Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal are the oldest francophone battalion from Montreal still in existence, as well the oldest francophone militia battalion.
In early 1869, the Chasseurs canadiens, only francophone militia battalion in Montreal, were dissolved. This is why, on June 18th 1869, the government authorized the creation of a new francophone regiment in Montreal, the 65th battalion, better known at the time as the Mount Royal Rifles. The name was only officially translated to “Carabiniers Mont-Royal” in 1902 by Joseph Beaudry, former officer of the Chasseurs canadiens. On April 1931, the Carabiniers Mont-Royal became a fusilier regiment, as they have been ever since.
By 1975, the regiment had gained a fanfare, and in 1879 it gave itself the latin motto which it has kept for nearly 130 years, Nunquam Retrorsum, or “never turn back”.
From its creation in 1869 to the spring of 1885, the Carabiniers Mont-Royal only served in brief police operations. The North-West Rebellion of 1885, led by Louis Riel, gave the regiment its first chance to participate in a genuine military operation and to confront armed adversaries.
The Carabiniers Mont-Royal and the Voltigeurs de Québec were the only Québécois regiments sent to the west. Although they didn’t battle Louis Riel and his métis troops specifically, they did have to face the rebellious Native Americans led by Big Bear on May 28th 1885, in Butte-aux-Français. The Carabiniers suffered no casualties in this campaign, but Sergeant P. Valiquette passed away later of fever contracted during the expedition, and two others were wounded by enemy fire. Valiquette hence became the first of a long list of men who found death on the battlefield.
From 1869 to 1909, our regiment met in the Bonsecours Market in Old Montreal. It is during this time that Brigadier General Alfred E.D. Labelle, then commander of the regiment, conceived of constructing the armoury which the regiment presently occupies, on the corner of Henri-Julien and des Pins. BGen. Labelle also had help from Honorary Colonel and renowned financier Rodolphe Forget. The armoury was finally inaugurated on April 1st 1910.
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