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#1 Pat Holscher

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 03:11 PM

Does anyone have any information on The Irish Canadian Rangers, or know where I might find information on the unit. All I'm aware of is that it existed, and any other information would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

#2 HERITAGE PLUS

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 03:57 PM

Pat

This was a WW1 the Regiment. The 199th Canadian (Overseas) Infantry Battalion (The Duchess of Connaught's Own Irish-Canadian Rangers), CEF until absorbed by the 23rd Canadian Reserve Bn in Nov 1917.

The Duchess was the mother of Princess Patricia whose name was taken by Princess Patricia's LI.

In 1976 the colours were laid up in the Loyal Chapel, Concordia University, Montreal.

Dave

#3 Terry

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 06:22 PM

Pat,
I checked "The Concise Lineages of the Canadian Army 1855-Date", and the entry is:
The Irish Canadian Rangers. The regiment was raised Aug.29,1914 as the 55th Regiment of Montreal,Quebec. It was redesignated the Irish Canadian Rangers April 1,1920. The regiment was dissolved in 1919 but was carried forward on paper until disbanded on Dec.14,1936.
As Dave mentioned there was indeed a 199th Bn.,CEF (Irish Canadian Rangers) which was perpetuated by the above named unit.

#4 Broznitsky

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 06:46 PM

Here's a recruiting poster.

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#5 Broznitsky

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 06:47 PM

Here's another.

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#6 Neil Burns

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 06:54 PM

Peter,
Fantastic stuff!
Where did you find these?
Take care,
Neil

#7 Broznitsky

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 06:54 PM

Numero 3.

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#8 Broznitsky

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 06:57 PM

Number 4.

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#9 jhill

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 08:57 PM

Excellent posters! Thanks very much.

I recently became aware that one of my relations seems to have served with this unit. I have not managed to find out very much about them yet. It seems they sailed for England in December, 1916 and thence were dispersed into the Quebec reinforcement units.

While still in Montreal they seem to have acquired a certain notoriety by allegedly provoking an anti recruitment incident at Place d'Armes on August 23, 1916. During a recruitment rally their recruiting serjeants were quite insulting towards French Canadians, who responded strongly enough that further rallys had to postponed for some time. Even the English media admitted the serjeants had gone too far.

#10 Pat Holscher

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 09:09 PM

Wow, great stuff. Thanksfor all the replies so far.

#11 Pete Wood

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 09:14 PM

Fantastic posters, Peter.

How and when did you aquire them??

#12 Broznitsky

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 09:34 PM

RT, I wish I owned them and had them hanging in my living room!!! Of course my wife would not appreciate that ! dry.gif

Go here, unfortunately they only have a small sampling of what must have existed in those heady days . . .

http://digital.libra...osters/menu.htm

Peter

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 06:03 AM

I am just beginning to research Canada in World War I and have taken some interest in the Irish Canadian Rangers. Sadly I can't find much info about them at all. For just one battalion among many they seem to have a lot of custom (and very neat) recruiting posters why is this? What kind of action did the unit see? In the Canadian army does a "ranger" unit refer to an elite force (as in the US) or is just a fancy way of saying infantry? Also was this unit in any way shape or form brought back in World War II? Lastly, anyone know of any books where I can find more info, especially pertaining to unit history and equipment/uniforms? I know this is a tall order of questions and I am new to this forum but if anyone can help me I am sure its one of you. Believe it or not I am in the very very very very early stages of considering whether or not to explore the possibility of forming a reenacting group to portray this unit since the Canadian role in the war is virtually unknown, especially in the US! Thanks!

#14 jhill

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 06:40 AM

Hello saber.

Having read this thread (and perhaps one or two others that can be found using the "Search" facility), you already know more about the Irish Canadian Rangers than do most people. The only obvious place to find more information would be the files (if they exist) of the original militia regiment, the 55th. However, I believe the succesor to this regiment was disbanded in the 1930s and I don't know who has their stuff.

