History & Traditions
A Brief Regimental History of The South Alberta Light Horse
The history of The South Alberta Light Horse is a complicated series of conversions, re-designations, amalgamations, and disbandments of cavalry, artillery, infantry, and armoured units.
The Regiment’s origins can be traced back to the North West Rebellion in 1885 when the unit served in what became Southern Alberta as a provisional cavalry force called the Rocky Mountain Rangers. The 15th Light Horse was officially raised in Calgary in 1905 and the current cap badge of the Regiment can be traced directly back to this unit. Three years later, the 19th Alberta Mounted Rifles was officially formed in Edmonton from existing independent squadrons of Canadian Mounted Rifles. In 1914, the 15th Light Horse went to war as part of the 31st Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, an infantry unit. The 19th Alberta Dragoons remained mounted and served as the divisional cavalry squadron for the 1st Canadian Division. These units participated in many of the major campaigns of the war including: the Somme, Vimy, and Ypres. These and other battle honours are emblazoned on the Regiment’s guidon.
Between WW l and WW 2, a series of reorganizations took place culminating at 0600 hours on 5 June 1940 when the South Alberta Regiment was mobilized. Recruiting commenced at Medicine Hat, Calgary, and Edmonton and the unit was drawn from elements of the South Alberta Regiment, the 15th Alberta Light Horse, the 19th Alberta Dragoons, the Calgary Regiment (Tank), and the Edmonton Fusiliers. The first station of the Regiment was the Prince of Wales Armoury in Edmonton. In 1942, the unit was converted to a tank regiment and re-designated the 29th Canadian Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment. The Regiment landed in France in July 1944 as part of the Fourth Canadian Armoured Division and spear headed the attacks through Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and eventually Germany. It was during this time that Major D.V. Currie won the Victoria Cross at St. Lambert-sur-Dives.
After the war, the Regiment continued to go through many changes before becoming The South Alberta Light Horse in May 1958. In 1964, the 19th Alberta Dragoons were reduced to zero strength and placed on the supplementary order of battle. Within ten years, the Government realized that Edmonton still required an active armoured presence and in 1978, the Army established ‘B’ Squadron, The South Alberta Light Horse in Edmonton.
The 19th Alberta Dragoons and The South Alberta Light Horse amalgamated in 2006, thus legitimizing the units claim as “Alberta’s” Regiment. Indeed, the SALH are the only regiment which maintains “Alberta” in its name. Notably, the cap badges of both the 31st Battalion, CEF and the South Alberta Regiment have also both included the 1907 Alberta Coat of Arms.
Soldiers from the Regiment have served in almost every major peace-keeping operation to date. The Regiment currently trains as an armoured reconnaissance regiment within the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps and is equipped with the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon. Its role, as in 1885, WW1, and WW2, remains to serve as the “eyes and ears” of the Canadian Army.
The Regiment maintains a Regimental Museum in Medicine Hat at Lt-Col M.E. Patterson Armoury. The Museum is funded by the Regimental Foundation and supported by our Regimental Association. Click here to be taken to the Regimental Museum page of the SALH Regimental Association!