Chapter 4: Recruiting and Training in Canada
(See Map 3)
Making an Army in an Unmilitary Society
WHEN a community accustomed, as pre-war Canada was, to maintain only the tiniest regular military forces, is suddenly plunged into war and finds itself obliged to raise large bodies of troops, it confronts one of the greatest problems that can face a modern nation. It must obtain the services of great numbers of its citizens (most of whom will have no military experience), satisfy itself that they are suitable for the business in hand, and turn them into soldiers. This entails training long enough and thorough enough to produce a standard of efficiency that will enable them to meet the enemy and beat him.
Volumes could be written on this process of recruiting and training, which is clearly a subject of exceptional importance; but space limits the treatment which we can give it here. The present chapter, accordingly, attempts to give only an outline of the process as it developed in Canada.
Reliance Upon Voluntary Service
When Canada went to war in 1939, and for a considerable time thereafter, there was no question of adopting a policy of conscription for military service, either at home or abroad. The Government relied upon voluntary patriotism and public spirit to fill the ranks of its armed forces, and in the first period of the war this reliance was not in vain. The general question of voluntary service and compulsion will be explored in more detail in a later section of this History, but an attempt must be made here to deal briefly with the background of the question, as it particularly affected the Army.
The reasons for the unquestioning acceptance of the voluntary principle in 1939 (an acceptance which might seem the more surprising in view of the fact that Great Britain had resorted to conscription even before the war
broke out) are not far to seek. They are to be found in Canadian experience in the First World War and particularly in the social and political consequences of the conscription measure which was passed in 1917 to keep up the strength of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. That measure produced a grave threat to the unity of the nation; it temporarily isolated the French-speaking Province of Quebec, whose people were in general strongly opposed to the conscription policy, and it introduced into Canadian politics an element of bitterness which every political leader recognized as dangerous in the extreme. This issue more than any other, perhaps, dominated the thinking of Canadian parties as they faced the growing threat of war in the years before 1939. The formula which, it would appear, both major parties had reached by the spring of 1939 was that the maintenance of national unity required participation in the war against Hitlerism which seemed impending – but participation on the basis of repudiating conscription for overseas service. Pledges against such conscription were made by both Government and Opposition leaders in March 1939,1 and from that moment it was clear, if it had not been before, that if war came any forces which Canada might send abroad would have to be raised on a purely voluntary basis, in the first instance if not for the duration.
This seemed the more practicable in the light of theories which were popular in the months preceding the outbreak of war. The pledges made against overseas conscription were closely accompanied, as mentioned earlier, by declarations of belief that large expeditionary forces were unlikely to be required in any new war. The Prime Minister said in the House of Commons on 30 March 1939, “One strategic fact is clear: the days of great expeditionary forces of infantry crossing the oceans are not likely to recur. Two years ago, I expressed in this House the view that it was extremely doubtful if any of the British Dominions would ever send another expeditionary force to Europe.” On the same day, the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. R. J. Manion, expressed similar opinions.2 As we have seen (above, page 13), the Government’s pre-war defence policy placed the air force in first priority, the navy second and the land forces last. This may be taken as representing its conception of the nature of Canadian effort in another war, and it was doubtless particularly acceptable on both sides of the House of Commons in that such a policy seemed to promise less serious pressure on manpower than one based upon “great expeditionary forces of infantry”.
These opinions had been encouraged by the policies of the United Kingdom, which in 1937–38 seem to have been dominated by the idea of a limited liability war. A British official document of 1937 assumed that the country’s plans would be based “on what may be termed a war of limited liability, i.e. for example, that there will be no such expansion of the Army, and consequently of military supply, as occurred in the last war”. In line with these
theories, there had been, a United Kingdom official historian points out, “a strong temptation to neglect the Army and to concentrate the main effort of rearmament on the naval and air arms, particularly the latter”; and the temptation was not resisted.3 The parallel with Canadian policy is obvious. By the spring of 1939, however, the British Government had abandoned the limited-liability concept. In March of that year it engaged itself to France to “prepare an army of thirty-two divisions and have it ready for service wherever it was needed before the end of the first twelve months of war”.4 Thus the idea of an expeditionary army again assumed, belatedly, an important place in British military planning. No similar development took place in Canada, however, before the outbreak of war.
Another factor, probably less important in practice, made conscription seem unnecessary in Canada in 1939. The country had not fully recovered from the depression which had begun a decade before, and there was still a great deal of unemployment. Estimates of the number of unemployed at the outbreak of war run as high as 600,000, and the Federal Government at this time was still making large contributions to unemployment relief.5 In contrast with the situation in the United Kingdom, a very small part of the country’s working force was engaged in munitions production, and this continued to be the case for months after war began. In these circumstances, it would have been hard to convince the country that there was any immediate need for conscription in 1939. The demand for it, and the adoption of it, came only later, when circumstances had greatly altered.
Recruiting in the Early Days, 1939–1941
The problem of finding men had two aspects: that of filling the ranks of the mobilizing units in the first place, and that of subsequently providing “reinforcements” (replacements to fill the gaps that would be made by battle losses or natural wastage). Both were provided for in the plans made before the outbreak of war, and the procedure to be followed was broadly outlined in the pamphlet Mobilization Instructions for the Canadian Militia, 1937.
Recruiting for mobilizing units was the responsibility of each unit’s own Commanding Officer. On getting the order to mobilize, the unit made its own arrangements, opening its recruiting office and setting up its medical board or boards for the examination of recruits. The composition of these boards, which were frequently made up partly of medical officers and partly of civilian doctors, was prescribed in advance. In examining recruits the boards were guided by another pamphlet, Physical Standards and Instructions for the Medical Examination of Recruits for the Naval, Military and Air Services, 1938. This gave detailed instructions for examination and classification. Without going into details, it may be noted that Category “A”
(“Fit for general service”) was defined as “Men perfectly fit, mentally and physically, for all active service conditions of actual warfare in any climate, who are able to march, can see to shoot, and hear well”. This category was required for enlistment in all units of the Mobile Force, except that Category “B” men could be accepted for units employed on the lines of communication, or in any unit for “sedentary work” or if they were “skilled tradesmen employed at their trades”. The minimum age for enlistment was 18 years, the maximum 45. Chest measurement was to be at least 34 inches, although youths between 18 and 19 years of age with minimum chest measurement of 32 inches might be attested if their general physical condition was good and there was “reasonable chance of developing under training”. The minimum height, as laid down in the 1938 pamphlet, was five feet four inches; but for horse and field artillerymen it was five feet six, and for “garrison, heavy and siege” gunners five feet seven inches.
The provision of reinforcements was a responsibility of the Military Districts, under the supervision of the Adjutant General’s Branch at NDHQ; and the Mobilization Instructions provided that a recruiting organization would be prepared to function “as from the seventh day of mobilization” in every District. It was to consist of a District Recruiting Officer with as many assistants as might be required. As a general rule, Depots, those of cavalry and infantry units as well as the District Depot which was to be set up in each Military District to serve other arms and services, were to act as recruiting centres for their respective localities.
Detailed instructions for recruiting units on mobilization were contained in “Recruiting Memorandum No. 1”, dated 15 May 1939, which was distributed to all officers commanding Non-Permanent Active Militia units. It provided both for action during the Precautionary Stage and that required on mobilization. It pointed out that in the latter case a “duration-of-the-war” engagement for General Service would be required of all individuals volunteering, as under Section 68 of the Militia Act no officer or soldier of the NPAM could be required to serve in the field continuously for a period exceeding 18 months. To be eligible for enlistment, in addition to being physically fit and within the age limits, men had to be British subjects and “of good character”. Apart from certain obviously disqualified classes, persons in the following categories were not to be enlisted: graduates of universities or colleges “in the medical, engineering or other scientific or technical professions”; graduates or qualified ex-cadets of the Royal Military College of Canada; ex-cadets of the Canadian Officers Training Corps in possession of certificates of qualification; and “Bankers and chartered or other Accountants”.6 The clear intention was to ensure that men with special qualifications for service as officers or specialists should not be wasted through uncontrolled enlistment in the ranks. This was one of the earliest attempts to provide against unscientific use of manpower. We have already noted the vague
provisions made concerning the enlistment of men with “dependents”, which were interpreted in some areas to prevent the enlistment of married men.
Procedure for enlisting reinforcements was prescribed !in “Recruiting Memorandum No. 2”, which was likewise dated 15 May 1939. This document noted that the recruiting organization for reinforcements required to be flexible, since it was uncertain whether the mobilized force would or would not go to a theatre of operations outside Canada; if it did go abroad, the wastage, and the number of reinforcements required, would naturally be much higher than if it remained at home. Each District Officer Commanding was made responsible for obtaining the quotas of recruits required to reinforce the units mobilized in his District. It was assumed that reinforcements for cavalry and infantry units would be provided by enlistment at the regimental depots and subsequent dispatch direct to the unit as long as the latter was in Canada. In the case of technical arms, enlistment would be through the District Depots.
The system for enlisting reinforcements prescribed in pre-war planning was not uniformly followed in practice. Some of the mobilized cavalry and infantry units organized proper depots; some maintained a depot organization of sorts within the Active Service Force unit; and some organized no depots at all. In July 1940 all regimental depots were swept away by a General Order,7 and thereafter recruiting reinforcements for all arms was the business of the District Depots.
