Training in Canada

Heroes Remember

I did what every junior officer that was given a head quarters troop, and I set out training them and establishing a relationship with the men I was going into action with. And, learning how to run a troop, then learning how to run a squadron, and then taking part in the regiment and learning how to operate in a brigade. I mean, it was an awful lot of training. The Canadian Army in 1939 was 4,000 strong and MacKenzie King, who had, like the present Government, allowed it to run down to practically zero and gave it no money, all of the sudden decided that he was part of a bigger thing and he sent 1,500 of them overseas on the First Division. That left 2,500 in all of Canada. We put 600,000 men in the field. Nobody there to train us. If you had one Regular Force officer, you were lucky and we didn’t have one. We trained ourselves. So we were pulling ourselves up by the boot straps. It was a long hard job to get ready for combat, which is a tough environment.

Mr. Finestone was a Junior Officer. He describes the training he received and the training he provided in Canada to prepare himself and his men for war.

Bernard J. Finestone

Mr. Finestone was born in Sacramento, California, and moved to Montreal when he was ten months old. His father served with the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery during the First World War. Mr. Finestone joined the COTC while he was studying at McGill University and when the war broke out he was in officer training. Mr. Finestone served as a tank commander in Italy and during the Italian Campaign, he was severely wounded. Mr. Finestone is an active speaker. He speaks to young Canadians about his military experiences and being a Jewish veteran.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Bernard J. Finestone
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
North America
5th Armoured Division

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