UBC Archives Audio Recordings Collection

[Interview with Finlay Morrison, Armed Forces at UBC Project] Specht, Allen [unknown]

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Dr. Finlay Morrison
March 22, 1974
Interview No. 502 Tape 1, Side 1
Mr. Specht: Dr. Morrison, could you tell me what year you were born?
Dr. Morrison: I was born in 1917.
Mr. Specht: Where was that?
Dr. Morrison: It was Barvas, Saskatchewan.
Mr. Specht: Is that close to some larger town?
Dr. Morrison: Yes. Its about 17 or 18 miles straight east of Yorkton, Saskatchewan.
Mr. Specht: What was your father's occupation?
Dr. Morrison: My father homesteaded, or my grandfather homesteaded in that area, in 1889 and my father after the Boer War, he served in the Boer War, took a homestead adjacent to his father's at that point. That'd be about 1899, 1902, somewhere in there.
Mr. Specht: Where was your grandfather from?
Dr. Morrison: Originally he was from Lewis, Scotland, I beg your pardon, my paternal grandfather was from Harris, my maternal grandfather was from Lewis, Scotland.
Mr. Specht: Where did you attend school?
Dr. Morrison: I took my first ten grades in the Glasgow School District. Which was a small one room country school. A mile away from where I was originally born.
Mr. Specht: After school, when you graduated from high school, what did you do?
Dr. Morrison: Well I said I did my first ten grades, the ninth and tenth I did by correspondence and then from there I went to Regina to complete my eleven and twelve at Scott Collegiate Institute in Regina and I took another year at Luther College, a first year arts. Then I started my apprenticeship as Pharmacist, in Regina, Saskatchewan and then laterally in Belcara, Saskatchewan.
Mr. Specht: I see. Where were you an apprentice? Which town?
Dr. Morrison: Well I started my apprenticeship in Regina, Saskatchewan, with, what was then, Champlain Drugs and I served approximately a year with Champlain Drugs. Then I went with Mr. Salter, who had a pharmacy in Regina and a pharmacy in Abernathy, Saskatchewan and one in Belcara, Saskatchewan. I sort of alternated between the three for the next three years. I served four years apprenticeship before I went to the University of Saskatchewan. That was not because I had to, that was because of the choice of finances at that point in time.
Mr. Specht: I see. Was this University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon?
Dr. Morrison: That's correct.
Mr. Specht: Was this to get your degree in Pharmacy?
Dr. Morrison: Well, at that point in time, they had what was known as a diploma or certificate. This was the minimum two year course following two years apprenticeship. It you had two years of apprenticeship then you could start the two year certificate course and then you had a year of apprenticeship after graduation. In my case I took four years of apprenticeship before I went up, as I said a moment ago, because of financial limitations. I started my certificate or diploma course in 1940.
Mr. Specht: I see. Was there a C.O.T.C. unit at the campus?
Dr. Morrison: Yes, at that time males attending university had to take some military training. It was just a year after the war started and I was enrolled in the C.O.T.C. at the University of Saskatchewan as an officer cadet.
Mr. Specht: Do you think you would have enrolled in the C.O.T.C. if it wasn't compulsory?
Dr. Morrison: Yes I think I would have. Looking back on it, I don't think there's any doubt that I would have been in the C.O.T.C. or some such similar organization.
Mr. Specht: Why do you say that?
Dr. Morrison: Well, I say this, I suppose maybe one has to look at the period, with the war being on. I had, prior to going to Saskatchewan, going to the university, really made up my mind that I'd either, if I went to university I would join C.O.T.C. and get some military training or else I wouldn't go to university and would go into one of the services directly, then do my university after. I finally decided on the latter. That I'd go for at least one year and start my university program. Having decided on this then, of course, C.O.T.C. was an obvious, choice after I got there from a military point of view.
Mr. Specht: Do you remember something of the unit at the University of Saskatchewan, facilities tor example?
Dr. Morrison: Well I remember in this respect, we were using equipment of the first world war vintage in essence to train with. The personnel instructors, many of them were ex-servicemen from the First World War. Others, of course, who instructed us. were people who were in the reserve force between the period of the first and second world wars. The lectures and most of the equipment, as I said, we had at that time were ancient vintage if you want to look at it.
Mr. Specht: Did you have an armoury or a drill hall?
Dr. Morrison: No, not as such. We used the outdoors, of course, when it was mild enough to do this, but we used the, oh, what you'd call a large field house, at that time for drill purposes. and for training purposes.
Mr. Specht: How long were you in the C.O.T.C.?
Dr. Morrison: I spent two years - 1940 to 1942, while I was attending the university. In 1942, I received my diploma in pharmacy, which at that point in time, licensed me to practice pharmacy in Saskatchewan. In May of 1942, I then had the opportunity to go to officer's training school. So I joined the forces, the army, specifically the infantry, and came out to Gordonhead, British Columbia here, and completed my officer's training for the Second Lieutenant rank.
Mr. Specht: How did the training in C.O.T.C. differ from Gordonhead?
Dr. Morrison: Of course, C.O.T.C. was one night a week and rather basic elementary training where Gordonhead was a concentrated three month program. We started in May and finished at the end of August. It was a full, every day was regular military program. And we had course instructors there, some of them had returned from overseas. By this time it was 1942 when we had instructors who had had some battle experience along with, of course, the dedicated instructors that we had. Essentially again, many of them were first world war veterans who had come back into the service.
Mr. Specht: Do any stand out in your mind? Could you name one? Dr. Morrison: The C.O. the chief instructor, Major Faulkner, is always one who stands out in my mind as a young man who, I think was a very striking individual and I suppose for that reason impressed me at that point in time. There were several, no, not from Gordonhead, I guess he stood out more than anybody else. We had a Mr. McLeod, who was our platoon commander, I always remember. He was an elderly, at that point in time, I thought he was an elderly gentleman. He was a very conscientious... he hardly struck me as being the type of infantry officer. I always remember Mr. McLeod, I have a great deal of respect for him.
