|Royal Canadian Mounted Police|
Training At The C Pro C School
|This article was prepared by Lieutenant Colonel(Retired) James D (Jim) Lumsden. He served in the Canadian Provost Corps and the Canadian Forces. Jim is a past President (1990 -93) of the Canadian Provost Corps Association. At presenthe coordinates an email group who's purpose is to foster andmaintain the comradeship enjoyed by the members of theCorps.|
It has been recognized since Charles 1 Articles of War of 1829 that a police or provost service is a fundamental support element required by a military force. Upon Canada's entry to the Second World War, in spite of a plan which contemplated a need for a such a presence in the form of a provost company with each formation, there were no military police in either of the two components of Canada's Army (the Permanent Active Militia and the Non-Permanent Active Militia).
A proposal to form a provost company from RCMP volunteers was advanced and approved. This unit was designated 1 Provost Company (RCMP) The Unit was tasked to provide support for 1 Canadian Infantry Division. Thus was instituted an alliance which would serve the advantage of both the Canadian Army and the RCMP throughout World War Two and well beyond, even to the present.
By June of 1940 the formation of the Canadian Provost Corps was authorized. The Corps grew to a strength of 6,120, however, at wars' end in 1945, the police presence reverted to a total of 117 all ranks. This numbers substantially increased in the early 50s with the formation of 25 Brigade to serve in the Far East and 27 Brigade to serve with the Canadian contribution to NATO. Despite this increase there were senior members of both the RCMP and the Canadian Provost Corps who recognised the need to maintain a cadre of men within the RCMP who were trained in someof the military skills not normally stressed in their police training.
Colonel Lconard H Nicholson, who was Provost Marshal (Army) at the end of the war, returned to the RCMP and subsequently appointed Commissioner of the RCMP in 1951. To give effect to his recognition of the need to avoid the World War II mobilization problems he and Lieutenant Colonel Jim Stewart, Provost Marshal (Army), and both veterans of 1 Provost Company (RCMP) sought and received authority to have RCMP volunteers trained for immediateduty with the Army in the event of mobilization.
The first contingent of RCMP constables arrived at the Canadian Provost Corps School at Camp Borden in August 1952. They were fitted out with army uniforms and C Pro C accouterments. The only item to differ them from members of the C Pro C was their RCMP cap badges. The participants lived in single quarters (more commonly known as H Huts) and followed the daily routine of a military unit.
The training syllabus was of three weeks duration. . It was designed to upgrade their skills and knowledge of:
I had the opportunity to correspond with one of the RCMP members who attended the initial course. The candidates were billeted in one side of an H hut. On the other side were Provost personnel For some unknown reason there was a restriction in that visiting between barracks areas was not permitted. He did however recall one particular C Pro C member even after 50+ years. He is described as a man of great proportions who was a veteran of WW2 and was a Private or Lance Corporal. This chap had a habit., once he became a bit the worse for wear, of stomping in a clamorous fashion into the RCMP quarters shouting and challenging any blank, blank Mountie to take him on. To my correspondent's knowledge no one ever took him on in public but one morning he was found sleeping it off in the connecting washroom of the H Hut. The generally accepted explanation is that he had embarked on one too many after- midnight rampages, tried the patience of the occupants of the quarters and met his just end. It is understood that neither of the two groups occupying the wings of the H Hut were troubled by the miscreant's fate. This equitable solution, while it did not end the chap's affinity for "John Barley Corn did lead to a bit more circumspect behavior on his part when getting to his bunk.
This same correspondent described the course as excellent. His clearest recollection of the training was the introduction to and qualifying on motorcycles. In particular he mentioned one of the instructors a Corporal Grant who was in his very early twenties. Grant was praised as an excellent instructor and even better motorcycle rider. (Note: the C Pro C NCO has been identified as Ed Grant who many of you will recall as Sergeant Ed Grant. Most recently Ed has been the President of the Canadian Provost Corps group on the west coast).
His recollection is that after the first week they went on several long trips in the surrounding area and also over the rough terrain of Borden itself. In particular he recalls their first trip on the highway at a speed of 35-40 MPH and looking up to see Cpl Grant who was leading standing on the seat of his motorcycle looking back to see if all were still behind him.. He made a very definite point of describing Ed Grant as an outstanding rider
Just immediately prior to the course Queen Elizabeth then, Princess Elizabeth, had been on tour in Canada. The RCMP had provided a motorcycle escort for her. There had been two teams of 4 each so that one escort team were always waiting at her next destination. After the tour the RCMP didn't know what to do with 4 of them while they were awaiting new postings so they sent them on this course. Of course, they didn't mention to the instructors that they knew anything about riding a motorcycle and went through all the basics with the rest of the neophytes.
After two days riding around a large parade square at very low speeds that the pre-trained four couldn't stand it any longer and proceeded to demonstrate their prowess while the instructors had gone for coffee. Unfortunately, they came back sooner than expected only to see some of their supposed beginners doing some high speed hi-jinks on the motorcycles. "The instructors realized there were some experienced people in the group. They then went out of their way to ensure the experienced members were given a much advanced level of training compared to the rest of the participants.
An RCMP Officer, Inspector Gerry Mudge, himself another veteran of 1 Provost Company (RCMP), accompanied the group to deal with RCMP administrative matters. In addition, RCMP Corporals Reid, Pond and Poole were assigned to support each of the three platoons.
48 Constables graduated from this first training session. Commissioner Nicholson attended their final parade and graduation. The endeavor was deemed a great success and seen as being advantageous both to the RCMP and the Canadian Army. As a result the program was repeated at Camp Shilo in 1954 and again in 1956. A total of 150 RCMP members completed this training.
It will be recalled that the rationale for this undertaking had been to avoid or at least mitigate the mobilization problems encountered at the start World War 2. The overall outcome of this venture demonstrated, at the time of this training , that at least one of the lessons learned in the implementation of the 1939 mobilization plan had been remembered and a successful remedy applied.
We would invite anyone who participated in this training either as a member of the staff or as a student to send forward your recollection of this interesting training experiment experience.
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