Colonel Andrew R. Ritchie, OStJ, CD
Provost Marshal (Army) (1964)
Director of Security, Canadian Forces (1964- 1967)
Colonel Commandant, Canadian Provost Corps Association (1983-1991)
Before launching into his military career permit me to
highlight what I believe will be among Andy Ritchie's
most notable contribution both to his own memorial as a soldier
and the memory and appreciation of the Canadian Provost Corps.
That was Andy’s History of the Corps entitled
"Watchdog - A History of the Canadian Provost
Corps" (ISBN 0-9699647-0-6 1995 University of
Toronto Press). He not only researched and wrote this definitive
history of the Corps but undertook the financing of its
No person was or is more qualified than he to document the history of the Corps. He did so in a manner which is much more than a compilation of historical data by a historian drawing only on archival material. Rather it is a record of the formation, development and contributions of the Canadian Provost Corps to the history of the Canadian Army by a man who lived that history through the 28 years of its place in the order of battle of the Canadian Army in peace and war. It thus imparts a personal impact on the narrative raising it well above the detached nature of many historical tomes. Brigadier Walter J. Dabros, in his forward to this book, says it best as follows " Watchdog fills an important gap in the published history of the Canadian Army detailing, as it does, in a personal way the origin, the people, the challenges of a Corps which occupied a place in the military establishment for 28 years but which no longer exists today - The Canadian Provost Corps."
It is a work that is and will be of great and particular interest to anyone that served with or was associated with the Corps at any point throughout its or their life span. Similarly it is a fine reference to any other person who has been associated with any Military Police organization. It stands and serves as fine and worthy commemoration to Andy Ritchie throughout time.
A22711 Pte A R (Andy) Ritchie enlisted in the Essex Scottish Regiment, at Windsor, Ontario on 14 July 1940. In March 1941 he transferred to the newly formed Canadian Provost Corps and was posted to the Provost Training Depot at Aldershot England. From that point forward his service record reveals advancement and participation in the training programs and operational experiences related to all of the functions of the Corps. His career took him to the rank of Colonel and appointment as the last Provost Marshal (Army).Upon integration / unification of the military forces of Canada he was appointed the first Director of Security in the Canadian Armed Forces. The following outline of his training, experience and progress gives witness to his military progress.
14 July 1940- Enlisted in the Essex Scottish Regiment, in Windsor, Ontario.
August 1940- Basic Infantry training at Camp Borden
February 1941 - Embarked Halifax and disembarked Greenock, Scotland.
March 1941 - Transferred to Canadian Provost Corps and posted to the Provost Training Depot, Aldershot.
April 1941 - Promoted Lance Corporal and posted to B Section 3 Provost Company,Canadian ,Warrenhurst
July 1941 - attached to 1 Canadian Armoured Brigade, the Lavington Downs of Salisbury Plain.
November 1941 - Returned to 3 Provost Company,
May 1942 - Promoted to rank of sergeant.
July 1942 - Appointed NCO i/c "F" Section, 3 Provost Company
September 1942 - Officer training at 1 OCTU in Borden Camp U.K.
November 1942 - Commissioned Lieutenant and posted to 5 Provost Company
January 1943 - Posted to 8 Provost Company, 4 Canadian Armoured Division.
February 1944 - Promoted Captain and appointed Officer Commanding 13 Provost Company, 2 Canadian Corps,
3 July 1944 - Crossed Channel to Normandy and put ashore east of Courcelles.. Company assembly area near village of Thaon. Performed Provost duties in the following battles or operations:
Carpiquet Airfield, Caen (River Crossing), Vaucelles and Colombelles, Operation Goodwin (three British Armoured Divisions attack NE of Caen), Operation Totalize (29 July), Operation Tractable (14 August), Irum/ Chambois Valley (closing the Gap), Seine River, Somme River, Boulogne, Calais, Antwerp, Hertogenbosch and Nijmegen.
