Horizontally orientated diamond, black with a red .75in high central full width stripe on which the letters 11CTR in yellow, all on "waterproof" fabric with black backing.
This badge is that of 1st Canadian Tank (later Armoured) Brigade on which are imposed the initials of 11th Canadian Tank Regiment (The Ontario Regiment). Being printed cotton, this particular badge dates from after the end of 1942. For a full account of badges to 1st Tank / Armoured Brigade, see INS 36. Formation history: For an outline history of 1st Tank / Armoured Brigade, see INS 36. Unit history. Motto: 'Fidelis et Paratus': Faithful and Ready. During the militia re-organization of 1936 the Regiment was nominally converted to a tank unit as the Ontario Regiment (Tank) but when mobilized in September 1939 it had yet to see an armoured vehicle. In May 1940 the Regiment moved to Camp Borden, the home of the AFV School, and received three light tanks for training. Almost immediately, however, they were assigned as prisoner of war guards and did not return to Borden until early August. By the end of that month they knew they were to become part of 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade along with the Three Rivers Regiment (Tank), the Fort Garry Horse militia cavalry regiment and 1st Canadian Cavalry Regiment (Mechanised), a composite unit formed in January 1940 from the Royal Canadian Dragoons, Lord Strathcona's Horse and 1st Hussars. They had an allocation of trucks for training purposes and in October they received ten decrepit WW1 Renault light tanks, bought by the Canadian government from the US. In February 1941 some personnel were able to train briefly on a solitary Valentine III from the AFV School. At the same time, the Brigade was re-designated 1st Canadian Army Tank Brigade and all armoured and tank units became constituent units of the Canadian Armoured Corps, numbered sequentially within the Corps. The Regiment became 11th Canadian Tank Battalion (The Ontario Regiment). There were two further re-designations, becoming the 11th Canadian Tank Regiment in May 1942 (11 CTR) and an 'Armoured Regiment' in August 1943. The Brigade was sent to the UK in the summer of 1941 and arrived at Greenock on the Clyde on 1 July. They moved at once to Lavington on the edge of Salisbury Plain where the Ontarios were the first Canadian unit to be equipped with Churchill tanks, albeit the mechanically unreliable early marks. The Three Rivers and Calgarys received mostly Valentines. At the end of 1941 the Brigade moved to the south coast, the Regiment being posted to the area around Brighton. In April 1942 they took part in Exercise Beaver III, in early May in Exercise Beaver IV and the major effort of the year, Exercise Tiger, from 19 –30 May. This was followed by a period of intense training in infantry-tank co-operation. In January 1943 the Regiment was completely re-equipped with 6pdr. Churchills in which it took part in Exercise Spartan from 5 to 12 March. At the end of March the Regiment converted to Canadian Ram cruiser tanks. The Churchills were handed on to the British Guards Armoured Brigade and the Regiment inherited the Elgin Regiment's Rams when that unit left 5th Canadian Armoured Division. The Regiment did not like the Ram because of its cramped fighting compartment and its high a profile. Fortunately, the conversion was short-lived as the Rams were left behind when the Regiment moved to Scotland in mid May where they converted to Shermans. The Brigade had been selected for transfer, with 1st Canadian Infantry Division, to the Mediterranean. Towards the end of May the tanks were waterproofed, painted an overall sand colour and with a 'bullseye' red, white and blue air recognition sign. Their first operation would be the invasion of Sicily, Operation Husky. The convoys sailed on 25th June, the Regiment's tanks landing as part of the follow-up force at Syracuse on the evening of 13th July, HQ and B Echelon four days later. The original concentration area was at Cassibile where the Brigade was in 8th Army reserve. On 21 July they moved north to a defensive position on the south of the Catania plain. Here the Regiment married up with 392nd Battery, 98th Field Regiment (Surrey and Sussex Yeomanry) with SP 105mm Priests, the beginning of a long and happy association. On 31 July the Regiment was placed in support of 13 Brigade, detached from British 5th Division to 51st Highland Division. In this role it supported a successful advance across the Dittaino River on 1 August and thereafter generally north-eastwards across the Simeto to Paterno, then north on the eastern flank of Mount Etna to Zefferana Etnaea. From here the Regiment was withdrawn on the night of 10 –11 August and came back under Brigade command in the Scordia area. In Operation Baytown, the invasion of Italy launched on 3 September 1943, the Regiment was again assigned to the support of British 5th Division. B Squadron and RHQ landed in the follow-up wave, coming ashore north of Reggio Calabria and advancing north along the western coast road. The Regimental A Echelon and A Squadron followed on successive days. Two Troops of A Squadron joined 5th Recce. Regiment for the advance up the coast but road congestion made the remainder of the Regiment fall behind. Without having fired a shot, the Regiment was withdrawn under 13 Corps command on 18th September and C Squadron was brought over from Sicily. At the end of September the tanks were shipped by LCT to the eastern coast, arriving at Manfredonia on 7 October from where the Regiment moved inland to Lucera. On 18th October the Regiment was placed in support of 1st Canadian Infantry Division in the