First bilingual unit

Text comes from the 'Customs & Traditions' annex of the book "The Royal Montreal Regiment 1945-1989" (affectionately known as "Volume 3"), written by Allan Patrick, & Lt.-Col. R Jarymowyez, CD, published by The Royal Montreal Regt., Westmount, 1991.


The designation ‘bilingual’ comes about under two meaningful occasions. At the outset of the formation of the 14th Bn, C.E.F., the Regiment was formed through the drafting of infantry companies from both English and French Militia Regiments, being 1st Regiment, Canadian Grenadier Guards, 3rd Regiment, Victoria Rifles of Canada, and the 65th Regiment, Carabiniers Mont-Royal. Ever since its inception and formation The Royal Montreal Regiment has always reflected the bilingual nature of its province and city which it proudly bears in its name.

The second occasion which transpired allowed the Regiment to formally indicate to the military as well as government authorities that it truly was a bilingual Regiment. The occasion occurred during the spring of 1968, LCo1 R.C.P. Lawson, Commanding, when all units of the then Quebec Command were informed that written correspondence and orders would be issued in either English or French according to the designation of the unit. At this time each unit, within the command were instructed to indicate the language of their choice and therefore become so designated.

The RMR informed Quebec Command that it was neither English nor French that, in fact, it was both and would be pleased to be known as a bilingual Regiment.

In recognition of this unique situation, Quebec Command officially designated The Royal Montreal Regiment as bilingual and issued their routine orders of the day in October 1968 to include this notation. In so doing, the RMR is the only unit in Canada to make this request at this time, and was the only military unit to be officially recognized as bilingual. Since then other units have asked that their designation be made bilingual as well.

The motivation of the CO and Advisory Committee at the time was to assure that the RMR was recognized once and for all as bilingual – a situation that deserved such recognition borne from its historical foundation as well as from practical fact. The RMR through its membership and formation was a bilingual unit and worked comfortably in both official languages at all times.

This very fact was further recognized publicly on 9 November 1969 when on the occasion of the presentation of the new Queen’s Colour to the Regiment, the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief, the Rt. Hon. D. Roland Michener, PC, CC, QC, MA, DCL, LL.D., made mention of this unique designation during his remarks immediately following the presentation of the Queen’s Colour.