Parachute Instructors at Shilo. Note that two men are wearing the Green and Maroon NCO's lanyard under the epaulette of the right shoulder. Also note that in 1945 the men stopped wearing the plastic cap badge and wore the new brass badge. LAC Accession 1967-052, P-100-8,9 and 10
The man who replaced Lt. Col. Routh as CO of the A-35 CPTC stands third from right. Lt. Col. J.D. Taylor took over after Routh volunteered as an observer/liaison officer with HQ South West Pacific Area and South East Asia Command. Taylor injured himself in training in England and took over at the school in May 1944.
Left and Right: Major Randolph F. Routh Commanding Officer of the A-35 CPTC standing under the single high tower at Shilo. He wears a private purchase Canadian Parachute Badge he once forbade in Part Orders. He was promoted to Lt. Col. as CO of the Centre but reverted to Major after proceeding to the Pacific and SE Asia theatre as a liaison officer.
While the Canadians were at Fort Benning and early on at Shilo, they tested battledress for parachuting and received an allotment of tentative gear being developed in the UK. This included the Helmet Steel Airborne Troops, Jackets Parachutist 1942 Pattern and Boots Parachutist. Later on, early versions of the Smock Denison Airborne Troops arrived along with the Helmet Steel Airborne Troops/Helmet Crash Parachutists MK I. Note the MK II Sten Submachine gun.
Above is Lieutenant W.D. Cabell (Previously Corporal Cabell) wearing the Officers Canadian Parachute Corps cap badge made by William Scully Ltd. of Montreal. He also wears a green OD version of the US Suit Parachute Jumper. This darker OD shade was simply the interpretation of the term OD used by that particular manufacturer. LAC ZK-373
These interesting photos show a member of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, who returned home to Canada in 1944, modelling for the obverse artwork for the Canadian Voluntary Service Medal. He is the first man to the left on the obverse of the medal. He was to represent the male services of the Canadian Army. The medal was established on 22 October 1943 and was awarded for any member of the military services who voluntarily served from 3 September 1939 until 1 March 1947. The ribbon was awarded first in early 1944 and worn before the actual medals were issued.
Initially those trained at Fort Benning, Georgia that took courses in Parachute Packing and Rigging packed and maintained the parachutes at the S-14 CPTS and early on at the A-35 CPTC. However shortly after the A-35 Center was established, this important and exacting job ( meaning that a man's life depended on each parachute packed ) was turned over to a section of the Canadian Women's Army Corps.
The Officers Mess at Shilo. The Mess card below is for the Sergeants' Mess
Note that the original manufacturers AIRBORNE CANADA shoulder title has the letters spaced further apart than the patches actually issued.
Parachute Instructors at the A-35 did not have a special insignia denoting this. They wore the generic Canadian Army Assistant Instructor Patch seen to the left.
HISTORY OF THE 1ST CANADIAN PARACHUTE BATTALION PART II
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It was a popular practice for paratroop trainees to wear an air force flying helmet under their M-1's for added warmth in the winter. Especially so in order to keep the ears out of the wind.
You will notice that the Canadians at Shilo mainly wore US parachute clothing. This included the Boots, Parachute Jumper, Suit Parachute Jumper and Helmet Steel "Parachutist" M-1. Eventually small numbers of British helmets and Smock Denison Airborne Troops arrived and were tested. They were found superior however supply and demand meant that only a small number of this gear actually arrived from England. Many refer to the suit's as M-1942 or the helmets as M-2. This nomenclature is purely a collectors invention. No such items exist in the US Quartermaster Corps catalog. The M-2 helmet was a proposal that was NEVER accepted and therefore the designation was NEVER used. The same goes for the Suit Parachute Jumper.
Unlike the United States Military, which was segregated up until the Korean War, once the Battalion moved from Fort Benning to Canada, Black volunteers were accepted. The webmaster knows of at least five who parachute qualified at Shilo and at least two that went overseas with the Battalion. The above qualification certificate is to a Pte. L.W. Kelly. With Kelly in the photographs is Pte. C. C. Hensen. Another known to the webmaster is Pte. C.C. Waterman. ( The segregated US Black parachute battalion was the "Triple Nickle" or 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion. Kelly Memorabilia Courtesy Konrad Gunzel
Since many of those who volunteered to be paratroopers had not yet undergone extensive infantry training, this too had to be provided. In addition, courses related to specific tasks within a parachute unit were conducted. This meant signals, anti-tank and engineering skills such as demolitions. When the fledgling Battalion moved overseas to England, it was found that much of their specialized training was lacking. The speed at which the Canadian parachute training system was developed, and confusing signals from Ottawa to train men in parachuting only, caused these deficiencies. The British soon kicked them into shape. Once the A-35 Canadian Parachute Training Center was fully functional, volunteers were given more thorough training to prepare them for an overseas deployment.
Five jumps from an aircraft and they are deemed paratroopers and presented with the cloth Canadian Parachute Badge.
The mock tower, wind machine and high tower were the final phases before a trainee made his first actual jump from an aircraft. The mock tower allowed the trainee to practice aircraft exits and landings. The wind machine was used to practice collapsing the parachute in windy situations. The high tower raised an already opened parachute to a height where the trainee could practice control and landings.
Below are phases in the physical as well as technical aspects of parachute training. Physical fitness was paramount and understanding the workings and mannerisms of the parachute important to prevent, as much as possible, accidents from occurring. A more detailed account of training is contained in the History of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion Part I and II. Part two is located near the bottom of this page.
Above right: Standing beside Captain Fauquier ( Jumpmaster) is Squadron Leader Dennison of 165 Squadron RCAF. He was sent to the UK early in the war and flew with 405 Squadron RCAF. His Halifax Bomber was shot down and he managed to escape capture by making his way through France to Spain. He was awarded the DFC. They would not let him fly anymore missions overseas, so as not to divulge his escape route should he be shot down again, so they sent him back to Canada. There he became the CO of a Lockheed Lodestar Detachment at Shilo and dropped paratroops until the end of the war.
S-14 Canadian Parachute Training School
A-35 Canadian Parachute Training Center