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In July of 1967, I enlisted in the Army (Artillery) at the Recruiting Centre, on St. Clair Ave. Toronto. At that time, I was sent to CFB, Downsview for my orientation. After one week and a really short haircut four other new recruits plus myself were sent out to CFB Shilo, Manitoba for our Depot Training (Basic Training) which recruits now refer to as “Boot Camp”.
A day and a half later, we reached a small desolate drop off at Douglas, Manitoba via CP Rail and all we could see is one huge grain elevator, a lonely set of railway tracks and flat fields that seemed to go on forever. When I was young, I was raised on a farm and had never seen such a sight. The sky was huge with not a hill in sight.
For a while, we thought that someone was playing a cruel joke or that we had just been forgotten about. Finally, someone came to pick us up in a small green van and then brought to the base. Before we even got to our barracks, we went through a ton of red tape for equipment and clothing and then we finally got to our barracks.
Because the five of us were a month early before our troop (Troop 159) started up, we had to do all of the crap jobs around the base. Little did I know that in five weeks I would have begged to do those jobs again. In the first day of Depot Training, I felt like I was going to die after running one mile. Never would I have imagined that by week three we were running at least ten miles in PT or swimming for two and a half hours straight.
I'm fascinated by stories of the Canadian Army in the 1960's. Your Depot troop, 159, was one of the last before the RCSA Depot closed the following year. Any other stories that you may have about your service, training, time in etc, would be welcomed by me, if no one else.
A few questions to start if I may. How many other cap badges were there taking training with you? Were puttees still a part of battledress when you were in? Did you serve with Major / Lt COl Mike Calnan? Selkirk Lines at Fort Osborne Barracks: Good posting or bad?