National Defence and the Canadian Forces

4 Cdn Division
4th Canadian Division

31 Canadian Brigade Group

Operation Yellow Ribbon

Highlights of the Active Service of the Regiment

As of 04 September 2016

During the War of 1812, parts of Wentworth County were the territory of the 2nd Regiment, York Militia. Today’s RHLI are in that same territory. In mid-2012, we were awarded the battle honours "Detroit", "Niagara", "Queenston" and "Defence of Canada 1812-1815" to perpetuate the 2nd Yorks and ensure the efforts of the citizenry in defence of their land would not be forgotten.

On 11 December 1862 today’s RHLI came into being as the XIII Battalion, Volunteer Militia of Canada (Infantry). The name changed over the years: 1900- XIII Regiment; 1910 - XIII Royal Regiment; 1920 - The Royal Hamilton Regiment; and in 1927, The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry.

The Wentworth Regiment was raised in 1872 as the 77th (Wentworth) Battalion of Infantry. In 1900, it was renamed the 77th Wentworth Regiment, and in 1920 it became simply Wentworth Regiment. In 1936, all but one company of the Wentworths merged with the RHLI to create The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment).

The Regiment first saw action at the Battle of Ridgeway, ON, in 1866 against Fenian invaders from the US. In 1870, a contingent served in Manitoba in the Riel campaign. During the Boer War 1899-1902, members volunteered for the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment and the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles to give us our first battle honour under our own name. During the Great War 1914-18, many enlisted in units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, notably the 4th, 86th (Machine Gun), 120th, 129th and 205th Battalions, whose battle honours we perpetuate. Sgt. William Merrifield, VC, MM, of the 4th Battalion ("Mad 4th") was awarded our first Victoria Cross.

In World War II 1939-45, the RHLI fought through North-West Europe with the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. On August 19th, 1942 we suffered heavily during the raid on Dieppe, but paved the way for D-Day. Our padre, Hon. Capt. The Reverend John Weir Foote VC, CD, earned his Victoria Cross at Dieppe tending to the many wounded under heavy fire.

Former Rileys served in combat in Korea under Brigadier “Rocky” Rockingham, an RHLI WW II CO. In 1951-52 the Regiment sent a company to each of the 1st & 2nd Canadian Rifles with the 27th NATO Brigade in West Germany. The 1990s saw Rileys under fire in the Balkans on UN / NATO operations. Rileys have served tours in Bosnia, the Golan Heights, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Kenya, South Sudan, in heavy combat in Afghanistan, and in key positions in Iraq and Kuwait in the fight against ISIS. 44 battle honours have been awarded to the RHLI so far.

On humanitarian operations in Canada, Rileys helped contain the Red River in Manitoba in February/March 1997. In February 1999 we deployed 60 Rileys to Eastern Ontario during their fierce ice storm, and we were on standby during the "Y2K" Millennium changeover.

In late 2003 "C" Company was re-established in Burlington. The Rileys today are a professional, combat-capable Army Reserve regiment, trained for full-spectrum operations world-wide. We proudly serve our communities and our nation in response to our motto, "Semper Paratus" - Always Ready.

Browse through our "RHLI History" site 


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