For Those of a Certain Vintage, Some Fond Memories or Maybe Not!

Remember these shirts, manufactured by “Rugged Wear” of Hamilton, proudly claiming that the shirt was “sanforized”.  I don’t recall that having a “sanforized” shirt was a bonus throughout my training.   Note the unilingual shoulder flash, first adopted in 1954 and worn on shirts and brown tunics till 1970 when the bilingual shoulder flash was introduced.  A narrow tie was the style of the day and a small tie clip, always worn “in line with the top of the flap on your shirt pocket!”, as elocuted by many a Drill Instructor over the years.

Below the long-forgotten Fatigue Uniform with blue haversack.   Brings back memories of lining up at 06:00 in the cold winter Regina mornings waiting to march off to the stables to clean up the droppings from the night before.  This Fatigue Uniform, with the “Eisenhour” style tunic, was phased in starting in 1957 replacing the Field Jacket/Tunic which was more form fitting and had a high neck collar and regimental buttons.

Another Force legend is Corporal Wilfred “Bill” Hesse, Reg # 17853, who joined as a bandsman in 1952.  When the “Depot” Band was disbanded in 1959 Bill Hesse became the Constable, later Corporal, Division Orderly, manning the Guardroom, a master of his domain, the right-hand man to the Corps Sgt. Major Bill McRae.   Corporal Hesse served as the D.O. until his retirement on June 25, 1976.

Just imagine the number of recruits he greeted and assigned a barrack dorm to during his 17 years as Division Orderly.  I recall as a recruit seeing him walking to work across the old foot bridge carrying the issue blue haversack, we were all given, no doubt he had his lunch inside.  As I recall that blue bag was used to keep our shoe polishing equipment stored away in.  When I returned to “Depot” as an instructor nine years later, Bill was making the same trek to and from work carrying that same blue bag.  

Below a recruit in training, on fatigue duty, wearing the old Field Jacket.  No doubt thinking no one mentioned this kind of work when he signed on.  The Drill Hall is in the background.

The Fatigue Uniform had many uses during a recruit’s training.   In the early days of training while blue trousers and brown tunics were being altered in the tailor shop the Fatigue Uniform was the uniform of the day.  When equitation was still in place the new recruits wore the Fatigue Uniform in their early hours of equitation, no Strathcona boots or spurs, until they were earned.  A million stories can be told about those days!

The versatile Fatigue Uniform and all it’s uses
Fred Stark, Reg # 22243/O.1392, enjoying a winter ride

Members of “K” 65/66 have just moved from “B” Block to “C” Block a sign that training is near an end. All dressed up in their “best” fatigues!

L-R Gord Lastucka, Reg # 24390, Doug Hamlyn, Reg # 24401, Bill Kozie, Reg # 24402,
Carl Johanson, Reg # 24416, Darrell Hall, Reg # 24393
Firearms Training
Everyone’s favourite – Tear Gas introduction!
Riot Troop Training

Senior Troop duties. This recruit is preparing to lead a troop on the Sgt. Major’s parade. Note the metal clip board in his left hand used for calling the roll-on parade.  He is wearing the fatigue jacket; his brown serge and breeches are probably in the Tailor Shop having the final alterations done before graduation. The Stetson indicates his status as a senior troop member to other troops. Very important in the hierarchy of “Depot” troops. Note almost all band members are wearing the Fatigue Uniform.   This was during the buildup to the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics.  

The Fatigue Uniform came in handy while doing some R & R

The Fatigue Uniform started being phased out in the mid-1970s.   When the first female troops arrived, they were issued blue coveralls rather than fatigues.  The dreaded blue coveralls worn with very fashionable black shoes!  Sgt. John Hart, NCO i/c Drill Staff, attempting to get all the left and right feet of Troop # 17 74/75 working together.

They soon were issued blue fatigue pants.  Male recruits were eventually issued the same pants and rather than wear the Eisenhour style fatigue jacket the newly issued patrol jacket could be worn.