Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery

  (Redirected from Royal Canadian Artillery)

The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery (French: Le Régiment royal de l'Artillerie canadienne) is the artillery personnel branch of the Canadian Army.

The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery
Le Régiment royal de l'Artillerie canadienne  (French)
Crest of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery.png
Regimental badge
BranchCanadian Army
  • Field artillery: assist in the defeat of the enemy with indirect fire as part of the all-arms battle
  • Air defence artillery: prevent the enemy from interfering from the air with friendly force operations on the ground
Home stationCFB Shilo
PatronSt. Barbara
Motto(s)Latin: Quo fas et gloria ducunt, lit.'Whither right and glory lead'
ColoursThe guns of the RCA themselves
  • 1855: Militia Act of 1855 passed by the Parliament of the Province of Canada and creation the first truly Canadian army units
  • 27 November 1856: first Canadian Artillery unit formed (Battalion of Montreal Artillery)
  • 10 August 1883: Regiment of Canadian Artillery of the Permanent Active Militia authorized to be formed
Current weapon systems
Battle honoursThe word Latin: Ubique, lit.'Everywhere', takes the place of all past and future battle honours in recognition of the artillery's widespread service in all battles and campaigns since its creation Edit this at Wikidata
Captain generalQueen Elizabeth II
Colonel commandantBrigadier-General (Ret’d) J.J. Selbie (27 September 2014-present)
Senior serving gunnerLieutenant-General M.N. Rouleau (2018-present)
Director of artilleryColonel S.T. Hatton (August 2019-present)
Regimental colonelColonel JDS Masson (October 2020–present)
Commander home stationLieutenant-Colonel R.J. Lyttle (July 2019-present)
Regimental sergeant-majorChief Warrant Officer Ghislain Angel (2019-present)
AbbreviationRCA (for Royal Canadian Artillery, the former regimental designation of 3 June 1935)
HeaddressDark blue beret


Many of the units and batteries of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery are older than the Dominion of Canada itself. The first artillery company in Canada was formed in the province of Canada (New France) in 1750.

Volunteer Canadian artillery batteries existed before 1855 but their history is mostly unknown. Seven batteries of artillery were formed after the passage of the Militia Act of 1855 which allowed Canada to retain a paid military force of 5,000 men. One of the pre-1855 volunteer batteries formed in Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1793 was called the “Loyal Company of Artillery” and exists today as the 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, RCA.

After ConfederationEdit

On 20 October 1871, the first regular Canadian army units were created, in the form of two batteries of garrison artillery; thus, that date is considered the regiment's birthday. "A" Battery in Kingston, Ontario, and "B" Battery in Quebec City, Quebec, became gunnery schools and performed garrison duties in their respective towns. They are still active today as part of the 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (RCHA).

The Royal Canadian Artillery was granted its ‘Royal’ prefix by Queen Victoria on May 24, 1893.

The Royal Canadian Artillery has participated in every major conflict in Canada's history.[citation needed]

Riel RebellionsEdit

In 1870, in response to the Red River Rebellion led by Louis Riel, Colonel Garnet Wolseley led a force of British regulars and Canadian Militia across Northern Ontario to quell the uprising. The force never partook in any combat. Following the establishment of Manitoba in May 1870, the militia portion of the force was garrisoned along the Red River. After 1872 this included the newly formed Manitoba Demi-Battery, which was composed of Regular gunners of "A" and "B" Battery.

In 1885, when Riel led the North-West Rebellion in the District of Saskatchewan, A and B Batteries, as well as several militia batteries, including the Winnipeg Field Battery, were dispatched to quell the uprising. Upon arriving in Saskatchewan, "A" Battery and Winnipeg Field fought at Fish Creek and Batoche. "B" Battery moved west to Swift Current where they participated in the Battle of Cut Knife, which saw the first use by Canadian soldiers of the machine gun, and the last time in Canadian history that bows and arrows were used in battle.

