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Demobilization and Retirement

Type: Document

Before reforms in the mid-19th century, most British soldiers left the army only when their regiment was disbanded in the aftermath of a war. When this occurred in Canada, men were offered land to encourage them to settle in the colony. Pensions were rare, and worth little.

Site: National Defence

Men of the King's Royal Regiment of New York settling in Johnstown in 1784

Type: Image

This contemporary watercolour shows a encampment of Loyalist veterans and their families at Johnstown (present-day Cornwall, Ontario) in 1784. Some of these men of the King's Royal Regiment of New York still wear their red coats. (Library and Archives Canada, C-002001).

Site: National Defence

Les Invalides de la Marine

Type: Document

In 1712, King Louis XIV created Les Invalides de la Marine, which provided all soldiers and sailors serving the Ministry of the Navy with a sort of pension plan. Each year, a few elderly soldiers were given the status of Invalide and a pension.

Site: National Defence

A Canadian Regular Regiment

Type: Document

In 1794, a provincial regiment was raised in Canada for service in North America. This was a response to increased tension with the Americans. One battalion of the Royal Canadian Volunteers took recruits and officers from the Loyalist community, the other from the French Canadians.

Site: National Defence

Reduction and Restructuring

Type: Document

As fears of rebellion faded in the early 1840s, the garrison in Canada was reduced. Canadian units were disbanded, and the British presence shrank each year. A unit of British veterans, the Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment, was raised to help prevent desertions to the United States.

Site: National Defence

Private, Royal Newfoundland Companies, circa 1854

Type: Image

The Royal Newfoundland Companies were a British garrison unit of veterans, stationed in St.John's, Newfoundland from 1824 to 1862. In 1862 they were absorbed into the Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment. Reconstruction by David Webber. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Retirement

Type: Document

Prior to 1712, discharged soldiers had no sort of pension to fall back upon when they left the military. They were forced to beg, or rely on religious charity if they were unable to earn their living.

Site: National Defence

Soldiers Of The Canadian Expeditions

Type: Document

The soldiers accompanying early expeditions worked for private businesses, not for the state. Many were veterans of European wars, or gentlemen seeking land or gold.

Site: National Defence

Militarizing New France

Type: Document

In Canada, the same solution was adopted as in the French Caribbean colonies. Starting in 1683, three 'Compagnies franches de la Marine' were sent to Quebec in response to governor La Barre's pleas for reinforcements to protect the colony against the Iroquois.

Site: National Defence

A New Population

Type: Document

After 1783, any hope of a return to French control for Quebec ended. At the same time, a new wave of (mostly) anglophone settlers flooded in - tens of thousands of loyalist Americans took refuge north of the border.

Site: National Defence