Loyal Gunners

3rd Field Artillery Regiment (The Loyal Company) and the History of New Brunswick's Artillery, 1893-2012

Table of contents

Table of Abbreviations

List of Maps

Forward: Lieutenant-Colonel Stephen Strachan

Preface: Honourary Colonel J.K.F. Irving

Chapter 1: New Beginnings, 1893-1914

Chapter 2: Searching for Finding a Role at Home and Abroad, 1914-1916

Chapter 3: Building the Corps Artillery, 1915-1916

Chapter 4: War on Two Fronts, 1917

Chapter 5: 1918, The Guns of Victory

Chapter 6: The Long Armistice, 1919-1939

Chapter 7: Coast Defence 1939-1945

Chapter 8: The Long Road to War, 1939-1944

Chapter 9: Sicily and Italy: New Brunswick’s Batteries in 1st Canadian Corps

Chapter 10: Northwest Europe, 1944-1945

Chapter 11: The Hardest Fight (Cold War and Fragile Peace?)

Conclusion: Afghanistan: The Latest Test

Note on Sources


Loyal Gunners uniquely encapsulates the experience of Canadian militia gunners and their units into a single compelling narrative that centres on the artillery units of New Brunswick. The story of those units is a profoundly Canadian story: one of dedication and sacrifice in service of great guns and of Canada.

The 3rd Field Regiment (The Loyal Company), Royal Canadian Artillery, is Canada’s oldest artillery unit, dating to the founding of the Loyal Company in Saint John in 1793. Since its centennial in 1893, 3rd Field—in various permutations of medium, coastal, and anti-aircraft artillery—has formed the core of New Brunswick’s militia artillery, and it has endured into the twenty-first century as the last remaining artillery unit in the province.

This book is the first modern assessment of the development of Canadian heavy artillery in the Great War, the first look at the development of artillery in general in both world wars, and the first exploration of the development and operational deployment of anti-tank artillery in the Second World War. It also tells a universal story of survival as it chronicles the fortunes of New Brunswick militia units through the darkest days of the Cold War, when conventional armed forces were entirely out of favour. In 1950 New Brunswick had four and a half regiments of artillery; by 1970 it had one—3rd Field.

Loyal Gunners traces the rise and fall of artillery batteries in New Brunswick as the nature of modern war evolved. From the Great War to Afghanistan it provides the most comprehensive account to date of Canada’s gunners.


The 3rd Field Regiment, (The Loyal Company) of New Brunswick is Canada’s oldest serving artillery unit. Its members have served with distinction at home and abroad from the US border and Saint John Harbour to Vimy and Kandahar, everywhere and anytime called upon, for over 220 years. We are proud to tell our story.

- John K.F. Irving, Honorary Colonel, 2010–2018

This book is the only provincial study of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery. It traces the general evolution of the permanent and reserve elements of the army from the 1890s to the conflict in Afghanistan. The greatest contribution of this work is its discussion of the formation of the Canadian Corps artillery in 1915–1916, coastal defence between 1939 and 1945, and in particular, the detailed discussion of events after 1945, including the Cold War, the Balkans, and Afghanistan.

- John Grodzinski

"A singularly well researched, written, organized and presented military history, ... Loyal Gunners is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Canadian Military History collections."

- Midwest Book Review

In taking up the story of the “Loyal Gunners” where Captain John Baxter left it in 1893, and bringing it all the way to 2013, the Loyal Company Association and the Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society at the University of New Brunswick have made an exceptionally valuable contribution to the preservation and interpretation of the noble record of service of not only New Brunswick Gunners, but of the Royal Regiment as a whole.

- Brigadier-General James J. Selbie, O.M.M., C.D. (ret’d), Colonel Commandant