Military Subjects:  War of 1812


The War of 1812 Magazine

Issue 16: September 2011


Honour Our 1812 Heroes


Honour our 1812 Heroes is a group of concerned Canadians dedicated to

a. Securing official recognition of the Canadian military units that fought in the War of 1812; and

b. Preserving the legacy of those units by the award of Battle Honours to units of the Canadian Forces that perpetuate them.

Our aim is to accomplish these objectives by18 June 2012, the commencement of the bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812. Unlike the United Kingdom and the United States, Canada has never officially recognized its 1812 military heritage and achieving our goals will redress this longstanding neglect.

It will also create a significant lasting legacy for future generations of Canadians.

This background document begins with a selection of relevant quotes concerning the importance of the forthcoming bicentenary of the War of 1812.

It continues with a discussion of the achievements of Canadian soldiers during that conflict and how those achievements have been ignored by the British and Canadian governments. It concludes with a plan to redress this neglect as we approach the celebration of a major milestone in the history of Canada.


The Canadian Federal Government's View of the Bicentenary  of the War of 1812

"Canadians are united by core values, a shared history and a sense of common purpose. Our Government will join Canadians in celebrating our heritage. ...... Canadians also cherish our shared history. Anniversaries are an important part of how as ociety marks its collective progress and defines its goals for the future. A key milestone next year will be the bicentennial of the War of 1812. We will remember how those of diverse backgrounds and various regions came together to fight for Canada, ensuring the independent destiny of our country in North America."

Speech from the Throne, 30 May 2011

The Federal Government's Objectives for the Bicentenary of the War:

The Government of Canada's objectives for the War of 1812 Bicentennial programme are as follows:

a. An enhanced understanding of Canadian history among the Canadian public;

b. A stimulation of tourism in the regions with a significant War of 1812 heritage; and

c. A legacy of improved historic cultural War of 1812 facilities and sites.

Quoted in "CDS DIRECTIVE FOR SUPPORT TO THE WAR OF 1812 BICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION", signed by General W.J. Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff, 16 May 2011

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's View of the Bicentenary

"This Commemoration [the Bi-Centennial of the War of 1812] will be an extremely important event for Canada and will help build national awareness about a significant milestone in the evolution of our country ..."

PM Harper to the Minister of National Defence,19 January 2011 quoted in "CDS DIRECTIVE FOR SUPPORT TO THE WAR OF 1812 BICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION", signed by General W.J. Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff, 16 May 2011

The Conservative Party’s Platform, April 2011, in which the party promised to

Celebrate our Victory in the War of 1812, and Other National Milestones: Commemorate The War of 1812: The Fight for Canada: Designate October 2012 as a month of commemoration of the heroes and key battles of the war Sponsor hundreds of events and re-enactments across the country Honour the contributions of First Nations to the Canadian victory Recognize and honour current Canadian regiments which perpetuate the identities of War of 1812 militia units Invest in the restoration of monuments and historic sites connected to the war Ensure a proper interment of the remains of those who fell in the Battle of Stoney Creek Establish a new national War of 1812 monument in the National Capital Region

Platform of the Conservative Party of Canada for the May 2011 Election

 Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Direction to the Department of National Defence:

. . . the PM requested the MND [Minister of National Defence] to:

a.      recognize the War of 1812 heritage embraced by some units;

b.     Consider the War of 1812 theme in the naming of new ships; and

c.      Work with the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) to recognize the contribution of First Nations allies.

PM Harper to the Minister of Defence, 19 January 2011, quoted in "CDS DIRECTIVE FOR SUPPORT TO THE WAR OF 1812 BICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION", signed by General W.J. Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff, 16 May 2011

The Chief of the Defence Staff’s Orders to the Canadian Forces Regarding the Bicentennial

The CF Strategic Objectives [will be]:

a.      support PCH [Department of Canadian Heritage] as lead department for this program in raising awareness and creating an enhanced understanding of Canadian military history among the Canadian public; and

b.     Promote the tradition of the citizen soldier within Canada and commemorate the contributions made by the colonial militias, provincial marine and the aboriginal partners who participated in the War of 1812.               

