Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
New Brunswick units, The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment

The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment

  

The present day North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment is a Primary Reserve infantry regiment of the Canadian Army, and is part of the 5th Canadian Division’s 37 Canadian Brigade Group.  The regiment is headquartered in Bathurst, New Brunswick with sub-units located at Newcastle and Campbellton.

Operational History

The Great War

Details of the 73rd Northumberland Regiment were called out on active service on 6 August 1914 for local protective duty.

The 132nd Battalion (North Shore), CEF was authorized on 22 December 1915 and embarked for Great Britain on 26 October 1916.  There it provided reinforcements for the Canadian Corps until 28 January 1917, when its personnel were absorbed by the 13th Reserve Battalion, CEF.  The battalion was subsequently disbanded on 21 May 1917.

The 165th Battalion (Acadiens), CEF was authorized on 22 December 1915 and embarked for Great Britain on 28 March 1917.  On 7 April 1917, its personnel were absorbed by the 13th Reserve Battalion, CEF to provide reinforcements for the Canadian Corps.  The battalion was subsequently disbanded on 15 April 1918.

The 28th Field Battery, CFA, CEF was authorized on 7 November 1914 and embarked for Great Britain on 9 August 1915.  The battery disembarked in France on 21 January 1916, where it provided field artillery support as part of the 7th Brigade, CFA, CEF in France and Flanders until 19 March 1917, when its personnel were absorbed by the 15th Field Battery, CFA, CEF and 16th Field Battery, CFA, CEF. The battery was disbanded on 1 November 1920.

Second World War

Details of The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment were called out on service on 26 August 1939 and then placed on active service on 1 September 1939 as The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment, CASF (Details), for local protection duties.  The details called out on active service were subsequently disbanded on 31 December 1940.

The regiment mobilized The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment, CASF for active service on 24 May 1940.  It was redesignated as the 1st Battalion, The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment, CASF on 7 November 1940.  During the Second World War, the regiment was first stationed in Woodstock, New Brunswick and then Sussex, New Brunswick.   It embarked for Great Britain on 18 July 1941.  When it shipped overseas, it was initially stationed in Liverpool, after that it moved to Scotland near the castle of the Duke of Argyll.

On D-Day, 6 June 1944, the Regiment landed on JUNO Beach in Normandy, France, as part of the 8th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, and it continued to fight in North-West Europe until the end of the war.  The overseas battalion disbanded on 15 January 1946.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photos)

Infantrymen of the The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment preparing to board a Buffalo Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT) for an amphibious assault near Breskens in the Netherlands, winter 1944-45.  The U.S., British and Canadian armies used the Buffalo in the Battle of the Scheldt (1944), during the Operation Plunder crossing of the Rhine, and in a number of other river crossing operations.  The group photo shows members of the Regiment near Zutphen, the Netherlands in January 1945.

The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment landed in the first wave on Juno Beach, 6 June 1944.

 

 

The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment Camp Flag.

Major R.M. Hickey, MC

One of the things about New Brunswick military history is that it is intricately tied to most of our family history. As a boy on farm in Carleton County I can remember listening to a veteran of the Second World War talking to my grandfather, a First World War veteran, about his experiences in Normandy. The man had served with the North Shore Regiment, and he was talking about the Hitler Youth boys he had fought and the hard fact that they wouldn’t surrender even when the adults had, and had to be mown down with machine gun fire. My grandfather said he was still suffering from a form of shell-shock. These days we call it post-traumatic stress. It has always been around us, even in peacetime.

When my father, RCAF Warrant Officer Aage C. Skaarup was posted to CFB Chatham, New Brunswick where he serviced the equipment that was used to start up the McDonnell CF-101B Voodoos, my mother Beatrice introduced me to another veteran soldier who had been in Normandy. He was a former chaplain who had also served with the North Shore Regiment, and at that time in 1973 was living in a hospital in the town of Chatham. The first thing I noticed as I entered his small room was a Military Cross hanging on his mirror, a fairly rare medal of bravery. I am not catholic, so calling him a father didn’t seem right. I therefore asked if I could address him as Padre or Major (Raymond Myles) Hickey and he was very pleased with that.

I had read a great deal about the war, and had many questions for him. He kindly spoke at great length about his experiences and the pride he had in having served with the men of the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment. He loaned me a book he had written called “The Scarlet Dawn”, which gave me much more information to add to my list of questions. His stories covered his wartime experiences from the time he did his basic training in Woodstock to his trip to England by ship and what happened when he landed in Normandy on D-Day with the first wave going into the German storm of fire. He pulled wounded men from the water as bullets splashed around him, he gave the last rites to those who weren’t going to survive, and he tended to all around him in spite of the danger. The Military Cross hanging on his mirror was well deserved, but for him, the appreciation of the men he served with was far more important.

Major Hickey stayed with his men through the horrific battles in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and on into Germany where the war ended for the Regiment. He came back to the village of Jacquet River, New Brunswick where he had been born in 1905, and where he had been ordained as a Catholic priest in 1933. He had served as a curate in Bathurst, for four years until he was appointed to the teaching staff at St. Thomas University in Chatham. When the Second World War began and Canada followed Britain in declaring war on Germany in September 1939, Father Hickey enlisted in the Canadian Army to serve as the Chaplain for the North Shore Regiment, a task he managed for six hard years. His military citation for his award includes this tribute, "His understanding and leadership of men, his keen sense of humor, and his spirit of self-sacrifice, which won him the Military Cross for bravery under enemy fire on D-Day, made him beloved and respected by all who knew him."[1]

After the war, Reverend Hickey served as the Pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas church in Campbelton, Nova Scotia. His book The Scarlet Dawn was published in 1949. He became a Monsignor and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by his alma mater, but what he valued far more in his recollections to me was his time served with the men of the North Shore Regiment. Padre Hickey died in Chatham, now the Miramichi in 1987.

New Brunswick’s history is often our family history, and it has been my experience that we often learn far more by word of mouth about what it was really like to have been in the service by those who were there before us. If you have been given the gift of hearing these kinds of stories first hand, write them down and share them, for if you don’t, the memories can be lost for good. The invasion of Northwest Europe which is commemorated in the D-Day landings on this day, 6 June 1944, changed the world. Those who took part in it deserve to be remembered.

For those of you who would like to read a much more detailed account of Major Hickey’s service, please have a look at Melynda Jarratt’s webpage at www.CanadianWarBrides.com.

[1] Reverend Raymond Myles Hickey, The Scarlet Dawn, Tirbune Publishers Limited, Campbelton, Nova Scotia, 1940, endpapers.