This gallery is a amalgam of eight support units – 1 Canadian Field Hospital, 2 Field Ambulance, 1 Dental Detachment, Central Medical Equipment Depot, 2 Service Battalion, the Chaplains, 2 Military Police Platoon, and Headquarters and Signals Squadron – which provide support to the front line units and troops, and are vital to the success of any battle plan.
1 Canadian Field Hospital is the oldest medical unit in Canada. Formed in 1885 at the outbreak of the North West Rebellion, it was the first Canadian field unit to deploy to war since Korea when it deployed to the Gulf War in 1991. The Hospital has the capability to do everything a large urban hospital can, and with a full complement of staff, with the added luxury of being fully mobile.
One of the first people a wounded soldier will come into contact with is a medic from one the Field Ambulance units. Providing rapid response on the battlefield and rapid evacuation of casualties is the unit’s main responsibility. Formed in 1914 and seeing action at Ypres, Festubert, Vimy Ridge, Passendaele, Amiens, Arras and Urbeck, the 2 Field Ambulance was remobilized at the start of the Second World War as 2 Light Field Ambulance, and saw action in the intense battles of Ortona, Cassino, Nijmegan, and Arnhem. Most recently 2 Field Ambulance has sent medics to Bosnia, Afghanistan and Kosovo, and has provided humanitarian aid to refugees and disaster victims.
1 Dental Detachment is one of the younger medical units. It provides dental expertise to service personnel, both in theatre and in garrison. In 1998, this unit assisted in the identification of victims of the Swissair Flight III disaster, and was recognized for its sacrifices and diligent work. Central Medical Equipment Depot provides medical supplies to units in garrison, in the field and in theatre.
Keeping the troops supplied is vital to the success of a military campaign. Stories abound about battles that failed due to the inability to ensure and secure supply lines. 2 Service Battalion provides troop lift, vehicle repairs and replacement, ammunition, water, food, fuel, clothing and weapon replacement to troops in garrison, in the field, and on deployments.
Highlighting the Battalion’s exhibition is an original 1905 supply wagon, quietly preserved by members of the Battalion, and happily discovered by museum staff!
“My job is to be with the men. Religion is part of life to me, and if you are going to have a chaplain service in the Army, it doesn't look very good for the chaplain to stay at home.” - Padre John Foote,V.C., WWII
Chaplains provide ministry to individual units, military personnel and their families. They also provide advice to regimental and unit commanding officers on the spiritual, ethical and moral issues facing their personnel. The chaplains of Garrison Petawawa provide this service at the unit or regimental lines, in the field or on deployment, and in the two chapels on Base.
HQ and Signals Squadron provides the technology and personnel needed for good communication (and therefore effective command and control) on the battlefield, on exercise, or in garrison.
The Squadron’s history stems from the formation of 1st Canadian Division Signal Company in 1914. After the war, the Signal Company was disbanded. With the onset of the Second World War, 1st Canadian Division Signal Regiment was mobilized. This formation, disbandment and reorganization action has continued through the Korean War and Cold War period, right up to the present day.
The Military Police is the law enforcement agency for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces, and exercises jurisdiction over all persons who are subject to military laws and regulations.
Canada’s first provost corps was formed on 1 November 1940, with volunteers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. No 1 Provost Company was deployed overseas as part of First Canadian Infantry Division. On 19 August 1942, the Canadian Provost Corps was bloodied at Dieppe. They were intended to control the beach and guard prisoners of war, but instead found themselves joining the battle with their infantry and engineer comrades. Twenty-eight of the forty-one men who joined the battle became casualties.