January 1945 - Provost Depot, Aldershot, England. Organised a C Pro C Training Depot to select and train four Provost Companies for repatriation duties (the return of the Army to Canada)..
May 1945 - Promoted Major and appointed Chief Instructor, Provost Training Depot, Aldershot.
January 1946 - Returned to Canada (USS Shedive an escort carrier on loan to British Navy)
March 1946 - Posted to A-32 Provost Training Centre, Camp Borden, to carry out the following duties:
- disband the Centre and form a Holding Unit (No 6 Provost Company);
- disband the HWE Provost Companies in Ontario;
- select Provost personnel for Plan H (Regular Force) units (up to and including lieutenants);
- disperse surplus personnel, funds, equipment and buildings as required.
Note: Accepted in the Canadian Army Regular with the rank of Major on 31 October 1946.
February 1947 - Posted to HQ Central Command, Oakville, Ontario as APM.
January -December 1951 - graduated from the Canadian Army Staff College,.
January 1952 - Posted to the Office of the Provost Marshal, AHQ, Ottawa, as Assistant Provost Marshal (APM )Plans and Training.
October 1953 - Posted to Korea as APM 25 Canadian Infantry Brigade and OC 1 Commonwealth Division Provost Company..
February 1955 - Posted to the C Pro C School as Chief Instructor at Camp Shilo, Manitoba.
December 1955 - Promoted Lieutenant Colonel.Appointed Commanding Officer the C Pro C School
January 1960 - Posted to the Office of the Provost Marshal as Deputy Provost Marshal (Army)
May 1963 - Seconded Department of External Affairs and posted to the International Commission for Supervision and Control in Vietnam,
July 1964 - Promoted Colonel and appointed Provost Marshal, Army
November 1964 - Appointed Director of Security for the Canadian Armed Forces.
September 1967 - Honourably released.
Worthy contributions to the Corps and the Army
In very recent days I received a note from Bill Patterson. Among other comments Bill mentioned that "what so many are not aware of is Andy Ritchie's commitment and contributions to the Branch. I have known this man since I was a teenager, and witnessed many of his battles with the non corps members of the armed forces that wanted to keep us down."I felt it appropriate as I reached this point to insert Bill's comments as you will see the importance of Andy's fierce personal determination to advance the cause of the Corps and its members in this list of worthy contributions to the Corps and the Canadian Army. In a time when bidding for scarce resources I am sure you may recognize what Bill refers to in his comments above.
May - December 1945- The organization of a large C Pro C Training and Reinforcement Depot in England to select, transfer and train 600 surplus infantry, artillery and armour reinforcements required to form four provost companies for the repatriation programme after VE Day. Many of these men continued to serve in post WWII Provost Units.As you review those accomplishments some may reminisce and recall that you played a part in some or many of them such as contributing to a CAMT , taking part in winning the Cambridge Bowl , served in the Commonwealth Division Provost Company or being one of those selected to remain in the newly reorganised Corps after WW2 etc.. In doing so you remember that these were Andy's initiatives and only an Officer with his strength of purpose could over come the many obstacles along the road to their being brought to fruition or rendering service which brought great credit to the Corps.
April - September 1946- In Camp Borden, Ontario the selection of officers, warrant officers, non commissioned officers and men for the first ever C Pro C establishments in the Canadian Army (Regular), This task was somewhat complicated by the high ratio of applicants to authorised establishment slots. For example, there was 27 Warrant Officers Class 1 for 5 positions.
August 1947 - May 1949- Obtaining budget approval, recruiting and organising three Reserve Provost Companies in Ontario.
January 1952 to September 1953- Developed the Corps plan for NATO and Korean War units as a result of the 1950-53 Army expansion. This also included establishment approval for the C Pro C School, Command Provost Companies, Detention Barracks and Reserve Force I and A Cadres.
1952 - 1953- Drafted and Secured General Staff approval for Training and Qualifications Standards for all C Pro C ranks and trades.
