Engineers have been an integral part
of the Airborne Forces in Canada since the beginning.
Former military engineer, Colonel (later Major General) E. L. M. Burns championed
the Airborne cause in the Canadian military with several proposals to the
Chief of the General Staff during the later part of 1940. He cited the success
Germany was having with it airborne operations and the efforts of the
United States and Britain to establish their own airborne forces. However
his efforts were not immediately successful.
The success of German airborne troops, especially with
the invasion of Crete in May 1941 - spurred the American and
British military to build up their Airborne forces. This
renewed Canadian reconsideration of similar forces.
On 1 July 1942, the War Cabinet approved the formation of a parachute battalion.
On 25 July 1942, Camp Shilo, Manitoba was selected as the
site for the parachuting centre.
Twenty seven volunteers from all Military Districts across
Canada assemble in Lansdowne Park, Ottawa in mid August
1942. This group deployed to Fort Benning Georgia for their
American parachute training
A second group of 96 soldiers, was selected from troops
already in England. Their training occurred at the Parachute
Training School, Royal Air Force Station Ringway, in
Lieutenant-Colonel G. F. P. Bradbrooke was appointed
Commanding Officer of 1 Canadian Parachute Battalion (1 Can
Para Bn), late September 1942.
2 Canadian Parachute Battalion (2 Can Para Bn) was
established in July 1942. It was later re-designated the
First Canadian Special Service Force Battalion, 25 May 1943.
The Special Service Force, was the joint US/Canada unit
which became known as "The Devil's Brigade"
Several Engineers joined the Special Service Force. One of these
soldiers was Sergeant Tommy Price.