Guide to Sources for Research into Military History

Regimental Histories

Compendium of Canadian Regiments: a Civilian's Perspective : Michael Gregory (Ottawa : Michaeljohn Gregory, 2005)

From the introduction: "The original intent for this compendium was to systematically present data on regiments, and at the same time include any anecdotes that may be found about the circumstances in which they were formed."  Includes 565 regiment names.


The Royal Engineers in Egypt and the Sudan : E. W. C. Sandes (Catham : Institution of Royal Engineers, 1937)

From the foreword: "The student of military history will find ample food for study and thought, and he will be astounded at the wonderful achievements of those comparatively young Military Engineers, faced with almost insurmountable obstacles and at times with an almost empty exchequer." The author, when accepting to write this work for the R.E.s, decided to live in Egypt and the Sudan for over a year before starting the manuscript... The account of the assistance rendered by the Mohawk boatmen fills a gap in the historiographic record of the period.


The Regimental History of the Governor General's Foot Guards : Major A. R. Jessup (Ottawa : Mortimer Limited, 1948)

From the preface: "Unlike the traditional war history, Major Jessup has departed from the so-called orthodox form and has produced an intimate narrative that accurately tells the story in pleasing and readable form."


The War History of the Sixth Battalion: the South Straffordshire Regiment : A Committee of Officers who Served with the Battalion (London : William Heinemann, Ltd., 1924)

From the introduction: "It is right [...] that future generations should know the part which was played by their forbears and should be reminded of the part which their countr, town or village played in the great struggle.  This must especially be so in the case of a Territorial unit which existed priot to the War, such as the 6th Battalion of the South Straffordshire Regiment.  When war broke out in 1914 the Battalion was already an established Force with a proud tradition, ready to undertake whatever work came its way, and posseessing that mutual confidence amongst its members which does so much to ensure success."


Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians): a Record of Achievement : J. M. McAvity (Toronto : s.n., 1947)

From the foreword: "The part played by the Strathcona's in 5th Canadian Armoured Division is one of which all Canadians may be justly proud.  The first battle of the division in an armoured divisional role was the "break out" of the Hitler Line in May, 1944.  This battle reached its most critical phase of the line of the River Melfa where the enemy had concentrated his greatest force in armour and supporting arms in an effort to halt the advance.  The magnificent task carried out by the Regiment in smashing the German armour on that occasion against much superior armament will go down in history as one of the greatest feats of arms ever performed by a Canadian armoured regiment."


The Regiment : Farley Mowat (Toronto : McClelland and Stewart, 1973)

From the dust jacket: "Here is the true and powerfully told story of the 'Hasty P's' – the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment of "plough jockeys" who came off farms in the Ontario counties of the same names, to fight in World War II. Author Farley Mowat was there, serving as platoon commander and later as Intelligence Officer in England, Sicily and through much of the Italian campaign. [...] There is the famous Dover Dash in June of 1940, the landing on Sicily in assault boats in June of 1943 and the invasion of Italy in September of that year; the 1944 drive toward Rome, and the Regiment's finest hour in May that year when it broke through the Hitler Line. He relives the bitter battle of San Maria; the desperate hours when the Regiment was assigned a river crossing that the whole Third Brigade hadn't been able to manage; the horrible tragedy of allied artillery falling short at the Lamone bridgehead and killing the Regiment's own men; the later, epic stand along the Naviglio Canal."


The Gunners of Canada: the History of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery : G. W. L. Nicholson (Toronto : McClelland and Stewart, 1967)

From the preface: "This book [...] tells the story of artillery in Canada from the time when cannon were first used in this country to the end of the First World War. [...] It is a story that covers a period of nearly four centuries.  More than 200 years before the first regular units of Canada's Permanent Force were formed in 1871, the sound of cannon fire was being heard along the St. Lawrence, as French settlers mounted pieces of ships' ordnance in their rude forts for defence against marauding Indians.  French militia gunners helped Frontenac hold Quebec against Sir William Phips in 1690; and a dozen years before the Ancien Regime ended, orders from Louis XV brought into existence the first company of artillery to be formed in Canada. [...] This history has been written for the general reader as much as for the artilleryman and the military student."


Little Black Devils: a History of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles : Bruce Tascona and Eric Wells (Winnipeg : Frye Publishing, 1983)

From the preface: "The story of the Rampant Devil — one of Canada's most famous military insignias – is in essence the story of Western Canada; in its unsettled early history as well as in its major contributions to the nation.  The Centennial History of the Regiment tells of the difficult years when Manitoba first emerged as a province, and when rebellion broke out in Northwest Canada.  In its service to the City and to Northwest Canada, in both war and peace, the Regiment has been closely identified with this new part of a new land. But its service extends well beyond the City whose name it bears and beyond the developing West."


The 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, 1914-1919 : Robert Collier Fetherstonhaugh (Toronto : 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, 1925)

From the foreword: "The Battalion, formed in August, 1914, from the two fine battalions of the R.H.C., went to England from Valcartier in September, 1914, and returned to Canada in April, 1919.  What the Battalion did in the intervening years is well and interestingly told by our author.  He has done his task well; his narrative grips one, albeit it is all too brief and too modest; and he who reads this history must read between the lines to grasp the full measure of loyalty, heroism and self-sacrifice almost daily displayed.  He will realize that 'when cannons are roarin' and bullets are flying the lad that would win glory must never fear dying.'"


The Royal Montreal Regiment, 1925-1945 : Robert Collier Fetherstonhaugh (Westmount : Royal Montreal Regiment, 1949)

From the preface: "In 1929, by the authority of General Order No. 110, the 14th Battalion, as a unity of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and the Royal Montreal Regiment, perpetuating the unit in the Canadian Militia, were granted [...] Battle Honours[.]  From this record there derived the fortitude which sustained the Regiment through the years of the Watch in Britain in 1939-'44 and that flame of Regimental unity, beyond the power of circumstance to quench, which burned with exaltation, even when the unit overseas faced in 1944 the prospect [...] of organizational dissolution.  It was this record, too, in conjunction with their own high morale, which inspired the feat of arms by the company of the Regiment which stormed the Leopold Canal in 1944.  No action more creditable than this is enshrined in the Regiment's story."


History of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals : Officers of the Corps (Ottawa : Corps Committee, 1962)

From the preface: "The present history is based largely on the work of Lieutenants Parnall and Pratt, but it differs from the history as originally conceived in two major respects.  The history has been expanded to cover a much longer period than the Second World War, and as the scope of the work had changed, it was considered desirable to place more emphasis on operations and organization than on personal achievements."





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