The general course of recruiting in September 1939 is outlined in Chapter II, where it is noted that broadly speaking there was no difficulty in getting the men, although the intake was much slower in some parts of the country than in others. At this early period there was certainly no manpower shortage, and the suspension of recruiting led to some would-be recruits being turned away during the autumn and winter months. Recruiting, however, never did cease quite entirely, although the number of men attested sank to 2049 in December 1939, the lowest month’s figure of the war.8 (See Appendix B). When training centres were being opened in January to train reinforcements for the units overseas, authority was given for enlistments to fill the quotas where CASF men were not available in sufficient numbers.9 Attestations rose to 6412 that month.10
The long process of lowering the qualifications for enlistment began at a very early date. The first reduction of medical standards came as early as 14 September 1939, when a Routine Order11 introduced new categories (“AV”, “BV” and “CV”) to indicate defects of vision corrected by glasses. Individuals with such defects were made eligible for enlistment, though not in units of the Mobile Force. In June 1940 another Routine Order12 lowered the general physical requirements for recruits. Men of a minimum height of five feet, a minimum weight of 120 pounds and a minimum chest measurement of 32 inches were now declared acceptable. The reasons for this change
are not now available,* but it may be assumed that it was considered necessary, the light of experience, if the large requirements in men for the new ions then being raised were to be met. It may be noted that a change – the opposite direction had taken place in November 1939, when the minimum age for enlistment was raised from 18 to 19 years.13 The requirement at recruits should be British subjects was abandoned on 13 December 1939, when orders were issued permitting the enlistment of aliens, other than enemy, who had been resident in Canada on 1 September 1939.14 This residence qualification was dropped in its turn in October 1940.15 American citizens who wanted to fight Hitler could now enlist in the Canadian forces without perjuring themselves.
The Beginnings of Manpower Scarcity, 1941–1942
We have seen already the consequences of the European events of the spring and summer of 1940: the raising of new divisions in Canada, and a great rush of recruits to the colours. There was a large increase in the strength of the mobilized force (from 76,678 all ranks on 31 March 1940 to 177,810 on 29 December 1940);16 from now on, quite apart from the requirements of new units, there was a constant demand for reinforcements to fill the gaps caused by natural wastage.
It was in the early months of 1941 that some difficulty began to be encountered in obtaining the men required for the enlarged Active Force. Recruits were appearing in fair numbers (there were 5863 General Service enlistments in January)17 but not in numbers equal to the requirements of the new Army Programme; and the Navy and Air Force were competing actively for the available men. The combined requirements for the three services for 1941 were estimated at as many as 130,000 recruits; and the Adjutant General and his “opposite numbers” in the other services consulted together and recommended coordinated action.18 On 8 April the Ministers for the three services made a joint broadcast on the needs; the total now mentioned as required was 116,000–72,000 (“probably 6,000 men... each month”) for the Army, 35,000 for the Air Force, and 9,000 for the Navy.19
On 11 May Colonel Ralston opened what he called “Canada’s first recruiting campaign” † with another broadcast;20 he asked for “about 32,000 men for the Canadian Army in the next two months”, emphasizing the increase in requirements caused by the new measures taken after the disasters in North Africa and Greece (see above, page 93). The campaign’s
* The file concerned, along with a good many others, was unfortunately destroyed as a result of a cloudburst in Ottawa on 6 July 1947.
† It was not, of course, the first appeal. General Crerar, for instance, had made a definite call on behalf of the Minister in a broadcast on 22 July 1940.
first results were disappointing, but it gradually gathered momentum and in the end the objective was attained with something to spare. On 16 July Ralston announced that up to 14 July 33,500 volunteers had been “actually enlisted for service”. All told, about 48,000 men had sought to join the Army, but the balance – a rather alarming proportion – had had to be rejected for medical reasons. During the same period the RCAF had enlisted “more than 12,000” and the RCN “about 3500”, “bringing the grand total up to about 60,000 who actually volunteered to serve”.21
From this time onward, recruiting methods were under constant study and new expedients were constantly being devised to encourage men to come forward. On 28 July 1941 a Directorate of Recruiting, on a civilian basis, was set up in the Adjutant General’s Branch at National Defence Headquarters. A French-speaking Associate Director was appointed, primarily to control activities in the Province of Quebec. Subsequently the Directorate was reorganized on a military basis as the Directorate of Army Recruiting. It planned and coordinated recruiting campaigns with the assistance of a “National Campaign Committee”, including representatives of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the National Film Board, the Wartime Information Board, and the advertising agencies of Canada, as well as of the Directorate of Public Relations (Army). This Committee held its first meeting on 5 May 1941.22
This organization at Ottawa was supplemented by local organizations in the Military Districts. Each District had its District Recruiting Officer with a staff to carry on the actual business of recruiting. They were assisted by Civilian Recruiting Advisers and committees, composed of public-spirited citizens, who gave much time to the work.23 In November 1942 District Recruiting Companies were formed. Each consisted of three elements: a Central Recruiting Station, normally functioning at the District Depot; Recruiting Sub-Stations, which were set up in the larger centres in the District; and a Mobile Recruiting Unit which toured the more sparsely settled areas.24
During 1942 many publicity devices were used to keep the need for recruits before the public. One was the “Army Train”, a 15-car railway train containing displays of arms, clothing and equipment, which toured Canada from coast to coast, beginning in February, and was “visited by more than 800,000 people”.25 Another was “Army Week”, first tried during the week beginning 29 June 1942. During this week, Training Centres were opened to public inspection, parades and demonstrations were held, and everything possible was done to focus attention on the Army. Still another expedient was the “Army Show”, which provided entertainment for the troops while at the same time serving recruiting purposes. It began its work
in December 1942, and reached a large audience through broadcasting as well as more directly in its cross-country tours.26
All this activity produced satisfactory results in 1942; evidently there was still a considerable pool of manpower in the country which could be tapped by such methods. During 1942, in fact, more men and women were enlisted into the Canadian Army than in any other year of the war, the total of General Service enlistments rising to 130,438, including 7463 CWAC This does not include officer appointments, but does include men called up for compulsory service under the National Resources Mobilization Act who chose to “go active”. At no time during 1942 was there such a rush to enlist as had taken place in September 1939 or in June and July of 1940, but a steady high average was maintained throughout the year and in nine of the twelve months enlistments numbered more than 10,000.27
This could not be expected to go on indefinitely. There was certain to be a limit to the manpower obtainable by voluntary methods, and the situation took a turn for the worse early in 1943. Except for November 1944, the last month in which General Service enlistments exceeded 10,000 was January of 1943, when 11,492 male soldiers were attested. In February the figure fell to 8633, and there was a steady decline for several months thereafter. The total male enlistments for 1943 amounted to 69,202, little more than half of those for 1942.28 As major action by the Canadian Army started only in July 1943, it is evident that a serious decline in voluntary recruiting appeared six months before heavy battle casualties began. The clear fact is that the manpower accessible through voluntary methods had been largely exhausted during the long static period. The combination of this with continuing heavy casualties and a miscalculation of probable losses as between different arms of the service was to produce a serious crisis late in 1944.
We have referred several times to the extent of normal “wastage”. Discharges were numerous from the beginning. By 30 September 1941, when Canada had been at war for two years and the Army had seen virtually no action, there had been 40,718 discharges, mainly on medical grounds.29 The proportion varied between different parts of the country. By July 1943, when the Army’s first large-scale campaign began, 90,061 of the men and women enrolled for general service had been discharged (3467 deaths, of which only 1348 had been caused by enemy action; 59,100 medically unfit; 5269 unapprehended deserters; and 22,225 for various other reasons, e.g. release to one of the other armed services, or misconduct or inefficiency).30 In addition to those discharged the Army had lost, up to 30 June 1943, another 3461 men who had become prisoners of war (mainly at Dieppe and Hong Kong).31 Total wastage at that date was thus 93,355 all ranks. This
compared with a total of 531,551 all ranks attested for general service; of these, 13,445 were members of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps, and 1857 were Nursing Sisters.32 Considering only the grand totals, the Army in forty-six months of war had lost more than 17 per cent of the people it had recruited; and it had not yet been seriously in action.
The National Resources Mobilization Act: Compulsory Service for Home Defence
When the National Resources Mobilization Act was passed in June 1940 (above, page 82) a new element was introduced into the recruiting situation. Overseas service remained on a purely voluntary basis, but conscription for service in Canada was now the law of the land. This dualism was a complicating factor for the rest of the war. We must now examine the Act’s results and the manner in which it was administered.
The first measure required to make it effective was a National Registration. This was held on 19–21 August 1940, all persons, male and female, who had reached the age of sixteen, being required to register.33 By affording full information concerning men of military age, it provided the basis for a system of compulsory service. The National Registration was supervised, and the National Resources Mobilization Act administered in the first instance, by a new department of government, that of National War Services. The decision to set up this Department, taken by the Cabinet War Committee on 17 June 1940, was implemented by the Department of National War Services Act,34 assented to on 12 July. The first Minister was Mr. J. G. Gardiner.
The procedure for making men available for training was defined in “National War Service Regulations, 1940 (Recruits)”.35 Under these Canada was divided into thirteen Administrative Divisions, corresponding to the eleven Military Districts save that Prince Edward Island, and that portion of Ontario adjacent to Manitoba and included in Military District No. 10, were constituted as separate Divisions. For each Division a National War Services Board of three members was set up. The chairman was a Judge of a Superior or other Court of the Province in which the larger part of the division was situated; the other members were representative citizens of the district. The Boards’ main function was to hear applications for postponement made by men called out for training, and decide whether postponement orders should be granted. The decision of the majority of a board was final.
