Birth of the Elite, 1940, 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion


Appendix A Historical Section
Canadian Military Headquarter Report #138
Further Material Relating to the Organization and Training of the
1st Canadian Parachute Battalion

(40) This appendix supplement the information contained in those sections of Report N°138 which deal with the background, the formation and the early training of the 1-CPB. The chief sources of information have been the relevant files at A.H.G. Other material consulted included the War Diary of General A.G.L. McNaughton, various directorate diaries at A.H.Q, and the unit War Diary. For convenience in reference, the paragraphs are numbered consecutively with those of Report N°138.

Background to Formation of the Unit
(41) Although the memorandum prepared by Colonel Burns in November 1940 was the first to be brought to attention of the Overseas authorities (para #3/1-CPB/UK to Combat), that officer had put forward similar proposals 3 months earlier, Aug 13. This earlier memorandum was examined by Colonel (later Lt Gen) J.C. Murchie, D.M.O. & I., N.D.H.Q., who expressed the opinion that although the value of the parachute troops in certain situations was very great, the provision of such troops by Canada would be a project of doubtful value to the combined Empire war effort in view of the expenditure of time, money, and equipment which would be involved. Further, having regard to the probable operational roles of the Airborne Forces, it would be likely that any Canadian parachute units would form part of a United Kingdom Parachute Corps, would be difficult to administer and would be largely out of Canadian control during operations. For these reasons Col Murchie did not recommend the formation of a Parachute Battalion, but considered, rather, the the Canadian war effort should be directed towards the maintenance of such commitments as had already been accepted. ‘If any additional commitments are accepted these should be limited to the formation of units to which Canadians are particularly adapted by reason of nature of this country’. (H.Q.S. 8846: Memorandum by D.M.O & I. for D/C.G.S.,August 16 1940).


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