Researching The Royal Canadian Regiment

2 Commando Report December 1969

Capt L.M. Costello
Pro Patria Issue No. 3; 27 February 1970

2 Commando
The Canadian Airborne Regiment
CFB Edmonton, Alberta

Issue 2 of Pro Patria was waiting for us when we returned from Jamaica last week. It is quite amazing to note the interest this excellent publication is receiving. Everywhere one turned for several days there were Royals and ex-Royals devouring the pages with an intensity normally reserved for a spicy scandal or the latest issue of Playboy. Congratulations indeed for this much needed "link".

Well, its that time of year again and here in Edmonton we look back on an active and interesting year. A glance at the year's training calendar revives memories of a good deal of rugged and challenging training which has taken us from Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean to the Cockpit Country in Jamaica and from the islands of British Columbia to Newfoundland. Most of us wince (with a little inner satisfaction) at memories of many aches and bruises from the unarmed combat mats and the many and varied drop zones; rope burns from rappelling down cliffs and off choppers; sore fingers and toes and broken finger nails from mountain climbing and the odd hair raising moment at our live firing battle schools. We've been away on exercise for four and a half months of the past eleven months and in the words of Ernie "No Neck" Davis (last seen at his familiar pastime of searching the DZ for his helmet) "Its all good clean fun."

Exercise Nimrod Leap, the follow up to Exercise Nimrod Caper, was our most recent undertaking. Jamaica is still as warm and hospitable as ever and I ran into quite a few people with fond memories of the Regiment's visit there in March. There are numerous greetings to pass on, most of which I, confess have slipped my mind. Peter Wittingham sends his regards and was full of questions about exchange postings which I couldn't answer. Our base camp this time was near Braco, between Ochos Rios and Falmouth. We were again on the sea with a rather pleasant beach area but without the comfort and convenience of the cocoanut trees. Welsh Woman's Point has changed hands and we could not get the necessary clearance to set up and train in that area. Aside from the location the exercise was very similar to Nimrod Caper. We all underwent formal jungle training for ten days and then participated in a series of exercises back in the Cockpit Country. The weather, although quite warm and pleasant, was not as fair as in March. The exercise coincided with the winter rainy season and much of our training was done in torrential rain. Nonetheless, as in March, Jamaica won many new friends and we spent a really worthwhile three weeks. We think about it often now, particularly while driving back and forth to work in the dark, in snowstorms, looking forward with chilly anticipation to the many miles in the "traces" in Wainwright and similarly exotic places in the months to come, Many people have asked me to pass on sincere thanks for the kind invitations and the first class entertainment at the colour presentation in October. It was indeed a tremendous day and no one from here failed to enjoy himself thoroughly. The wives who managed to attend from Edmonton are still talking about the good time they had. People even commented that the new drill looked very military as performed by The Regiment. LCol H.C. Taylor and Maj M.D. Barr have expressed their regrets at not having been able to attend they were both on the Nimrod Leap advance party. Congratulations on a first class show and hearty thanks from the Royals out here.

On a sadder note now, we received the news in Jamaica that LCol J.W. Ritchie, the wartime CO of The Regiment, had passed away. His son. Capt Joe Ritchie, a recent member of The Regiment, was recalled from Jamaica with this sad news, Joe incidentally, has recently transferred to the RCOC and is QM of 1 Commando in Valcartier.

Well the deadline for getting this typed and in the mail is fast approaching. so I must close. Best wishes for the holiday season from all Royals in the Airborne Regiment.

Pro Patria

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