In each Administrative Division a Divisional Registrar was appointed. These officials had the immediate tasks of preparing, from the results of the National Registration, lists of single men within the age-group 21 to 24. They
listed separately men engaged in seasonal occupations; those who were students of colleges or universities; those who had some form of military qualification or experience in the armed services; and the remainder of the group. The Government had decided to call out in the first instance only men of the ages of 21 to 24 who were unmarried, or widowers without children. These men were to be subjected to training for 30 days only.*
* This decision had been reached by 30 July. General Crerar points out that the primary reason for the limited period was the extreme shortage of modern weapons at this moment; there were simply no means of giving more than 30 days’ effective training.36
This was formally announced by a proclamation published in the Canada Gazette on 13 September 1940. On 16 September the Minister of National Defence made upon the Minister of National War Services the first requisition, for 29,750 men required for military training for a period of thirty days beginning on 9 October.37
The Divisional Registrars proceeded to call out the men required, selecting them, in accordance with the Regulations, “so far as is practicable. . . from the younger men of the age class... at the same time endeavouring to call out men proportionately from all parts of the Division”. There were special arrangements covering university students or men in seasonal occupations; employers of labour were allowed to submit plans for calling out their employees, over a twelve-month period, in the manner least likely to inconvenience their businesses; and the National War Services Boards were authorized to grant indefinite postponements to Mennonites and Doukhobors (who occupied special positions under the terms of orders in council of 1873 and 1898) or to conscientious objectors, although all such persons were declared “compellable to do non-combatant duty”.
The young men selected were required to submit themselves for medical examination to one of the duly-appointed examining physicians in their districts, and, if found fit, to report to an indicated training centre. Severe penalties were provided for failure to comply. Under the “Militia (Special) Regulations, 1940”,38 all men reporting for training and passing the supplementary medical examination given at the training centres became members of the Non-Permanent Active Militia, and each was taken on the strength of an appropriate NPAM unit. During their training these “draftees” were paid at NPAM rates, somewhat lower than those of the Active Service Force.
On 9 October 27,599 men reported at the thirty-nine “NPAM Training Centres”39 which had been set up across Canada to receive them. Over 2000 failed to pass the second medical examination; the rest were given thirty days’ intensive elementary training and sent home again. A second large group reported on 22 November, and a third on 10 January 1941. Taking the three together, 89,126 men reported, 7248 were rejected and 81,878 were trained.40 These were the only groups dealt with under the 30-day plan.
The Extension of Compulsory Service
The compulsory service programme had received critical attention in General Crerar’s project for the Army Programme for 1941, presented to the Minister of National Defence in September 1940 (above, pages 87–89). His first memorandum41 made proposals synopsized as follows:
Besides the CASF overseas and the CASF for home defence, we have a scheme for giving all young men thirty days continuous training, and authority to train non-permanent active militia thirty days in the year. ...
The present war has shown that man-power armies cannot resist the German mechanized land and air forces ... our forces may be relatively small but must be highly trained.
Individual training requires 4 months; collective training a further 6 months continuously, thus the programme contemplated under the National Resources Mobilization Scheme, and the NPAM Training Scheme, will be inadequate. We don’t need the number of men for which those schemes cater, but we require longer and more thorough training for a smaller number of men.
We should assert the principle and put it into practice, that men may be compelled to serve for the defence of Canada in this hemisphere. ...
Specifically, Crerar recommended extending the NRMA training period to four months, so that every enrolee might complete his individual training. Thereafter the trained men might be posted to home defence formations, or placed on the rolls of reserve units until required. In accordance with the Government’s declared policy, the overseas army would continue to be exclusively an army of volunteers; but the forces maintained for home defence would, under this scheme, become increasingly an army of conscripts.
The War Committee, at its meeting of 31 October, approved the four-month training plan, and following further discussion confirmed this decision on 4 December. A detailed programme for carrying the scheme into effect was approved by the Committee on 28 January 1941 and subsequently promulgated in “Reserve Army (Special) Regulations, 1941”.42 These provided:
Upon... becoming a member of the Active Militia each “R. Recruit”* shall forthwith undergo training for a period of four months, or for such other period as the Minister of Defence may from time to time prescribe, unless in the meantime he is required for service or duty. Thereafter, so long as he remains a member of the Active Militia he shall be liable to perform such training, service or duty, but only within Canada and the territorial waters thereof, as the Minister of Defence may from time to time require.43
The men called up were now to be paid at the same rates, and be eligible for the same Dependents’ Allowance, as those volunteering for general service. An “R. Recruit” who was “employed in a key post in the armament industry” might be released, by authority and at the discretion of the District Officer Commanding, at the end of two months’ training, on application of his employer.44
* The term adopted to describe a man called out for training under the NRMA Men enlisting for general service were known as “A. Recruits”.
It was an essential part of the new scheme that General Service recruits and NRMA men should train together, going through the same syllabus in the same camps.45 The training centres which had been set up to train CASF reinforcements and those which had been serving the NRMA programme were now combined into one system. Every recruit would now go in the first place to a Basic Training Centre where he would get two months’ elementary “common-to-all-arms” training before passing on to an Advanced Training Centre for two months’ more “special-to-arm” training in the work of his own arm of the service (Infantry, Artillery, Signals, etc. ) The division of training centres into these two categories was not necessarily an ideal arrangement; it was adopted because it was the only means of getting the four-months training scheme going quickly. There was a temporary shortage of trained instructors in special-to-arm subjects, and some of the “NPAM Training Centres” did not have enough ground available for special-to-arm training.46 The new system began to function on 20 March 1941, when the first four-month group of NRMA trainees (4840 21-year-olds) reported to the training centres. Thereafter a group of comparable size was normally called up every month.47
The next step soon followed. General Crerar, we have seen, favoured using NRMA trainees for home defence. In April he asked the Adjutant General to give immediate consideration to making such use of the 21-year-olds then in training centres, at the end of their four-month period. Point was given to this requirement by existing shortages in active units – the same situation which helped to produce the first Army recruiting campaign, referred to above. On 23 April Colonel Ralston sought and received from the War Committee authority to post General Service soldiers from coast-defence units to overseas formations and replace them with men called up under the NRMA. At a press conference on 26 April, and subsequently in the House of Commons two days later, he announced that as the men undergoing four months’ training completed their course they would be detailed to units doing coast defence duty in Canada, “thereby enabling the men in the coastal defence units in Canada to go overseas”.48 The trainees who had finished their training and been posted to home-defence units were known as “Members (H.D.) of the Canadian Army”. This awkward label was subsequently dropped, and NRMA trainees and men performing compulsory duty in Canada were alike called “NRMA soldiers”.49
Another natural advance was made in July, when an order was issued authorizing recalling to duty for the duration of the war the men called out earlier for 30 days’ training.50 Beginning that month, these men were called out in succession, in groups of 1000 or more, to complete their training and subsequently do duty in Canada.51
With the increase in the training period, and still more following the decision to retain NRMA men on permanent duty, the question of postponements
or exemptions became much more urgent than when the training period was 30 days only. Special sittings of National War Services Boards were held in the Advanced Training Centres to enable trainees of the first group undergoing four months’ training (who of course had not known when called up that they would be required for permanent duty) to apply for postponement of that duty.52 No exemptions from service under the NRMA were granted at any time, except in the cases of certain limited occupational groups, e.g., judges, clergymen, police officers, members of fire brigades, and officers of penitentiaries, asylums, etc. Postponements, however, were permitted in many cases, the chief grounds being the importance of the individual to war industry or to farm production. Under new arrangements introduced in July 1941, applications for postponement were not heard until after the individual had been medically examined and, if found fit, enrolled in the Army by the officer known as the “Representative of the DOC” If granted postponement, he was given leave of absence without pay for the period specified.53
The NRMA programme did more than provide men to fill the ranks of home-defence units and thereby release General Service soldiers to go overseas. It also provided, as an important by-product, large numbers of General Service recruits. Many men, when called up for training and faced with the prospect of indefinite military service in Canada, preferred to volunteer for general service and become available as reinforcements for the Canadian Army Overseas. Such enlistments began in the spring of 1941, and in all 7868 NRMA men “went active” that year. In 1942 the figure rose to 18,273, but in 1943 there was a very marked decline, to 6561.54 This was part of the general recruiting recession of that year.
Changes in the NRMA and its Administration, 1942–1943
As the war had proceeded, pressure for a policy of general conscription had gradually grown, and the demand became more insistent after the attack by Japan in December 1941. The Government now sought release from its commitments against compulsory overseas service. The Speech from the Throne at the opening of Parliament on 22 January 1942 announced the intention of holding a plebiscite for this purpose. The voting took place on 27 April, the question presented being, “Are you in favour of releasing the Government from any obligation arising out of any past commitments restricting the methods of raising men for military service?” The result was a decisive “Yes”. The overall vote, service and civilian combined, was 2,945,514 “Yes” (or about 64 per cent) as against 1,643,006 “No”. The
voters of Quebec, however, maintained their traditional position on the issue, and this was the only province where a majority (993,663 as against 376,188) voted against release. Of the service voters in Canada, 84 per cent voted “Yes”; the overseas service vote was 72 per cent “Yes”.55
In May the Government introduced a bill to amend the National Resources Mobilization Act by deleting the proviso limiting compulsory service to Canada and Canadian waters. The amending act56 received the Royal Assent on 1 August. The Government now possessed full powers to institute general conscription when and if it thought fit to do so. In practice it held these powers in reserve until November 1944, when drafted men were sent to Europe for the first time. In the interim, however, a succession of orders in council gradually widened the scope of employment of NRMA men within the North American zone. This process began even before the amending act was passed, when an order in council of 15 May authorized sending NRMA men of two battalions to the United States to guard prisoners of war in transit.57 On 4 September 1942, authority was given for employing draftees in three specified anti-aircraft units in Alaska.58 Ten days later the Government authorized using them in specific units in Newfoundland (including Labrador);59 and in November the dispatch of NRMA personnel of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion to the United States for training was approved.60 On 18 June 1943 another order, passed to cover the enterprise against Kiska, provided for using NRMA men in “the Territory of Alaska (including the Aleutian Islands and other United States islands adjacent thereto)”. The Kiska project might have produced very heavy fighting.61 On 11 August 1943 a generalized order62 authorized employment in any Active unit serving in Newfoundland (including Labrador), Bermuda, the Bahamas, Jamaica, British Guiana, Alaska and the United States; on 31 August this was extended to men not on the strength of Active units.63 Thus the way was opened for releasing considerable numbers of General Service soldiers for service overseas. There was no further change until November 1944, when a serious shortage in infantry reinforcements for the overseas army led the government to authorize sending NRMA soldiers in Europe.
