Topic: The RCR
Notes from The RCR Depot, which was located at Wolseley Barracks, London, Ontario, and responsible for recruit training of the Regiment's soldiers, describe the situation at the Depot in 1958. Part of their report published in the regimental journal of The Royal Canadian Regiment, The Connecting File, Winter 1958-59, was a roundup of the reasons given by recruits for why they decided to join The Royal Canadian Regiment.
The RCR Depot, 1958
So much has happened in the past six months that it would be impossible to attempt to tell all.
Army Headquarters opened the gates for RCR Recruiting and about 500 men from all walks of life came flowing through the gates of Wolseley Barracks.
For some time, the Depot Platoon looked more like a small battalion, with five platoons of 35 men pn parade daily. Sgts carrier and McNulty worked day and night keeping them busy with pre-Depot training, such as the wearing of their clothing, maintaining of their equipment, bed layouts, pressing, shining, etc. We were fortunate at this time to have WO2 Doran attached, to assist us in making these civilians look like soldiers in a period of ten days.
The 250 man Barrack Block was bursting at the seams, and after the lounge was full, we hollered for help. 1st Battalion came to our rescue, and gave us the accommodations and training facilities for four platoons, in Camp Ipperwash.
In order to keep these young minds occupied during the evening, those who were not taking extra instructions, were either taken to the Football Game, thanks to the complimentary tickets given us by the London Lords, or were given the free run of Gloster Hall's swimming pool and gymnasium, which attracted more men than the wet canteen.
Upon arrival, new recruits were kitted, given a military haircut, documented and given the general idea of what was in store for them during their depot training. Upon interviewing each man, they appeared to be in most cases, a better type of recruit, with an average age bracket of from 18 to 20, and a better outlook on life. One question which is asked of each recruit, is the reason behind his joining the Regiment.
Some of the answers received are as follows:
- Wanted to make the army a career.
- Friends in the Regiment.
- Like the Army life.
- Wanted to become a Parachutist.
- Travel and adventure.
- Family connections with the Regiment.
- The RCR doesn't have to advertise for recruits, so I thought it must be a good Regiment as it seemed to be difficult to get into.
- Talking to other soldiers at home, they told me that this was a good Regiment.
- Good Regiment in sports.
- Different type of training, such as parachuting, arctic, air portability.
- Militia Training Battalion at the RCR Home Station during the summer.
- Outdoor life.
- Better chance of getting overseas as 2 Bn is Canada's United Nations standby battalion.
So, as the year comes to a close, we have one thing to be proud of. Although our wastage was high, the men of the Depot marched out of camp on Christmas leave looking like well disciplined, neatly dressed, and shining soldiers, that any regiment would be proud to claim as their own.