Quoted in "CDS DIRECTIVE FOR SUPPORT TO THE WAR OF 1812 BICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION", signed by General W.J. Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff, 16 May 2011

It is with these statements in mind that the following document was written …



A moth-eaten rag on a worm-eaten pole, it does not look likely to stir a man's soul, 'Tis the deeds that were done 'neath the moth-eaten rag, When the pole was a staff, and the rag was

     General Sir Edward Hamley (1824-1893)


The bicentennial anniversary of the War of 1812 will begin on 18 June 2012, two centuries to the day after the United States declared war on Great Britain and her colonies. In the thirty months of conflict that followed, American military forces invaded or attacked Britain's North American possessions no fewer than thirteen times. By the time a peace treaty was signed on 24 December 1814, hundreds of Canadian soldiers -- and their aboriginal warrior allies -- had been killed or wounded defending their homeland and families.

Unfortunately their valour and sacrifice has largely been forgotten. There are few memorials in  Canada’s capital to the men who defended this nation in 1812-1815. The Valiants Memorial in Confederation Square, erected only in 2006, contains the busts of three individuals connected with the war: Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles de Salaberry and Laura Secord. There is a plaque in the Parliament Buildings-funded by a private individual- which lists 34 British and Canadian victories during the conflict. But there is not much else, despite the quotes above which indicate the interest of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, his government and his party in the importance of the War of 1812 and its bicentennial celebration of the war. Things may change during the bicentenary but there is no great cause for optimism

In this respect, perhaps the worst culprit is the Department of National Defence which has steadfastly denied any official link between the Canadian regiments of the War of 1812 and their modern counterparts. Still worse, the department has refused to acknowledge the valour of the Canadian regiments and soldiers that fought in the War of 1812 by granting Battle Honours they won in that conflict, which might be placed on the regimental Colours of their modern counterparts.

The terms Colours and Battle Honours needs elaboration. In the Commonwealth military world Battle Honours are distinctions “awarded to provide public recognition and to record a combatant unit’s active participation in battle against a formed and armed enemy.[1] Colours are the flags possessed by regiment and which bear its badge, motto and Battle Honours. In essence, they are its very heart and soul. An official DND publication describes a Colour as

a symbol of the spirit, history and sacrifices of a regiment. It is a regiment's most honoured possession, it records the heroic actions of its soldiers and it is venerated as the embodiment of the ideals of the regimental family and nation.[2]      

Remember that phrase, "the embodiment of the ideals of the regimental family and nation," as you read what follows.

The War of 1812: The Participation and Record of Canadian Soldiers

Although the British army and Royal Navy assumed the main burden of defending Canada against American aggression in 1812-1815 they were assisted by Canadian soldiers and sailors who served in a number of military units and a naval force. The Provincial Marine, a naval service on the Great Lakes, was recruited largely from Canadians, while six regiments of the regular British army were raised in Canada and mainly led by officers of Canadian birth.[3] The provincial legislatures of both Lower Canada (modern Quebec) and Upper Canada (Ontario) also raised a number of units that, except for their terms of service, were almost indistinguishable from regular units.[4] Finally, the militia of the two Canadas and the Maritime provinces performed useful auxiliary tasks and, occasionally, saw combat.[5]

In terms of numbers, by the end of the war, about 7,000 Canadians were serving in the ranks of Canadian units in the regular British army or in the near-regular units raised by the provincial legislatures. They helped to augment the 35,000 British regulars stationed in British North America. Approximately 89,000 militiamen (of a total population of about 600,000 souls) were available for service in the Canada and the Maritime provinces although not all were called out at the same time.[6]

Canadian soldiers fought bravely in several major actions during the war and suffered consequent heavy losses. At the battle of Chippawa, 5 July 1814, the 2nd Regiment of Lincoln militia lost 19 officers and men killed out of a strength of about two hundred, which is believed to be the highest single day's loss by a sedentary militia unit during the war.[7] At the battle of Lundy's Lane, fought near Niagara Falls on 25 July 1814, the Incorporated Militia Battalion of Upper Canada, which had been recruited across the province of Upper Canada, lost 142 men killed, wounded or missing out of a total strength of 330.[8] During the night assault on Fort Erie carried out on 15 August 1814, the 104th Regiment of Foot, a regular infantry unit recruited in Canada, lost nearly 70% of the men it took into action.[9]