In the autumn of 1942 the decision was taken to transfer the administration of the compulsory service programme under the NRMA from the Department of National War Services to the Department of Labour. It was felt that the control of civilian labour and the calling-up of men for military service could be most effectively coordinated if placed under the same department. The new arrangement was authorized by order in council of 26 September 194264 and became effective on 1 December. Thereafter requisitions for personnel to be called up for training and duty were addressed by the Department of National Defence to the Department of Labour.
Certain topics connected with manpower administration have been left for treatment in a subsequent volume. These include inter-service aspects of the question, and particularly competition between the services for recruits, and the measures taken to alleviate it. The various steps taken to ensure the most economical use of manpower, including the institution of a personnel selection organization, are likewise left aside. In general, the final stages of the army manpower question, when it assumed the proportions of a crisis and became a national problem of the. most serious nature, seem most appropriately dealt with in a volume devoted to the larger aspects of policy.
The Canadian Women’s Army Corps
The year 1941 witnessed the inauguration of a women’s corps of the Canadian Army. This was a product both of the manpower stringency which was beginning to appear at this period, and of the urgent desire of Canadian women to wear official uniform and play a direct part in the armed services.
There was no official women’s corps in the Canadian military forces during the First World War, although women served with them in Canada and Britain in various civilian capacities. In 1918 consideration was given to forming a “Canadian Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps”, and in September 1918 the Militia Council actually approved this in principle.65 The war was then nearly over, however, and no action was taken. The only Canadian women who served in army uniform in 1914–18 were the nursing sisters of the Army Medical Corps.
The organization of women’s auxiliary corps for the armed services in Great Britain began before the outbreak of war in 1939, the Auxiliary Territorial Service being authorized in September 1938, the month of the Munich crisis. Partly perhaps as a result of this British example, Canadian women began forming unofficial and voluntary organizations from this time onward. These multiplied after the outbreak of war and existed in every part of the country. Some of these “corps”, all of which originated in a public-spirited desire to aid actively in the war effort, sought official recognition and status; but as the official_ employment of women came under more serious discussion, the Government’s view was that it was better to set up entirely new organizations, which could not be objects of jealousy or competition among the voluntary groups.66
The formation of a women’s corps of the Army was discussed at National Defence Headquarters from the summer of 1940,67 but there was no action until the following year. On 14 February 1941 the Adjutant General (Major General B. W. Browne) recommended to the Minister of National Defence the formation of a “Canadian Women’s (Army) Service”. Except
for tradesmen, he wrote, there was no existing shortage of manpower, but the time was at hand when it would be necessary to utilize the services of women to replace soldiers “to a much greater extent than at present”.68 In April the Navy, Army and Air Force discussed the question jointly, but neither Navy nor Air Force thought employing women necessary at the time, nor did the Army feel that it was urgent. The opinion was expressed, however, that it would be desirable for each of the three services to control entirely any women’s service which might be formed to work with it.69 There had been some suggestion that a women’s service might be formed under the Department of National War Services, which would supply women to the armed forces, or perhaps to other departments, as they might be required. The forces had no objection to accepting personnel from National War Services, but wished also to be able to enlist directly any women considered particularly suitable.
The matter became more urgent when it was suggested that the British Air Ministry might employ members of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in RAF schools in Canada, and the Associate Deputy Minister of National War Services, Mr. Justice T. C. Davis, was asked to investigate. His report, rendered to the War Committee on 8 May, recommended that the Defence Departments should create either “one Women’s Auxiliary Force” or a separate force for each service.70 On 13 May the War Committee decided that the Department of National War Services should undertake, in collaboration with the defence departments, the provision of “female auxiliary personnel” required by the armed services. Subsequently, however, it was decided that the services should organize women’s corps of their own, although for a time National War Services carried on the recruiting. Detailed planning for the Army was undertaken by the AdjutantGeneral’s Branch late in June.71 The Government’s decision to enlist women volunteers for the armed forces and form a Canadian Women’s Army Corps was announced on 27 June, 1941,72 and on 30 July the War Committee approved Colonel Ralston’s specific proposals for the establishment of the Corps. Recruiting began in September, and 1256 women had been appointed or enlisted in the Corps by 31 December.73 Many recruits came from the unofficial organizations.
In the first instance, the Corps was not part of the Army and not subject to military law. Accordingly, instead of using military terms for officers’ ranks, designations similar to those of the Auxiliary Territorial Service in the United Kingdom were used; the equivalent of “Lieutenant” was “Subaltern”, and of “Lieutenant Colonel”, “Chief Commander”. Badges of rank were also different from those of the Army, arrangements of maple leaves and beavers being used instead of the familiar crowns and stars.74 In 1942, however, the status of the CWAC was materially changed. The fact that the Corps had not been part of the Army had caused many administrative
difficulties, particularly in connection with consideration of post-discharge benefits. Accordingly, by order in council of 13 March 194275 the Canadian Women’s Army Corps was named as a Corps of the Active Militia, and came under military law, with effect from 1 March. CWAC officers now assumed Army ranks and badges of rank.
Throughout the war the CWAC was paid at rates lower than those of male soldiers. The original rates, which were supposed to approximate those of the Civil Service, gave a Volunteer (Private) 90 cents per day on enlistment as compared with $1.30 for a male recruit, while a Chief Commander received $6.70 (the regimental pay of a Lieutenant Colonel in the army was $10.00 per day). In 1943, however, the CWAC rates of pay were increased to 80 per cent of those of other corps of the Army.76
The “administration” of CWAC personnel was necessarily somewhat complicated. Although the great majority of the women of the Corps were employed in non-CWAC units, it was desirable that their discipline and personal problems should be dealt with by female officers. In the first instance, all CWAC personnel were kept on the strength of CWAC companies, which were responsible for them in all respects except employment. This system proved unsatisfactory, one of the disadvantages being that women were shown on the strength returns of both CWAC companies and employing units, thus giving a false overall strength. Matters of discipline and promotion were complicated by the dual authority. In August 1943, accordingly, a different policy was introduced.77 All CWAC officers and other ranks employed with other than CWAC units were now taken off the strengths of their CWAC companies and placed on those of the employing units. The only women remaining on the strength of CWAC companies were their own administrative staffs, newly-enlisted personnel, etc. It should be noted, however, that upon being thus enrolled by their employing units, CWAC “other ranks” were “attached back” to a CWAC company for administration, including pay and discipline and, where applicable, quarters and rations. In urban centres where male soldiers employed at static headquarters were usually placed “on subsistence” and allowed to find their own quarters, CWAC personnel were normally accommodated in barracks.
The military duties undertaken by the CWAC were various, increasingly so as the war proceeded. Many were clerical, and large numbers of CWAC women were ultimately employed at National Defence Headquarters, in spite of initial doubts on the part of the Civil Service Commission.78 Other forms of employment ranged from service in the Army Show, whose concert parties entertained our troops in Britain and the theatres of war, to duty as junior staff officers replacing male officers at static headquarters. There were laundry workers, cooks, drivers, switchboard operators, cipher operators, dental assistants, postal sorters, and many other
“trades”. In 1942, following some experimentation in Pacific Command, the Army Council authorized the employment of CWAC women in gun operations rooms, etc., in connection with anti-aircraft defence.79 Although the vast majority of CWAC women served only in Canada, a detachment was sent to Washington, D.C., and in November 1942 a first CWAC draft arrived in the United Kingdom. Subsequently the CWAC served overseas in considerable numbers,* not only in Britain but at the Canadian administrative headquarters in the two main theatres of operations, Italy and North-West Europe.80
All told, 21,624 women served in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps during the war. At the end of hostilities in Europe in May 1945, the Corps’ strength was 636 officers and 13,326 other ranks.81 Although its formation had been undertaken belatedly and not without some misgivings, it had proved a triumphantly successful experiment. Without the CWAC, Canada’s manpower problem would have been considerably more difficult of solution. The CWAC in itself, however, was far from representing a complete answer to that problem; for the Corps’ strength at the time of the German surrender was only 2.8 per cent of the total strength of the Army.
The Selection of Officers for the Army
Much could be written on the problem of finding the very large number of new officers required by the Canadian Army during the war, and few topics are more important. However, the policies followed can be only summarized in this place.
The Mobilization Instructions in effect in 1939 provided that mobilizing units might find officers from their own Active Lists or Corps Reserves, or from the Reserve of Officers. Other expedients authorized were transfer from other units; appointment of graduates or ex-cadets of the Royal Military College, or members and former members of the Canadian Officers Training Corps possessing certificates of qualification; and promotion from the ranks.82 In September 1939 some CASF units wished to have unqualified officers posted to them. It was recommended that in such cases the candidate should first be commissioned in the Non-Permanent Active Militia, and be posted to the CASF only after qualifying for commissioned rank in the NPAM or on being sent to an Officers Wing of a Training Centre. It was admitted that exceptions might have to be made in the case of units with inadequate or non-existent peace establishments, such as those of the Ordnance and Provost Corps. The Chief of the General Staff accepted these recommendations.83
* See below, Chap. VI.
