Royal New Brunswick Regiment celebrates 250 years

The Royal New Brunswick Regiment marked a major milestone this weekend, with the infantry battalion celebrating 250 years in operation.

If objects could talk, the uniforms on display at the Royal New Brunswick Regiment would have many stories to tell.

“This is the khaki drill uniform they would have world in the Second World War,” explains Captain David Hughes, regimental historian.

Tales of New Brunswick’s military history and heritage dating back two and a half centuries.

“The Regiment has seen two World Wars, also some of our antecedent units found in the war of 1812. So 250 years actually touches four different centuries from the 18th century through to the 21st century,”

The infantry battalion headquarters in Fredericton showcases a history that can be traced back to October 11, 1770, and predates not only New Brunswick, but Canadian confederation.

Thanks to historians like David Hughes, that history remains strong, despite a number of name changes and reorganizations over the years, 

“Our roots go back, pre-date Canada, pre-date New Brunswick, and we also stem from many other regiments that are now kind of boiled down to what you see today as the Royal New Brunswick Regiment,” explains Hughes.

Today, the Royal N.B. Regiment is made up of 200 men and women with Lieutenant Colonel Brent Whalen at the helm as commanding officer.

Lt.-Col. Whalen says the role is humbling, especially given the regiment’s deep and historic roots.

“We are coming up on 250 years, and we take a look back at the regiment and what they’ve accomplished. The First World War, the Second, Korea, Afghanistan, the domestic operations. It’s incredible,” recalls Whalen.

This weekend, the troupe markets its 250th Regimental birthday. Like so much else in the world, plans for a big celebration had to be shelved because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were going to be having a trooping of the colours ceremony parade. We were going to be having a regimental gala ball in the evening of the birthday, and it was going to be a lot bigger than its boiled down to today,” explains Hughes.

“We scaled it down, for the health and safety of our soldiers at the same time,” adds Whalen.

While the celebration has been toned down, the regiment will be live-streaming the event on its Facebook and Instagram pages for anyone who wishes to participate virtually.

A battalion birthday of historic significance, with stories yet to be told.