The South Alberta Light Horse

The South Alberta Light Horse

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=The South Alberta Light Horse

caption=The South Alberta Light Horse Cap Badge
branch=Royal Canadian Armoured Corps
Primary Reserve (Militia)
type=Light Horse
dates=September 28 1954 - Present
specialization=Armoured Reconnaissance
command_structure=Land Force Western Area
41 Canadian Brigade Group
size=One regiment
current_commander=LCol Lockhart
garrison=Medicine Hat and Edmonton, Alberta
ceremonial_chief=HRH The Countess of Wessex
colonel_of_the_regiment=Dr Stanley Milner OC, AOE, CD, LLD
nickname="Sally Horse"
motto="Semper Alacer" (Always Alert)
identification_symbol_label=Unit colour patch
march="A Southerly Wind and a Cloudy Sky"
notable_commanders=LCol A.H. Bell CMG DSO (31st Bn) 1914
LCol G.D. Wotherspoon DSO ED CD (SAR) 1943
Col James Walker (15th Light Horse) 1905
anniversaries=Official Birthday 3 July 1905

The South Alberta Light Horse, or SALH, is an armoured reconnaissance unit of the Canadian Forces Army Reserve based in Medicine Hat and Edmonton, Alberta. It is one of the oldest of the western Canadian Army Reserve units. The SALH is part of Land Force Western Area's 41 Canadian Brigade Group.

Regimental lineage

*1885: Rocky Mountain Rangers
*1905: 15th Light Horse
*1914: contributed recruits for the 31st Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force (this battalion served overseas with the 6th Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division)
*1920: The South Alberta Regiment
*1940: 29th Canadian Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment
*1954: South Alberta Light Horse

Battle honours

North West Canada 1885

First World War: Mount Sorrel, Somme 1916 '18, Flers-Courcelette, Thiepval, Ancre Heights, Arras, Vimy 1917, Arleux, Hill 70, Ypres 1917,
Passchendaele, Amiens, Dorcourt-Queant, Hindenburg Line, Canel du Nord, Cambrai 1918, Pursuit to Mons, France and Flanders 1915–1918, Scarpe 1917–1918

Second World War:Falaise, Falaise Road, The Laison, St. Lambert sur-Dives, Moerbrugge, The Scheldt, Woendrecht, The Lower Maas, Kapelsche Veer, The Rhineland, The Hockwald, Veen, Twente Canal, Bad Zwischenahn, North-West Europe 1944–1945

Victoria Cross

*Major David Vivian Currie VC (later promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel)


Early history

The South Alberta Light Horse traces its beginnings to the period of the Riel Rebellion of 1885. During this conflict the Rocky Mountain Rangers of Fort Macleod with 150 officers and men were tasked with the protection of the area ranging from the U.S. border to High River and from the Rockies to Medicine Hat.

This irregular cavalry unit is seen as the true genesis of the regiment. The 15th Light Horse, the official direct ancestor of the SALH, was raised in Calgary on July 3 1905. From this point until the mid 1950s the regiment's history can be described as a series of complicated amalgamations and redesignations of Alberta army reserve units of all arms until the regiment as it is now was formed in Calgary in 1954.

History 1914–1938

The unit's active participation in the First World War came with the involvement of the 12th and 13th Regiments of the Canadian Mounted Rifles Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), which were direct descendants of the 15th Light Horse and the 31st (Alberta), 113th (Lethbridge Highlanders), 175th (Medicine Hat) and the 187th (Central Alberta) Overseas Battalions CEF, which were created with the advent of the war.

Despite its cavalry beginnings, the regiment fought in the war as infantry, carrying the name 31st Battalion CEF and was awarded 19 battle honours, including such notable actions as Vimy and Passchendaele.

The 31st Battalion CEF participated in the first tank attack in history at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette on 15 September 1916, while the 19th Dragoons (at that time known as C Squadron, Canadian Light Horse) made the last cavalry charge in Canadian history at the battle of Iwuy on 10 October 1918. This means that among the predecessor units of the SALH, one participated in the first military operation involving the tank and another mounted the last cavalry charge in Canadian history.

The period between wars saw the re-emergence of the 15th Light Horse, henceforth called the 15th Alberta Light Horse and The Alberta Regiment. The former unit was cavalry out of Calgary and the latter was infantry out of Medicine Hat.