It follows that in the first instance the Canadian Active Service Force was officered almost entirely by men who already held commissions in 1939. In general, the active lists of the Militia units which were ordered to mobilize provided the officers who were needed. Beyond these, there were numerous officers on the corps or general reserves who were willing and anxious to serve; and in spite of the instructions which had been issued limiting the enlistment of university graduates, etc., there was much good officer material available in the ranks of the mobilizing units, both among the peacetime personnel and the new recruits.
We may note in passing that in 1939 Canadian units were mobilized on United Kingdom war establishments which substituted Warrant Officers Class III (“platoon sergeant majors”) for a proportion of lieutenants – total of eleven platoon commanders in the case of an infantry battalion. This scheme of making a junior warrant officer do a commissioned officer’s work proved to have nothing to commend it in practice, and both the British and Canadian armies abandoned it in 1940.84
One source of well-qualified officers, few in number, however, was the Royal Military College of Canada, at Kingston, which had conducted cadet training of officers for the Canadian military forces, on a four-year-course basis, since 1876. At the outbreak of war there were 200 cadets at the College. The policy then decided upon was that the first class, i.e., the fourth-year men, would be offered commissions and would leave the College immediately; the second class would remain there until the Christmas “break,” when they too would be offered commissions. The third and fourth classes would stay at the College until the end of the school year, and would then be considered qualified as officers. This policy was carried out with respect to the first and second classes, but a subsequent change resulted in only one class graduating in June 1940. The fourth class, which had entered the College in September 1939, did not graduate until June 1941. In addition, 100 new cadets were admitted in September 1940. These, however, were the last to enter during the war. They graduated in the summer of 1942, and the College, as a cadet college, was then closed for the duration of the war.85 A four-year course to produce subaltern officers, though it paid large dividends for a peacetime regular army, was not an economic or practical arrangement in wartime.
The decision to close RMC was related to other far-reaching decisions on the supply of officers. As we have seen, there was no shortage, but rather a surplus, of officers in the early months of the war;* but as soon as
* The present writer’s own experience may illustrate this. In 1939 he was a member of the Reserve of Officers and living in the United States. In the first week of September he offered his services to Headquarters Military District No. 2 and was politely advised that he would be informed when he was required. Subsequent inquiries met with similar responses until October 1940, when some hope of employment was held out. By that time, however, the writer had got into the CASF by another route.
the Army began to expand in earnest in the summer of 1940, the question of officer supply became more urgent. In August, Brigadier Stuart, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, made the suggestion that the time had come “when all commissions should be granted only through the ranks”.86 The stages by which this policy evolved thereafter are not clear, but on 15 November 1940 Colonel Ralston announced in the House of Commons the broad lines on which it was intended to proceed. He said that measures were to be taken to ensure “more uniformity” and a higher “standard of officer qualification”:
Included in these measures is the decision that for the future every candidate for a commission in the Canadian Army must first pass through the ranks. ... This system has been based on a study of the experiences of the last war and on the present practice in the British Army.
Regulations for putting the new policy into effect were not approved until March 1941. It was then decided that it would apply both to the Active and Reserve Armies. The time to be spent in the ranks was laid down as four months for Active units, and approximately one year (or the 30-day annual training period) for Reserve units. Exceptions were to be made in the cases of certain specialists, primarily those having technical university degrees or other specialized training suitable for appointment to the Engineers, Judge Advocate General’s Branch, the Pay or Ordnance Corps or the Chaplain Service.87 About the same time that this policy was approved, two Officers Training Centres were set up to train the men selected under it, and the production of reinforcement officers on a large scale began (see below, page 138).
The selection of men from the ranks for officer training was a matter requiring careful handling. The British authorities, who probably had in proportion to the size of their army a rather smaller pool of “potential officer material” available than Canada, gave much attention to the problem, and their experience influenced Canadian policy. It was necessary to set up some machinery for “screening” candidates and selecting those most likely to succeed. In Britain, as early as the autumn of 1940, a selection committee of senior Canadian officers was set up to interview candidates for commissions recommended by unit and formation commanders and select those to go to the Canadian Officer Cadet Training Unit.88 This unit had been opened at Bordon, Hants (near Aldershot) in August.89 In Canada itself, where the problem was larger, policy crystallized more slowly.
Certain basic principles had been laid down by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Rogers) in a memorandum to the CGS dated 3 October 1939.90 He had decided, he said, that the granting of commissions and promotions should be “determined by the proper service authorities on the basis of merit alone,” and he would make “no personal recommendations” on these matters. Men in the ranks were “entitled to feel that merit will
open a clear path of promotion to commissioned rank which would not be the case if commissions were granted on the basis of personal or political influence.” Applications for commissions were to be made, in the first instance, to unit Commanding Officers or District Officers Commanding, and any “use of outside influence” was to be “regarded as an admission on the part of the applicant that the case is not good on its merits”. In directing in this memorandum that there was to be “no political or personal bias of any kind” the Minister took, perhaps, too little account of the imperfections of humanity. It would have been strange if, in the granting of over 40,000 commissions, there were no cases where the “political or personal” influence of individuals played some part. Nevertheless, it is the present writer’s belief that in general the principles laid down by Mr. Rogers were strictly followed, and that the wartime record of the Army in this respect is a proper matter for satisfaction.
On 27 March 1940 a Routine Order laid down the procedure to be followed in Canada in appointing officers from among men serving in the ranks. It was simple and traditional: selection by the soldier’s Commanding Officer and approval by “higher authority”, followed by the grant of a temporary commission, which would be forfeited if the individual failed to qualify “on attendance at an appropriate training centre”. The educational standard required was that prescribed in King’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Militia, 1939 – to have passed a provincial matriculation examination or its equivalent.91 With the adoption of the new policy of commissioning from the ranks, something more seemed to be required. Nevertheless, the arrangements for selection authorized in the summer of 1941 differed from the earlier ones in only one important respect: units were now instructed to set up unit selection boards, headed by the Commanding Officer, which would forward recommendations to the district or formation commander concerned. Very careful consideration of candidates’ qualities was enjoined. It was now provided that men from the ranks going to Officers Training Centres would no longer be commissioned at this stage, but would have the status of “Cadets”. Specialists who by virtue of professional or other qualifications were exempt from service in the ranks would be granted commissions before going to the Centres.92
Late in 1942 there was a considerable advance in policy. An “Officers Selection, Promotion, Reclassification and Disposal Board” was set up at NDHQ under the chairmanship of Brigadier Howard Kennedy,93 and the whole system was reorganized under its direction. It was now decided that any soldier might be permitted to apply for a commission, and that a careful review should be made of men already serving with a view to discovering “officer material”.94 Moreover, two Officer Selection and Appraisal Centres (one at Three Rivers, P.Q., for Eastern Canada, and one at Chilliwack, B.C., for Western Canada) were set up and began functioning in the spring and
summer of 1943. At these Centres, Officer Selection and Appraisal Boards were established (two at Three Rivers, one at Chilliwack). They were described as “impartial Boards composed of senior officers of all Corps, together with Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Educational Officers, presided over by Brigadiers with long experience in selecting and training officers”.95 At the Centres candidates were put through a series of tests lasting one week, designed to show their fitness or otherwise for commissioning; they were then interviewed by one of the Boards, with the results of the tests before it, and a final decision made as to whether they should be sent to an Officers Training Centre. The normal period of service in the ranks required before recommendation for commissioning was now fixed at five months. Every recruit entering the Army was to pass through a Reception Centre where he would be interviewed by an Army Examiner (i.e., a Personnel Selection Officer), given a “general classification” test (“M” test) and appraised as to his possible fitness for commissioning.*
* The Directorate of Personnel Selection had been formed at Ottawa on 18 September 1941. Officers were stationed at Basic Training Centres and District Depots thereafter to assist in ensuring that recruits were allocated to the duty for which they were best suited.96
Reception Centres, one per Military District, and normally located at the District Depot, were set up by an order of 3 December 1942.97 Their function was to provide uniform facilities for the medical examination of recruits and the other formalities involved in “inducting” men into the Army.
Thereafter, men considered potential officers would be watched and reported on as their training proceeded, and those who made good would be sent in due course to a Selection and Appraisal Centre.98
This uniform and “scientific” system of officer selection was introduced very late, at a time when the former shortage of officers was about to be transformed into a surplus. The result was that it functioned at full capacity for only a short time. In September 1943 the Selection and Appraisal Board and Centre at Chilliwack were closed, and the similar facilities at Three Rivers moved to the Officers Training Centre at Brockville. There they continued to operate, “on a greatly reduced scale”, until June 1945.99
In spite of the decision taken in 1940, a considerable number of officers continued to be “directly” commissioned throughout the war. All told, 42,613 commissions were granted in the wartime Active Army (to the end of June 1946). Of these, 22,339 were direct, and 20,274 were from the ranks. The direct ones of course included all those Permanent Force and Non-Permanent Active Militia officers who were appointed from the Active and Reserve lists at the beginning of the war or later. Many of these officers had served in the ranks at earlier stages of their careers, and the overall figures just quoted therefore require some qualification. Between 1 April 1941 (when the policy of commissioning from the ranks may be said to have become effective) and the end of the war, 19,322 officers were appointed from the ranks of the Active Army and 10,929 direct commissions were
granted.100 In other words, during this period nearly two-thirds of’ the Army’s officer vacancies were filled by men who had served in the ranks. The direct commissions are accounted for by the exceptions for specialists permitted under the 1940 policy, and by the fact that officers of Reserve units mobilized into the Active Force were given direct Active commissions subject to qualification. It must be realized further that many of these latter officers had had service in the ranks in the Reserve Army; this indeed was itself a result of the 1940 policy, which provided that Reserve as well as Active Officers should be appointed from the ranks. Statistics are not available for the number of Reserve Army officers appointed to the Active Army who had served in the Reserve ranks, but it must have been very considerable.
