Birth of a Regiment



It now remains for us to summarize how this website will differ from earlier material and what elements set it apart.  Let us start by being clear about what we will not do.  There is little to be gained by trying to rewrite the battle narratives of Hodder-Williams.  Instead we will provide a summary battle narrative with accompanying maps and images for the major engagements that shaped the future of the regiment.  Our major focus will be on how the regiment changed during the 1914-1919 period.  We will consider changes in the nature of the men who made up the battalion looking both at anecdotal material and demographic information from a database of over 5,000 files soldiers who served in the Patricia’s.  We will compare data with material for the CEF as a whole and where available with the 22e Battalion, and the other battalions of the 7th Brigade.  We will also consider the impact of changes in organizational structure, equipment and tactics during the period to demonstrate that by the end of the war the Patricia’s were a very different regiment.  We will provide added social and political contextual material to help readers better understand both how the regiment was formed and how it became part of the permanent force in 1919.  We will argue that while selection may have been, as suggested by Bercuson “an easy choice for perpetuation” in 1919, it was a direct result of a concerted effort by the regiment to set itself apart from others.  To explain the choice as simply “not a numbered battalion”, the regiment had established itself as the most recognized and unit in the CEF.  The simplest and some might argue the most logical decision for a small nation would be to emulate the structure of the Australian Army and return to the pre-war structure by simply increasing the number of battalions in the Royal Canadian Regiment.   We will show how the aggressive development of unique regimental traditions, the effective use of both Royal patronage and political influence and a keen eye to the public image of the regiment combine to make the choice not only easy but virtually impossible to avoid by the end of the war.

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