"Meritorious and distinguished service:" Praise from Royalty and Senior Officers

The three actions noted above were part of the Niagara campaign of 1814, the longest and bloodiest military operation of the War of 1812. A few weeks after it ended in early November 1814, Lieutenant-General Gordon Drummond, the British commander in Upper Canada, praised the units under his command and asked that they be accorded a Battle Honour:

The individual and collected intrepidity and bravery displayed ... in the Capture by Assault of the American Fort Niagara, on the 19th of December last; and the unshaken firmness, and well disciplined gallantry ... displayed in Action with the Enemy, on the 25th of July last, at Lundy's Lane, near the Falls of Niagara, fully meriting every honorable mark of distinction and of approbation, I have the honor to request most strongly, that Your Excellency will be pleased to recommend to His Royal Highness, The Commander in Chief, that the Royal Permission may be granted to those Corps, to bear upon their Colours and Appointments the word "Niagara" as a testimony to their good conduct on the two occasions before recited.[10]

Lieutenant-General Drummond was also keen that his Canadian regiments receive the same distinction:

I propose  ...  recommending to His Majesty's Government similar marks of Distinction for the Battalion of Incorporated Militia, and such of the Battalions of Sedentary Militia, as were embodied, and equally distinguished themselves on the 25th of July last.[11]

This is high praise from a British general who had good reason to know the quality of his Canadian troops.

An even more glowing compliment about the fighting prowess of Canadians was made by the Prince Regent, the head of state during the incapacity of his father, George III, and the future King George IV. On 26 October 1813, a small force of Canadian provincial regulars and militiamen - all French speaking and led by a francophone officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles de Salaberry-- defeated a far superior American army under Major-General Wade Hampton at Chateauguay south of Montreal, decisively halting an enemy offensive aimed at that city. Four days after the battle, Lieutenant-General Sir George Prevost, the governor-general and commander-in-chief of British North America, requested that the Prince Regent provide Colours for the five Select Embodied Battalions of Lower Canada militia which fought in the battle as "a mark of his gracious approbation" of their conduct.[12] Earl Bathurst, Secretary for War and the Colonies, informed Prevost that

His Royal Highness has observed with the greatest satisfaction the skill and gallantry so conspicuously displayed by the officers and men who composed the detachment of troops opposed to Genl. Hampton's army. By the resistance which they successfully made to the enemy, so vastly disproportionate, the confidence of the enemy has been lowered, their plans disconcerted and the safety of that part of the Canadian frontier ensured. It gives his Royal Highness peculiar pleasure to find that His Majesty's Canadian [i.e. French-speaking] subjects have had the opportunity, (which His Royal Highness has long been desirous should be afforded them) of disproving by their own brilliant exertions in defence of their country that calumnious charge of disaffection and disloyalty with which the enemy prefaced his first invasion of the province. [of Lower Canada]

To Colonel Salaberry in particular, and to all the officers under his command in general, you will not fail to express His Royal Highness's most gracious approbation of their meritorious and most distinguished services.

His Royal Highness has commanded me to forward to you by the first safe opportunity the colours which you have solicited for the Embodied Battalions of the Militia, feeling that they have evinced an ability and disposition to secure them from insult, which gives them the best title to this mark of distinction.[13]

A Lack of Appreciation for the Wartime Record of Canadian Soldiers

Unfortunately, despite the high praise from the Prince Regent and senior British officers, most Canadian military units that fought in the War of 1812 - unlike their British counterparts - never received Battle Honours. Partly this was because Lieutenant-General Sir George Prevost, the wartime commander-in-chief in North America, was called back to Britain shortly after the war ended and died in early 1816 before he could pursue the matter with the British government. It was also due to the fact that all of the wartime Canadian units were disbanded shortly after hostilities had ended, which made it difficult for them to solicit for Battle Honours from the Horse Guards, the headquarters of the British army.