The Training Process in Canada
We pass on now to consider the process of training the soldier. This has become longer and more complicated in proportion as warfare has become more scientific. A modern army contains great numbers of specialists, some of whom may be able to make use of skills acquired in civil life, but many of whom, on the contrary, must be taught from the ground up. This is not limited to the technical arms. The soldier in an infantry rifle company in 1939–45 required to understand and be able to use a wide variety of complicated weapons and equipment, mastery of which could be acquired only by long and careful instruction.
As in the case of recruiting, the present topic falls into two sections: the training of the units which were mobilized as such; and the training of the individuals subsequently enlisted as reinforcements to fill future gaps in those units’ ranks.
The Training of Mobilized Units
The training of a newly-mobilized unit of the Active Army was the responsibility of the unit’s own Commanding Officer. He was assumed to be capable of supervising, under the direction and with the assistance of higher authority, a training programme adequate to fit a completely raw recruit for action, or to bring up to the same standard a soldier who had already had some degree of training.
Unit commanders were not of course left entirely to their own devices and resources. Training policy was prescribed in the first instance by National Defence Headquarters. The earliest general instructions for the Canadian Active Service Force were issued on 27 September 1939, in a Routine Order101 which laid down in very general terms the principles on
which training was to proceed. It provided, among other matters, that, until divisions were concentrated as such, District Officers Commanding were responsible for the training of units quartered in their respective Districts; and it was their particular responsibility to arrange courses for training regimental instructors. In some cases at least, non-commissioned officers of the Permanent Force were attached to newly-mobilized CASF units as instructors; and from early dates selected personnel from the units were dispatched, as indicated above, to take specialist courses arranged by the District or otherwise. The officers or non-commissioned officers attending these courses were then able to return to their units as qualified instructors, passing on to the personnel of the unit at large the knowledge they had obtained.
As already indicated, the training was conceived in two stages: individual and collective. The first stage was designed to teach the soldier discipline and the handling of his own weapons and equipment; in the second he learned to work as part of a team in the business of tactical manoeuvre.
The Organization of Training Centres
The training of reinforcements was a different problem, and clearly required a special organization. The probable need for training units or training centres had of course been recognized before the war, and a certain amount of planning had been done. The Director of Military Training and Staff Duties recommended in August 1939 that plans be made for training centres for the various arms and branches of the service, and locations were suggested.102
When war came, and the decision was made to send troops abroad, the formation of centres to train reinforcements became a matter of urgency. Arrangements were made for fourteen training centres across the country. Five of these were for infantry (rifle) and two for infantry (machine-gun) units; the other arms and services had one centre each. Three were Permanent Force establishments which had existed before the war and had already given good wartime service: the Canadian Armoured Fighting Vehicles Training Centre, Camp Borden, which had been given this new title in September 1939; the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps Training Centre, also at Borden, which had existed since 1938, and the Canadian Signal Training Centre, Barriefield, Ontario, which had been set up in 1936.103 The fourteen centres duly received their first quotas of reinforcements for training on 15 January 1940, except that the Engineer Training Centre at Halifax and the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps Training Centre at Ottawa did not open until the next month. At the end of February, 5465 reinforcements of all ranks were being instructed in the CASF training
centres, whose staffs then totalled 2564 all ranks.104 In May 1940 the number of CASF training centres was increased with the organization of two Small Arms Training Centres, one at Connaught Camp, Ottawa, and the other at Sarcee Camp, Alberta.105
When compulsory training began under the National Resources Mobilization Act, “NPAM Training Centres” were set up to receive the 30-day trainees. These were manned by staffs found in great part from Corps Reserves and the Reserve of Officers, or from NPAM units. The staffs, although not in the first instance forming part of the Canadian Active Service Force, were, unlike the trainees at this period, paid at CASF rates. Of the thirty-nine NPAM Training Centres, 21 were four-company centres, while four were three-company and nine were two-company centres, and five had one company only.106 As already noted, they began their work on 9 October, and it was reported that they did it well. A visiting officer wrote, “The training carried out in the centres... was of a surprisingly high standard”.107
After the decision to extend the compulsory training period to four months and consolidate the training of the General Service recruits and the NRMA men (above, page 120), the original CASF Training Centres, together with eight of the former NPAM Training Centres (which had lately been renamed Canadian Army (Reserve) Training Centres), became Advanced Training Centres, with the function of giving “special-to-arm” training to both “A” and “R” recruits. Most of the remainder of the Reserve centres now became Basic Training Centres, in which elementary training common to all arms was given (see above, page 121).108 By the autumn of 1941 there were 27 Basic Training Centres and 32 Advanced Training Centres operating. The latter included two teaching coast-defence and anti-aircraft artillery work and the two Small Arms Training Centres, as well as two Officers Training Centres and several establishments engaged in special or trades training.109
Training Developments in 1942–1944
The early weeks of 1942 brought increased demands for reinforcements, to complete the First Canadian Army and the divisions being mobilized for home defence. A considerable increase in training centre capacity was now authorized, existing establishments being enlarged and new ones set up;110 the number of basic training centres, which had grown to 28, was increased to 40.* (Two of the new ones were Educational Basic Training Centres,
* For this multiplication, which appears to have been uneconomic, there was no sound military reason. Major General H. F. G. Letson, then Adjutant General, remarks that there was some pressure to “train the boys close to home”. The Army would have preferred the opposite policy.111
where illiterate or semi-literate recruits could be given elementary education sufficient to enable them to be useful soldiers.) Once the immediate need had been met, however, the new organization proved larger than the normal reinforcement stream required. At 31 May 1943 “the total capacity of basic and advanced training centres was more than 78,000 all ranks at one time”.112
As early as 6 November 1942 the Army Council had agreed that the linking of basic and advanced training centres on a corps basis would lessen the administrative burden and increase efficiency.113 However, it proved impossible to introduce this new “Link Training Plan” until 5 August 1943. Under it, all corps except the Infantry, the Armoured Corps (less reconnaissance units) and the Medical Corps carried out both basic and advanced training at Corps Training Centres. In the cases of those three corps, certain basic training centres were linked to specific corps training centres in the same parts of the country. All men destined as reinforcements for a single corps were sent from their District Depot to a common training centre and remained together during the whole of their training, both basic and advanced, with resulting advantage to esprit de corps.*
* During 1943 the arrangement in effect since 1939 by which a recruit enlisted into a specific corps was abrogated, and all enlistments thereafter were for general service in the first instance. Recruits were then allotted to corps by the Army Examiner at the Reception Centre.114
A by-product of the new scheme (and of the “completion of capital commitments for the Army Overseas” and the decline in recruiting) was the closing of 13 basic training centres and reductions in the size of others.115
In the autumn of 1943 correspondence with Canadian Military Headquarters, London, underlined the need for better coordination of training between Canada and overseas, and reflected dissatisfaction in the overseas army with the state of training of the reinforcements arriving from Canada.116 Training syllabi were altered accordingly, and it was felt that the introduction of the Link Training Plan would raise the standards materially.117 A special measure taken at this period was the establishment at Debert in October of No. 1 Training Brigade Group. This formation, composed of training units of all the arms except the Armoured Corps and Signals (but not all the services), had the task of giving a final four-week course to reinforcements before they were sent overseas. This served to review and check their individual training and introduce them to elementary collective training up to battalion or equivalent level. At the end of their time in the Brigade Group, reinforcements went to a Transit Camp to await embarkation.118
Hereafter there were few changes in the organization of training in Canada. For the rest of the war, “the flow of reinforcements continued to be from Reception Centres to Basic Training Centres to Corps Training Centres to Training Brigade Group or Transit Camp and thence overseas”.119 But the infantry reinforcement crisis which began to manifest itself in the late summer of 1944, when it became apparent that official casualty
estimates had been too low for infantry and too high for other arms, necessitated rapid adjustments of training-centre capacities. The re-mustering and re-training of reinforcements of other corps as infantry was the great need. It was met by converting one Medical Corps and two Armoured Corps centres into Infantry Basic Training Centres, devoting all the facilities of one Corps Training Centre to the conversion and refresher training of non-commissioned officers being prepared for dispatch overseas, and utilizing the infantry portion of the Training Brigade Group for the concentration of other ranks for the same purposes. One Army Service Corps and three Artillery training centres were closed, certain other corps centres were reduced, and all Reconnaissance, Army Service Corps and Medical training was concentrated at Camp Borden. In addition to increasing infantry facilities, these measures permitted considerable manpower economies in Canada.120
Special Training Establishments and Trades Training
The natural tendency, under modern conditions, is for specialized training establishments to multiply, and this tendency appeared very clearly in Canada. Special training centres and schools were very numerous. For, example, the Canadian School of Army Administration, located successively at St. Johns, P.Q., Esterel, P.Q. and Kemptville, Ont., provided an Administrative Staff Course (the word “Staff” was later dropped from the designation) as well as courses for Quartermasters and Quartermaster-Sergeants and Clerks.121 A Battle Drill School was set up at Vernon, B.C., and subsequently became the Canadian School of Infantry.122 The Canadian School of Artillery (later redesignated “Canadian Artillery School”) was opened at Petawawa in July 1942.123 The Canadian Driving and Maintenance School, at Woodstock, Ont., gave courses in Advanced Driving and Maintenance for both wheeled and tracked vehicles, and a Commanding Officers’ short mechanical transport course.124 The Canadian Chemical Warfare School was set up at Suffield, Alta.,125 and a Combined Operations School at Courtenay, B.C.126 A complete list of training centres and establishments as they existed in the summer of 1943 will be found in Appendix D.
