Courage, Strength and Endurance: The Legacy of 3rd Canadian Division

In late December 1915, 3rd Canadian Division (3 Cdn Div) was formed from units and formations that were deployed to France during the First World War, marking the beginning of a proud military tradition. The Division was a fully manned and equipped combat division which distinguished itself in several campaigns, taking part in battles at Mount Sorrel, the Somme, Amiens, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele and the Pursuit to Mons. This wartime iteration of the Division was disbanded at the end of the First World War.

Reconstituted as the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division during the Second World War, it was the only Canadian Division to participate in the initial D-Day landings on the Normandy coast on June 6th, 1944, and played a key role during the campaigns in Normandy, the Channel ports, the Scheldt Estuary, the Rhineland and the liberation of Holland. During the Second World War, soldiers of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division wore the French Grey divisional patch on the shoulders of their uniform to distinguish themselves, as they had done previously in the First World War. At the end of the Second World War and the return to Canada in June 1946, the Division was once again demobilized.

In the early 1990s, the Division was reconstituted and became one of four area commands of the Canadian Army. The newly minted formation was renamed Land Force Western Area (LFWA), and was responsible for all Regular and Reserve Army formations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. The line formations of LFWA included 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, 38 Canadian Brigade Group, 39 Canadian Brigade Group, and 41 Canadian Brigade Group.

In addition to the brigades, LFWA was also composed of 1 Area Support Group and its bases, 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, and the Western Area Training Centre.  The extensive contributions of LFWA on domestic operations at home, and on missions abroad in locales such as the Balkans and Afghanistan, would become the trademark of the Command for over two decades.

On June 6th, 2014, in concurrence with the 70th anniversary of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division’s D-Day landing in Normandy, LFWA was restored to its original name, 3rd Canadian Division. On this same day, 3 Cdn Div was permanently bestowed the French Grey designation patch, and the Division became realigned with its mighty and storied history.

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