Red Deer’s 20th Field Artillery Regiment will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a unique honour.
In June, its reservists will be on the walls of Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle to participate in a 21-gun salute to mark the 67th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation, which happened in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953.
“It’s an honour to do that,” said Red Deer’s Lt.-Col. Jason Snider, who became the regiment’s commanding officer in 2018.
“It’s the first time a non-British unit has fired a salute from Edinburgh Castle.”
Six to 10 reservists from Red Deer’s 78th Field Battery, which along with Edmonton’s 61st Field Battery form the 20th Regiment, are expected to make the journey to Edinburgh.
The honour comes as a result of the bond that has been formed over the past few years with the 105th (Scottish and Ulster) Regiment Royal Artillery, which is based in Edinburgh.
“For the last six years, we’ve been working with 105 (Royal Artillery), trading exercises and training opportunities,” said Snider. “We’ve been trying to strengthen our ties with the British Army as a whole.
“The 105th is kind of a natural fit for us as a non-capital city territorial regiment, which is their version of a reserve regiment.”
Red Deer reservists have trained in the United Kingdom and Denmark with their Scottish comrades, who have in turn, come to Canada to train at CFB Suffield, the largest training base of its kind in the Commonwealth.
The Edinburgh experience will help cap what has been a busy year celebrating the Red Deer regiment’s long history, which began with its formation as the 20th Field Artillery Brigade on Feb. 2, 1920, following a major reorganization of the army following the First World War.
The brigade later became a regiment.
The year of celebration began with a gala event and dinner on Feb. 1 at Government House in Edmonton, the official home of Lt-Gov. Lois Mitchell, to mark the regiment’s centennial.
As part of that event, the regiment’s members participated in a spectacular nighttime 15-gun salute with its 105-mm howitzers.
Sgt. Joe Anderson was recognized as the reserve sergeant of the year, the first 20th Regiment sergeant to receive the honour, by the commander of Canada’s artillery.
Feb. 25, the regiment’s howitzers will be back in action again in a gun salute to open the spring sitting of the Alberta legislature. Other salutes are planned for Victoria Day on the legislature grounds and at Government House on Canada Day.
Sept. 26, the 20th Regiment will participate in Army Day with an open house at Cormack Armoury and will rededicate the Second World War vintage 25-pounder field gun that has sat out front for many years and is being refurbished by members of the regiment.