Active efforts were made, increasingly as time passed, to maintain effective liaison with the Army Overseas in order to ensure high standards and realistic syllabi in training establishments in Canada. With this in view, instructors from overseas were brought back to Canada for tours of duty at training centres and schools. When in September 1943 the Commandant of the Canadian Training School in England (Colonel T. E. D’O. Snow) made a tour of establishments in Canada, he laid great emphasis upon such contacts, remarking, “The only live, worthwhile liaison is personal liaison”.127
Since the army of 1939–45 was, as we have already indicated, to a great extent an army of specialists and technicians, “containing over 30 per cent tradesmen”,128 trades training was of the greatest importance from the beginning. The topic is enormous, but space permits only a few words. As the war went on, very large measures were found necessary to provide trained tradesmen. Trades training policy at NDHQ was handled by a special section of the Directorate of Military Training until April 1942, when a separate Directorate of Trades Training was set up.129 Considerable use was made of civil facilities, including Youth Training Centres and Technical and Vocational Schools, and many tradesmen were trained in the two latter under what was called the War Emergency Training Plan.* The Army itself, however, was obliged to undertake trades training on an important scale. On 10 December 1940 the Cabinet War Committee authorized setting up the Canadian Army Trades School. This large school, originally planned for Barriefield, Ont., but finally opened in May 1941 at Hamilton, Ont., was designed to instruct 2000 soldiers at one time in a great variety of trades, including those of welder, electrician, carpenter, driver mechanic, bricklayer, blacksmith, clerk, armourer, equipment repairer, fitter, machinist, cook, coppersmith, motor mechanic and instrument mechanic. By the end of 1944, over 15,000 soldiers (including many CWAC personnel) had successfully completed training at the CATS130 In the spring of 1942, Vocational Training Schools were set up, one in each Military District. Their original function was the administration of soldiers training in civilian schools, but subsequently they themselves conducted trades training courses. Special arrangements were made for enlisting youths 17 and 18 years of age for trades training; they were enlisted in a Canadian Technical Training Corps and carried on the strength of these Vocational Training Schools.131 Other trades schools conducted by the Army are listed in Appendix D.
Training the CWAC
Training the Canadian Women’s Army Corps had two aspects: giving the recruits a modicum of military training, and teaching them trades. Many, of course, had trades training (e.g., as stenographers) before enlistment, and some had acquired some military knowledge in the voluntary organizations. In the earliest days of the Corps, training was organized locally under direction of District Officers Commanding;132 but in February 1942 the first CWAC training centre opened at Ste. Anne de Bellevue, P.Q. After a preliminary course for officers and NCOs. it began a regular series of four
* This was developed from the youth training plan set up by the Department of Labour in the depression days before the war.
week courses on military subjects for officers and other ranks. Two other CWAC basic training centres were set up later in the year, and thereafter the one at Ste. Anne was given over to advanced and officer training.133
Trades training for the CWAC passed through a similar evolution, beginning with training under District arrangements and progressing by the autumn of 1942 to courses organized on a national scale by NDHQ Courses for cooks, drivers and stenographers were the greatest immediate need. Some of these were held at the CWAC training centres, some at other establishments. As time passed, many CWAC women went as students to the various trade schools established for the instruction of male soldiers, and, as in the case of male soldiers, much use was made of technical and vocational schools and other civilian facilities.134
The Training of Officers
The proper training of new officers was of fundamental importance. As already explained, many of these reinforcement officers were found in the ranks of the Active Army, but they could not be commissioned without passing through a process of training to give them the special knowledge an officer requires, training which would at the same time serve as a final “screening” process to determine their fitness for commissions.
The Canadian Army Overseas, we have seen, had its own Officer Cadet Training Unit as early as August 1940. In Canada the training of young officers was placed upon a centralized and systematic basis in the spring of 1941, when two Officers Training Centres were opened, at Brockville, Ont., for Eastern Canada and at Gordon Head, near Victoria, B.C., for Western Canada. The syllabus at these Centres included four weeks spent on basic subjects common to all arms, six weeks devoted to elementary subjects special to the cadet’s arm, and a two-week course in platoon tactics, designed to ensure that every officer would be able to take command of men performing duties in an area defence scheme. Candidates qualifying in this syllabus were granted commissions as 2nd Lieutenants and then went to Advanced Training Centres of their own arms for a further course qualifying them as Lieutenants. In some but not all cases, the final stage of a new officer’s training was a period spent as an instructor at a Basic Training Centre and subsequently at an Advanced Training Centre, after which he was posted, either overseas as a reinforcement officer or to a unit in Canada.135
Early in 1942, a decision was taken to dissolve the Canadian OCTU in the United Kingdom (except for the short five-weeks “basic” course) and send overseas candidates back to Canada for training at Brockville or Gordon Head. This policy was subsequently modified, and most overseas candidates for the technical arms continued to be trained in England.136 During 1942
the formation of home-defence divisions created a need for more officers and the training programme was expanded, by enlarging the Brockville and Gordon Head centres and establishing a temporary one at Three Rivers, P.Q. This increased the total accommodation to 2600 candidates.137 As a result, an ample and indeed over-abundant supply of reinforcement officers was soon available.* In August 1943 the Adjutant General (General Letson) estimated that there would be a surplus of 2000 by the end of April 1944.138 The centre at Gordon Head was now closed; after September 1943 all officer training was concentrated at Brockville.139
Special arrangements were made to fit French-speaking Canadians for Active Army commissions. Early in 1942 pre-OCTU courses for specially selected French-speaking candidates were instituted at No. 44 Basic Training Centre, St. Jerome, P.Q. Candidates completing one of these were sent on to the Officers Training Centre at Brockville, where a special French Wing had been organized.140 To assist in the training of French-speaking personnel generally, a large programme of translating military manuals and pamphlets was undertaken.141
In peacetime the contingents of the Canadian Officers Training Corps established at various universities had provided many officers for the NonPermanent Active Militia. The COTC continued to serve on a large scale in wartime, and was particularly useful in giving a measure of military training to university students who were completing their education in subjects important to officers in the technical arms. It was desirable for such men to complete their academic courses before joining the Active Force. The policy which gradually took shape was that of enabling students to complete in the COTC courses of military training covering the same syllabus as at Basic Training Centres. This was done during their first and second years, while students in the third and fourth years had a syllabus designed to prepare them for entrance to an Officers Training Centre. Some students trained at Officers Training Centres in the summer months. The net result was to produce considerable numbers of university graduates technically fitted for commissions in the specialized arms and having enough military training to enable them to complete their qualification for commissions in short order.142
In the autumn of 1942 an experiment was tried at the University of Toronto when “No. 1 Canadian Army University Course” was inaugurated. The plan was to provide a special one-year course specializing in mathematics and engineering subjects but including some basic military training (not given by the COTC) Students attending, if not already serving, were enlisted in the Army as privates. The object was to produce potential officers for the technical corps. Those completing the course were, however, required
* A by-product of this situation was the lending of 673 Canadian junior officers to the British Army under the “Canloan” scheme early in 1944. Many of these officers served with distinction in British units in the North-West Europe campaign.
to go through basic and advanced training centres in the normal way and there was no undertaking that they would be selected for officer training. During the academic year 1943–44 a second course was held, at Toronto and eleven other universities, with a total of 1270 students. By this time, however, the shortage of officers in the technical corps had been overcome, and graduates of the course were allowed to appear before Officers Selection and Appraisal Boards only on the understanding that they were prepared, if accepted, to take commissions in the Infantry.143
The higher training of officers was largely concentrated at the Royal Military College, Kingston. The normal work of the College, we have seen, was increasingly suspended from the outbreak of war. The buildings were used, however, for special instructional purposes, and a considerable variety of courses were held there.
The problem of Staff training was serious and urgent. Many pre-war Permanent Force officers had qualified at the Staff Colleges at Camberley, England, or Quetta, India, and many officers of the Non-Permanent Active Militia had passed the Militia Staff Course. Nevertheless, there was a shortage of trained staff officers from the beginning, and a serious shortage from the moment when the Army really began to expand. Although the Canadian forces were allotted vacancies in British schools, these were quite inadequate to the need. Accordingly, arrangements were made to conduct one Canadian Junior War Staff Course in the United Kingdom beginning in January 1941 (see below, page 237). All later Canadian staff courses were conducted in Canada, at Kingston, the second Junior War Staff Course commencing there in July 1941.144
The graduation of the last class of cadets from RMC in June 1942 made possible some expansion of staff training activities there. The Junior War Staff Course was enlarged and late in 1942 its designation was changed to “Canadian War Staff Course”, since its syllabus corresponded with that of the Intermediate Staff Course at Camberley. Early in 1943 this Camberley course was reorganized into two wings, one to train officers for Grade II appointments in field formations, and one to provide Grade II staff officers for headquarters other than field formations. (A Grade II staff officer is normally of the rank of major.) The Canadian War Staff Course was reorganized along similar lines in the autumn of 1943. The Intermediate Wing was later termed “A” Wing. The first Junior (later “B”) Wing course, designed to provide staff officers for static headquarters in Canada, began in October 1943.145 By 1944 the staff officer problem, like that of the supply of junior regimental officers, had been largely solved.
