By : Dennis Stein
The Brockville Armouries building, constructed in 1900, is one of the few examples in Ontario of a community militia building constructed of stone, instead of brick. The building itself is a beautiful testament to the city's proud heritage, rooted in 19th century architecture.
The beginning of the Brockville Rifles found it's start even before confederation, founded in 1796 as the 1st Battalion Leeds Militia at Elizabethtown. Later, during the war of 1812, people living here changed the name to Brockville, after Sir Isaac Brock, the British General. It was during the war of 1812, that the regiment, made up of citizen soldiers, fought in the Battle of Chrysler's Farm, and the capture of Ogdensburg. The group was reorganized several times, contributing to forces in many battles such as the Boer War in 1899, and fighting valiantly with other units in World War I. One hundred and five members of the Brockville Rifles were killed or died from wounds in the first World War, 10 officers and 95 men. Following this, the unit was again reorganized into The Brockville Rifles. The unit also joined forces with the Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry Highlanders, landing on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day in World War II. They were the first allied force to enter Caen. After the war, The 'Brocks' were converted several more times to serve different roles, until 1959, when the group returned to it's current designation.
The Brocks generally train at either CFB Petawawa or CFB Kingston, but can be seen on occasion performing urban training here in Brockville. The rifles train a minimum of one night per week, and one weekend per month, and some of the Brocks are on, or training for, deployment to Afghanistan...
The Brockville Rifles represent a very proud group of men and women, who serve this country, and share in the pride of a unit which has contributed to many battles, received many awards, and helped in peacekeeping efforts around the globe. This pride is reflected in their motto, "Semper Paratus" or "Always Ready".