Educator Resources:
Training Bases

The probable need for training units or training centres had of course been recognized before the war, and a certain amount of planning had been done. The Director of Military Training and Staff Duties recommended in August 1939 that plans be made for training centres for the various arms and branches of the service, and locations were suggested.

When war came, and the decision was made to send troops abroad, the formation of centres to train reinforcements became a matter of urgency. Arrangements were made for fourteen training centres across the country. Five of these were for infantry (rifle) and two for infantry (machine-gun) units; the other arms and services had one centre each. Three were Permanent Force establishments which had existed before the war and had already given good wartime service: the Canadian Armoured Fighting Vehicles Training Centre, Camp Borden, which had been given this new title in September 1939; the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps Training Centre, also at Borden, which had existed since 1938, and the Canadian Signal Training Centre, Barriefield, Ontario, which had been set up in 1936.103 The fourteen centres duly received their first quotas of reinforcements for training on 15 January 1940, except that the Engineer Training Centre at Halifax and the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps Training Centre at Ottawa did not open until the next month. At the end of February, 5465 reinforcements of all ranks were being instructed in the C.A.S.F. training centres, whose staffs then totalled 2564 all ranks. In May 1940 the number of C.A.S.F. training centres was increased with the organization of two Small Arms Training Centres, one at Connaught Camp, Ottawa, and the other at Sarcee Camp, Alberta.

When compulsory training began under the National Resources Mobilization Act, "N.P.A.M. Training Centres" were set up to receive the 30-day trainees. These were manned by staffs found in great part from Corps Reserves and the Reserve of Officers, or from N.P.A.M. units. The staffs, although not in the first instance forming part of the Canadian Active Service Force, were, unlike the trainees at this period, paid at C.A.S.F. rates. Of the thirty-nine N.P.A.M. Training Centres, 21 were four-company centres, while four were three-company and nine were two-company centres, and five had one company only. As already noted, they began their work on 9 October, and it was reported that they did it well. A visiting officer wrote, "The training carried out in the centres . . . was of a surprisingly high standard".

After the decision to extend the compulsory training period to four months and consolidate the training of the General Service recruits and the N.R.M.A. men (above, page 120), the original C.A.S.F. Training Centres, together with eight of the former N.P.A.M. Training Centres (which had lately been renamed Canadian Army (Reserve) Training Centres), became Advanced Training Centres, with the function of giving "special-to-arm" training to both "A" and "R" recruits. Most of the remainder of the Reserve centres now became Basic Training Centres, in which elementary training common to all arms was given (see above, page 121). By the autumn of 1941 there were 27 Basic Training Centres and 32 Advanced Training Centres operating. The latter included two teaching coast-defence and anti-aircraft artillery work and the two Small Arms Training Centres, as well as two Officers Training Centres and several establishments engaged in special or trades training.

Colonel C.P. Stacey, "Official History of the Canadian Army In the Second World War"

  • Group portrait of the Signal Corps, No. 18 Platoon, taken at No. 20 Canadian Army Basic Training Camp in Brantford, Ontario on January 28, 1942. Ray Bartlett is in the 2nd row, 3rd from the top.

    Ray Bartlett

  • Canadian Army, Air Force, and Navy officers. Back row second from left Danny McLeod, Back row third from right Harvey Theobald, all others unidentified.

    Danny McLeod

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