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Master Corporal (Ret’d) Richard Delve

Richard Delve was born in Hamilton, Ontario. A cook by trade, Richard Delve served with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) for 19 and a half years. He served on the home front in Esquimalt, Kingston, Petawawa, and overseas in Germany. He also did two tours in Bosnia, in 1992 and 1996. In October 1990, he deployed to Qatar to assist with the Gulf War – he returned in March 1991.

Kingston, Ontario


Balkans Gulf war




  • Esquimalt, BC
  • Kingston, ON
  • Petawawa, ON
  • Germany


  • Gulf war: 1990-1991
  • Bosnia: 1992, 1996

Military service was never really a first choice for Richard Delve. After completing high-school, Delve undertook a Geology degree. While he was interested in the topic, University setting was just not a good fit. “I am not a sit down and study type of person,” says Delve.

He started to look at college courses, and enrolled in a two-year culinary program at Humber College in Toronto, Ontario. “I always enjoyed cooking, even when I was younger. So I thought, ‘hey, I can do that!’”

Master Corporal (Ret’d) Richard Delve

Upon completing his program, Delve was visiting a friend in London, Ontario when he came across a CAF Recruiting Centre. He stopped in to gather information, and ultimately submitted an application. Within 8 months, he was off to CFB Cornwallis to begin his career with the CAF.

Early on in his career, Delve was stationed in smaller kitchens, and cooking responsibilities were quite simple – he would take single orders to prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Later on, while in Germany and Bosnia, and while serving on ships, the focus was more on mass-production cooking.

“We really had no idea what to expect.”

In October 1990, Richard Delve deployed to Qatar to assist with Canadian efforts during the Gulf War. Upon arrival, the kitchen on base was dirty and unfit for food production. “We really had no idea what to expect… we had a kitchen trailer and our cooking equipment that could be ground-mounted with us and some equipment, so that was enough for us to get by for a few days.”

Delve and his colleagues had to work fast, as there was pressure to get set up. “We have a reputation for having fresh food available, and fast.” His crew worked to clean out the kitchen so that is was fit for food production. In the meantime, the Canadian contingent made do with individual meal packs for the first three days.

Richard Delve on base in Qatar during the Gulf War.

It was right back to business once the kitchen was clean and ready for food production. Like Richard, many of the Canadian cooks had also served on various ships, and they were used to shift work. “Some folks did overnight baking. It was easy to switch to this style of shift work, as many of the cooks had experience on ships.”

Richard has many stories from his experience during the Gulf War, but there’s one that stands out – the night the war started. At 2:00 a.m., sirens rang across the base as the United States started launching missiles into Iraq. “We knew it was coming, as the Americans had provided a heads up,” remembers Delve.

A secondary role of the cooks on base was to prepare a decontamination site. On the morning the war began, Richard and his fellow cooks gathered decontamination supplies and set up a site. The purpose of this decontamination site was for any CAF or Coalition Force members who may have been contaminated during an attack to have a quick shower and remove their uniform and gear.

“It’s all about situational planning, you have to take everything in to account.”

Although the site was never used during the conflict, it’s a reminder of the different roles CAF members can play while overseas. “It’s all about situational planning, you have to take everything in to account,” says Delve. “There was never an instance where the site was used, but preparedness was key to the mission’s success.”

Richard Delve retired from the CAF in 2005. He currently resides with his wife in Kingston, Ontario. His daughter is currently attending Teacher’s College in Toronto. His son, who graduated from Teacher’s College at Queens University, is now residing in Kuwait and teaching there. He’s actively involved with the Persian Gulf Veterans of Canada Executive Committee, assisting with the kit shop and website development.. In his spare time, he enjoys being outdoors – and firing up whatever culinary experiment comes to mind.

With courage, integrity and loyalty, Richard Delve has left his mark. He is one of our Canadian Veterans. Discover more stories.

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