As a case in point, it was 1820 before the Colours for the five battalions of Select Embodied Militia, requested by Prevost in late 1813, arrived in Canada. By that time they had been disbanded and although Lord Dalhousie, the governor-general, praised their wartime record, these Colours came too late to be carried by the battalions:

The Governor-in-Chief feels great satisfaction in having it in his power to deliver to the officers commanding the Incorporated Militia [of Lower Canada or Quebec] during the late war those Colours which His Majesty had been most graciously pleased to order to be presented to their Battalions, as an expression of His Royal Approbation of their services when called upon in defence of their country.[14]

Lieutenant-General Gordon Drummond did apply, as he had stated that he would, for the Battle Honour "Niagara" to be given to the Canadian units under his command. In the event, however, only the 104th Foot, the Glengarry Light Infantry and the Incorporated Militia Battalion of Upper Canada, received it after all three had been disbanded. In 1822 the lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, Sir Peregrine Maitland, presented the Incorporated Battalion’s Colours provided by the crown to the York (now Toronto) militia and a local newspaper commented that

The Colors which are very elegant are inscribed with the word "NIAGARA" to commemorate the service rendered by the Incorporated Battalion on that frontier; and we doubt not that the proud distinction which attends these banners will always serve to excite the most animating recollections, whenever it shall be necessary for them to wave over the heads of our Canadian Heroes, actually formed in battle array against the invaders of our Country.[15]

In regard to receiving Battle Honours and other distinctions for their wartime service, the plight of the Canadian units was aptly summed up by a British commentator who travelled to North America shortly after the end of the war.

The bravery of the Canadian militia, which was brilliantly conspicuous on many occasions, has neither been sufficiently known, nor duly appreciated, on the other side of the Atlantic. The regular troops on foreign service have generally a good opportunity of securing to themselves all the glory that results from a successful campaign, although a part only may belong to them; as they are always inclined to undervalue the services of the militia, and often treat them with contempt and ridicule, merely because they have not been initiated into the minutiae of military discipline and parade. I am aware that the gallantry of the native battalions of Upper Canada has been kept in the back ground, by this want of generosity which prevails among the regular troops.[16]

In Contrast: Britain and the United States Honour the Bravery of their Soldiers

It is sad that Canada refuses to honour the wartime record of Canadian soldiers while Britain and the United States have recognized the bravery of their soldiers. 

The United States Army created six "Battle Streamers" for the War of 1812, two of which celebrate engagements on Canadian soil - CHIPPAWA 1814 and LUNDY'S LANE 1814. It is somewhat ironic that the United States distinguishes the bravery of its troops at Lundy's Lane, fought 25 July 1814, while Britain celebrates the bravery of British and Canadian troops at the same action with the Battle Honour, NIAGARA, 1814. In contrast to Britain, however, the United States has created a "Campaign Streamer" that covers every other major action fought in the border area during the war and which bears the inscription, CANADA 18 JUNE 1812-17 FEBRUARY 1815. The dates indicate the day war was declared in 1812 and the day peace was ratified in 1815. These streamers are attached to the flags of the American units that fought in the war, or their descendants, and are displayed to this day.[17]

The British army has created five Battle Honours for the War of 1812:

Commemorating the surrender of an American army to Major-General Isaac Brock on 16 August 1812.

Commemorating the victory of British and Canadian soldiers at the battle of Queenston Heights, 13 October 1813.

Commemorating a British victory in an action near Fort Meigs, Ohio Territory, 5 May 1813.

This Honour commemorates three different actions fought along the Niagara Frontier including the assault on Fort Niagara, 19 December 1813; the battle of Lundy's Lane, 25 July 1814 and the siege of Fort Erie, August-September 1814.

Commemorating a British victory over a superior American force at Bladensburg near Washington on 24 August 1814.

Unfortunately, of the Canadian units that fought at the first four engagements, only the 104th Foot, the Glengarry Light Infantry and the Incorporated Militia Battalion received the Battle Honour "NIAGARA and only after they had been disbanded.

