British Officers recruiting in Canada 1940

Discussion in 'Canadian' started by Researcher1941, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. Researcher1941

    Researcher1941 Junior Member

    [FONT=&quot]I am seeking information, documented or anecdotal, regarding the presence of British Officers and NCOs recruiting in Canada in 1940 for volunteers for "Special Service with HM Forces".

    I have personal correspondence detailing the presence of British personnel at then Camp Borden, ON (and ostensibly other camps) during December 1940 and I assume to either side of that date.

    Potential volunteers were singled out by their parent command and called for interviews with their CO and the visiting British personnel. The highest ranking British Officer was a Colonel according to my source. They were seeking single men with top-notch records and perhaps with prior service. After volunteering at Camp Borden and a short period of leave, my source tells me he and 3 others joined nearly a company of men from regiments all over Canada near Ottawa (?) just after Christmas 1940.

    The group was sub-divided into smaller groups of 36 or so. Their training continued at Camp Debert, NS, Quebec and western Newfoundland (opposed landings, cliff assaults, etc.) and as far northwest as Churchill, MB (skiing). Rumor among the men was that they were going to Scandinavia, but I doubt this was official; probably common sense and an educated guess considering the stage of the war.[/FONT]
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    [FONT=&quot]Training was intensive to the extreme and casualties were sustained as live ammunition and explosives were the norm in their training. Many exercises had “welcoming committees” using live ammunition. After one particularly brutal exercise which resulted in several deaths the group of 36 my source was in was re-interviewed en masse by the same British Officers and were offered a chance to withdraw and RTU. I'm told none did from this group of now, 33 or 34 or so.

    This group, or parts of it, continued to Scotland via Iceland where the training continued and got worse.

    I have no evidence whatsoever that this group formed a commissioned Canadian unit per se and I'm not suggesting it did (although it would be easier to trace that way). More likely it served as a manpower source for existing British units (Commandos and the like). [/FONT]
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    [FONT=&quot]There is evidence of individual Canadians serving with Commandos both early and late, but British records on this topic (Canadian participation) are woefully incomplete and inconclusive. I would not be surprised if this group(s) helped form the nucleus of other combined operations forces to come later such as FSSF, No. 14 (Arctic) Commando and others, but this is 100% speculation at this juncture.

    I would appreciate your thoughts and recommendations on the pursuit of this topic to include names of personnel, locations, possible units involved, etc[/FONT]

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