Campobosso area to clear the right bank of the upper Biferno River, A, B and C Squadrons with 2, 1 and 3 Brigades respectively. During the nearly three weeks the Regiment was committed to this operation, it was widely dispersed across an attack front of some 12 miles. In support of attacks on difficult villages such as Baranello, Busso, San Stefano, Colle d'Anchise and Boiano, Squadrons were often operating on an individual Troop basis to provide both close and fire support. The operation was ultimately successful, despite several failures in infantry-tank co-operation and very difficult terrain. By the end of October the Squadrons had all been released and withdrawn. On 17 November the Regiment moved to the Adriatic coast near Termoli where they remained until the end of the month before proceeding via Lanciano to take part in the operation to force the Moro River. The attack began on 8 December and the Regiment entered the battle late on 10 December when C and then A Squadrons crossed the Moro into a crowded bridgehead in the vicinity of San Leonardo. RHQ and B Squadron crossed the following morning and two troops of A Squadron moved east to support an attack along the coast road leading north to Ortona. Fierce enemy resistance, difficult terrain and mud limited the effectiveness of armoured support. On 13 December a frontal attack on a strong position at Berardi and the nearby 'Gully', supported by B Squadron, stalled. A renewed attempt at a flank attack in the afternoon by C Squadron and a company of the Seaforths, reduced to four tanks and 40 men respectively, was successful but the force was too small to take and hold the final objective so was withdrawn. The attack was repeated in greater force the following day. C Squadron, now with seven tanks, supported a company of the Royal 22nd and although the final objective was not taken Casa Berardi itself was captured. 392nd Battery did much to help beat off a fierce counter-attack on 15 December but the force was cut off. On the night 15 –16 December the remaining companies of the Royal 22nd joined the group and the surviving four tanks of C Squadron were re-supplied and reinforced by B Squadron. Flank protection was bolstered by the Regiment's own A Squadron and by A Squadron of the British 44th RTR, then under Brigade command. The position was secured after a brigade level attack by infantry on 18 December. On 23 December the Regiment was in support of an attack aimed at cutting off Ortona from the west and north. Wet ground was a problem but on 25 December A Squadron succeeded in bringing tanks forward and fought a successful action in support of the 48th Highlanders. On 28 December B Squadron supported an attack that reached the coast road around Point 59. Several tanks were bogged but the crews remained to fight some these as static fire positions. The Regiment finally managed to negotiate the mud and withdrew on 8 January. At the end of January 1944 the Regiment moved south west to Castelfrentano where they took the opportunity to train and to further develop infantry and artillery-tank co-operation techniques. In mid-February the Regiment provided a ski party to deliver supplies to the 56th Recce. Regiment, which was snowed in at Colledimezzo, and subsequently, through a blizzard, to the 12th Podolian Lancers in the same area. The Regiment returned to the Ortona area on 12 March in support of 1st Canadian Division but before the end of the month they had moved south again, to the Venafro area on the Volturno River. For a full month, from 8 April to 8 May 1944, the Regiment trained intensively with 4th British and 8th Indian Divisions in preparation for the Liri Valley campaign. The Regiment was in support of 17th Indian Infantry Brigade for the Gari River crossing. The attack began on the night of 11 May and B Squadron crossed in the Sant' Angelo sector on the first Bailey Bridge, 'Oxford', at 0850 the following morning, followed shortly by C Squadron. Both Squadrons lost half their tanks in the mud but most were recovered during the course of the day. A Squadron stayed on the near bank providing fire support to 4 Division. The key position of Sant' Angelo fell on 13 May to a combined Ghurkha and B Squadron attack. The Regiment was withdrawn for rest on 16th but on 19th was ordered to support 36th Brigade of the British 78th Division in an attack through Aquino airfield in an attempt to pierce the Hitler Line. The attack proved abortive and the Regiment lost 13 tanks. The Regiment stayed with 78th Division, A Squadron advancing with 56th Recce. Regiment on 25th May past Aquino and exploiting north east past Castrocielo and to the vicinity of Roccasecca. The other two Squadrons advanced to the Melfa River and married up with 38th Irish Brigade on 26th May. C Squadron and the Royal Irish Fusiliers crossed the Melfa on 27th May and on the following morning crossed the Liri River at Ceprano. They were followed by B Squadron with the 2 London Irish Rifles and A Squadron with the 6 Inniskillings. The Regiment was then withdrawn. The Regiment moved forward again on 11th June and on 21st June in a preliminary attack on the Trasimene Line they again supported 38 Brigade. B Squadron with the 2 London Irish took Sanfantucchio and A Squadron with 6 Inniskillings took Pucciarelli after A Squadron had rushed the village. A strong counter-attack the following day was beaten off. On 24th, C Squadron with the Royal Irish Fusiliers took Pescia and Ranciano while a troop from A Squadron supported a company from 5 Northamptons in an advance along Highway 71. Both actions prompted counter-attacks supported by armour, the Ontarios knocking out five