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Provost Corps

Heroes Remember

I remember the colonel came in and he was a mounted police officer. And he gave us a big long spiel about the Provost Corps which was new, we didn’t even know about the Provost Corps. Because No. 1 Provost Company were all RCMP and wore Royal Canadian Mounted Police. So he pitched the story that we should volunteer for that outfit so we stuck our name down as well. They are the guys who came for us and I remember how it happened. The sergeant came in the barrack room and called out the names of about ten of us and said, “Fall in outside, full battle order.” So we got outside, nobody asked where we were going, we were so damn glad to get out of that outfit. When we got outside, one of them said, “Where are we going, sarge?” And he said, “To the Provost Corps.” We said, “Who the hell are they?” We had never heard of the Provost Corps per se because they came over from Canada later. Because I was so well trained within a year they realized I was a reasonably good soldier so I was commissioned as a first lieutenant. I remember three of us newly commissioned officers were invited to London, England, we were south of England on the south coast to meet the provost marshal who was an old Brit. So I guess he took each of us aside in turn and kind of questioned us a little bit to find out what the hell he had inherited, I think. Unfortunately he said to me, “How did you happen to join our corps?” Like a fool I told him the story of how we basically put in for anything, anywhere, any port in a storm sort of thing to get out of that holding unit. He was not amused. But I guess I lived that down because I was pretty well trained and they were all new. They were right off civvy street so they didn’t know but they were good guys and they learned quickly. They became damn good soldiers but at that juncture they weren’t all that well trained so I was unique, I guess, you would say I was pretty well trained. We were such a small outfit. I think there was only about seventy-five, eighty of us in B Company in Victoria and A Company was a little bigger because they had a headquarters company with them. It was a very small army. The other two regiments, the Royal 22nd and the RCR, they were the same, all half regiments, two companies so we weren’t really well equipped for war in terms of manpower.

After becoming wounded and spending some time in a holding unit, Mr. Wilkinson explains his reasons for joining the Provost Corps.

George Wilkinson

Mr. Wilkinson was born in England in 1918. Both his parents were from England. At the age of 16, Mr. Wilkinson was asked to join the infantry and at the age of 17 joined the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Division B Company. In 1939 he went overseas as a Lance Corporal in Transport Platoon of HQ Company. Having been wounded during training, Mr. Wilkinson found himself in a holding unit and with great anxiety for action, accepted an opportunity to become part of Provost Corps. Mr. Wilkinson joined No 2 Provost Company and served as a lieutenant landing in Normandy with No. 8 Company of Canadian Provost Company of the 4th Canadian Armoured Division. Mr. Wilkinson was repatriated to Canada in May 1945 surrendering his wartime commission and enlisting with the Canadian Army as Regimental Sergeant-Major. After holding subsequent positions in the Army he retired in 1967 as lieutenant-colonel.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 2, 2012
Person Interviewed:
George Wilkinson
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War

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