In 1886, the Regular Gunners of A & B Batteries returned east, transferring their guns to the North-West Mounted Police.[1]

Boer WarEdit

A 12-pounder gun at the Royal Artillery Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia

During the war in South Africa, Canada contributed the Brigade Division of the Canadian Field Artillery. It consisted of three batteries, named "C", "D" and "E", each of six 12-pounder field guns. Each battery consisted of three sections of two guns each, and was manned by a core of Permanent Force soldiers, with additional members from the Militia. The militia for "C" and "D" batteries came from Ontario and Winnipeg, while "E" battery had militia from Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.[2]

"D" and "E" Batteries arrived in Cape Town aboard the SS Laurentian in February 1900,[2] and were soon sent north to form part of a column based at Victoria West under Colonel Sir Charles Parsons. In March and April they took part in an operation in the Kenhardt district, covering 700 miles (1,100 km) in six weeks, seeing little action, but much heavy rain. On 29 May, "E" battery was part of another operation under Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Warren, when it was attacked at Faber's Put. The Boers were eventually driven off, though the battery had one man killed and eight wounded. In his subsequent despatch Warren particularly mentioned "E" Battery's Major Ogilvie and Captain Mackie. By the end of June "E" Battery had been split up into sections and was stationed along the Kimberley–Mafeking Railway.[3]

In July 1900 "D" Battery moved to Pretoria to operate in the Transvaal in a column commanded by Colonel Ian Hamilton,[3] and saw much action, with a section particularly distinguishing itself at the battle of Leliefontein,[2] when 100 men of the Royal Canadian Dragoons and 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles, bolstered by a single Colt machine gun and the two 12-pounders of the battery, repelled an attack by 200 mounted Boers while covering the withdrawal of the main column. Three Victoria Crosses were won during the engagement.[4]

"C" Battery arrived at Cape Town aboard the SS Columbian in March 1900, but within two weeks were re-embarked to sail to Beira, from where they travelled by train, cart, and forced march to join Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert Plumer's column 70 miles (110 km) south of Otse by mid-April to take part in the relief of Mafeking. Colonel Baden-Powell, the garrison commander at Mafeking, sent a telegram to the Canadian Government stating : Mafeking relieved today, and most grateful for invaluable assistance of Canadian Artillery, which made record march from Beira to help us. From the end of May the battery operated with Plumer's column in the Zeerust district until November, seeing action regularly.[3]

The unit never operated as a whole, with the batteries, and sometimes even sections, operating independently, often for months at a time, and it was only reunited when it regrouped to return to Canada in June 1901.[2]

World War IEdit

A detachment of the 1st Regiment Canadian Garrison Artillery at Fort Charlotte in Halifax in 1914

The Canadian Artillery and the Garrison Artillery were the designations of the Non-Permanent Active Militia as of 1 January 1914. The Canadian Artillery and the Garrison Artillery were collectively re-designated the Royal Canadian Artillery on 3 June 1935.

By November 1918, the 1st Canadian Division had expanded to the following artillery units:

  • 1st Brigade, C.F.A.
    • 1st Field Battery
    • 3rd Field Battery
    • 4th Field Battery
    • 2nd Howitzer Battery
  • 2nd Brigade, C.F.A.
    • 5th Field Battery
    • 6th Field Battery
    • 7th Field Battery
    • 48th Howitzer Battery
    • 1st Division Ammunition Column

By November 1918, the 2nd Canadian Division had expanded to the following artillery units:

  • 5th Brigade, C.F.A.
    • 17th Field Battery
    • 18th Field Battery
    • 20th Field Battery
    • 23rd Howitzer Battery
  • 6th Brigade, C.F.A.
    • 15th Field Battery
    • 16th Field Battery
    • 25th Field Battery
    • 22nd Howitzer Battery
    • 2nd Division Ammunition Column

By November 1918, the 3rd Canadian Division had expanded to the following artillery units:

  • 9th Brigade, C.F.A.
    • 31st Field Battery
    • 33rd Field Battery
    • 45th Field Battery
    • 36th Howitzer Battery
  • 10th Brigade, C.F.A.
    • 38th Field Battery
    • 39th Field Battery
    • 40th Field Battery
    • 35th Howitzer Battery
    • 3rd Division Ammunition Column

By November 1918, the 4th Canadian Division had expanded to the following artillery units:

  • 3rd Brigade, C.F.A.
    • 10th Field Battery
    • 11th Field Battery
    • 12th Field Battery
    • 9th Howitzer Battery
  • 4th Brigade, C.F.A.
    • 13th Field Battery
    • 19th Field Battery
    • 27th Field Battery
    • 21st Howitzer Battery
    • 4th Division Ammunition Column

Canadian Corps Troops - Corps Heavy Artillery

  • 1st Brigade, C.G.A.
    • 1st Siege Battery
    • 3rd Siege Battery
    • 7th Siege Battery
    • 9th Siege Battery
  • 2nd Brigade, C.G.A.
    • 1st Heavy Battery
    • 2nd Heavy Battery
    • 2nd Siege Battery
    • 4th Siege Battery
    • 5th Siege Battery
    • 6th Siege Battery
  • 3rd Brigade, C.G.A.

5th Divisional Artillery

  • 13th Brigade, C.F.A.
    • 52nd Field Battery
    • 53rd Field Battery
    • 55th Field Battery
    • 51st Howitzer Battery
  • 14th Brigade, C.F.A.
    • 60th Field Battery
    • 61st Field Battery
    • 66th Field Battery
    • 58th Howitzer Battery
    • 5th Division Ammunition Column

Army Service Corps - 5th Divisional Artillery Motor Transport Detachment

Canadian Cavalry Brigade - Artillery - Royal Canadian Horse Artillery Brigade

Army troops - Attached to the British Expeditionary Force - Artillery

  • 8th Army Brigade, C.F.A.
    • 24th Field Battery
    • 30th Field Battery
    • 32nd Field Battery
    • 43rd Howitzer Battery
    • 8th Army Brigade Ammunition Column
    • "E" Anti-Aircraft Battery

World War IIEdit

Monument to The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery in Ottawa.

The R.C.H.A. and R.C.A. expanded tremendously during the war to contribute the following units to the European theater:

The formation patch worn by R.C.A. personnel attached directly to I Canadian Corps.
The formation patch worn by R.C.A. personnel attached directly to II Canadian Corps.
The formation patch worn by R.C.A. personnel attached directly to the First Canadian Army.

Coastal defences Pacific coastEdit

The RCA was also responsible for the defence of Canada on both the west and east coasts. In 1936 a review was done by Major Treatt of the Royal Artillery of the existing defences and potential sites for new forts. Efforts to improve the existing fortifications and build new ones were well underway by 1939.

There were approximately 10 armed forts and gun positions established along the Pacific west coast. The ones in the Strait of Juan de Fuca were integrated with the U.S. coastal defences. As the war progressed and the threat of attack diminished, the forts were gradually drawn down and demobilized. The last active coastal defence fort on the west coast, Fort Rodd Hill,[5] was deactivated in 1958.

A list of forts and gun positions on the West Coast sectionEdit

Korean WarEdit

Cold WarEdit

The Regular and Reserve components of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, Royal Canadian Artillery and Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery were collectively re-designated the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery on 29 October 1956.


"F" Battery, 2nd Regiment, RCHA, fired the first Canadian artillery rounds in Afghanistan in February 2004 as part of Operation Athena's first rotation. The mission was shot with a 105 mm LG1 and consisted of illumination rounds shot in a range spread to identify a potential rocket launching site used by insurgents.

In December 2005, 1st Regiment, RCHA, conducted an inaugural firing of its first 155 mm M777 towed howitzers. The first six guns delivered were supplied by the United States Marine Corps under a foreign military sales (FMS) contract between the U.S. and Canada. The Canadian guns were first fired by "A" Battery, 1 RCHA, at CFB Shilo and then were deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Archer, and were put into service in the Canadian theatre of operations around Kandahar in early 2006. This marked the first use by any nation of the M777 in combat operations. Regular RCHA units, reinforced by volunteers from Reserve units, continued to support operations until Canada completed its combat mission in Afghanistan in March 2014.