The Forgotten Battles: Crysler's Farm and Chateauguay

Two other major battles of the War of 1812-Chateauguay and Crysler's Farm fought in 1813-did not receive Battle Honours despite the fact that these engagements decisively halted two of the most serious American invasions of Canada. When the 2nd Battalion of the 89th Foot, a British unit that fought at Crysler's Farm, applied in 1820 for a Battle Honour for that engagement, it was turned down by the Duke of York, the commander in chief of the British army who, while agreeing that

the services of the late 2nd battalion 89th Regiment in Canada, which were very meritorious and such as might have been expected from this battalion, but as it did not happen to be the fortune of the battalion to be engaged in the description of actions, for which it has been usual to grant honorary distinction, His Royal Highness does not feel that he can consistently with the principles hitherto acted upon, recommend the request of the 89th Regiment to the favorable consideration of the Prince Regent.[23]

The 2nd Battalion of the 89th Foot had been disbanded when it applied for this Battle Honour and was thus in a similar position to many of the wartime Canadian units - it simply had no voice in the British army's corridors of power.

Crysler's Farm and Chateauguay were distinguished, however, by being made clasps to the Military General Service Medal of 1847. This decoration commemorated the campaigns and battles of the British army during the wars with France fought between 1793 and 1814. No fewer than 29 clasps for individual actions accompanied the medal including Detroit, Chateauguay and Crysler's Farm. Approximately 900 Canadian veterans of the war applied for, and received the medal as well as one or more clasps for these three actions.[24]

Of these 29 actions only three did not result in a concomitant award of a Battle Honour. These were Benevente, Crysler's Farm and Chateauguay. Benevente was a cavalry action fought in Spain in 1809 and not a major battle as were the two Canadian engagements. This apparent slighting of two important War of 1812 actions is all the more puzzling, in view of the rules for awarding a Battle Honour, laid down by no less a person than the Duke of Wellington, who stipulated that one

should be granted only on an occasion which the King's Government has thought so important, as that the Commander of the Forces has been authorised to recommend Officers on whom the distinction should be conferred of wearing a medal for their conduct to be struck to commemorate the action, and that this distinction of having the name of the Action inscribed on the Colours of the Battalion or Regiment should granted only to those whose officers should have been recommended for the distinction of the medal ...

These rules were well considered at the time. I believe them to be well calculated to render the Honours desirable, the grant of which they were intended to restrain and regulate, and I am convinced that they cannot be departed from without great public inconvenience.[25]

If this was the basis for awarding a Battle Honour (and the Duke of Wellington must be regarded as an impeccable source) then the case of Crysler's Farm and Chateauguay is all the more puzzling as both actions did result in the award of Field Officers' Gold Medals, established by the duke as the pre-requisite for a Battle Honour.[26]

The inescapable conclusion is that the senior officers of the British army discounted the importance of actions fought in the distant wilds of North America and the military units that fought them. The Duke of York more or less stated the prevailing British opinion when he refused the application of the 2nd Battalion of the 89th Foot for a Battle Honour for Crysler's Farm. York did not want that unit to think that that Crysler’s Farm "was under valued, because it happened to be of a less splendid character than others" nor did he want the 89th Foot to feel its gallantry was questionable "because the fate of war had not afforded it equal opportunities of acquiring distinctions" as it had other regiments who were fortunate in having fought in more famous actions.[27] Clearly, it was better to fight at Waterloo than in the woods.

York was politely saying “go away and leave me alone" and thus one is unfortunately forced to agree with the Canadian military historian, E.A. Cruikshank, who, writing about the Military General Service Medal, commented that 

the only military operations in Canada considered worthy of notice in this manner were the capture of Detroit, the skirmish at Chateauguay and the battle of Chrysler's Farm ... The bloodiest and most important battles of the war, Oueenston, the River Raisin, Miami, Stoney Creek, and Lundy's Lane, were absolutely unnoticed ... but it is safe to say that the majority of the men who had seen the hardest fighting and performed the best service, received no recognition at this time.[28]

Heaping Insult on Injury: DND and the Question of the War of 1812 Battle Honours and Military Lineage

Given what has been discussed above, one would think that new nation of Canada created by Confederation in 1867 would move to redress the slights afforded to the Canadian soldiers who fought in the War of 1812. Indeed, at the time of Confederation, many Canadian veterans of the War of 1812 were still alive. In 1875 the federal parliament voted a grant of $50,000 to be distributed to former militiamen from the war and 3,578 veterans applied for it including 150 who were in their 90s and a hale group of nine men who were over a hundred.[29] Sadly, C.E. Panet, the deputy minister of militia, reported that many of these veterans were “in indigent circumstances having no one to depend upon for support.”[30]

Time, as the hymn would have it, does bear all its sons away and by the early twentieth century, these veterans were gone. From that time until 2011, Canada has not officially recognized any Canadian military heritage prior to 1855, the year the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada confederated into Canada West and Canada East. In the eyes of the Department of National Defence, the Canadian army began in 1855 even though an official departmental publication acknowledges that the units of the War of 1812 "can be considered as the forerunners of the regiments of today."[31]

There does exist, however, within the DND lineage regulations, a system of perpetuation that was developed by the Department of National Defence after the First World War and still followed today. According to the department, perpetuation

institutionalizes the memory of the deeds and sacrifices made by those soldiers who contributed to a unique period in Canada's military history and provides a means of preserving military operational honours for succeeding generations. The perpetuating unit becomes the official 'safe-keeper' of this heritage for them all.[32]

The department’s guidelines for the use of perpetuation are as follows:

a. Where a connection can be established, whether generic, territorial or titular, it is desirable that units now existing or to be raised in future should perpetuate military units of the past in Canada;

b. Where a connection is established between an active unit and a defunct or disbanded unit, no limits should be set to the time elapsed between the disbanding of the former unit and the raising of the present unit;

c. Where only a territorial connection is established and where two or more active units now recruit within that territory, perpetuation should be offered to active units in order of date of raising. Only in exceptional cases may dual perpetuations be warranted; and

d. It is policy to perpetuate the memory of predecessor units but there shall be no other effect upon the lineage or precedence of any perpetuating unit.[33]

Perpetuation would permit modern units of the Canadian Forces to establish a heritage link with the military units of the War of 1812. Unfortunately, DND adheres to a policy that will not permit any perpetuation of a military unit that existed before 1855. The department's reluctance to recognize in any substantive way the existence of Canadian military units before the seemingly magic year of 1855 is puzzling, particularly as perpetuation would not affect the lineage or seniority of modern units.

In a similar fashion, DND has refused to recommend the award of any Battle Honours for the War of 1812 for Canadian units claiming that this can only be done by the British army. The British army claims, however, that Battle Honours for Canadian units are the responsibility of the Canadian authorities who, of course, refuse to do it. With both nations abrogating responsibility, any official commemoration of Canadian units that fought in the War of 1812 has thus been more or less rendered moribund.

The Department of National Defence reportedly claims that Battle Honours cannot be promulgated for a conflict fought so long ago. Actually this is not true. An official DND publication states that the earliest British Battle Honour was NAMUR 1695 but does not explain that this Honour was only awarded in 1910 while the Duke of Marlborough’s great victory at Blenheim in 1704 was not awarded until 1882.[34] There is indeed precedent for awarding Battle Honours retrospectively and it can again be brought into play.

It should be noted that regulations can be fairly easily introduced, altered or deleted by the Minister of National Defence. They are not graven in stone- nor should they be.

Righting a Wrong -- What is to be Done to Honour our 1812 Heroes?

The federal government of Canada has suggested that it will spend at least 60 million dollars to commemorate the bicentenary of the War of 1812. In the Speech from the Throne, read by the governor-general before Parliament on 30 May 2011, the government stated that because

Canadians are united by core values, a shared history and a sense of common purpose. Our Government will join Canadians in celebrating our heritage. ......

Canadians also cherish our shared history. Anniversaries are an important part of how a society marks its collective progress and defines its goals for the future. A key milestone next year will be the bicentennial of the War of 1812. We will remember how those of diverse backgrounds and various regions came together to fight for Canada, ensuring the independent destiny of our country in North America.

These are very strong, even stirring, words and demonstrate that the federal government -- if not the Department of National Defence – does recognize the War of 1812 as an important step in the Canada’s march to nationhood. In fact, if British and Canadian soldiers – and their First Nations allies – had not fought so valiantly nearly two centuries ago, Canada would not exist as an independent nation today.

HONOUR OUR 1812 HEROES was formed with the purpose of redressing the longstanding wrong against the Canadian soldiers and regiments that fought in the War of 1812.

Honour our 1812 Heroes has five objectives:

a. Permit units of the modern Canadian forces to establish a firm heritage link with their War of 1812 predecessors through the rules of perpetuation. These units are listed in the attached Appendix A;

b. The awarding of a theatre Battle Honour, DEFENCE OF CANADA, 1812-1815 to the modern Canadian military units which can claim to perpetuate units of the War of 1812 (visit the Honour our 1812 Heroes website at the address below for the list of units);

c. To have Canada award the Battle Honours for Detroit, Queenston, Miami and Niagara to units of the modern Canadian Forces that can claim to perpetuate the War of 1812 units,

d. To have Canada award two new Battle Honours for Crysler's Farm and Chateauguay to the modern Canadian military units that can claim to perpetuate the War of 1812 units, above all,

e. To accomplish these objectives by 18 June 2012, the date the bicentenary celebration of the War of 1812 begins.

How You Can Help

You can help by writing to

The Honourable Peter Mackay, PC
Minister of National Defence
House of Commons, Ottawa
Ontario, Canada
K1A 0A6

… and your own Member of Parliament to express your concern about the mistreatment of the memory of those brave Canadians who fought to defend their nation. Remember that mail from within Canada addressed to the House of Commons is postage free.

For more information, see our website:

If you wish to contact us, you can do so by writing to


Or by email to Honour Our Heroes



[1] The Insignia and Lineages of the Canadian Forces. Volume 3, Part 1 -- Armour, Artillery and Field Engineer Regiments (DND, Ottawa, 2005) p/. 1-15

[2] The Insignia and Lineages of the Canadian Forces. Volume 3, Part 1 -- Armour, Artillery and Field Engineer Regiments (DND, Ottawa, 2005) p/. 1-31..

[3]. In 1813 the Provincial Marine was taken over by the Royal Navy. The Canadian units of the regular British army consisted of the 104th Regiment of Foot, liable for global service and five fencible units, liable only for service in British North America: the Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Fencibles, the Canadian Fencibles and the Glengarry Light Infantry.

[4]. In Upper Canada or Ontario, the provincial units included the Incorporated Militia Battalion, the Incorporated Artillery Company, the Incorporated Provincial Light Dragoons, the Niagara Light Dragoons, the Royal Artillery Provincial Drivers, the Corps of Artificers (Coloured Company). In Lower Canada or Quebec, the provincial corps included the Voltigeurs Canadiens, the Frontier Light Infantry, the Quebec Volunteers, the Canadian Light Dragoons and the Provincial Royal Artillery Drivers.

[5]. All Canadian provinces had legislation that required all able-bodied males aged 16 to 60 -- with some exceptions -- to turn out for military service if called. This force was usually termed the sedentary militia. In Upper Canada, this force was organized by country and by political ridings within that county. In Lower Canada it was organized by parish and district. There were also some volunteer militia units in Montreal and Quebec City.

[6]. On British and Canadian troop strengths, see National Archives of Britain, War Office 17, Monthly Returns, 25 December 1814:  volume 1518, Canada; volume 2242, Newfoundland; volume 2631, Nova Scotia; and J.M. Hitsman, The Incredible War of 1812: A Military History (Toronto,, 1999), pp. 295-296. On the strength of the militia, see George F.G. Stanley, The War of 1812: Land Operations (Ottawa, 1983), p. 64.

[7].Library of Archives and Canada, Record Group 9, 1 B4, volume 1, pp. 98-99, Return of the Militia ... who were Killed and Wounded in the Sortie which took place on the 5th instant from the Lines of Chippawa, 6 July 1814.

[8]. Library and Archives of Canada, Manuscript Group 19, A39, volume 3, Return of the Killed, Wounded and Missing, 26 July 1814.

[9].  D.E. Graves, ed., Merry Hearts Make Light Days; The War of 1812 Journal of Lieutenant John Le Couteur, 104th Foot (Ottawa, 1994), p. 192. 

