Monday, August 3, 2015

Checking Out The Spit

At Comox Navy Base, Vancouver Island

 "Who is more curious? The alpaca or me?"

One early morning in May I tramped - in an adventurous frame of mind - from my lodgings in Comox to The Spit (site of WW2 Combined Operations Training School; now HMCS Quadra, Sea Cadet training). I made a few stops along the way in order to say hello to a curious alpaca and snap pictures of The Spit as I approached now familiar beaches and a small bay.

In Canadian Navy terms the site is an important part of Canada's WW2 effort and achievement. Young sailors were trained in the ways of Combined Ops (seamanship and gunnery skills, assault landing techniques on flat-bottomed landing craft) prior to, for example, the invasion of Normandy, France. 

"View from barracks beach' on The Spit, Comox
Photo from Sailor Remember, pg. 92

"The 2 km.-long spit of land was a heavenly home for
Canadians in Combined Operations for about two years"

After D-Day Normandy the amount of training slowed dramatically and attention was turned to the Pacific War. Before my father was discharged from his many duties (e.g., instructor, coxswain) he was asked to volunteer for action against Japan, but he, along with his closet five buddies, refused. Together they returned to Hamilton by train and were discharged from RCNVR, the Wavy navy, on the same day, September 5, 1945, one day before my dad's 25th birhday. He was back to work at the Norwich Co-op within a month, but he never forgot his buddies or The Spit.

Link to more about Combined Ops

Unattributed Photos by GH

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