Tag Archives: Van Doo

A Century at La Citadelle

The Canadian Army’s Royal 22e Régiment, the Van Doos, dates back to 1869 and today they are the only French-speaking Regiment of the Regular Force. Make no mistake about blue flannel-wearing “Jon Paul” Quebecois jokes, the Van Doos are legit, especially when it comes to cold weather ops.

A snow-camo’d member of 3e Bataillon, Royal 22e Régiment standing watch in front of a barn during Exercise RAFALE BLANCHE in St Sylvestre, Québec on February 3, 2014. Note his C7 with Elcan sight

In 1919, after returning with 21 Battle Honours from a very serious tour on the Western Front during the Great War, the unit was barracked in metropolitan Quebec.

On 22 May 1920, the Van Doos moved into the City’s historic Citadelle on Cap Diamant, the site of fortifications protecting the city going back to 1608.

This place

This month the Regiment celebrates its 100th year in residence, which remains a functioning military installation as well as an official residence for the Monarch– the Queen is their Colonel-in-Chief– as well as being the typical summer home of Canada’s Governor General.

In such official public duty at the Citadelle, with the site entertaining a quarter-million visiting tourists each year, the Van Doos wear the familiar scarlet uniforms and bearskin caps of British Foot Guards regiments.

They earned them, having stood post at St. James and Buckingham in 1940, during the Blitz, the first French-speaking unit to do so. In that gig, they wore standard kit, down to gas masks, and charged SMLEs.

Their traditional mascot, Batisse, is a goat, and their motto is Je me souviens, (I remember).

The Van Doo Cyprus shuffle, 54 years on

Members of the Canadian contingent serving with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), are seen at an observation post in Trakhomas. 27 March 1964.

UN Photo Archives # 86335

Note the unit patch of the famous Royal 22e Régiment (The Van Doos), as well as the Canadian-made, inch-pattern semi-auto FN FAL dubbed the C1A1 (C1) in Canuck service and a U.S.-supplied M1919 light machine gun. Interestingly enough, the Canadians were the first large military to adopt the FAL, in 1954, to replace the Enfield .303, and only phased it out in the late 1980s with the Diemaco (Colt Canada) C7 (M16A2).

According to the UN: “Canada has a long tradition of supporting peacekeeping missions starting with its contribution in the United Nations Military Observer group in Indian and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in 1949 and currently have contributes 113 military and police personnel to our peacekeeping missions in Haiti (MINUSTAH) Darfur (UNAMID) Cyprus (UNFICYP) South Sudan (United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the Middle East (UN Truce Supervision Organisation).”

And it looks like the Canucks are headed to increasingly unstable Mali.

Never laugh at Van Doo

Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Valcartier (Quebec) based 5e Groupe-brigade mécanisé du Canada (5 GBMC), conducted their long-running “Iceman” challenge last week.

Photos : Sergent Sébastien Fréchette, Affaires publiques du 5 GBMC

Photos : Sergent Sébastien Fréchette, Affaires publiques du 5 GBMC

The event consists of a 5.5km road march with 35 lb. pack (“en équipe”), 8.7km of military skiing, 5km of snowshoeing, and 5.5km of racing through firing positions– a total of 24.7km. Best individual time was Major David Lacombe at an amazing 2 H 25 min 38 sec!

canadian-van-doos-22rgt-iceman-challenge-snow-shoe-ski-2c canadian-van-doos-22rgt-iceman-challenge-snow-shoe-ski-4c canadian-van-doos-22rgt-iceman-challenge-snow-shoe-ski-6c5 GBMC consists of the three mechanized/light infantry battalions of the Royal 22e Régiment (The Van Doos), the 12e Régiment blindé du Canada equipped with Coyote and Kodiak armored recon vehicles, as well as artillery, engineer and support units.