tanks, including Panthers, winning a letter of commendation from Oliver Leese, 8 Army Commander. On 29 June A Squadron supported 38 Brigade's capture of Castiglione. The Regiment was next assigned to the support of 28 Brigade from British 4 Division in an advance up the Chiana Valley in the general direction of Arezzo. The Brigade took up the advance on 2 July towards the mountainous ridge barring the southern approach to Florence. On 5th July A Squadron supported an advance that secured the hamlet of Tuori where the advance was stopped for a week. The advance resumed north westward on 16 July when the Germans pulled back in response to losing the city of Arezzo. On 21 July 1 Armoured Brigade moved 50 miles west to the south west of Florence where on 14th August it was eventually assigned in support of British 1st Infantry Division, which took over from 8th Indian. The Germans had agreed to withdraw from the main part of Florence, largely because of the problems created by a starving civilian and refugee population. An A Squadron troop crossed the Arno into the city on 17th August, the first Allied tanks to do so, and the remainder of the Squadron followed the next day. Thereafter the Regiment was involved in patrol and low-level tactical actions to drive the Germans from the northern outskirts into the hills beyond. The Regiment remained with British 1st Division in maintaining contact with the German forces retreating through the Appenine passes to the Gothic Line in front of Bologna. The attack on the Gothic Line began on 13th September, B Squadron of the Regiment in support of the leading 66th Brigade. The terrain was such that tank support was for the most part limited to fire support from rear or flank positions on or near the roads. There was insufficient room to deploy all three squadrons and A and B were withdrawn on 20th September. C Squadron was split between the Marradi area in support of 17th Indian Brigade and Palazzuolo - Mercatale to the north west where it supported British 1st Division. Its activities were to a large extent limited by the terrain to providing covering fire for Engineers making good the extensive road and bridge demolitions. On 6 November the British 1st Division relieved the 88th US Division around Monte Grande and 11 crews from A Squadron took over American tanks that had somehow been brought forward but were now mired. B Squadron provided 4 crews for similar duty at San Clemente two days later. On 14 November C Squadron withdrew and the following night B Squadron moved 8 tanks to the Monte Grande sector to act as artillery. C Squadron crews relieved A in the first week of January 1945 and were themselves relieved shortly thereafter by 755th US Tank Battalion. At the end of January the Regiment was then withdrawn to Porto San Giorgio on the Adriatic coast. At the beginning of February 1945 the Brigade received orders for Operation Goldflake, a move to North West Europe to join 1st Canadian Army for the spring offensive there. The Regiment was embarked at Leghorn by 8th March and by 15th March they were at Mouscron, north of Lille, where they absorbed reinforcements and amended their war establishment to the European standard. This included the issue of two 17pdr. Sherman Fireflies to three of the Troops in each Squadron. The Regiment was to support 49th British Division in the Nijmegen salient and on 24th March C Squadron crossed the Waal to Ressen in support of 147th Brigade. The remainder of the Regiment entered the area over the next two days. The Regiment's first action was in Operation Destroyer, clearing the 'island' area between the Waal and the Neder Rijn. A and C Squadrons supported 147th Brigade, B Squadron 146th. The Operation began early on the morning of 2nd April and was completed against moderate opposition the following evening. The next operation was the capture of Arnhem, Operation Anger. The Regiment crossed the Rhine east of Arnhem and attacked in support of 49th Division across the Ijssel River into the south eastern perimeter of the town. The attack was launched on 12th April and in the early hours of 13th a troop from A Squadron supported the Essex Regiment from 56th Brigade into the town. Later in the day C Squadron supported 146th Brigade, which passed through 56th. The advance continued on 14th and A and B Squadrons crossed into the town, which was effectively secured by the following day. On 16th April the Regiment, led by A Squadron, advanced rapidly with 146th Brigade to capture Dieren, 20 miles northeast of Arnhem. The same night, A and C Squadrons returned to Arnhem and the following day supported 147th Brigade in mopping up the area to the west towards Utrecht. B Squadron remained to the east and supported 49th Reconnaissance Regiment clearing the area to the north east of Arnhem. Following the surrender on 5th May 1945, the Regiment assisted in rounding up the German forces in western Holland before assembling at Leersum where they handed in their tanks on 8th June. They moved to Harlingen where they had to wait until early October for shipping space to begin their return to Canada. They embarked from the UK on 22nd November, arriving in Halifax Nova Scotia on 27th. During Second World War the Regiment won 4 x DSO, 10 x MC, 13 x MM.
- Second World War; Operation Husky - invasion of Sicily; Pursuit to Messina, Sicily 1943; Operation Baytown - invasion of Italy; Coll d'Anchise; The Gully; Casa Berardi; Ortona; Point 59; Cassino II; Gustav Line; Sant'Angelo in Teodice; Liri Valley; Aquino; Trasimene Line; Sanfatucchio; Arezzo; Advance to Florence; Appenines; Operation Goldflake; Operation Destroyer; Arnhem 1945; Operation Anger.