I stumbled across some photos of the band from the History of the Vernon, Army Cadet, website. The band stayed in Vernon, British Columbia, Canada, for approximately a week, in the summer of 1984. I’ve since discovered Camp Vernon, where we were barracked, has been one of the most important Canadian, Army Cadet Summer Training Centres (ACSTC) since 1949.
I don’t remember too much about our official engagements but vividly remember off duty time because it was predominantly spent lounging around the shore of Lake Okanagan. Some 50 kilometers separate Vernon from the town of Kelowna, both situated on the lake and the area is probably the most spectacular I have ever experienced. The sky was big and blue, the rolling foothills of the Rockies surrounded us, the air was fresh and clean and the lake, enormous, was edged with yellow sand. It was truly idyllic! At some point we took part in a parade in Camp Vernon and we also played in the Kelowna Regatta. I remember mornings spent lazing under shady trees in a nearby park and a radio interview I took part in with Mick Henderson, for Okanagan Radio. I distinctly remember the interview, in the back of a mobile radio van on the edge of Lake Okanagan, because I made some reference to the crappy piccolo I was having to play. It really did have an elastic band on it to force a key to work and the plating had all worn off. It was a total relic, badly out of tune, leaky and a couple of keys, certainly the f sharp key, didn’t work. Shortly after our return to Osnabruck, Mick decided to buy me a new one.
I remember our barracks, large, wooden billets and I think we shared rooms with some of the cadets but I think NCO’s had their own rooms. The SNCO’s were probably in the mess. It was a busy camp and the mess hall had to operate shifts to feed the hundreds of cadets but the food was good. The ‘parade’ square was enormous and both on it and around the edges were cadres of students practicing drill, often with a chant, being shouted across an adjacent assault course or learning various other field skills.
On parade, we wore ‘whites’ with flat caps rather than helmets and I remember they couldn’t get me a jacket my size so I had to wear a chef’s jacket that wasn’t quite long enough and had a slightly strange collar. Martin Doughy dubbed me the ‘Barbecue Major’ ( I was a corporal at the time).
I think we went to Vernon because of some connection with Fort Garry Horse though they are based in Winnipeg. However, I am not sure!
I discovered the photos: here.
© 努江虎 – 노강호 2014 Creative Commons Licence.
Sometime in the mid 1980’s we went to Calgary and stayed at a barracks in Calgary itself, as opposed Medicine Hat. We may have stayed in both locations, I’m not sure but we certainly stayed in a large barracks from which it was easy to get to town. A 15 minute or so walk from the barracks and there was an ice cream shop which sold the most amazing homemade ice-cream.
This photo was passed to Facebook via ‘Smithy’ though I’m not sure if he took it. Those shorts certainly look severe and in the photo, far left, is Eddy. I’m sure Eddy wouldn’t mind me saying, but he was a man of contrasts; not the best looking of guys, in my opinion but seemingly gifted with a golden tongue that could enamor him to the most beautiful of women – often in droves. And could he waffle!!!
Eddy could never control his spending and had blown all his money within a few days of arriving in Canada. Mick gave me a loan on his behalf and I had to accompany him to meals and pay from his ‘allowance’ and each day I had to give him pocket money. This forced Eddy into the role of a sort of prostitute and for the duration of the tour he would clean your boots, iron your tights and do almost any other job to earn your loose change. Poor Eddy! We quite took advantage of his poverty and I can vaguely recall we made him do some shit jobs, not out of necessity but for entertainment. I can’t exactly recall , but I have a feeling Phil Watson was behind one or two. I remember Eddy would go to the PX, which was probably a 20 minute excursion in the heat of a prairie summer, to buy us coke or snacks and we would let him keep the change . So, one of our nasty entertainments was to compile a shopping list which left the most meager amount of change, and I mean like 10 cents, and see if he would go and get it – and poor Eddy would. And if that wasn’t humiliating enough, I remember Phil making him clean his boots as he lay on the bed wearing them.
This then reminds me of the night club I went into, when he was broke, and where he had meet a woman and temporarily moved in with her. She was an older woman and completely in love with ugly, no money Eddy. I recall we went back to her apartment where Eddy had made friends with her rather nasty cat – but that’s another story.
Can you add any more information or clarify anything which I can assimilate?
What was Eddy’s name?
Any details on him?
© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.