Corporal Ernest Grimes (bottom right) at Lansdowne Park Ottawa before leaving for Fort Benning.

The memorabilia of Corporal Ernest Grimes. The RCASC items have been added to better represent his overall service.  After qualifying, He did a short stint as an instructor but was transferred to the RCASC in early 1943. Note the elaborate jacket crest made for Ernest at Fort Benning, Georgia.  

After the near disaster at Crete, German parachute troops were used as elite infantry rarely to be used as paratroopers.

German Fallshirmjager drop on the Greek Island of Crete

Soviet Paratroops slide off the wing of a Tupolev TB-3

Contrary to much that has been written about the overwhelming success of parachute troops used by the Soviets and Germans, in truth no one was really prepared throughout WW II to mount large airborne operations. Going beyond the concept of using the parachute to infiltrate small groups of commandos, sabotuers and spies, most large scale airborne operations mounted during the war could be arguably labelled near or complete disasters. Photo credit Russian National Archives and Bundesarchiv

Although the concept of parachuting had existed for some considerable time before 1914, It did not really become a viable method of saving lives or infiltrating soldiers from the air until after developments made during and immediately after WW I. Above images show the deployment of a static parachute from an observation balloon during that war. Rather than wearing the parachute, it was folded up and held inside a separate container lashed to the balloons rigging. The photo (above left) shows two methods of stowing the parachute before use. The method of deploying the parachute meant that the men actually had to jump before the balloon came under fire.  Photo Credit IWM Cat No. Q27506, USNA Negative 533475, Unknown

These were the first men selected in Canada to become the nucleus of a parachute training school. Past published histories have called them the nucleus or first step in the formation of a 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. This is not true. Their role was to set up a parachute school in Canada in order to train men for any parachute capability deemed necessary at that time. Initially this meant the  First Special Service Force (FSSF).  It was only after a confusing chain of events that men originally selected for the FSSF in the UK were diverted back to Canada to begin the progressive formation of an actual parachute battalion. (See RINGWAY Section.) In fact only two or three men , at their request, shown above actually went on to be members of the FSSF or Parachute Battalion. The rest remained as staff of the S-14 Canadian Parachute Training School or later the A-35 Canadian Parachute Training Centre or went on to other duties. 

         THE BEGINNING

  *ABOVE*  Some of Canada's first "official" paratrooper pioneers. These were the men sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, USA to become the nucleus of a Parachute Training School in Canada. 

  Front row: Lt. H.K. Robinson; Lt. T.W.R. Brier; Major R.F. Routh; Major H.D. Proctor (OC); Capt. H.A. Fauquier; Lt. Marcel Cote; CQMS A.C. Clifton.

  Second row: Sgt. H.R. Bowlby; Sgt. D.F. Smith; Sgt. Michael Zubatiuk; Cpl. D.L. Harris, Bdr. G.H. Peppard; Cpl. N.R. V. Chapman; Bdr. W.D. Cabell (USA)

  Third row: Cpl. F.W. Peters; Cpl. C.W. Shaddock; Cpl. K.Palliser; Cpl. C.A. Charlton; Cpl. E. A. Grimes; Sgt. R.G. Porter

  Back row: L/Cpl W.H. Fitzsimons; Cpl. T.W. Brewer; Sgt. A. Appleton; L/Cpl. J.V. Mitchell; Sgt. W. Tobin and Cpl. Irving Webber.

1st Canadian Parachute Battalion

First Canadian Parachute Battalion

Canadian Parachute Corps

Airborne Canada

Paratrooper

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 Above left: Corporal Darrel Harris at Fort Benning wearing Canadian Battledress, US John Riddell Football helmet, US Boots Parachute Jumper and his newly earned US Parachute Badge. Above: Shows Canadians at Benning getting into their T-5 parachute harness. Directly above: Sergeants Mess, Fort Benning, USA Membership card for the newly promoted Sergeant Harris. Right: Canadian Detachment sign at Fort Benning. Photos courtesy Darrel Harris, LAC and 1st Cdn Para Bn Ass. Archives.

  Major Proctor  (Center) with the Minister of  Defence, J.L. Ralston (to his left) in Ottawa.  

Corporal K. Palliser  wearing the "Z" Force Polar Bear patch as acquired by Canadians who served on Iceland in 1940. These were NOT worn on the Island but were given to the men as souvenirs on leaving for England. They were made by the locals. The British 49th West Riding Division adopted the patch and "issue" printed examples were later made.

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