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Number of companies grouped into a unit under a superior officer called a colonel. Regiments appeared in the French infantry in 1558 and the practice spread to other countries. The Carignan-Salières Regiment, which had 20 companies of 50 men each, served in Canada between 1665 and 1668. A number of its officers and soldiers remained in the country as settlers. Regiments were not found in New France again until 1755. In British Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Independent Companies were formed into Colonel Philip’s 40th Regiment of Foot in 1717. This British unit, the first regular regiment formed in Canada, and joined by others in the 1740s, served in North America until the 1760s. The first colonial regular regiments raised in Canada were the Royal Highland Emigrants in 1775 and the King’s Royal Regiment of New York in 1776, both recruited from American Loyalist refugees. These and several others were disbanded in 1783-1784. Other regiments were raised for regular service in the 1790s and early 1800s and all were disbanded at war’s end in 1815. There were no truly Canadian regular regiments again until the 1890s. Canadian Militia units usually used the name regiment when associated with their county’s unit. Canadian Volunteer Militia formations grouped into battalions from 1859 that were renamed regiments since 1900.
See also: Battalion, Company, Squadron, Troop
Rockets were first invented in ancient China and used for fireworks. In early Canada, rockets were used for signals — notably between ships and shore — and for celebrations. In New France and early British Canada, artillerymen were in charge of setting up and firing rockets, especially for fireworks. They weren't used as weapons until the beginning of the 19th century when William Congreve, an officer of the British Royal Artillery, invented a rocket with an explosive head that could be shot at the enemy. It was a very unstable weapon insofar as its range and accuracy was concerned. Nevertheless, experiments of the new weapon with Wellington’s army in Spain seemed promising and rocket units were formed in the army and the navy. A rocket detachment of the Royal Marine Artillery in Halifax appears to have been the first unit of this type in Canada and went on to serve in the attacks against Washington and Baltimore in 1814. The words "the rocket’s red glare" in the American national anthem refers to Congreve rockets being fired at Fort McHenry in Baltimore during September 1814 from HMS Erebus, an especially fitted rocket ship. After the Napoleonic Wars, rocket detachments were disbanded and their duties amalgamated with those of artillery units. The only instance of Congreve rockets used in action in Canada was against the Patriotes in Saint-Eustache in December 1837, but they flew erratically and missed their target, so the gunners returned to their more dependable guns. Interest in military rocket technology waned until the Second World War when German, Russian, British and American armies deployed rocket batteries on battlefields. In 1944, Canadian artillery officers developed a versatile two-wheeled launcher capable of firing some 32 rockets. A Rocket Battery organised in the RCA went into action in the fall of 1944 supporting every major attack of the Canadian Army in Belgium and Holland until the German surrender in early May 1945. The appearance of the long range German V1 and V2 rockets in 1944-1945 opened the way to a technological revolution that let to antiballistic missiles and space exploration. Since the end of the Second World War, the Canadian Forces have manned a number of rocket systems ranging from battlefield support weapons to long range missiles.
.303 calibre bolt-action rifle developed by Sir Charles Ross. It was adopted as the standard Canadian service rifle in 1902 and was the first military rifle manufactured in Canada at Québec from 1903. Units started receiving it in 1905. It was a very accurate weapon and Canadian soldiers were armed with it when they went to Europe in 1914-1915. Once in the field, it was found unsuitable for life in the trenches as it often jammed, and was replaced by the British Lee-Enfield rifle in the CEF during 1915-1916. It was later used for training and by snipers during the Second World War, as it remained an excellent target rifle, especially with the .280 calibre cartridge developed by Ross in 1912. Also widely used in the Second World War by the Veteran’s Guard of Canada in its guard duties at Prisoner of War camps installed in the country.
Royal Air Force
The British air arm, formed in April 1918 by the fusion of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.
See also: Royal Flying Corps/Royal Naval Air Service
Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)
The Canadian air arm, existing under that name from March 1924 until the 1968 unification of the armed forces. RCAF stems from the British Royal Air Force.