[10].Library and Archives of Canada, Record Group 8 I, vol. 686, p. 195, Lieutenant-General Gordon Drummond to Lieutenant-General George Prevost, governor-general and Commander in Chief, 24 November 1814.  

[11].Library and Archives Canada, Record Group 8 I, vol. 686, p. 195, Lieutenant-General Gordon Drummond to Lieutenant-General George Prevost, governor-general and Commander in Chief, 24 November 1814. The reference is to the battle of Lundy's Lane, fought on 25 July 1814.  

[12]. Library and Archives Canada, Colonial Office 42, vol., 122, Lieutenant General George Prevost to Bathers, 30 October 1813.

[13].Library and Archives Canada, Record Group 8 I, vol. 681, p. 306., Bathurst to Prevost, 27 December 1813.

[14].Militia General Order, 20 July 1820, quoted in F.J. Dunbar and J.H. Harper, Old Colours Never Die. A Record of Colours and Military Flags in Canada, published by the Department of National Defence, October 1992, p. 33.

[15]. Upper Canada Gazette, York, 25 April 1822.

[16]. John Howison, Sketches of Upper Canada, Domestic, Local and Characteristic (Edinburgh, 1821), pp. 78-79

[17]. Information on U.S. Army streamers from John B. Wilson, U.S. Army Campaign Streamers: Colors of Courage since 1775 (Association of the United States Army, Arlington, 2009), p. 35.

[18].Gazette, 16 April 1816.

[19]. Gazette, 27 January and 16 April 1816.

[20].Gazette, 16 April 1816.

[21].Gazettes; 27 May 1815; 8 July 1816; 28 September 1816; 6 October 1824; and 27 September 1831.

[22].Gazette, 25 June 1827 and 19 January 1854.

[23].  Letter from the Duke of York, 15 July 1820, reproduced in an appendix to Marcus Cunliffe, The Royal Irish Fusiliers, 1793-1950 (Oxford, 1952).

[24]. Donald E. Graves, Field of Glory: The Battle of Crysler's Farm, 1813 (Toronto, 1999), pp. 365-374.

[25]. Wellington to Gordon, 19 April 1832, contained in A.D.L. Carey and Stoupe McCance, Regimental Records of the Royal Welch Fusiliers. Volume II, (London, 1923), p. 24-25.

[26]. Two gold medals were awarded to officers who fought at Chateauguay and seven to officers who fought at Crysler's Farm, see Donald E. Graves, Field of Glory: The Battle of Crysler's Farm, 1813 (Toronto, 199), p. 365.

[27].  Letter from the Duke of York, 15 July 1820, reproduced in an appendix to Marcus Cunliffe, The Royal Irish Fusiliers, 1793-1950 (Oxford, 1952).

[28]. E.A. Cruikshank, The Origin and Official History of the Thirteenth Battalion of Infantry (Hamilton, 1899) p. 20.

[29] Statement showing the Name, Age and Residence of Militiamen of 1812-1815, who have applied to participate in the gratuity voted by Parliament in 1875, with the name of the Corps or Division and Rank, in which they served, contained in Eric Jonasson, ed., Canadian Veterans of the War of 1812 (Winnipeg, 1981).

[30] In Eric Jonasson, ed., Canadian Veterans of the War of 1812 (Winnipeg, 1981), p.16.

[31]. The Insignia and Lineages of the Canadian Forces. Volume 3, Part 1 -- Armour, Artillery and Field Engineer Regiments (DND, Ottawa, 2005) p. 1-3.

[32]. The Insignia and Lineages of the Canadian Forces. Volume 3, Part 1 -- Armour, Artillery and Field Engineer Regiments (DND, Ottawa, 2005) p. 1-26.

[33]The Insignia and Lineages of the Canadian Forces. Volume 3, Part 1 -- Armour, Artillery and Field Engineer Regiments (DND, Ottawa, 2005) p. 1-27.

[34] The Insignia and Lineages of the Canadian Forces. Volume 3, Part 1 -- Armour, Artillery and Field Engineer Regiments (DND, Ottawa, 2005) p. 1-17; Anthony Baker, Battle Honours of the British and Commonwealth Armies (London,, 1986), p, 11-13.


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