Soldiers of the Queen: The Canadian Grenadier Guards of Montreal 1859-2009.
Soldiers of the Queen: The Canadian Grenadier Guards of Montreal 1859-2009
by William J. Patterson
Canadian Grenadier Guards, Montreal, 2009
5000 pp., illus., $64.95 hardcover
Named by the Enemy: A History of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles by by Brian A. Reid
Robin Brass Studio, Montreal, 2010
300 pp., illus., $69.95 hardcover
Much of Canada's rich military history has been safeguarded by dedicated staff and historians at the regimental level. Two recent publications continue this tradition.
Soldiers of the Queen: The Canadian Grenadier Guards of Montreal 1859-2009 marks the 150th anniversary of Canada's oldest regiment. Carefully organized by William J. Patterson, the book ranges from the early formation of a volunteer rifle company through the South African War, two World Wars, and the postwar years.
Named by the Enemy: A History of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles by Brian A. Reid covers the story of the Little Black Devils on their 125th anniversary in 2010. The unit received its moniker during the Northwest Rebellion from captured Metis soldiers, who distinguished its members for their dark green uniforms, which contrasted with the NWMP's red coats Each book presents an excellent collection of war photography and offers a unique view of conflicts that are so often seen through the same worn lenses. Of particular value in both books are detailed maps that guide readers through the various campaigns and conflicts.
But the two books take different paths in recounting the stories of their soldiers. Soldiers of the Queen, like the cenotaph on its cover, is a lasting monument that provides a wealth of detail on the inner workings of a combat unit during war as well as a thorough listing of the soldiers who gave their lives as members of the Canadian Grenadier Guards. It is a lasting tribute to their sacrifices.
Named by the Enemy reads as more of a narrative and carefully recounts the exploits of the Little Black Devils within the larger context of the conflicts or wars to which they were summoned. Reid's storytelling moves easily from the highest level of command down to individual units and soldiers.
He also makes the conscious and much-appreciated decision to forgo mentioning individual awards of gallantry, leaving them to be listed in one of the book's appendices. As Reid notes, "there never were enough awards to recognize every act of gallantry."--J.R.