Military Wiki
The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (Duke of Edinburgh's Own)
Cap Badge of the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa
Active 1856-1866-1881-present
Country Canada
Branch Militia
Type Infantry
Role Light Role
Size One battalion
Part of Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
Garrison/HQ Ottawa
Motto(s) ADVANCE
March The March of The Cameron Men and Pibroch O' Donuil Dubh
Current commander Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Patchett, CD
Colonel in Chief HCol Paul A. Hindo, CD
Colonel-in-Chief HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
Tartan Cameron of Erracht

The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (Duke of Edinburgh's Own) is a Primary Reserve infantry regiment of the Canadian Forces.


The 1st Volunteer Militia Rifle Company of Ottawa was formed on April 3, 1856. At that time, the bulk of Canada's militia existed as small, independent companies scattered throughout the provinces. In 1866, the 43rd Battalion of Infantry (otherwise known as the Carleton Blazers) was formed in Bells Corners (now part of Ottawa) with companies in many of the surrounding communities and absorbed Ottawa's volunteer rifle company. This company is perpetuated to this day as "A" Company of The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa.

The 43rd Battalion's first call to service came in 1870 when they were deployed to the Prescott area to defend Canada against Fenian raids. They saw no action there and quickly returned to Ottawa. Because they were so spread out, maintaining troop strength was difficult and in 1875, the regiment was disbanded.

In 1881, the unit was stood up again but this time as the 43rd "Ottawa and Carleton" Battalion of Rifles with the Ottawa volunteer rifle company and a number of other companies located in communities on the Ontario and Quebec sides of the Ottawa River. No 2 Company, 43rd "Ottawa and Carleton" Battalion of Rifles, which was garrisoned in Hull is currently perpetuated by Le Régiment de Hull.

Over the next 20 years, the 43rd's soldiers would see action in the North-West (Riel) Rebellion and in the Second Boer War. However, the battalion sent only volunteers to participate in these conflicts and never deployed formed units. During the Boer War, Private R.R. Thompson won a Queen's Scarf, a scarf knitted by Queen Victoria for bravery, for his actions saving wounded soldiers.

In 1902, the regiment so impressed the Duke of Cornwall (later King George V) that he became the Camerons' first honorary colonel and allowed the regiment to bear his name. The regiment was then known 43rd Regiment, Duke of Cornwall's Own Rifles.

In 1914, when the First World War began, the unit was mobilized for action. However, once again, the unit did not go overseas as a formed unit. Instead, the unit was used to recruit and train soldiers mostly for the 2nd, 38th, and 207th battalions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The Camerons perpetuate the 38th and 207th battalions. The 38th saw action in France from 1916 to 1918 and received many battle honours. The members who served were also well decorated. The 207th left in June 1917 for France and were used as a reserve force for many units.

During the interwar years, the 43rd Regiment was reorganized and renamed on several occasions. In March 1920 it was converted from regular infantry to a highland regiment and renamed The Ottawa Regiment (The Duke of Cornwall's Own). The regiment was allocated two battalions, the 1st Battalion (38th Battalion, CEF) and the 2nd Battalion (207th Battalion, CEF) (the 2nd Battalion existed only on paper), as a means of retaining the history and honours of the wartime Canadian Expeditionary Force battalions.[1] In 1922, the 43rd Regiment was renamed The Ottawa Highlanders and in 1933, it was renamed The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa. "(M.G.)" (for machine gun) was added to the regimental title in 1936. Since 1881 the unit has shared the Ottawa, Ontario motto "Advance".

