Brief History of the Regiment

Officers of H.M. Corps of Island St. Johns Volunteers (PEI Fencibles) 1797 - 1802

Officers of H.M. Corps of Island St. Johns Volunteers
(PEI Fencibles) 1797 – 1802

Even though our official birth year is 1875, our history dates back to 1769 following the French surrender of the fortress of Louisbourg and the Island becoming a separate province of British North America. In 1783, the Island’s Militia was constituted by an Act of the General Assembly stating “that all male inhabitants between the ages of sixteen and sixty, being British subjects, shall bear arms, and be enrolled as militiamen”. This Militia Act was subsequently amended which gave rise to the pre-Confederation colonial volunteer militia whereby volunteer companies of infantry and artillery and troops of cavalry were formed at various locations across the Province, clothed and mounted at their own expense and armed at the expense of the government.

82nd Queens County Battalion of Infantry at Province House, 1899, for the Closing of the Provincial Legislature Parade

82nd Queens County Battalion of Infantry at the Closing of the Provincial Legislature in 1899

After Prince Edward Island joined Confederation in 1873, the Militia Act of the Dominion was extended to the new province and the former units that had existed under the volunteer system were disbanded and the new units were created under the Militia System of Canada. The year 1875 saw the formation of the Queens County Provisional Battalion of Infantry along with three other provisional battalions in Charlottetown, Kings County and Prince County. That same year, there were four batteries of Garrison Artillery created, two in Charlottetown and one each in Summerside and Georgetown. In 1878 the Charlottetown Engineer Company was formed. All of these units supplied men to the First and Second Canadian Contingents for the war in South Africa.

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