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Glossary

Select a letter to browse an alphabetical listing of terms and definitions.

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Van Doos

Anglophone nickname for the Royal 22e Régiment, it is a corruption of the French words vingt-deux (twenty-two).

Veterans Guard of Canada

Corps of First World War veterans between the ages of 40 and 65, formed in May 1940, for full-time and reserve service during the Second World War. It grew to 10,000 men in 1944 with another 8,000 on part-time service. The great majority served in Canada with a few companies in Newfoundland, London (England), Nassau (Bahamas) and Georgetown (Guyana). Some veterans stood guard power plants, factories and other installations deemed essential to the war effort but most served as guards at the POW and enemy aliens internment camps in Canada. In 1944-1945, some went to India and Burma as “mule skinners”. The Veteran’s Guard continued to serve after the war until March 1947 when the last veterans were disbanded.

Victoria Cross (VC)

Highest decoration for valour in Canada and the Commonwealth forces. It takes precedence over all other orders, decorations, etc., and is equal in merit, but senior, to the George Cross. The act of valour must now be performed in face of the enemy and the VC can be awarded to a person of any rank. The obverse is inscribed simply 'FOR VALOUR'. To date (2004) 94 Canadians have received the award and only one is presently alive.

Voltigeur

French Army name for light infantry, which originated during the Napoleonic Wars. The Canadian Voltigeurs, raised in French Canada in 1812 and disbanded in 1815, was the first unit in this country to bear that name. Its outstanding services later inspired other French Canadian units to be formed, notably the Voltigeurs de Québec in 1862.

Volunteer Militia

Volunteers to serve as reserve soldiers. Grouped into volunteer units that would usually uniform and equip themselves, the weapons were furnished by the government. Units of cavalry or artillery were often formed in towns, where men that were well-off gathered. Such units appeared in Canada towards the last quarter of the 18th century. The 1855 Canadian Volunteer Militia Act legally created a class of volunteer militia, which incorporated existing units and favoured the formation of many others up to, initially, 5,000 volunteers, a figure that had risen to 35,000 by 1863. The volunteers received drill pay, weapons, and compensation toward the cost of a uniform, until uniforms were issued from the government starting in 1863. Most modern Canadian Militia units can be traced back to the units formed at that time.

See also: Sedentary Militia, Sea Fencible