File:CHofO On Parade 16 May 1937.jpg

The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa on parade - 16 May 1937

In July 1940, the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa left for garrison duty in Iceland, which ended in April 1941 when they sailed to England. On 6 June 1944, the Camerons were the only Ottawa regiment to land on D-Day at Juno Beach. The 1st Battalion consisted of three machine gun companies and one mortar company. Following the landing on D-Day, the regiment fought in almost every battle in the northwestern Europe campaign. However, the battalion's soldiers were often attached as platoons and companies in support of other units, so the battalion never fought as an entire entity. During this time, the 2nd Battalion recruited and trained soldiers in Canada for overseas duty. The 3rd Battalion was formed in July 1945 as a part of the Canadian Army Occupation Force in Germany.

Since the Second World War, the regiment has remained in Ottawa. It is now a light infantry regiment.


The regimental flag of the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa flies above a NATO installation near Tora Bora in Afghanistan

Since 1985, the regiments' soldiers have served as deployed members on NATO and United Nations missions across the world members of Canadian Forces peacekeeping operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, The Congo, Cyprus, Israel, Somalia, and Syria, among other deployments.

Since the deployment of a Canadian troops to Afghanistan, a number of Camerons have served as reserve augmentees to the regular force as part of the NATO ISAF force. Camerons have served in nearly every element of the task force with an infantry presence. They have been involved in a full spectrum of operations, from the intense close combat of Operation Medusa in September 2006 and mentoring and training the Afghan National Army, to less conventional infantry tasks including Civil-Military Cooperation, Psychological Operations, escort of logistical convoys, and force protection duties at ISAF installations. The regiment continues to actively encourage members to volunteer for operational deployments, resulting in more Camerons serving overseas in recent years than in any period since the Second World War.

The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa on parade - 11 September 2004

In 2005, the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa were authorized, as part of the Canadian Forces Land Force Reserve Restructuring (LFRR), to stand up a second rifle company, composed of about 100 soldiers. The Canadian Forces further directed this new rifle company train in the western Ottawa to be more readily accessible to a growing population base in that area. The regiment is composed of two line companies, A Company in the Cartier Square Drill Hall; B Company in the Lynwood Mall on the south side of Robertson Road in Bells Corners, which is now responsible for all training in co-operation with the NCR Battle School; and Administration Company, a combined Combat Service Support and Administrative Support company located in Cartier Square Drill Hall, along with the Regimental Headquarters.

In August 2013, the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa were granted the secondary title of Duke of Edinburgh's Own Regiment after its Colonel-in-Chief.[2]

The Regimental Identity

The regimental motto is "Advance". The 43rd Ottawa and Carleton Battalion of Rifles was first permitted to adopt the motto "Advance" and to bear the same upon its appointments in accordance with General Order - 82 dated 13 January 1882. This motto has been perpetuated by all successors to the 43rd, including the regiment today. It is also the motto of the City of Ottawa. The Camerons are proudly known as Ottawa's regiment, and they hold the Freedom of the City of Ottawa.

The Regimental Badge or crest is laid out as follows: within a wreath of thistles and maple leaves, the figure of St Andrew with cross is shown standing on a mount charged with a plaque inscribed ADVANCE. On the lower bend of the wreath there are two rolls, the upper inscribed THE CAMERON HIGHLANDERS the lower OF OTTAWA (M.G.). A new recruit to the regiment is given their Balmoral bonnet headdress and their Camerons cap badge upon completion of their Soldier Qualification course. Following the completion of their DP1 Infantry course, they are given the blue hackle that sits between the tartan patch and the cap badge, and extends out the top of the badge. The badging ceremony is the point at which the soldier can truly consider themselves a part of the regiment.

LCol Bud Walsh Presents Pipe banner to Pipe-Major Alan Clark - 20 Oct 2007.JPG

During the change of command parade in Ottawa on 20 October 2007, the outgoing Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel "Bud" Walsh presented a new regimental pipe banner for the Pipe Major. In simple terms, a pipe banner is a heraldic flag flown from the large bass drone of the bagpipes. They are used by clan chiefs, chieftains, lairds and military officers of certain rank. Tradition has it that battalion commanders and other senior officers have a 'following' of soldiers and are thus of the status of a 'laird'. In a military context, the banner may show the badge of the regiment on one side and a personal device on the other side although the practice varies from regiment to regiment.

