By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
After more than six decades, the Ontario Regiment is offering a look into its past.
In a book launch event, the downtown armoury was packed with residents and troops all looking to get their hands on Fidelis et Paratus, the regiment’s first published chronicle since 1953.
The book, aptly named for the regiment’s motto (faithful and prepared), was written by retired sergeant Rod Henderson and covers the entire regiment’s 150-year history from 1866 to 2016.
Starting with the formation of the militia rifle and infantry companies in Ontario County, the book covers everything from the establishment of the 34th Battalion, through the First and Second World Wars, the Cold War and most recently the regiment’s role in Afghanistan.
“We’re bringing, really, the regimental history up to date,” says Nick Hall, a former commanding officer with the Ontario Regiment who spent more than 50 years with the forces and was the chair of the committee behind the creation of the updated history.
Hall says that while many people of Oshawa are aware of the regiment’s history, they may have forgotten just how rich it is.
“They generally know what happened,” Hall says.
“But they lost touch at some stage of the game and it’s really been our job that we’re bringing them back up to speed,” he says. “One-hundred and fifty years of continuous service is a long time and we’re honouring that and honouring the people that served. But also, it’ll be a written history of what happened, the issues that we faced (and) the issues that we continue to face.”
The launch of the book, which saw hundreds of copies sold and signed by the author, was attended by Mayor John Henry, Oshawa MP Colin Carrie and MPPs Lorne Coe and Jennifer French.
Commanding Officer Michael Rostek stressed the importance of what such a chronicled history means for the regiment.
“The significance of this book should not be underestimated,” he said. “I have never, in all my 36 years in the Canadian forces, seen a regimental history quite like this one.
“To prosper in the future, you need to know where you’ve come from. Fidelis et Paratus, a regimental history now marks that occasion for the world to see. The regiment takes great pride in this day, in this book and the work and the effort that went into it.”
The book launch was only the latest in a series of events to celebrate the regiment’s 150th anniversary, which will culminate with the official celebration on Sept. 14.