Organization

Canadian Army

Domestic Military Organization

Headquarters

Militia HQ

Canadian Forces HQ

National Defence HQ (NDHQ)

Political Institutions

Dept. of Militia & Defence

►►Minister of Militia & Defence

►►Militia Council

Department of National Defence

►►Minister of National Defence

►►Chiefs of Staff Committee

Reorganizations

1902-1904 Dundonald Reforms
1920 Otter Committee
1936 Reorganization
1954 Kennedy Board
1957 Anderson Report
1964 Suttie Commission
1968 Unification
1995 Special Commission

Organizational Corps/Branches

1900-1968 Organizational Corps
1968-2000 Branches

Field Forces

1914-1919  

Canadian Expeditionary Force
CEF Regional Affiliations

Territorial Reinforcement Regts.

1919

Canadian Siberian Exped Force

1939-1940 (1945) 

Canadian Active Service Force

1945

Canadian Army Pacific Force

1950-1953

Canadian Army Special Force

Field Force Formations

1914-1918  
Canadian Corps
1st Div | 2nd Div | 3rd Div | 4th Div 5th Div
1939-1945

1st Canadian Army

1st Canadian Corps

2nd Canadian Corps

Atlantic Command

Pacific Command
1st Infantry Division
2nd Infantry Division

3rd Infantry Division

4th (Armoured) Division
5th (Armoured) Division
6th Division 

7th Division 

8th Division 
1st Armoured Brigade
2nd Armoured Brigade
3rd Armoured Brigade
3rd Tank Brigade

 1950-1953
1 Com Div | 25 Inf Bde

Foreign Headquarters

Allied Forces HQ (AFHQ)

►►15th Army Group

►►►8th Army

SHAEF

►►21st Army Group

►►►2nd British Army

Special Forces

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Pacific Coast Militia Rangers

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The Canadian Airborne Regt

Organizational Formations

Reserve Bdes - 1941-1945

13 Cdn Infantry Training Bde

14 Cdn Infantry Training Bde

27th Canadian Brigade

1 CMBG

2 CMBG

3 CMBG

4 CMBG

5 CMBG

1st Cdn Division (1954-1958)

1st Cdn Division (1988-2000)

Special Service Force

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1914-1918 Triple Alliance
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1949-1999 NATO

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Canadian Infantry Association
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National Defence Emp Assoc
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Veteran's Associations

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Supplementary Order of Battle

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Unit Listings by Corps/Branch

Armoured Units 1940-1945

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Cdn Intelligence Corps 1942-45

Cdn Provost Corps 1940-1945

Infantry Battalions 1939-1945

RCOC 1939-1945

1st Canadian Division (1954-1958)

The First Canadian Division refers to four organizations raised during the 20th Century.

  • 1st Canadian Division

  • 1st Canadian Infantry Division (1939-1945)

  • 1st Canadian Division (1954-1958)

  • 1st Canadian Division (1988)

The first formation so designated was a fully manned and equipped combat division which formed the initial contribution of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. A second iteration was raised for the Second World War, and served in I Canadian Corps. The last two iterations of the 20th Century were peacetime divisions. This article refers to the Division raised after the Second World War.

Peacetime Division

During the postwar reorganization of the Canadian Army (Reserve), a "Headquarters 1st Infantry Division" was officially authorized on 1 April 1946, but remained dormant until formally disbanded in July 1954, having been renamed "Headquarters 1st Division" in the interim.

Simultaneously, however, a "Headquarters, First Canadian Infantry Division" was authorized as part of the Canadian Army Active Force, on 16 Oct 1953. This, the first peace-time Division in Canadian history, consisted of a brigade, the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade, in Germany, a 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade in Edmonton and a 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade at Valcartier. These brigades were fully equipped and contained "normal supporting arms and services." 1 This Division was disbanded on 30 April 1958, with the reduction to nil strength having been announced in the House of Commons on 4 Dec 1957. During its short existence, it wore the same badge - the Old Red Patch - that the 1st Division had worn between 1916 and 1918, and again from 1941-1945. This was a piece of red melton, 3 inches wide by 2 inches tall, worn on each sleeve.

The Division had only one commander in this time, Major General John Rockingham, CB, CBE, DSO & Bar, CD, LLD, who had taken command on 1 Sep 1954. He transferred to command Quebec Command in early 1958 as the division was reduced.

The decision to disband the division was related to the Cold War strategy outlined by John Foster Dulles, the US Secretary of state, in Jan 1954. His doctrine was one of massive nuclear retaliation, to be delivered to the Soviet Union in the wake of any aggressive Communist moves anywhere in the world.

Dulles's strategy was meant to deter aggression, but if the deterrent failed it also meant that the next war would be very much unlike the last. Not only would Europe, the Soviet Union, and North America be subjected to atomic air attack, but the NATO battlefield on the inner German frontier would also see the detonation of hundreds of nuclear warheads. Under the circumstances, World War III was likely to be brutish, nasty, and short, offering little time for national mobilization, Second World War-style (and probably not even the 180 days required to get 1 Canadian Division into the field.) In short, NATO's war seemed increasingly likely to be a 'come-as-you-are' war, a fact that was formally recognized in December 1954 when the Alliance adopted both elements of Dulles's policy and halved its land forces requirement from the sixty-five divisions of the 1952 Lisbon meetings to a tripwire/shield of about thirty. Following from all this, 1 Canadian Division was disbanded as a formation in 1957-1958.2

Uniform Insignia

Garrison Dress patch, courtesy Bill Alexander.

The "Old Red Patch" of a red cloth rectangle, 3-inches wide by 2-inches tall, was adopted once again as a uniform distinction, in red melton.

Notes

  1. The Old Red Patch: The 1st Canadian Division 1915-1988, Minister of Supply and Services Canada, 1988. ISBN 0662561473 NDID A-JS-000-000/AF-001

  2. Marteinson, John. We Stand On Guard: An Illustrated History of the Canadian Army (Ovale Publications, Montreal, PQ, 1992) p.383


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