The Regiment's History
Prince Edward Island was discovered in 1534 by Jacques Cartier. The Island's military history dates back to 1720, when 30 soldiers protected 300 French colonists at Port LaJoie, now Charlottetown. After the French surrender of the Fortress of Louisbourg in 1758, the Island fell under British control. Most of its Acadien inhabitants were subsequently deported. In 1769 St. Johns Island became a separate province from Nova Scotia, and was renamed Prince Edward Island in 1799.
In 1780 the Island's first Militia act was passed by the general assembly of the Island of St Johns. It stipulated that the Island's inhabitants should be well armed and properly trained to defend themselves. A Militia is an army composed of citizens, rather than professional soldiers. It is designed to be called out only in times of emergency. All Militiamen had to provide their own uniform of accepted local pattern, but were armed at Government cost. They trained once a year, and by 1829 there were 5,400 men, forming many localized units spread out over a number of Island communities.
Shortly after Prince Edward Island joined Confederation in 1873, the Canada Militia Act of 1875 reorganized all Militia units.
The forerunner of The Prince Edward Island Regiment was born, under the name of 82nd Queens County Provisional Battalion of Infantry. This Regiment sent a contingent of volunteers to the Boer War in 1899, earning the Regiment's first Battle Honour, South Africa.
The Prince Edward Island Regiment is a direct descendant of the Prince Edward Island Light Horse formed in 1901. During the Great War, the Prince Edward Island Light Horse helped to form part of the 6th Canadian Mounted Rifles, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). An Infantry Battalion, the 105th Prince Edward Island Highlanders, CEF, was recruited from the 82nd Regiment. The 105th was broken up in order to provide reinforcements for other CEF battalions already at the front, primarily the 26th New Brunswick Battalion. First War Artillery units serving on the front recruited on Prince Edward Island were the 2nd Siege and the 8th Siege Batteries. First War battle honours earned by Islanders were Arras 1917, Amiens, Ypres 1917, Hindenburg Lines and Pursuit to Mons.
In 1921, The 82nd Regiment became known as The Prince Edward Island Regiment, and in 1927 they were converted to the Prince Edward Island Highlanders with a close affiliation to the Black Watch, of the British Army.
When World War II broke out, the Prince Edward Island militia once again sent soldiers to join other Canadian units. The Prince Edward Island Light Horse saw action in Italy and Northwest Europe, and took part in the liberation of Holland in 1945. This earned the battle honour Northwest Europe. The Prince Edward Island Highlanders at the outbreak of World War II sent a company to the North Nova Scotia Highlanders, which became known as "D" Company North Nova Scotia Highlanders/Prince Edward Island Regiment. The rest of the Regiment remained in Canada as a local garrison training unit. They served in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and in British Columbia as well as overseas in Newfoundland (Newfoundland was not part of Canada until 1949.) The local Artillery also mobilized and sent two batteries. They were the 2nd and 8th Medium Batteries, Royal Canadian Artillery. The 2nd Medium Battery embarked for England on 26th January 1940. It was redesignated 2nd/7th Medium Battery on 12 February 1940, and 2nd Medium Battery 1 January 1941. As a battery of the 1st Canadian Medium Regiment, it landed in Sicily on 8 November 1943 and in Italy on 19 November 1943. The battery moved to Northwest Europe on 13 March 1945. The 8th Battery was redesignated 8th/11th Medium Battery on 1 June 1940 and 8th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery on 24 May 1941. It embarked for Britain on 1 August 1941. As a battery of the 2nd Canadian Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, it landed in Normandy on 6 August 1944. In 1946 the 2nd and 8th Batteries became the 28 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment.
The active fighting units were disbanded in 1946 which led to the amalgamation of The Prince Edward Island Light Horse and The Prince Edward Island Highlanders to become The Prince Edward Island Regiment, 17th Reconnaissance Regiment. The Prince Edward Island Regiment was amalgamated with the 28th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment in 1955.
Currently, the Regiment is composed of a Regimental Headquarters and two squadrons, "A" and Headquarters Squadron. They train at the two Armouries located in Charlottetown and Summerside with a total unit strength of about 140 personnel.
In recent times, members have carried out the traditions of serving overseas by volunteering for United Nations Peacekeeping operations in the Middle East, Cyprus, and Bosnia, as well as participating in NATO exercises in Germany.
Today reservists come from all walks of life, and include professionals, students, civil servants, labourers and business people. They are Canadian Citizens willing to devote a portion of their time to military service.