The South Alberta Light Horse

The South Alberta Light Horse

The South Alberta Light Horse, or SALH, is an armoured unit of the Canadian Forces Army Reserve based at Armouries in Medicine Hat, Alberta and Edmonton, Alberta . It is one of the oldest and most colourful of the western Canadian army reserve units.

Headquarters: Edmonton, Alberta
Official Abbreviation: SALH
Motto: Semper Alacer (Always Alert, Always Ready)
Regimental March: A Southerly Wind and a Cloudy Sky
Regimental Charge: [[ ]]
Order of Precedence:
Unofficial Nicknames: The Sally Horse


Armourial Description

Regimental Names

1885: Rocky Mountain Rangers
1905: 15th Light Horse
1914: 31st Battalion, 4th Canadian Division, Canadian Expeditionary Force
1920: The South Alberta Regiment
1940 : 29th Canadian Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment
1949 : The South Alberta Light Horse

Battle Honours



Victoria Cross

Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) David Vivian Currie, CV

Basic facts


Early History

The South Alberta Light Horse traces its earliest beginnings to the period of the Riel Rebellion of 1885. During this conflict the Rocky Mountain Rangers of Fort Macleod with 150 officers and men were tasked with the protection of the area ranging from the U.S. border to High River and from the Rockies to Medicine Hat.

This irregular cavalry unit is seen as the first step on the long road to what is now called The South Alberta Light Horse. Despite these early beginnings, the 15th Light Horse, the direct ancestor of the SALH, was born in Calgary on July 3, 1905. From this point until the mid 1950s the regiment's history can be described as a series of complicated amalgamations and redesignations of Alberta army reserve units of all arms until the regiment as it is now was formed in Calgary in 1954.

History 1904-1913

History 1914-1938

The unit's active participation in World War I came with the involvement of the 12th and 13th Regiments of the Canadian Mounted Rifles Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), which were direct descendants of the 15th Light Horse and the 31st, 113th, 175th and the 187th Overseas Battalions CEF, which were created with the advent of the war.

Despite its cavalry beginnings, the regiment fought in the war as infantry, carrying the name 31st Battalion CEF and arrived back in Canada at the war's end with 19 battle honours to its credit, including such notable actions as Vimy and Ypres. After the war, the Vimy Memorial was unveiled by King Edward VIII. During his speech he spoke of the great sacrifice the nation had made and the accomplishments of the men who won the war for the Empire.

The period between wars saw the re-emergence of the 15th Light Horse, henceforth called the 15th Alberta Light Horse and The Alberta Regiment. The former unit was cavalry out of Calgary and the latter was infantry out of Medicine Hat.

Of interesting note is that the 31st Battalion CEF participated in the first tank attack in history at the battle of Coucelette on 15 September 1916, while the 19th Dragoons (at that time known as C Squadron, Canadian Light Horse) made the last cavalry charge in Canadian history at the battle of Iwuy on 10 October 1918.

This means that among the predecessor units of the SALH, one participated in the first military operation involving the tank in September 1916 and another mounted the last cavalry charge in Canadian history in 1918.

History 1939-1945

It was under these two main designations that the regiment entered the Second World War in 1939. Though their names were later changed, it was these two units that served to perpetuate the lineage. The 15th Alberta Light Horse had recruited for the 31st Alberta Reconnaissance Battalion for active duty and was later incorporated into the unit in 1942 and remained in the Calgary area until 1945. The Alberta Regiment which had become the South Alberta Regiment recruited an active force of the same name in the Medicine Hat area in 1940. This infantry unit trained in the area until 1942 when it was redesignated a tank unit and renamed the 29th Armoured Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment). It was moved to England in August of the same year.

The regiment's participation in the war, from which it emerged with 15 more battle honours, can be attributed mainly to the action of the 29th Armoured Regiment. This unit was designated as divisional Reconnaissance ( 29th Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment) and chosen by Maj-Gen Worthington to be his reconnaissance because he wanted "keen-eyed prairie men" as his scouts. The 29th was again converted to tanks in 1944 and sent to France in July of that year. It fought through Belgium, Netherlands and Germany until May 1945. Of particular note is that Major David Currie was awarded the Commonwealth's highest military award for bravery, the Victoria Cross, for his valour at St. Lambert sur Dives, France, during the battle of the Falaise gap.

Meanwhile the 31st Reconnaissance Battalion had served in the Calgary area until January 1945 when it was shipped to England. It was disbanded a month later and fed as reinforcements to different Canadian Units.

History 1945-1999

The end of the war saw the re-emergence of The South Alberta Regiment (infantry) in Medicine Hat and the 15th Light Horse (armoured) in Calgary. The 15th however, was not to keep its name, and it was united with the 22nd Field Battery RCA and renamed 68th Light Anti-Aircraft RCA. This is remained until 1954 when it united with The South Alberta Regiment of Medicine Hat and the 41st Anti-Tank Regiment out of Calgary to become The South Alberta Light Horse (29th Armoured Regiment) out of Calgary. In 1958 "29th Armoured Regiment" was dropped from the name, and two years later, in 1960, the regiment was moved back to its old Headquarters in Medicine Hat. The regiment remained an army reserve armoured unit until 1968 when it lost its tanks and was retasked as an armoured reconnaissance unit.

In 1978 the regiment established an independent B Squadron in Edmonton to train out of Griesbach Barracks. Originally roled as reconnaissance, B Squadron transition to AVGP and was reroled as armoured in the early 1980s. The rest of the regiment followed suit and by 1985 the entire regiment was out of reconnaissance and back to being armoured.

Recent activities

The regiment today

The regiment of today has soldiers both in Edmonton and Medicine Hat. With the advent of the Land Force Reserve Restructuring project, The South Alberta Light Horse was returned to its roots as an Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment effective September 1, 2004.

The current commanding officer of the SALH is Lieutenant Colonel Tom Putt. The current regimental sergeant major is Chief Warrant Officer Adrian Thomas.

Regimental Association

Other Information

Books about The South Alberta Light Horse

Century of Service: The History of the South Alberta Light Horse by Donald E. Graves, ISBN: 1896941435
South Albertas: A Canadian Regiment at War by Donald E. Graves

Other links

External link

The South Alberta Light Horse official page (

Contact information


120 Cuyler Rd, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Phone (403) 504-3775
11630 - 109 St, Edmonton, Alberta, Phone (780) 973-4011 Ex. 5348


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