"PROVOST FIELD OPERATIONS"


The first field formation created following the establishment of the Canadian Provost Corps in 1940 was No.1 Provost Company RCMP which was mobilized to support the Canadian Active Service Force (CASF). This unit was the model from which all other Provost companies would be organized both during and following WWII. Many Provost companies operated in forward areas in major battles during WWII, deploying in support of both Canadian and British divisions throughout continental Europe. Many members of the Provost Corps, not unlike any other soldier in battle, became casualties of war, and others were taken prisoner.

One of the most important duties carried out by Provost during WWII and the Korean conflict was traffic control -route signing, control of the movement of military vehicles, manning of traffic and information posts, mobile patrols of the main supply routes(MSRs), manning defiles and conducting VIP escorts throughout their sectors of responsibility. Provost also controlled refugees and stragglers in forward areas, ensuring that established routes were not blocked by refugees moving to safer areas and soldiers separated from their units were directed back to their lines. Disciplinary patrols in rear areas, as well as investigations into crimes committed by servicemen, were other specialist tasks performed by the Provost units in theatres of operations.

Following WWII and the Korean Conflict, Provost personnel served in numerous Canadian Army deployments in support of UN and NATO operations, including: the Congo, Egypt, Cyprus, Germany and Belgium. When deployed with UN formations, Provost members usually worked in multi-national Military Police detachments, working side-by-side with their Finnish / Danish / Indian / British /Irish / Australian and Austrian counterparts under UN colours. Many a Provost has a story to tell about being on mobile patrol early in their tour with a foreign patrol partner where sign language was the order of the day. Regardless of the language barriers, of which there were really only a few, members of the Canadian Provost Corps led the way in many of these operations.

Each of Canada's infantry regiments was assigned a "Regimental Provost Element". For each battalion of an infantry regiment, the Regimental Provost Element consisted of a Provost Sergeant and four Lance Corporals who were on established strength to the battalion for usually a three - five year tour. Also, a Provost sergeant was posted to each armoured regiment in much the same capacity as the Infantry battalions. In these Regimental roles, the Provost became a member of the regimental family provided he earned the respect of the majority of the unit's members, which was by no means an easy task to accomplish. Regimental Provost members earned this respect by performing their Regimental Police duties with the utmost fairness and ensuring that the welfare of the personnel of the unit was their result. This Site's Administrator served a five-year tour with 1 Battalion, Royal Highland Regiment Of Canada (Black Watch) from 1965 to 1970, deploying to Cyprus with the Battalion in 1967. My many experiences, some unique to say the least, as a member of the 1st Bn "Black Watch" was a great foundation upon which to build my career as a Military Policeman.

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