With the formation of the Canadian Armoured Corps on the 13th of August, 1940 the need for better training for the troops was a huge concern for Worthington. He set for Washington D.C. where he agreed to buy some scrape metal from the Americans. The scrape metal happened to be in the form on 250 used, First World War vintage Renault FT17 tanks. In October of 1940, 236 of the Renaults arrived in Camp Borden where they were put to work training our Armoured troops in tactics and driver & maintenance.
Here is Worthington inspecting one of the Renault FT17s acquired from the U.S.
The need for protection inside the tanks was addressed by a leather and cork helmet.
Worthington understood the need to pass information so in November of 1940 the CAFVC started to publish The Tank which was billed as “the official organ of the Canadian Armoured Corps”. This magazine is the forerunner of today’s Armoured Bulletin.
Issue of “The Tank” for September, 1941
Canadian armoured troops would train and use many different tanks during the war. In 1941 they got a Canadian designed and built tank. The RAM was made at the Montreal Locomotive Works. The RAM proved to be under gunned for the war in Europe but it provided an excellent training platform.
A Canadian RAM Tank
Later in the war the turrets would be removed from some and issued to the 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment. This was to be the first fully tracked armoured personal carrier; another Canadian first.
Cap badge of the 1st Canadian Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment and a “kangaroo”.
While the tankers trained in Camp Borden, Ontario, the RECCE troops trained in Dundern, Saskatchewan. A variety of vehicles were used which included the Otter light reconnaissance car, motorcycles, universal carriers, bicycles, Lynx II Scout Car, Staghound Armoured Car, M3A3 Stuart Light tank and the list goes on.
Here is a cloth Canadian Armoured Corps jacket patch.
As the troops were away from home, they would send mementos to loved ones back home. Below are some photos of some souvenirs that were popular during the war years.
Silk pillow case covers
Canadian Armoured Corps jewelry, silk dresser cover and silk handkerchief.
To help with the war effort, many people saved their pennies. Below is a “Tank Bank” designed in the shape of a Great War British tank.
The winter of 1944-45 was uncommonly cold in Northwest Europe. The Canadian Armoured Corps issued the troops cold weather coveralls for use in the tanks. Below is an example from the museum’s collection.
By the end of the war the Canadian Armoured Corps had lost 2,005 fatal casualties and had amassed an enviable record of wartime achievement. In recognition of this service, the Corps was granted a Royal title and henceforth became known as the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps.