The Governor General's Foot Guards (GGFG) is one of three Royal Household regiments in the Primary Reserve of the Canadian Army (along with The Governor General's Horse Guards and the Canadian Grenadier Guards) and the most senior militia infantry regiment in Canada. Civitas et Princeps Cura Nostra ("Our Care is Queen and Country") is the regiment's motto.
The regiment has an operational role that encompasses both the territorial defence of Canada and supporting regular Canadian forces overseas. It also performs the mounting of the Ceremonial Guard on Parliament Hill and at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, a task it shares with the Canadian Grenadier Guards. This gives the regiment a role similar to that of the guards regiments of the British Army. The GGFG were formally allied with the Coldstream Guards of the United Kingdom after being informally allied with them since the formation of the regiment. The regimental dress uniform has buttons in pairs, similar to the Coldstream Guards, with a red plume (of different material and lengths, dependent on the rank of the soldier) worn on the left side of the bearskin.
The GGFG perpetuate the 2nd Canadian Battalion (Eastern Ontario Regiment), CEF, and 77th (Ottawa) Battalion, CEF.
The Governor General's Foot Guards originated in Ottawa, Ontario, on 7 June 1872 as the 1st Battalion Governor General's Foot Guards. It was redesignated as the Governor General's Foot Guards on 16 September 1887; as The Governor General's Foot Guards on 1 April 1896; as the 2nd (Reserve) Battalion, The Governor General's Foot Guards on 7 November 1941; as The Governor General's Foot Guards on 31 January 1946; as The Governor General's Foot Guards (5th Battalion, The Canadian Guards) on 1 September 1954; as the Governor General's Foot Guards (5th Battalion, The Canadian Guards) on 25 April 1958; and finally returned to the name Governor General's Foot Guards on 1 September 1976.
The 1st Battalion Governor General's Foot Guards mobilized a single company for active service on 10 April 1885. It served in the Battleford Column of the North West Field Force. The company was removed from active service on 24 July 1885.
The regiment contributed volunteers for the various Canadian Contingents, mainly the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry.
Details of the Governor General's Foot Guards were placed on active service on 6 August 1914 for local protection duties.
The 2nd Battalion (Eastern Ontario Regiment), CEF was authorized on 10 August 1914 and embarked for Great Britain on 26 September 1914. It disembarked in France on 11 February 1915, where it fought as part of the 1st Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion was disbanded on 15 September 1920.
The 77th Battalion (Ottawa), CEF was authorized on 10 July 1915 and embarked for Great Britain on 19 June 1916. It provided reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field until 22 September 1916, when its personnel were absorbed by the 47th Battalion (British Columbia), CEF and 73rd Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), CEF and the battalion was disbanded.
Details from the regiment were called out on service on 26 August 1939 and then placed on active service on 1 September 1939 for local protection duties. The details were disbanded on 31 December 1940.
The regiment mobilized The Governor General's Foot Guards, CASF, for active service on 24 May 1940. On 26 January 1942, it was converted to armour. It embarked for Great Britain on 23 September 1942. On 24 July 1944, it landed in France as part of the 4th Armoured Brigade, 4th Canadian Armoured Division, and it continued to fight in North-West Europe until the end of the war. The overseas regiment was disbanded on 31 January 1946.
In the 1990s the Regiment was well-represented in several international operations. Members of the Foot Guards have served in Cyprus, Somalia, the Former Yugoslavia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Sudan and combat operations in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014.
The No 1 Company Governor Generals Foot Guards and the Ladies Soldiers Aid Association of Ottawa erected a memorial tablet which was unveiled on May 2, 1887; The memorial is dedicated to the memory of Privates J. Rogers and Wm. B. Osgood who fell in action at Cut Knife Hill on May 2, 1885, during the Northwest Rebellion.
A memorial plaque in the Governor General's Foot Guards Regimental Museum is dedicated to the memory of the 5326 Officers and Men who served in the 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion Canadian Expeditionary force during the Great War 1914-1918.
A Second-World War era Sherman tank nicknamed "Forceful III" in the Canadian War Museum, is dedicated to the memory of the members of the Governor General's Foot Guards killed during the Second World War while operating as an armoured regiment.North West Canada, 1885
South Africa 1899–1900
World War I: Ypres 1915, 1917, Flers-Courcelette, Passchendaele, Gravenstafel, Ancre Heights, Amiens, St. Julien, Arras 1917, 1918, Drocourt-Queant, Festubert, 1915, Vimy 1917, Hindenburg Line, Mount Sorrel, Arleux, Canal du Nord, Somme, 1916, Scarpe, 1917–18, Pursuit to Mons, Pozières, Hill 70, France and Flanders 1915–18
World War II: The Hochwald, The Rhineland, Chambois, Falaise, Veen, The Scheldt, Falaise Road, Bad Zwichenahn, The Lower Maas, The Laison, North West Europe 1944-1945
(Acting) Corporal Leo Clarke
2nd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force
September 9, 1916
(Acting) Major Okill Massey Learmonth †
2nd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force
Hill 70, France
August 18, 1917
† - Awarded posthumouslyEnsign
Second Lieutenants in Guard regiments are referred by their former title of ensign (Esgn). The name derives from the task the newest joined officers were entrusted with, carrying the ensign or colours.
Warrant Officers in Guard regiments are called by their former title of colour sergeant (CSgt). This rank originated from the appointment of specific sergeants to escort and defend the colours.
Upon successful completion of recruit training soldiers are to be addressed as guardsman (Gdsm). King George V awarded this honour in 1918 to mark the service of regiments of Foot Guards during the First World War. General Order 138 of 1928 promulgates this honour.
Upon successful completion of recruit training members of the band are addressed as musician (Muscn).
The museum collects, preserves, studies and exhibits those objects that serve to illustrate the history and traditions of the Regiment. The museum will collect materials that depict the regiment’s past in terms of war, ceremonial, training, sport and other affairs that have influenced the Regiment over the years. The museum will provide for the preservation of such material and for its availability to all those who wish to see and study it. The museum will be a non-profit educational establishment, operated for the Regiment and open to the public, regardless of race, creed, or occupation. The museum will disseminate knowledge and stimulate interest through materials, information services by holding meetings and arranging special programs for the regiment, the association and the public for the furtherance of the purpose of the museum. The museum co-operates with the regiment, association, the National War Museum and other museums as well as the Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton, to collect and preserve materials of significance so that these materials may be preserved and aid in the advancement of knowledge of the Regiment. The Guards' museum holds many artifacts from throughout the history of the regiment. Some of the artifacts displayed are a captured German trench periscope, various firearms from past wars including a Second World War–era German MG42, and a copy of Mein Kampf signed by Adolf Hitler. Also on display are several books containing photographs from World War II. The museum is located in the south end of the Cartier Square Drill Hall and is open on parade nights or by appointment. United Kingdom - Coldstream Guards