As to the term "ranger"; in this case I believe the Irish Canadian Rangers were named in the fashion of the Connaught Rangers, one of the old Irish Regiments of the British army. Canadian regiments often had associations of this sort with British Regiments (they still do to some extent). Rangers were like any other infantry, although they were perhaps offended being called so. I suspect rifle regiments were (and are!) upset to hear themselves described as infantry as well.

There is a relative wealth of information about the Connaught Rangers, if you want to go that far.

#15 Broznitsky

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 03:08 PM

QUOTE (saber5932 @ Tue, 13 Jul 2004 07:03:26 +0000)
they seem to have a lot of custom (and very neat) recruiting posters why is this? What kind of action did the unit see? In the Canadian army does a "ranger" unit refer to an elite force (as in the US) or is just a fancy way of saying infantry? Also was this unit in any way shape or form brought back in World War II? Lastly, anyone know of any books where I can find more info, especially pertaining to unit history and equipment/uniforms?

the Canadian role in the war is virtually unknown, especially in the US!

I think many units had similar recruiting posters; it is just that McGill University preserved many from Montréal battalions. Other posters from other cities and towns have disappeared forever.

The 199th saw no action; its men were dispersed to Reserve Battalions and thence to fighting battalions, and thus the 199th disappeared in WWI.

As James says, Rangers means nothing to do with elite forces. I'm afraid your reenactment group would look much like every other CEF battalion, with similar equipment/uniforms. No fancy space-age weapons!

Some research at McGill University could lead somewhere; also Montréal City Archives could have something about the 199th.

I am quite surprised by your last statement about Canada's role in WWI. I am sure many of our American Pals might disagree with you! I know you'll enjoy learning more about WWI here . . .

Peter in Vancouver

#16 mordac

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 03:23 PM

Hi saber:

Welcome to the forum; I hope you enjoy your time here.

Here's a couple of small bits of information of the 199th Battalion. The battalion was under the command of Lieut.-Col. P. J. Trihey and sailed to England with 860 officers and other ranks. In England, they were absorbed by the 23rd Reserve Battalion.

The 199th's regimental motto was "Quis Separabit" or "Who Shall Separate Us."

Garth

#17 Mons1914

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 03:27 PM

199th Infantry Battalion (Montreal Quebec)
Name: Dutchess of Connaught's Own Irish Rangers
Motto Translation: 'Who Shall Seperate Us'

Recruiting Area: Montreal P.Q.
Mobilization HQ: Montreal P.Q.

SERVICE (Strength, 860)
Canada: February 2, 1916-December 20, 1916
England: December 26, 1916-May 11, 1917
France: No Service as a unit

The 199th Infantry Battalion was absorbed into the 23rd Reserve Battalion.

Officers Commanding:
Lieut. Col. H.J. Trihey
December 26, 1916-January 10, 1917

Lieut. Col. J.V. O'Donahoe
January 10, 1917-April 11, 1917

#18 chris.wight

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 08:03 PM

Saber, welcome to the forum!

Being a Quebecer, I'm naturally interested in the many battalions which originated in Montreal but the Irish Canadian Rangers are one of the harder ones to find information about.

The Irish Canadian Rangers were assigned to the 15th Brigade of the 5th Canadian Division. This division was broken up in 1917 in England, and as has been said, the men from the Rangers eventually found their way to other Montreal units serving at the front.

Montreal, by 1916, was a difficult place to recruit new soldiers as most of those who wanted to join up had already done so. At this time Montreal had already formed the 13th, 14th, 24th, 42nd, 60th, 73rd, and 87th battalions, all of which were predominantly english speaking. The city had also supplied men for cavalry, artillery, and other ancillary units. By the time the 199th began recruiting they were in competition with the 244th, and 245th battalion for the dwindling supply of potential english recruits. So to win men over to their unit, more advertising in the form of posters had to be done. So possibly that's why so many of their posters are about today. By the way, one of their posters, #3 was sold on Ebay yesterday for $304 US link.