Canadian soldiers fire an M777 howitzer in Afghanistan.

Since AfghanistanEdit

In June 2017, the Royal Canadian Artillery Band, one of only two Regular bands in the Canadian Army, provided musical support for a contingent of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry which provided the Queen's Guard at Buckingham Palace, St James's Palace and the Tower of London, as well as Windsor Castle. In October–November 2018, the Band again deployed to England to provide musical support for a contingent from the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, which provided the Queen's Guard.


The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery is composed of both regular and reserve (militia) forces. The regular force component is composed of five units, four of which are front line operation units; of these, three are field artillery regiments while the fourth is a low level air defence unit. The fifth regular unit is the Royal Canadian Artillery School. Additionally, while the three field artillery regiments are on the RCA's order of battle, they are addressed as elements of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery.


  • 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery
    • "A" (The Queen's) Battery
    • "B" Battery
    • "C" Battery
    • "Z" Battery
    • Headquarters and Services Battery
  • 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery
    • "D" Battery
    • "E" Battery
    • "F" Battery
    • "Y" Battery
    • Headquarters and Services Battery
  • 4th Artillery Regiment (General Support) Royal Canadian Artillery. On 5 September 2014 the regiment officially changed its name from 4th Air Defence Regiment RCA to the current name in order to reflect better its evolving support to the Canadian Army,[6]
    • 127 Battery[6]
    • 128 Battery. The battery deploys an Airspace Coordination Centre (ASCC), counter-battery and aerial surveillance Medium Range Radars (MRR), and CU-172 Blackjack Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) to support a Canadian brigade group when ordered.[7]
    • 129 Battery. As per 128 Battery.[8]
    • Headquarters and Services Battery
  • 5e Régiment d'artillerie légère du Canada.[9]
    • Batterie "X" - howitzer battery
    • Batterie "Q" - surveillance and target acquisition battery
    • Batterie "R" - howitzer battery
    • Batterie "V" - forward observation battery
    • Batterie de Commandement et Services
  • The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery School
    • "W" Battery (Formerly of the presently stood-down 4th Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery)
    • 45th Depot Battery, RCA (Fire Support)
    • 67th Depot Battery, RCA (The Gatekeepers)
    • Headquarters Battery



Independent batteriesEdit

Since spring 2005, 10th Field Regiment, 26th Field Regiment and 116th Independent Field Battery have been grouped together as 38 Canadian Brigade Group's (38 CBG) Artillery Tactical Group (ATG).




  • RCA 11th Field Regiment Trumpet Band
  • RCA 44th Field Regiment Trumpet Band
  • RCA 30th Field Regiment Trumpet Band
  • RCA 8th Field Regiment Trumpet Band
  • RCA 56th Field Regiment Trumpet Band
  • RCA 7th Field Regiment Trumpet Band

Supplementary Order of BattleEdit

Regiments on the Supplementary Order of Battle legally exist but have no personnel or materiel.

Order of precedenceEdit

RCHA on parade with guns:

Preceded by The Royal Canadian Horse Artillery
(See note below)
Succeeded by

RCHA on dismounted parades:

Preceded by The Royal Canadian Horse Artillery
(See note below)
Succeeded by

RCA units:

Preceded by The Royal Canadian Artillery Succeeded by

Despite not being the senior component of the Canadian Army, the honour of "the right of the line" (precedence over other units), on an army parade, is held by the units of the RCHA when on parade with their guns. On dismounted parades, RCHA units take precedence over all other land force units except formed bodies of Officer Cadets of the Royal Military College of Canada representing their college. RCA units parade to the left of units of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps. The Royal Canadian Artillery does not carry colours. Its guns are its colours and are saluted on parade.


