph-Thomas Kaeble, VC, MM was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest military award for gallantry in the face of the enemy given to British and Commonwealth forces...

      – 22nd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force – Neuville-Vitasse, France – 8 June 1918
  • Lieutenant Jean Brillant
    Jean Brillant
    Jean Baptiste Arthur Brillant, VC, MC was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.-Biography:...

      – 22nd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force – near Amiens
    Amiens is a city and commune in northern France, north of Paris and south-west of Lille. It is the capital of the Somme department in Picardy...

    , France – 8 August–9, 1918
  • Major Paul Triquet
    Paul Triquet
    Paul Triquet, VC, CD was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for valour "in the face of the enemy" that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.-Details:...

     – Royal 22e Régiment – Casa Berardi, Italy – 14 December 1943

– Awarded posthumously

Order of precedence

Regular Force:
Reserve Force:

Van Doos in popular culture

The Van Doos are the subject of a 2011 National Film Board of Canada
National Film Board of Canada
The National Film Board of Canada is Canada's twelve-time Academy Award-winning public film producer and distributor. An agency of the Government of Canada, the NFB produces and distributes documentary, animation, alternative drama and digital media productions...

 documentary Le 22e Régiment en Afghanistan (English: The Van Doos in Afghanistan). The documentary was filmed in Afghanistan in March 2011. On November 9, 2011, the film was previewed for the families of 26 soldiers who have died during their mission in Afghanistan, at a ceremony at the Valcartier base. A commemorative mural by Canadian artist Dave Sopha was also unveiled.

See also

External links