Researching The Royal Canadian Regiment

My First Six Months in the Army

Pte G.R. Briggs, "C" Company, The R.C.R.
The Connecting File, Volume XV, No. 1; February 1936

A hot, sultry day, the sticky air almost sticking to everything, the sun blazing down on white gravel enclosed on three sides by barrack buildings. A day that, with the least exertion, brought out beads of perspiration all over one.

I stood, feeling a bit uncomfortable, and possibly a bit bewildered as to what to do next. A sharp voice shouted, "tchun," and my attention was drawn to a squad of men drilling amongst the heat waves that reflected from the white gravel This brought more moisture to my brow, and I wondered how I would feel when I got out there, too.

"Another recruit, eh?" This question swung me around to face a soldier wearing shorts and puttees.

"Yes," I replied, and asked him where to go and what to do. I finally found myself answering a lot of questions, and after a lot of routine, found myself in the army.

"Now, what is this for? Oh, well, I'll just set it aside and ask someone. And this ----." Yes, it was rather confusing. I was standing beside my soldier's box with its array of clothing and equipment. It was some job sorting things out and finding places for everything. But the men in the room were a great help to me with their advice in everything, and finally I obtained some sort of order.

My next big job was getting ready for my first parade. This brought forth more advice, and after listening to "umpteen" different methods of cleaning equipment and trying to follow them all, I finally had my kit in condition for parade.

It was another hot day a week or so later that I made my appearance on the square along with six or seven other recruits, most of whom I had already met. The morning drill started.' It was interesting work, and also hot. However, noon soon came, and with it, "Well, how do you like the square?" With a sweaty smile, I replied, "Fine."

Time passed rapidly, and I soon became acquainted with the routine. As I learned how to do things, the work became easier, and after some five months on the square, I passed off Recruits' Drill and was posted for duty.

This was a change, to say the least. But this didn't last long. I soon found myself on a course that proved quite interesting. I felt now that I had at least made a start in becoming a soldier.

Just a word more. In six months I have found out that three things mean a lot in the life of a soldier. The first is payday, the second, a good joke on somebody else, and last but not least, a scrub brush.

Pro Patria

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