Ric Hall’s – A Short Story of the Drill Instructor’s ‘Short-Box’

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For this week, Ric Hall is providing a bit of “Depot” Drill Instructor history and the creation of the “Short-Box.”

 

 

 

 

This short story goes back in time, it started in 1975 and took on a life again in 2000.

In view of this being the 40th Anniversary of Troop # 17, the first female troop, there is a connection! This was originally published in the RCMP Quarterly back in 2000. I have updated it and perhaps it will brighten your readers day.

Photograph of members of Troop #17 - first female members in the Force (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of members of Troop #17 – first female members in the Force (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

Upon being summoned to the Drill Staff office during his cadet training, Cadet David Hall, the Right Marker of Troop # 10 99/00 (currently the Sergeant Major of “E” Division), had occasion to view a small white box sitting on the floor in the Drill Office. Being an inquisitive type the young cadet took a closer look while the ever vigilant eyes of the Drill Staff were otherwise occupied. Upon inspection Cadet Hall observed a list of names affixed to the side of the box, one being very familiar to him, Cpl. R.D. Hall. His dad! Above the names, which had been stuck on with Dyno Tape, is the following: “This box is dedicated to the shortest man on the Drill Staff.” Cadet Hall called his father, at the time the Officer in Charge of Coquitlam Detachment, “E” Division. “Dad, do you know anything about this white box in the Drill Office? It has your name on it.” Short answer was, “yes!

Photograph of Troop #17 with their Drill Instructor - SergeantJohn Hart (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of Troop #17 with their Drill Instructor – SergeantJohn Hart (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

The Drill Staff over the years have always been the prima donnas of life at “Depot.” Over the years the Drill instructors have come in all sizes and shapes. In 1974 one member of the Drill Staff although short in stature he certainly made up for it in his bark and his performance on the parade square. When the first female troop arrived this particular instructor, was relieving their primary Drill Instructor, Sgt. John Hart, and while instructing Troop # 17 had occasion to admonish them for some form of lack of performance. One of the troop members happened to mention that she thought the Corporal was vertically challenged, as she was taller than he! Now you can imagine the state of mind of this Drill Instructor when he returned to the Drill Office and related what had just occurred.

Photograph of RCMP #17 Troop members: Cheryl Joyce and Jan Graham trying on their new female member hats (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection)..

Photograph of RCMP #17 Troop members: Cheryl Joyce and Jan Graham trying on their new female member hats (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection)..

Photograph of RCMP Troop #17 members in line at the Division Mess Hall. Cheryl Joyce is wearing the black glasses. (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of RCMP Troop #17 members in line at the Division Mess Hall. Cheryl Joyce is wearing the black glasses. (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

Photograph of RCMP Troop #17 member: Barbara Wood being shown the Criminal Code case law volumes at "Depot" Division (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of RCMP Troop #17 member: Barbara Wood being shown the Criminal Code case law volumes at “Depot” Division (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

To ensure that this failing would be overcome one of the instructors co-workers returned the next day with an old wooden box, painted white, a swatch of old basement carpeting on the top, an official badge of the Force duly affixed to the side with the notation “This box is dedicated to the shortest member of the Drill Staff.” The only name on it was the Drill Instructor whose height had been questioned by a member of Troop # 17. Upon the transfer of that instructor the next name on the box was that of the creator of the box, Cpl. R.D. Hall. What goes around comes around. Over the years many names had been added.

The “Short Box” remained in the Drill Office in the basement of “C” Block, until renovations were done to the old Drill Hall and the Drill Staff’s office was attached to the Drill Hall. the “Short Box” made the move and continued to have names added over the years.

A tradition had been started back in the 1970s at a troop’s graduation dinner the graduating Right Marker and the next troop in line would change the numbers that hung at the rear of the Drill Hall indicating what number the senior troop was.

When I returned to “Depot” to attend my two son’s graduations I was proud to see that the old box was still serving the Force well. It was being used by the Right Markers of graduating troops who did not have the height to reach the numbers in the Drill Hall, indicating the troop number of the senior troop.

Photograph of retired Supt. Ric Hall in red serge with his foot upon the

Photograph of retired Supt. Ric Hall in red serge with his foot upon the “Short White Box.” (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection.

A short story that had become a tradition. Sadly, when there was flooding in the Drill Hall a few years back the “Short Box” disappeared during the repairs. Another tradition gone!

If you have Force related photographs that Ric could include in a future Photo Corner webpage, please email him at rshall69@shaw.ca

image of Ric Hall closing block for his Photo Corner webpage

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