National Defence and the Canadian Forces

4th Canadian Division

31 Canadian Brigade Group


(Burlington)  A military flag is flying over Burlington and Hamilton City Halls, but it's not the Americans come to take the cities la 1812. Instead, it's The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry being honoured in 2012.

The RHLI, which have our "C" Company located on Fairview Street in Burlington, was recently awarded a War of 1812 battle honour, but it was our 150th Anniversary that brought them to Burlington City Hall on May 29th to raise the regiment's flag.

Mayor Rick Goldring, who was flanked by RHLI 13th Bn CG members at the podium, and inspected the regiment's soldiers on parade, noted, "We salute the Rileys' contributions and service to our country." He added, "Members of the (RHLI) have served our country as far back as 1866 at the Battle of Ridgeway against American Fenian invaders." He also covered the fact the RHLI have taken part in nearly all our nation's conflicts from South Africa to Afghanistan and most in between.

RHLI Honorary Colonel Tim Hogarth, who is the President and CEO of Burlington-based Pioneer Energy, thanked the City of Burlington for their commitment to the regiment and its soldiers. The RHLI established a presence in the city in 2002 and were granted the Freedom of the City in 2005.

Our commanding officer, LCol Dan Stepaniuk, pointed out the Regiment's connection to Burlington through our newest but also oldest battle honour. Awarded to the 2nd Regiment York Militia, which raised its strength from Wentworth County and the Halton area in 1812, LCol Stepaniuk noted that geographical area is represented today by the RHLI. "This new honour, called "Defence of Canada 1812-1815" links today's RHLI back to the War of 1812 and more importantly, to Burlington." He added, "You can see how long this area has had a military presence."

On June 2nd, it was Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina's turn to raise and display the RHLI flag to honour us for our 150th Anniversary.

The Band of the RHLI was on hand, along with members of the RHLI's 13th Battalion Ceremonial Guard, dressed in the famed "red coats" worn when the RHLI was authorized in 1862, and carrying authentic muskets from that long-ago era.

Mayor Bratina noted the long history of the RHLI and its combat record from 1866 against Fenian invaders at the village of Ridgeway, near Fort Erie, through two world wars and now in Afghanistan. He said, "Hamilton has a great military history and in this special year of celebration we need to reacquaint our City with our heritage that in my opinion is second to none. The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry over 150 years of service has helped create and secure one of the world's most cherished values - Canadian Citizenship."

Our Honorary LCol, Peter Young, a former commanding officer, thanked the Mayor. "We appreciate the honour you're paying to our Regiment," Hon. LCol Young said. He added, "We have a lot of events planned for the 150th, and it is fitting that one of the first is seeing our flag flying at city hall. It is the community's recognition of our history and the role we've played over the last century and a half."

The RHLI now have 40 battle honours. The RHLI flag will remain over both City Halls for the remainder of 2012.

The RHLI camp flag flies above Hamilton City Hall. It will stay up until year's end to mark our 150th year.

The RHLI camp flag flying outside Burlington City Hall. It will be flown until the end of 2012 to mark the RHLI's 150th Anniversary. Photo br LCol Dan Stepaniuk, RHLI.

Members of the RHLI's "C" Company from Burlington, with some "B" Coy attachments, perform a ceremonial salute during the RHLI flag-raising ceremony at City Hall on May 29th. Photo by 2Lt Jacek Wojcik, RHLI.

Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring talks to Pte. Leslie Alexander as he inspects the soldiers of Burlington-based "C" Company of the RHLI during the flag-raising ceremony May 29th. It was Mayor Goldring's first-ever military inspection. Photo by 2Lt Jacek Wojcik, RHLI.

RHLI Honorary Colonel Tim Hogarth, President and CEO of Pioneer Petroleum, was a speaker at the flag-raising ceremony. He is flanked by members of the RHLI 13th Bn Ceremonial Guard. Photo by 2Lt Jacek Wojcik, RHLI.

RHLI commanding officer LCol Dan Stepaniuk, thanking the City of Burlington for the honour represented by the flag-raising at City Hall. He pointed out that the Regiment was recently awarded what is sequentially their first of 40 battle honours "Defence of Canada 1812 1814 " - since they geographically represent today the 2nd York Militia from 1812, which drew its soldiers from what is now the Burlington-Halton-Wentworth Country area. Photo by 2Lt Jacek Wojcik, RHLI.

Members of the RHLI 13th Battalion Ceremonial Guard raise the RHLI flag over Burlington City Hall. Photo by 2Lt Jacek Wojcik, RHLI

On June 2nd, the City of Hamilton flew the RHLI camp flag over City Hall. Here, RHLI Director of Music Major Michael Rehill, left, Honorary LCol Peter Young and Regimental Sergeant Major CWO Brian Robinson discuss the event with Mayor Bob Bratina.

Members of The RHLI 13th Battalion Ceremonial Guard were on hand for the RHLI flag-raising at City Hall. Cpl Phil Howie, far end, of Hamilton; Cpl Allan Machado of Mt. Hope; and Cpl Adam Fernandes of Oakville are wearing the same scarlet tunics and equipment as worn by the original 13th Battalion in 1862. The Guard members are full Army Reserve members of the RHLI who do their Guard duties over and above their regular soldier duties and their civilian careers.

The justly famed Band of the RHLI was also out in force for the Hamilton event. They were also providing support to the St. John Ambulance flag-raising just before the RHLI event.

Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina, with RHLI Honorary Lt.-Col. Peter Young listening, congratulates the RHLI on their 150th anniversary after having the RHLI flag displayed above City Hall.

The RHLI camp flag flies above Hamilton City Hall. It will stay up until year's end to mark our 150th year.

The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry
(Wentworth Regiment)

Hon LCol Peter Young was interviewed by CHCH reporter Al Sweeney after the event. CHCH ran a good clip on the event on the 6 pm news, for their far-reaching audience.

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