History of The Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment

The United Empire Loyalists who settled in the county of Hastings and Prince Edward organized the first local Militia units for self-defence. The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment is the modern descendant of those Militia units.
1800 Col. A Macdonnell forms the 1st Regiment of Prince Edward Militia.
1804 Col. J Ferguson forms the 1st Regiment of Hastings Militia.
1812 The Regiments provided units which served in the War of 1812
1837-38 The Regiments provided units which served in the McKenzie Rebellion
During the time of the Fenian threat, the Canadian Government authorized the formation of new independent infantry companies.
In December, LCol. Ponton gathered together a number of these infantry companies in Belleville.
In January, the infantry units were formed into the 15th Argyllshire Light Infantry.
The 1st Prince Edward was re-designated the 16th Battalion of Volunteer Militia (Infantry) of Canada.
All Regiments supplied detachments for active service during the Fenian Raids.
The 1st Hastings was re-designated the 49th Regiment (Hastings Rifles).
The 16th Prince Edward Battalion of Infantry, was re-designated once again as the 16th Prince Edward Regiment.
The 15th Argyll formed 'H' Company in the Midland Battalion for service during the Northwest Rebellion. This service is the source of the Battle Honour which is part of the current day Regimental Battle Honours.
In North-West Canada, a number of individuals served with the Royal Canadian Regiment during the Boer War.

World War I
Few Canadian Regiments served as such overseas in WWI. Men were enlisted in Battalions designated only as numbers. Militia-men from the Quinte region formed the 39th, 80th, 136th, 155th, and 254th Infantry Battalions as well as the 21st and 77th Infantry Battalions and the 1st Forestry Battalion. Their valor in action earned them the following Battle Honours:
1916 Battle of the SOMME
also known as the Somme Offensive
(1 July to 18 November 1916)
1917 Battle of ARRAS
(9 April to 16 May, 1917)
1917 Third Battle of YPRES
also known as the Battle of Passchendaele
(21 July to 6 November 1917)
1917 Battle of HILL 70
(15 to 25 August 1917)
1918 Battle of AMIENS
(8 August to 11 November 1918)
also known as the Siegfried Line
This War also saw the first official service by women in the Canadian Army, mostly as nurses.

Between the Wars
The 16th Prince Edward Regiment and The 49th Hastings Rifles were amalgamated to form The Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment, which now consisted of three Battalions.
The Regiment received new Colours presented by LGen Sir Archibald McDonald. The Regiment also affiliated with the Royal Sussex Regiment and was granted the honour of using their colours of old gold and royal blue. The Royal Sussex Regiment was amalgamated with several other regiments to form The Queen's Regiment in 1966. It in turn, was absorbed by the modern Princess of Wales Royal Regiment
The armorial elements of the 16th PER and the 49th Hastings Rifles cap badges,
seen above, were combined to create the cap badge of the new Regiment, shown below:
The cap badge has been worn to this day with the only change being to the crown after the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

World War II
The Regiment mobilized on September 2, 1939 and began training with the relics of WWI leftover uniforms and equipment. Some had to make do with sticks in place of rifles and supplied their own boots and clothing but by December 19, when they embarked on the HMT Ormonde they were a fully equipped trained unit.
The Regiment trained in Great Britain with the exception of a brief foray into France where the fierce Blitzkrieg waged by the Germans cost them most of their vehicles and the Regimental mascot, Little Chief. A new mascot Chief Petawawa-Much was taken on strength on October 30, 1940 with the service number C.0001. (Little Chief's number had been C.0000).
July 10, the Hasty P's, part of Canadian Army 1st Division, landed on Green Beach, Sicily and earned eight Battle Honours at the cost of many men, including a Commanding Officer.
September 3, an unopposed landing was more than made up for by a vicious running battle with seasoned German Army troops up through the Italian Peninsula as part of the British 8th Army. The Regiment earned twenty more Battle Honours at fearful cost.
The Regiment departed Italy and went to Northwest Europe and joined the 1st Canadian Army where they took active part in the liberation of Holland. Among the Regiments accomplishments was the capturing of the Dutch Summer Palace at Apeldoorn.
Farley Mowat published a history of the Regiment in WWII. "THE REGIMENT" is a worthy recounting of the Regiment's accomplishments. Mowat himself was a platoon commander in the Regiment, and later in the war, an intelligence officer in England.
The Regiment by Farley Mowat is available at the Kit shop.
A 'must read' for anyone interested in the history of the Regiment.
Please visit the Kit shop for more details.

Two companies were raised for NATO service in West Germany as part of the 27th Brigade.
Government cutbacks had the Regiment, now headquartered in Belleville, absorb the Midland Regiment, the 34th Battery, and the Argylls.
In October, more than twelve years after the end of the war, Canadian Army Orders finally announced the Regiment had been awarded 31 Battle Honours, ten of which were emblazoned onto the Regimental Colours.
More cutbacks closed six more Regimental armouries. The armoury in Peterborough remained open, but the 50th Field Regiment and the 28th RCEME were struck off the Order of Battle and their personnel formed 'B' Company of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment. The regiment now occupied only two armouries.
The Cobourg Armoury officially opened it's doors in January and provided a home for 'C' Company of the Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment.

Our piece of living history. "Katie", our museum's Bren Gun carrier seen here in
the 50th Anniversary of the Regiment's homecoming Parade.

Early militia in Prince Edward County
Resent article in the The County Weekly News

This prayer was written by Major Alex Campbell, during a lull in battle.
Major Campbell was O.C. of "A" Company, Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment.
He was killed in action on December 25, 1943 at The Battle of Ortona in Italy.
Prayer before Battle
By Major Alex Campbell
When 'neath the rumble of the guns,
I lead my men against the Huns,
'Tis then I feel so all alone and weak and scared,
And oft I wonder how I dared,
Accept the task of leading men.
I wonder, worry, fret, and then I pray,
Oh God! Who promised oft
To humble men a listening ear,
Now in my spirit's troubled state,
Draw near, dear God, draw near, draw near.
Make me more willing to obey,
Help me to merit my command,
And if this be my fatal day,
Reach out, Oh God, Thy Guiding Hand,
And lead me down that deep, dark vale.
These men of mine must never know
How much afraid I really am,
Help me to lead them in the fight
So they will say, "He was a man".

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