When the Pipes & Drums are on parade with the Commanding Officer, the Pipe-Major usually carries the Commanding Officer’s banner. On more formal events, the Pipe-Major will carry his own banner that represents The Queen’s and Regimental Colours.

As a Highland regiment, the dress uniform of the Camerons differs from most Canadian Forces regiments. The Camerons wear traditional Scottish Kilts in a tartan unique to the Cameron Highlanders of the Canadian and British forces. The Canadian Forces tunic is cut in a manner that the tunic curves outwards and downwards above where a belt buckle would rest. In addition to the kilt, the soldiers of the Camerons wear a leather sporran, and oxford shoes and lovat hose with red tabs in lieu of ankle boots. Higher orders of dress include white spats, a white sporran (Hair Sporran for Officers and Senior NCOs), and a white belt. The regiment also possesses traditional scarlet uniforms and feather bonnets that are worn for ceremonial purpose such as guard formations and the annual Remembrance Day parade.

Many of the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa also wear Regimental rings emblazoned with the Regimental Crest. While most are sterling silver, a few members have had gold rings made using the same pattern.

A Regimental Coin was issued in 2007 by the outgoing Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel "Bud" Walsh as a gift to the members and officers serving, and a remembrance of those Camerons who have fallen in the line of duty. The coin, designed by Regimental Sergeant Major (Chief Warrant Officer) Jim Seguin, is inscribed with the Regimental Crest on one side, and the Thistle topped by Crown on the reverse with a serial number.


Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa perform weapons training in Cartier Drill Hall

The Camerons train regularly at Connaught Ranges in West Ottawa and at CFB Petawawa. Members of the unit can expect to train a minimum of one night a week and one weekend a month. Often, the pace of training requires soldiers to parade more often.

Training consists of basic soldier skills, individual battle task standards, and more advanced training operations based on contemporary training doctrine, much of which has been developed in recent years in Afghanistan.

In 2006, the unit underwent a noticeable shift in training focus. New training was conducted in cordon and search operations, urban patrolling, and vehicle checkpoints. There has also been an increased emphasis on high intensity urban fighting.



Drill Hall

Site Date(s) Designated Location Description Image
Cartier Square Drill Hall 1879 Classified - 1985 Register of the Government of Canada Heritage Buildings Ottawa, Ontario large centrally located building with a low-pitched gable roof houses The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa and The Governor General's Foot Guards Cartier Square, Drill Hall.jpg

The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa museum

Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa museum
Location Cartier Square Drill Hall, Ottawa, ON K1A 0K2 Canada
Type Regimental Museum

The museum serves as a training medium to teach Regimental history. It preserves Regimental history through the collection of documents, pictures, books, military artifacts, etc., with particular emphasis on the histories of The Ottawa and Carleton Rifles, The Duke of Cornwall’s Own Rifles, the 38th Battalion, CEF, 207th Battalion, CEF, The Ottawa Regiment and The Ottawa Highlanders. The museum serves as a place of military interest for the public and Canadian Forces personnel. It provides research facilities for the study of Canadian military history dating from 1855 in so far as it affects The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa and the regiments it perpetuates. The museum displays and illustrates in an appropriate manner the dress, weapons and customs of the Regiment’s military heritage.[3]

Order of precedence

Preceded by
Le Régiment de Maisonneuve
The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (Duke of Edinburgh's Own) Succeeded by
The Royal Winnipeg Rifles

External links


  1. Per the Otter Committee's report:
  2. Cameron Highlanders now The Duke of Edinburgh’s Own regiment
  3. A-AD-266-000/AG-001 Canadian Forces Museums –Operations and Administration 2002-04-03

Coordinates: 45°25′17″N 75°41′20″W / 45.421397°N 75.688822°W / 45.421397; -75.688822

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