The Royal Canadian Dragoons, Canada’s most senior cavalry regiment, were presented with new colours Friday.
The ceremony took place for just the fifth time in the regiment’s nearly 140-year history.
The colours, formally known as a guidon, represent a regiment, its history, and previous battles. They are updated to display the recent commitments of the regiment.
“When you’re a part of this type of generational event, it’s very, very special,” said Dragoons commanding officer Nicolas Forsyth.
Canada’s Governor General Mary Simon, Commander-in-Chief of Canada’s Armed Forces, presented the new guidon.
“That is who you want to present your guidon if it can’t be a royal,” explained Forsyth.
“It just brings so much more significance to the event. And it allows the Governor General, in their role as commander-in-chief, to really be a part of something special for one of their units.”
The new guidon recognizes the Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD) efforts in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2014. Twelve Dragoons were lost during that time.
“[It] signifies all the soldiers we lost in the past,” says RCD warrant officer Eamon O’Rourke. “Myself, I lost four of my friends overseas when I served there. And now to have that Afghanistan battle honour emblazoned on the guidon, I think it means more to me.”
“In this case I think it was quite fitting that it was a little while after we were out of the conflict, but not too long,” said Forsyth.
The history of the guidon goes back to horseback cavalry regiments, where soldiers would ride the colours into battle.
The first guidon presented to RCD was in 1901 by King George V.
The Dragoons have since evolved into one of Canada’s three armoured units.
Governor General Romeo Leblanc presented the previous guidon in 1998.
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