History 1939–1945

It was under these two main designations that the regiment entered the Second World War in 1939. Though their names were later changed, it was these two units that served to perpetuate the lineage. The 15th Alberta Light Horse had contributed to several active service units, including the 31st Alberta Reconnaissance Regiment, remaining in the Calgary area until the end of the war. The Alberta Regiment, which had become the South Alberta Regiment before the war, recruited an active service battalion in the Medicine Hat area in the summer of 1940. This infantry unit trained in Canada until 1942 when it was reorganized as the 29th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment) and moved to England in August.

The SAR was granted 15 battle honours for its service overseas, redesignated the 29th Canadian Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment) in 1944. The unit was selected by Major-General F. F. Worthington to be the recce (reconnaissance) regiment of the 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division because he wanted "keen-eyed prairie men" as his scouts. The 29th was again converted, with all armoured recce regiments, to the war establishment of a regular armoured regiment in 1944 and sent to France in July of that year. It fought through Normandy, Belgium, the Scheldt, the Rhineland, the Netherlands and Germany until the end of the war in Europe in May 1945. Of particular note is that Major David Currie was awarded the Commonwealth's highest military award for bravery, the Victoria Cross, for his valour at St. Lambert sur Dives, France, during the battle of the Falaise Gap.

Meanwhile the 31st Reconnaissance Regiment had served in the Calgary area until January 1945 when it was shipped to England. It was disbanded a month later and broken up for reinforcements.

History 1945–1999

The end of the war saw the re-emergence of The South Alberta Regiment (infantry) in Medicine Hat and the 15th Light Horse (armoured) in Calgary. The 15th however, was not to keep its name, and it was united with the 22nd Field Battery RCA and renamed 68th Light Anti-Aircraft RCA. This is remained until 1954 when it united with The South Alberta Regiment of Medicine Hat and the 41st Anti-Tank Regiment out of Calgary to become The South Alberta Light Horse (29th Armoured Regiment) out of Calgary. In 1958 "29th Armoured Regiment" was dropped from the name, and two years later, in 1960, the regiment was moved back to its old headquarters in Medicine Hat. The regiment remained an army reserve armoured unit until 1968 when it lost its tanks and was retasked as an armoured reconnaissance unit.

In 1978 the regiment established an independent B Squadron in Edmonton to train out of Griesbach Barracks. Originally roled as reconnaissance, B Squadron transitioned to AVGP and was reroled as armoured in the early 1980s. The rest of the regiment followed suit and by 1985 the entire regiment was out of reconnaissance and back to being armoured.

Recent activities

*2007 – On 9 April, members and friends of the regiment participated in re-dedication ceremonies for the Vimy Memorial on the 90th Anniversary of Battle of Vimy Ridge at Vimy, France
*2006 – Freedom of the City of Camrose
*2006 – Installation of HRH the Countess of Wessex as Colonel-in-Chief at Rocky Mountain Cadet Camp
*2006 – 17 soldiers on Operation Archer in Afghanistan all returning safely
*2005 – Freedom of the City of Medicine Hat
*2005 – 100th birthday celebrations in Edmonton including 'Hoof Prints to Tank Tracks' major display at the Provincial Museum of Alberta. Display visited by HM Queen Elizabeth II upon her visit where she designated the museum the Royal Alberta Museum.

The regiment today

The regiment has soldiers both in Edmonton and Medicine Hat. With the advent of the Land Force Reserve Restructuring project, The South Alberta Light Horse was returned to its roots as an armoured reconnaissance regiment effective September 1 2004.

The current commanding officer of the SALH is Lieutenant-Colonel Lockhart. The current regimental sergeant-major is Chief Warrant Officer Adrian Thomas CD.

Cadet Units

There are several Royal Canadian Army Cadets units spread across Alberta which are affiliated to the South Alberta Light Horse.Cadet units affiliated to the South Alberta Light Horse receive support and also are entitled to wear traditional regimental accourtments on their uniforms


*"Century of Service: The History of the South Alberta Light Horse" by Donald E. Graves, ISBN 1-896941-43-5
*"South Albertas: A Canadian Regiment at War" by Donald E. Graves


*GBRThe Light Dragoons
*GBRThe Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires)

Order of Precedence

External links

* [ South Alberta Light Horse Foundation page]

Contact information

*120 Cuyler Rd, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Phone (403) 504-3775
*11630 109 St, Edmonton, Alberta, Phone (780) 973-4011 Ex. 5348

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