Canadian Battle Drill School (1942-1945)

The Canadian Battle Drill Training Centre was set up at Courtenay, B.C. where the first course ran June 6-27, 1942. The centre consisted of the Vernon Military Camp and the Coldstream Battle Drill School. The Commandant and original instructors were all from the Calgary Highlanders’ Battle Drill School in England, and were:- Lt. Col. J.F. Scott, Commandant and Major A.E. Langston, Chief Instructor.

The location at Courtenay was excellent for training. A small river ran through the camp and an abandoned Japanese Village was available within a few miles. Possibly due to fire hazard and for other reasons, the school was moved to Vernon, B.C. in July 1942. Major Martin discovered the excellent training areas of the Coldstream Ranch and Mr. Tom Hill the ranch manager agreed to allow training to be carried on throughout the 11,000 acres included therein. Subsequently, the entire ranch was made into a maneouvre area by Order in Council. Through the enthusiasm of the instructors and demonstration platoons, a log village has constructed for village fighting, an obstacle course consisting largely of natural obstacles has been laid out. A bayonet assault course has been built, a trench has been blasted from solid rock on the side of the hill, where sections experienced fire overhead and otherwise from all platoon weapons. An “English” type lane with hedges and gates has been completed. A dam has been built on the Coldstream Creek, to provide for river crossing drills. Pill Boxes with necessary wire and slit trenches have been constructed and the entire camp has been moved to the Coldstream Ranch. The background of the hills make possible the realistic firing of all platoon weapons at selected spots. To assist in illustrating the use of combat teams a carrier section has been trained in Battle Drill for Carriers.

My father attended this school, by then officially called the Canadian School of Infantry, from May to July 1944. We have had these pictures in our family ever since.