The History of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada: Volume 2, 1939-1945

The History of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada: Volume 2, 1939-1945

Roman Johann Jarymowycz

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In three volumes spanning centuries, Lieutenant Colonel Roman Jarymowycz recounts the story of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, the oldest Highland regiment in the country. He traces its history from the roots, when soldiers, settlers, and militia volunteers rallied to defend the southern borders of their adopted country against invasion from the United States. Drawing on diaries, letters, classified documents, and the regimental archive, Jarymowycz weaves the strands of a complex story into an epic narrative of a resolute collective of officers and men.

Since its birth in 1862 as the 5th Battalion, Volunteer Militia Rifles of Canada, thousands of citizens have served in the unit. In addition to securing Canada’s borders, Black Watch soldiers have fought in the South African War, both world wars, and the Korean War. They have bolstered NATO operations and United Nations peacekeeping missions, and they provided aid to the civil power during the 1997 Quebec and Eastern Ontario ice storm disaster and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Montreal-based battalion continues to serve Canada in its traditional role as a reserve infantry unit, and to this day, Black Watch soldiers frequently deploy on dangerous missions abroad.

In volume 2 we are offered the story of the bloody battlefields of the Second World War, when the Black Watch joined Commonwealth regiments to defeat the Axis Powers. After a quick mobilization in 1939 and a long wait in England, the Black Watch experienced a baptism by fire at Dieppe. Landing in Normandy after D-Day, the regiment fought in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany, its distinguished service earning numerous honours. As well as discussing these military engagements, Jarymowycz reveals the many difficulties with recruiting, training, recovering from devastating battles, communicating with higher command, and the quality and scarcity of reinforcements.

This monumental history of Canada’s oldest Highland regiment is at once a record of Scottish heritage, a portrait of Montreal rising as an industrial giant, and an examination of the emergence of a military culture from the Western Front.

Product details

ISBN-13: 9780228017134

Number of pages: 356

Format: Hardback

Imprint: McGill-Queen's University Press

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