RCD Historical Section - Beasts
'Teddy the Grey'
'Teddy the Grey' was foaled in 1910 and joined the RCD in 1916, at a time when good horses were hard to come by, so even grey was acceptable in a Regiment mounted on dark horses. Teddy saw service in World War I, but on return to Canada, his colour -- dappled white in his youth and even whiter with age -- precluded him from the pomp and circumstance of post-war musical rides, Royal Escorts, and other ceremonial functions, so the Dragoons mounted a trumpeter on him, and over the years he became a living legend. In 1936, he was the only Grey in the Regiment. At the annual Officer's Mess Ball in St. Jean, Teddy's twenty faithful years of service, as one of the most popular members of the Regiment, was recognized with him being the Guest of Honour with him in a special stall built for the occasion in a small alcove of the Mess.
Teddy probably owed his survival in the First World War to a covering of khaki paint, when he went into battle. After the war, he became a priveleged individual, with a well-developed sense of humour and mischief. He was a favourite of all members of "A" Squadron except the newest recruit who was traditionally assigned to him.
Teddy was an equine veteran of the war, and still the "best all-around horse on mounted sports". The RCD maintained their horses until October 1940. October 1940 saw the Last Mounted Parade in St. Jean. Then the horses were auctioned off, those too old or unsound, were sold to local dealers who disposed of them as dog food. The Government had been persuaded to renounce the few dollars that Teddy's old carcass would have fetched and the Regiment was allowed to 'Honour' him in a more fitting Cavalry fashion.
On that last morning Teddy was curried and combed until his white coat gleamed, his hooves had been lacquered and a gleaming bridle put over his head, while the Regiment in its' best uniforms formed up on the barrack square. 'Teddy the Grey' was led past the Troops by a Trooper who had riden him in the War, through the gate to the Drill Field, where he had performed his faithful duties as a cavalry horse for so many years. Before the Veterinary Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Duhault could dispatch him quickly and humanely, Teddy bolted, and the Squadron had to break ranks and chase after him. He was captured, and the Squadron was reformed on Parade. After the shot was fired, the Regiment was brought to Attention and the 'Last Post' was sounded by Trumpet-Major Galloway, who had ridden Teddy in the First World War. Two minutes of Silence was observed, and then the trumpeter sounded 'Reveille'.
'Teddy the Grey' was buried in a place of honour in the old earthen ramparts of St. Jean.
'Peter the Goat'
'Peter the Goat' was the mascot of "A" Squadron in the First World War. He resided in St Jean after the war.
Peter's collar was discovered in a Pawn Shop in Belguim. It was mounted on a plaque and presented to the Regiment. It now can be seen on display in the RCD Collection, in the CFB Petawawa Military Museum.
'Cpl Snoopy' was a dog, that a Troop in Recce Sqn adopted in Cyprus. He was a friend of all in the Regiment on this Tour and would often show up for inspection. A 'Dog Blanket' was made up for him for more formal occasions. This tiny 'shadrack', with its' accoutraments is in the RCD Collection.
In the late 1950's, early 1960's, a friendship had developed between the members of The Royal Canadian Dragoons in CFB Gagetown and the crew of the HMCS Bonnaventure. On a visit to the Regiment in Gagetown, the Crew of the Bonnaventure transferred to the Regiment a member of their crew. Documents detailing the transfer are in the Regimental Archives, along with photos, of one of the first inter-service Occupational Transfers to take place, prior to Unification. The gaining unit, The Royal Canadian Dragoons now had a new member, 'Tpr Bonnie'; a horse, complete with Dog Tags, Attestation Papers, and Qualifications.
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