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Okanagan Military Museum

OKANAGAN MILITARY UNITS

VERNON MILITARY CAMP

The Vernon Army Cadet Camp is a well known facility to Okanagan residents with its influx of young people from all over Canada every summer for Army Cadet training. Many however may not realize that the Vernon Cadet Camp has had a long history in the area in support of Canada's army dating back to the beginnings of a military presence in the region. The Canadian Army's Vernon Military Camp saw many recruits pass through in training for Canada's campaigns overseas.


An aerial photo of the
Vernon Military Camp in1940

During WWII many Canadians came to the Vernon Military Camp for their initial army training. In the waters of nearby Lake Kalamalka these trainees learned the military basic skills required before they went overseas to the frontlines of the war in Europe. It was here that they conducted training in disembarking from troopships that would be put to use off the beaches of Normandy on 6 June 1944. The Vernon Military Camp operated in conjunction with the Army's Battle Drill School nearby in Coldstream in producing trained soldiers.


D- Day landings

After WWII the camp's focus became serving as a training facility for the Canadian Army Cadet Corps and thousands have passed through its gates in the many decades of its operation in this role. A number of those have gone on to serve in the Canadian Forces as both reservists and members of the regular force. Most have gone on to civilian occupations however all have taken with them some valuable lessons about citizenship.


Army Cadet class circa 1950

Although it is primarily used as a cadet training facility now, there is a squadron of the British Columbia Dragoons located in facilities nearby. During the summer of 2003 when BC was threatened by a severe wildfire crisis the military value of the Vernon camp was underlined again when it was used a staging, training and support base for the thousands of Canadian Forces members deployed to BC as part of Operation Peregrine, the military's fight against the forest fires.


A Canadian Forces helicopter
pilot before lifting off from
the Vernon Military Camp
during Op Peregrine

 

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