Apart from the staff courses, other advanced courses for officers were held at RMC. A Senior Officers’ Course and a Company Commanders’ Course were conducted until the summer of 1943, when they were fused
into a Field Officers’ Course. This was itself discontinued to make room for the Canadian Civil Affairs Staff Course, inaugurated in December 1943. RMC was also the scene of various more specialized training activities, including Intelligence courses for officers and other ranks, and courses in Field Security.146
The Royal Canadian Army Cadets
Since Victorian times the Army had been represented in the schools of Canada by cadet corps which gave elementary military training and served to introduce the schoolboy to the idea of serving his country as a citizen soldier. This movement expanded and became more active during the war. His Majesty the King lent it countenance in 1942 by granting the title Royal Canadian Army Cadets and consenting to become Colonel-in-Chief. The Army Cadets were the responsibility of a special directorate at National Defence Headquarters, formed in October 1942 (an earlier “Directorate of Physical Training and Cadet Services” had been abolished in 1933). The new Directorate superintended a training programme which included drill, army organization, weapon training, fieldcraft, map reading, signalling, aircraft recognition, etc. The Cadets were divided into Senior and Junior divisions. Their strength at 31 March, 1943 was 95,291; two years later it was 113,827. In the later years of the war, over 9000 senior cadets annually attended summer camps. It was reported in 1945 that at least 54,546 cadets and former cadets had enlisted in the three services or the merchant marine.147
The History of Private Jones
The foregoing outline of the process of recruiting and training has been purely impersonal. How did the system work in actual human terms? Let us trace the record of one individual citizen-soldier who went through the army mill. For the sake of completeness, and as a matter of interest, the story is extended overseas and down to the moment when the soldier was finally discharged after the war. Although some material not wholly relevant to the present chapter is thus included, it may be worth while to record these matters as a concrete example of the system of “personnel administration” within the Canadian Army. The account which follows is based on the service documents of an actual soldier. We shall call him Private Jones, though that was not his name.
Mr. Jones was in civil life a resident of a town of medium size in Nova Scotia. At the time when he decided to volunteer, in the autumn
of 1942, he had had no military training and no connection with the armed forces. He approached the branch recruiting office of Military District No. 6 in his town, and on 11 November 1942 he was medically examined and placed in Category “A”. On 16 November he signed his attestation papers, was sworn in as Private Jones of the Active Army and was taken on the strength of No. 6 District Depot, Halifax. He remained there until 4 December, attending clothing and equipment parades. On 5 December he was posted to No. 60 (Basic) Training Centre at Yarmouth, where he received the usual inoculations and began his training. He stayed there nine and a half weeks instead of the normal eight. The probable explanation is the bad weather which hampered training that winter.148 While at the Centre he qualified in all the elementary subjects: drill, physical training, first aid, marching, small arms training (exclusive of bayonet fighting), gas training, fieldcraft, map reading and “fundamental”* training. In addition, he fired the rifle range course and was rated as an above-average shot. On completing his course he received a good report.
On 10 February 1943, Private Jones was posted to A-14 Advanced Infantry (Rifle) Training Centre at Aldershot, N.S., for a further step in his military education. Here he received approximately nine weeks of advanced training, including the following subjects: physical training, marching, “fundamental” training, bayonet fighting, judging distance, digging and wiring, field training, and sub-machine gun. He passed as average in drill, map-reading, anti-aircraft training, grenade and pistol, and successfully passed his “tests of elementary training” with the rifle, light machine-gun and 2-inch mortar. There is no record of range courses except a further one with the rifle, in which he was classified as a second-class shot. He had a short elementary course on the 3-inch mortar and passed as qualified. Private Jones’s advanced infantry training ended on 13 April 1943.
Probably because of special aptitude, he had been selected as a signaller, and on 14 April he went to the Canadian Signal Training Centre at Barriefield, Ont., to take the infantry signaller’s course. His training there was interrupted by two periods in Kingston Military Hospital with pneumonia. On 6 May he received an increase in pay from $1.30 to $1.40 per day effective from 16 March, the date of his completion of four months’ service, and on 16 May he was granted $1.50 per day, the current rate of pay for private soldiers of six months’ service. On 1 October he graduated from Barriefield a qualified infantry signaller.
* The “Standard Syllabus for Basic, Training, 1942” defines the objects of this as (a) to establish in the recruit “a fundamental knowledge of his own personal responsibilities in regard to conduct, health and personal administrative efficiency”; (b) to broaden his “knowledge of conditions of service in the Army”; (c) to give him “a basic knowledge of democratic Government” and of the responsibilities of a citizen; (d) to give him “a general picture of the war situation as it develops”.
So far, Private Jones appears to have had no regimental affiliation. The Canadian Infantry Corps had been formed in September 1942, and it may be presumed that he was a member of this Corps only, although undoubtedly earmarked as a reinforcement for a Maritime infantry battalion. After a year of training in Canada, Jones was now ready to move overseas. He was given 14 days’ furlough, and was then posted to a “reinforcement serial” and embarked at Halifax on 24 November. On 2 December he landed in the United Kingdom and went to No. 1 Canadian Signals Reinforcement Unit, at Cove, Hants, near Aldershot. This was the normal procedure for infantry signaller reinforcements; all such men were posted to No. 1 CSRU, where they received specialist training until required by their field units.
Private Jones’s stay in the United Kingdom, however, was comparatively short. On 31 January 1944 he was posted to No. 7 Canadian Infantry Reinforcement Unit (which held reinforcements for the Maritime infantry battalions), was immediately “placed on draft” and sailed for Italy on 19 February. The 1st Canadian Infantry Division had suffered heavy casualties in the fighting around Ortona in December, and many reinforcements had been required to bring it up to strength. Jones was now being sent out, with other men, to fill the depleted pool of reinforcements held for the Division in the theatre of operations.
Landing in Italy on 3 March 1944, he went to the 1st Battalion of No. 1 Canadian Base Reinforcement Depot, in the Canadian base area at Avellino, not far from Naples. Here he was listed as a reinforcement for The Carleton and York Regiment. At this period the 1st Division’s front was static, and there was no immediate demand for large numbers of reinforcements. Private Jones accordingly remained at Avellino until 8 May, when he was posted directly to the Carleton and York. He appears to have joined the unit the same day; it was then at Montesarchio, only 40 or 50 miles from Avellino. He thus finally joined a field unit approximately a year and a half after his enlistment in the Army, and became a soldier of the 1st Division just three days before the beginning of the Liri Valley offensive.
In the great assault on the Adolf Hitler Line on 23 May, in which his battalion tore the first hole in the enemy defences, Private Jones seems to have suffered a minor flesh wound, but he remained on duty and was never formally reported a casualty. He was less fortunate during the rest period after the offensive, when like many other Canadians in Italy he caught infectious hepatitis (jaundice). He was sent to No. 15 Canadian General Hospital at Caserta on 10 July, and then on 24 July to No. 1 Canadian Convalescent Depot at Mercatello, where he stayed until discharged on 16 August. In accordance with normal procedure, he was sent back to the 1st Battalion of No. 1 Base Reinforcement Depot at Avellino, and immediately posted thence to the 4th Battalion (then at Monsano), whose function it was to hold a pool of reinforcements ready in the forward area. On
15 September he returned to The Carleton and York Regiment, which was then engaged in the desperate fighting south of Rimini. With it he served through the successive bitter actions of the autumn and winter on the Savio, Lamone and Senio rivers. On 1 December he received trades pay as a regimental signaller for the first time; this may indicate that he only now became a regular member of the Signals platoon. Although unscathed in action, he again fell ill at the end of January and was admitted to No. 3 Canadian General Hospital at Misano, with pyrexia (“short term fever”). He was later transferred to No. 1 Canadian General Hospital at lesi and discharged on 13 February. The same day he went to the 4th Battalion, No. 1 CBRD, and the next was back with his regiment.
Private Jones left Italy with the Carleton and York on 17 March 1945, landing in the south of France on the 20th. He served through the 1st Division’s short campaign in Western Holland and was still with his unit at the end of hostilities in Europe. On the day of the cease-fire (5 May) he went on leave to the United Kingdom; and July saw him on the first leg of his journey homeward. A Nova Scotian serving in a New Brunswick regiment, on 18 July he was transferred to The West Nova Scotia Regiment for return to Canada. With this regiment he arrived on 10 September at No. 8 Canadian Repatriation Depot in the United Kingdom. After a further period of leave in England, he embarked with the West Novas and landed at Halifax on 1 October. He was sent to No. 6 District Depot, where he had begun his military career, for disembarkation leave and discharge.
On 16 November 1945 he received his honourable discharge, having served in the Canadian Army three years to a day. Throughout this period his military character was excellent and there were no entries on his conduct sheet. He had qualified for five campaign stars and medals – the 1939–45 Star, the Italy Star, the France and Germany Star, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp, and the British War Medal. (Unlike many Canadians who had joined the Army earlier, he did not serve in the United Kingdom long enough to get the Defence Medal.) * He thus reverted to the status of a civilian, doubtless with no marked reluctance, but doubtless also with considerable sense of satisfaction in duty done. Private Jones was now Mr. Jones once more; but it is unlikely that he will soon forget the part he played in some of Canada’s hardest battles, or the days when he wore the King’s uniform in the ranks of the Carleton and York.
* The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal was instituted in 1943 and is normally awarded on the basis of eighteen months’ completed voluntary service; the clasp recognizes a period of a minimum of 60 days served outside of Canada. The Defence Medal, instituted to commemorate certain non-operational and civil defence service, was awarded to members of the Canadian forces who served six months in the United Kingdom (a “non-operational area... subject to air attack or closely threatened”).149