Royal Canadian Artillery MuseumEdit

Royal Canadian Artillery Museum
LocationCFB Shilo, P.O. Box 5000, Stn Main, Shilo, Manitoba, Canada
TypeArtillery Museum

As the principal artillery museum in Canada, the Royal Canadian Artillery Museum presents, acquires, preserves, researches and interprets the contributions of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery and the Canadian military to the heritage of Canada.[11] The museum is affiliated with: CMA, CHIN, OMMC and Virtual Museum of Canada.


A memorial wall and an artillery field gun, were erected on 21 September 1959 by the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, which is dedicated to the memory of the members of the regiment killed in the service of Canada. It was relocated from its original location at Major's Hill Park to Green Island Park in Ottawa, Ontario and rededicated on 24 May 1998.[12]


The freedom of the city was accepted by the 5th (British Columbia) Field Battery, Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery in Victoria, British Columbia on 4 November 1979.[13]


Site Date(s) Designated Location Description Image
Colonel D. V. Currie VC Armoury, 1215 Main Street North. 1913-14 1998 Register of the Government of Canada Heritage Buildings Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Popular cultureEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ RCA Concise History
  2. ^ a b c d "South African War - Brigade Division, Royal Canadian Field Artillery". Canadian War Museum. 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Biggins, David (2014). "Royal Canadian Artillery". The Anglo-Boer War. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  4. ^ Milner, John M. (2014). "The Boer War – Canada's First "Foreign War"". Victoria Park. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  5. ^ "Fort Rodd Hill". Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site Victoria. 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  6. ^ a b "4th Air Defence Regiment, RCA". Canadian Armed Forces. 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.. The Canadian Gunner/L'Artilleur Canadian 2014, p 35.
  7. ^ The Canadian Gunner/L'Artilleur canadien 2020, p 45 and The Canadian Gunner/L'Artilleur canadien 2019, 40.
  8. ^ The Canadian Gunner/L'Artilleur canadien 2019, p 40.
  9. ^ Canadian Gunner/L'Arilleur Canadian 2010, p. 27
  10. ^ a b A-DH-267-003 Insignia and Lineages of the Canadian Forces, Volume 3: Combat Arms Regiments. Department of National Defence. 15 January 2010.
  11. ^ A-AD-266-000/AG-001 Canadian Forces Museums – Operations and Administration. 3 April 2002.
  12. ^ "Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery Memorial". DND Directorate of History and Heritage. 2014. Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  13. ^ "5th (British Columbia) Field Artillery Regiment". Canadian Army. 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  • Barnes, Leslie (1979). Canada's Guns; an Illustrated History of Artillery. Ottawa: Canadian War Museum.
  • Camp, A. D. (1966). 7th Toronto Regiment, Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, 1866-1966. Toronto.
  • Fromow, D. L. (March 2004). Canada's Flying Gunners: A History of the Air Observation Post of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery.
  • Jackson, Harold McGill (1952). The Royal Regiment of Artillery, Ottawa, 1855-1952; a history. Ottawa.
  • Macdonald, Reginald James (1899). The history of the dress of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, 1625-1897. London: H. Sotheran.
  • Mitchell, George Duncan; Reid, B. A. & Simcock, W. (1986). RCHA - Right of the Line: An Anecdotal History of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery from 1871. Ottawa: RCHA History Committee.
  • Nicholson, G. W. L. (1967). The Gunners of Canada: The History of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery Volume I: 1534-1919.
  • Nicholson, G. W. L. (1972). The Gunners of Canada: The History of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery Volume II: 1919-1967.
  • Nicholson, G. W. L. (1967–72). The Gunners of Canada; the History of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart.
  • "11th Field Artillery Regiment, Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery : Canada's oldest artillery regiment." (Guelph, Ontario : The Regiment), 1966.
  • "Presence of the Royal Artillery regiment at Quebec from 1759 to 1871" (Canada. Dept. of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. National Historic Parks and Sites Br. National government publication 1978.)

External linksEdit