RS. Alec McLeod did quite a few things right away, having all warrant officers and sergeants moved into one hut. We were to get to know one another. The RSM maintained that the heart and soul of the regiment, whether it turned out good or terrible, depended on the Wo's and sgts who if great, the regiment would be the best. This was always in our minds as we were the senior non commissioned officers, and we were responsible to see that the regiment was truly a unit that everyone would be proud to belong too. Mind you the RSM was a pretty good beer drinking permanent soldier, and liked nothing better than have the Wos' and Sergeants' mess full of chaps that drank.
The next week or so, more promotions and I became a gun sergeant, along with a great number of promotions throughout the regiment. I was one of 24 gun sergeants or #1's as we were called. We were a 24 gun regiment. Mind you I think we only had about half or less of that number of guns.
During the winter of 1941 we trained on 18 pounder guns and 4.5 inch howitzers. These were the type of field guns from WW1 modernized by mounting them on rubber tires instead of wooden wheels. The winter gun drill was carried out in a garage or gun shed. and each troop took their turn doing the drill on the guns. This was a very cold damp winter and parade square drill was at a minium due to a lot of snow. Snowshoeing, and ski patrols were all carried out to keep us busy. Guard duty, fire pickets, kitchen fatigue, hut orderlies that stoked the coal burning fires in the huts. So if your troop was the duty troop, you would be only a few men left to do gun drill as all were on some other duty.
This is pretty boring reading, but there were some hijinks. The huts were H hut formed in an H with troops in each leg of the H with washroom & toilets adjoining. When the bugle sounded last post, the hut lights went out and everyone was to be in bed and not out roaming about. Well this scene would be broken with a cry "prepare to repel boarders ". As one leg troop would attempt to invade the other troops quarters, all hell would break out with the pillows used as weapons. As the rush would enter the opposing troops quarters they were met with fellows on top of double bunk beds, driving the invaders behind their heads, and sending them careening into the hot pot bellied stove, sometimes bringing the stove pipes down raining soot all over. Now this was in darkness and the ensuing mess had to be cleaned up before morning, Feathers from pillows were picked up sewn back into pillows. Soot cleaned and pipes put back up. And talking of the cherry red hot coal stove, on occasion someone with a bladder full of beer would get turned around and end up almost on the pot bellied stove and proceed to pee on this cherry red hot stove almost gassing everyone. Finish wetting down the stove and return to his bunk without waking up. The jeers and curses still ring the night air around Petawawa camp after these 61 years. Truly peeing on a red hot stove was one for the books.
Here in Petawawa we prarie boys were introduced to eastern beer in massive quart bottles, Carlings, Molsons, Blackhorse, and the rice beer called Kingsbeer. It had about three times the alcohol content than what was brewed in Sask. Powerful brew I tell you! Mind you I had a tolerance and could drink a fair amount more than some of the experienced drinkers who I thought made asses of themselves on not too many brews. I remember one time getting many Kingsbeer in me and as I had a healthy respect for the RSM, I took off my shoes when creeping past his door coming back to my bed. At this time I think I was the youngest gun sergeant in the regiment. so did not want to get in the RSM's bad book. Mind you a day or so later he said he had heard my not so quiet shoeless trip by his door.
Looks like I am running out of the page, so will try to get a bit less boring next time. Mind you this is strictly from memory of events some 61 years ago .