The 1st Light Battery (PARA) RCA was formed in early 1950 and was made up of volunteers from the RCHA. I was one of the first to go on the jump course, together with, I believe six others from our outfit. We joined a course that was just starting for the Royal 22nd (Vandoos) and I made my first jump on my 18th birthday on April 3/50. It should be noted that this jump was just supposed to be an orientation flight, but because the weather was so perfect it was decided that we would jump. The result was that the stick made up of our guys all jumped. The other three sticks made up of Vandoos did not. One peculiar result of this jump was that in all the time I spent in the army I never got to land with the plane.
Some of the Battery’s exploits included putting on a show at the CNE in Toronto complete from jumping out of the mock tower, which we constructed to jumping into Lake Ontario on a daily basis for a two-week period.
I am enclosing some pictures that you might find interesting.
This one is of a bunch of our guys in front of the high tower at Shilo
This is a picture of our guys as honor guard for Queen Elizabeth in Winnipeg.
This is a picture of a reunion when we were all a bit older.
This is a picture is of me when I was a bit younger.
The Korean War came along and everything changed. I left the army in 1952 and I believe the Battery was eventually absorbed by the Airborne Regiment.
I forgot to mention that our major weaponry, aside from the usual small arms were the 75mm howitzer and 4.2 and 3 inch mortars. The howitzer were usually brought down in gliders built from plywood and often fell apart on landing. They were not the safest contraption to be in.
Here are a few more pictures of some of our guys.
To the left is Sammy Witt who’s favorite saying was ‘You swing and sway with Sammy Kay and you shoot the shit with Sammy Witt. He died of a heart attack at age 70.
The picture at right is of me and Gus Giberson. Gus was the unit’s clown. He was crazier than a bedbug and was killed when he tried to beat a Tractor Trailer to a crossing in his little sports car.
In this picture to the left Price is in the foreground and Sampson in the rear.
The only two I can identify in the picture to the right, taken just before a jump, are Ardelaine in the left front and Switzer in the middle background.