The regiment seems to have had links with Loyola College in Montreal. This is from the Concordia University archives (Loyola merged with Sir George Williams in 1974 to form Concordia University) :

"There are three plaques in the chapel vestry giving a little history of the building The chapel´s high vaulted ceilings are lined with heavy beams of BC fir. The chapel contains new colours layed up in 1976 for the Duchess of Connaught‘s Own Irish Canadian Rangers. This was a WWI regiment founded in 1914 and raised by Loyola men in 1916, which was broken up in 1917. The current colours replaced the original colours, which were brought to the Loyola Chapel in 1933. The Duchess of Connaught was the patron of the regiment, which was formed when her husband, the Duke of Connaught, was Governor General of Canada." site link

When the regiment disbanded, it's possible they gave their papers, etc to Loyola so getting in touch with Concordia University Archives could yield further information, link.

#19 chris.wight

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 08:09 PM

This is their collar badge.

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#20 chris.wight

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 08:19 PM

This is a postcard featuring a poem or song composed by one of the men in the ranks, Private William A Moran, #919314.

Moran must have been a colourful character. He had previously signed up with the 83rd Battalion in Toronto in 1915. No note is made on his attestation papers as to why he was released but it could have been his age. Moran gives as previous military experience, time in the Mexican Army on his first set of papers; the second set he said he spent time with Pancho Villa. Since he was an actor, it may have been artistic license at work.

This is the link to his papers, here.

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#21 chris.wight

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 08:29 PM

To my surprise, I found you can buy Poster number 4 from Barnes & Nobles, of all places, in four different versions! They even offer one for the Irish Guards. I'm always being surprised with what I find on the internet!

#22 chris.wight

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 09:19 PM

One more factoid for public consumption.

William James Shaughnessy, Second Baron served as a Captain, and Adjutant with the Regiment until the battalion was broken up, then served in France as a Staff Officer. After the war he became the C.O., remaining so until 1926. In his personal life he was a lawyer and financier. Upon his father's death in 1923 he became the second Baron Shaughnessy, his father having been created a Baron in 1916 for his work as the President of the Canadian Pacific Railway and a prime mover in its development.

#23 chris.wight

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 09:37 PM

This is from a website, "Chapters of Dublin History", link, and gives some excellent background information:


DUCHESS OF CONNAUGHT'S OWN IRISH-CANADIAN REGIMENT.

By PTE. J. A. HOLLAND. (Canadian Infantry.)

"You can't stop the Irish from volunteering," ruefully admitted an agitator who sought to tamper with recruits for Canada's first contingent. "There's going to be the devil of a scrap over in Europe, and they are bound to be in it. And anyway, the Irish never did have any use for the Germans - the breeds can't mix." He then proceeded to prove the truth of his own words by joining the army.

But there was more than mere "love of a shindy" behind the Irish-Canadians' determination to bear their fair share of the burden of Canada's war effort. They were roused to a mighty anger by the fate of Belgium and the trails of ruin, death and dishonour left by the Huns in their barbarian sweep through France. They realised that the future of Canada, the land of their adoption, would be fought out on the battlefields of Europe, and they faced the issue squarely. "For the sake of the world's liberty, Germany must not be allowed to win."

The Irish transcribed their determination in the books of every recruiting office from Halifax to Vancouver, and five thousand men of Irish birth or parentage helped to swell the ranks of Canada's first glorious contingent, which blocked the German drive for the Channel Ports during the second battle of Ypres, "the ordeal of the poison gas," in April, 1915.

A similar contribution of Irish manhood was made to the 2nd Canadian Division; but emigrants from the "ould sod" were to do more yet, An insistent demand arose throughout the country for the formation of a purely Irish Battalion. Three big cities, Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver, enthusiastically claimed the privilege, and it was left to the Government to decide which should have the honour. Montreal was chosen, and in February, 1916, a; whirlwind recruiting campaign began for the Irish-Canadian Rangers. Country-wide interest was aroused in the effort, and when H.R.H. the late Duchess of Connaught graciously gave her name and patronage to the Battalion, and became its Honorary Colonel, success was assured.

The organisation of the unit was given into the hands of prominent Irish sportsmen, and the first hundred volunteers were athletes with international reputations. They set a standard of physique which was maintained until the last man was enrolled, and when the Rangers sailed for England in December, trained and ready, they looked, as they were, fighting men of a fighting race, capable of upholding the proudest traditions of the "little Green Isle" which so many among them still called "home."

It is hardly necessary to dwell upon the Rangers' triumphal progress through Ireland in January and February, 1917, when they were feted and acclaimed in all the principal cities, and treated to a display of lavish hospitality that has become a regimental tradition. Suffice it to say, that Ireland was proud of her khaki-clad, emigrant sons, and all classes of opinion united to prove to them that the chivalry of their great race still lived.

The Rangers regretfully closed their tour at Limerick, and once more took up the burden of duty, encouraged and inspired by the vision of Ireland - the homeland - as one of the Allies, forgetting internal dissension, to take a worthy part in the greatest struggle for liberty which the world had ever known.

Training was resumed with renewed ardour when the Rangers returned to England. The men were eager to get to France, and their chance soon came, though unfortunately not in the way they wished. Heavy losses had depleted the Canadian Divisions, and there was an urgent call for reinforcements. Regretfully it was decided by the military authorities that the Rangers should be one of the units called upon to fill the gaps. Volunteers were called for, and practically the entire Battalion answered Colonel O'Donohue's moving appeal; an appeal that wrung the hearts of these Irish lads who had so ardently longed to go to France as a unit.

Whole platoons of the Rangers, with their officers, were drafted to Quebec units, and though they lost their identity in the new formations, they succeeded in holding their individuality by supreme courage and splendid gallantry in action.

During the terrific fighting around Lens early in 1917, when the Canadians pressed the Boche without pause, and wrested position after position from his best regiments, men of the Rangers carried the glory of Ireland on their bayonet points, with which they were terribly efficient. Again at Passchendaele, where the grimmest struggles of the entire war was fought, and where the British had to wade through mud up to the armpits in order to come to grips with the enemy, these Irish-Canadians, by sheer fighting ability, obtained laudatory recognition from their new commanders, one of whom, in asking for reinforcements, wrote as follows: "If it is possible to obtain any more men from the Irish-Canadian Rangers, I would like to have them. Finer fighting men I can never hope to get."

It was primarily due to the glorious reputation which the Irish drafts made for themselves that the Canadian authorities decided to perpetuate the name of the regiment by making it a Reserve Battalion, supplying reinforcements to the 14th and 24th Battalions, which were raised in the same city, Montreal. Both these units have won imperishable glory, to which not a little was contributed by the drafts from the Duchess of Connaught's Own Irish Canadian Rangers.

One V.C., five D.C.M.'s, and thirty-six Military Medals have been won by original members of the I.C.R. 's, all but four of whom were born in Ireland.


It would be interesting to know the names of the men who won the decorations.

#24 Broznitsky

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 09:38 PM

Chris, no doubt Mordac will correct me if I am wrong, but a once-exclusive neighbourhood in Vancouver is named Shaughnessy, no doubt after the first Baron. The arrival of the railway was a "big" deal out here.

I noticed that lovely poster on eBay; I thought to myself: with modern printing techniques I could print one of those, rip it up a little to "age" it, and make myself a fortune. Mordac knows what I mean; the password is "turpentine." Keep your head low.

Chris, have you studied Canadien Français enlistment at all in Montréal? This is a subject of interest to me as g'dad went into the second French-speaking battalion, the 41st Battling Drunks.

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 10:00 PM

Wow thanks for all the great responses and info guys! It would have taken me months to learn all that on my own. I am continuing my research and will keep you all updated. As for my earlier comments about Americans not knowing a lot about WWI... sure there are history buffs and experts, but the avearge person, espcailly young people are woefully ignorant (take from me I'm a college student). This can be blamed on the way history is taught with all the emphasis on cause and effect and none on people or events. Once again thanks. This forum is great and I will be sure to post often!