1952 to 1960- Planned, drafted, edited and obtained General Staff approval for the printing and publication of five C Pro C operating and training manuals (CAMT 10-1 Provost, CAMT 10-2 The Canadian Provost Corps in War, CAMT 10-3 Traffic Control, CAMT 10-4 Service Prisons and Detention Barracks and CAMT 10-5 Investigative Procedures.)
1955 to 1958- Restructured the content and methods of training and qualifying C Pro C Officers for higher rank, including the system of examinations.
1956 to 1960- While CO of the C PRO C School, the Unit is awarded the Cambridge Challenge Bowl in 1956, for the highest aggregate score obtained by any Canadian Army Unit, during the annual range classification shooting. (See article Canadian Army Journal, Oct 1956).
Designated the official Liaison Officer between the Corps and the US Military Police Corps, Fort Gordon, Georgia. Selected to witness a test Atomic Bomb shot on the Nevada Desert, in August 1957. N.B.: This was the last, above ground, nuclear explosion.
1960 - 1963- Served on a Staff Committee (formed by the CGS) to develop a system of road movement for use in the Canadian Army. The "packet" system was recommended and approved.
As DPM, established the pre-eminence of C Pro C officers in United Nations Peacekeeping Forces, i.e. the U N Senior Military Adviser accepted, as a matter of policy, that the senior military police officer in various contingents would be a C Pro C Officer. The net result was another avenue for promotion and exposure to more significant and important tasks and responsibility for Corps Officers.
Expanded the number of officers commissioned from the ranks (CFR) to a level approaching the average for all Corps of the Army
November 1964 to March 1967- As Director of Security, organized and commanded the first ever Security Branch of the Canadian Forces at National Defence Headquarters. Drafted an outline and edited a security policy manual (CFP 128) which set out policy and procedures for all elements (land, sea and air) of the Armed Forces. N.B. The structure of the Directorate and the policy for security remained largely unchanged until the 90s.
Service to the Community
Andy was released in 1967 and joined the Public Service of the Government of Ontario where he served with distinction on a number of Government Programs until March 1978. He was active in volunteer community programs and in particular was involved in hands on basis with the St John Ambulance Brigade. He served for a period as Commissioner of Central Ontario Area (including Metro Toronto) of that organization.
He maintained a number of memberships in:
a. The Canadian Provost Corps Association ( Served as Colonel Commandant, of the Association from 1983 - 1981),Andy was one of nine children and one of five brothers who saw active service in World War II. He was married to Peggy Burton of East Croydon, England on 27 May 1944.. They had three children Sheila, Ian and James.
b. The Military Police Association,
c. The Royal Canadian Military Institute,
d. The Order of St John of Jerusalem,
e. The Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 165),
f. The Etobicoke Historical Society,
g. The National Citizens Coalition,
h. Friends of the Canadian War Museum and;
j. The Conference of Defence Associations Institutes
One of the most interesting aspects of Andy's service to his immediate community as well as to the larger community is that he was never satisfied simply to be a "member" but rather was an active player and positive contributor within these organisations.
He was an active proponent of the need to put forth continuing personal effort to broaden ones knowledge long before adult or evening courses were contemplated. He championed the proposition of continuing personal individual responsibility long before the popular modern day management term "Life Long Learning" came into vogue. A prime example of this was his advocacy of Professional Advancement Training. He ensured through his own leadership, example and participation that you were aware of your personal obligation both to the Army and yourself to be continually broadening your knowledge and experience.
I hope that as you read this some pleasant recollections were evoked if not of direct involvement with the events but as a benefactor of the efforts put forth by Andy Ritchie in these events and his ability to achieve a level of personal rapport with soldiers of all ranks.
The Corps and the Corps Association and their individual members owe Andy a debt of gratitude for the role model he was and the guidance and assistance he has provided to all who had the pleasure of being associated with him over the past 50 and in some cases 60 years.
Colonel Ritchie, thank you for the friendship
and camaraderie that you offered to all of us and more
importantly, a job well done and a life well
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