Origins of D Squadron
This film is a heritage item from Library and Archives Canada and is only available in English. Shown are Korean hills with a brief historical sketch of the country. Canadian artillery, armour, and infantry are previewed in action.
Source: Library and Archives Canada. Associated Screen News fonds, 1973-0127, IDC 83012.
Korea has long been known as “the Land of the Morning Calm.” On 25 June, 1950, the morning calm was shattered when the Communist North Koreans attacked South Korea in an attempt to reunify the Korean nation by force.
The United States reacted quickly and immediately committed all available troops in the Far East to the defence of South Korea. The Americans also appealed to the Security Council of the United Nations for help. Normally, any such request would have been vetoed by the Soviet Union, however, the Soviets were boycotting the Security Council and the defence of South Korea became a United Nations operation. Canada immediately created a Special Force, which would become 25 Brigade, to participate in repelling the Communist attack.
All of the combat arms units which were raised for the Brigade were extensions of existing Regular Army units. The initial contribution of The Royal Canadian Dragoons was to A Squadron of the lst and 2nd Armoured Regiment, which was to become D Squadron, Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) composed of Dragoons and Strathcona’s.
In the late summer of 1951, it was announced that C Squadron would go to Germany and that the 1st Armoured Squadron would become D Squadron of The Royal Canadian Dragoons. Thus, D Squadron was poised for a deployment to Korea.
The shooting war in Korea stopped on 27 July, 1953, but the threat of the uneasy truce degenerating into renewed combat meant that Canadians would still serve in Korea in the short term. In April of 1954, D (Dog) Squadron landed at Inchon to relieve A (Able) Squadron of the Strathconas. They were greeted by a large sign erected by the Strathconas at the main gate reading, “This camp used to be Able, but now it’s going to the Dogs!”. D Squadron was crewing M4A2E8 Shermans which belonged to the Americans, and would be the last Dragoons to crew Sherman gun tanks.
Possibly the most exciting time the Squadron had was when it accidentally shelled the Brigade Headquarters during a shoot on NIGHTMARE Range. The Brigadier quickly sent a message to the Squadron Commander, Major Laird MacDonald, asking him to stop shooting and stating that the differences between the Squadron and the Brigade could be worked out without resorting to gunfire.
In September of 1954, it was announced that the withdrawal of Canadian troops in Korea would commence. In November, the Squadron turned its equipment over to the US Army and proceeded home. The troops were home for Christmas and The Royal Canadian Dragoons’ first United Nations mission came to a successful conclusion.