Mr. Specht: Was he from U.B.C. C.O.T.C.?
Dr. Morrison: No. He, my memory slips me now, he was a Rocky Mountain Ranger I believe, which was a reserve unit in B.C. at that time.
Mr. Specht: What did you do after Gordonhead?
Dr. Morrison: Well, following Gordonhead, I had my second Lieutenancy and of course, you had to go to qualify for Lieutenant and we went from there then to Camp Shilo, Manitoba, where, after I think it was approximately six weeks training, we were then qualified a Lieutenant in the Canadian Army. It was there we specialized in our specialty arms. You see Shilo was an infantry or artillery training school. I was in the infantry so I was in the infantry division of this school.
Mr. Specht: Specializing in small arms?
Dr. Morrison: In small arms basically, yes.
Mr. Specht: I see, and after Shilo?
Dr. Morrison: Camp Shilo, from there I went to a basic training unit in Portage la Prairie. That would be, I guess, about November of 1942 and I had my first exposure as a platoon commander in the basic training centre at Portage la Prairie. Until about March of 1943 at which time... that was the usual period, I think, we had five or six months to sort of get you used to working with men and working with people and then we were returned to Shilo where they do the posting overseas. We had a further four weeks of training before we went overseas: battle drill and the usual training that went on about that time.
Mr. Specht: Where did you first land overseas?
Dr. Morrison: Well, we went over on the Empress of Scotland, I think it was. We went unescorted. We landed in Liverpool in early June of 1943 and went from there to the holding unit which was just outside of Guilford, Godlamming, I guess ls the name of the town, if my memory serves me correctly. This was a holding unit for all reinforcement officers, infantry reinforcement officers. Then we were dispatched from there to the various units.
Mr. Specht: Did you already have a unit picked out before?
Dr. Morrison: I had a unit that I wanted to go to, but you had no assurance that you were going to the unit you wanted.
Mr. Specht: Which unit did you want?
Dr. Morrison: I wanted the South Saskatchewan Regiment. Basically
I suppose it was because I came from Saskatchewan and I think the real reason for it was I met a couple of, I guess three, of the South Saskatchewan, ex-South Saskatchewan Regiment who had been in Dieppe and they had come back for their commissions while I was At Gordonhead and we had become very close friends. I was anxious to go back to the unit, to their unit, because they were going back to their unit. Fortunately this did transpire about August of 1943 when I was posted to this regiment
Mr. Specht: To digress a bit, do you remember what they said about Dieppe?
Dr. Morrison: Not really, at this point in time.
Mr. Specht: After you were with the holding unit in England, then what happened?
Dr. Morrison: Well I was posted, as I said, to the South Saskatchewan Regiment which at that time was stationed in Worthing, and I spent the winter with them as a platoon commander. I commanded Number Sixteen Platoon and Dog Company. I was with them then when we moved out in May into canvas. Obviously in preparation for what everybody expected would be D-Day. I left them in May of 1944, just prior to D-Day.
Mr. Specht: Where did you go?
Dr. Morrison: Well I was posted to army headquarters as Adj. to the Canadian Army Commander, General H.D.G. Crerar.
Mr. Specht: How did you get this position?
Dr. Morrison: That's probably a difficult one to answer, because I'm not quite sure. My C.O. did tell me that he had been requested to come down from the upper echelons to nominate one or two people from his regiment who had had some university training. I happened to fit the bill as one of them and the other person in the regiment he said he just couldn't spare. He had just come back from Intelligence Officer Training. There were a couple of us that he had in mind. So my name went forward. He was talking to the Colonel, this was Colonel Freddie Clift, talking to him after the war, he was then Brigadier and this was the way he explained it to me, because I asked him the same question, "Why me?" and this was his comment. So then I went from then, I guess, early May, I went to Army Headquarters at Leatherhead, outside of London. I spent the rest of the war with General Crerar as his aide.
Mr. Specht: As his aide. What were your duties with him?
Dr. Morrison: Well my first main duty was I took the tactical headquarters over on D + 10 I guess it was. It was a small headquarters the General had, which included an operational set-up and his armoured protection. He also had a personal assistant who was my immediate superior, Colonel Ware. I took the tactical headquarters over and got them set up and just out of Emblet, France then the General came over, I've forgotten, a day or two later to the headquarters. That was really my first. Then for the next, oh, the better part of two months, I guess, the general had no troops to command since the Canadian Army as such wasn't constituted until later on in August, about D + 30 or 40, I can't remember exactly. So I acted sort of as an aide when he was out visiting various units or visiting the front lines. For the next two or three months basically, I was what you might call his aide.
Mr. Specht: You must have had some concern with the Canadian forces that were on the beach-head. Some involvement.
Dr. Morrison: Not directly, the general used to visit them. This was the Third Canadian Infantry Division and their supporting troops. He was anxious to visit them, but they weren't under his command. They were under the British command and we did, these are the troops that we did go to visit, is spite of the fact that he didn't command them. We visited them regularly, different units weather permitting, and of course, the operations permitting. We used to do this fairly regularly.
Mr. Specht: How would you describe the beachhead?
Dr. Morrison: Well as I recall it, it was pretty narrow. I think even on D + 10, some of it wasn't much more that six miles deep. It was not uncommon to hear the battle going on, the firing going on, particularly at night. It was very crowded, I suppose is one word you could use. It had a petrol dump on one spot, the ammunition dump across the road. The stock-piling in this area was really very crowded because of the limited beachhead we had at that time and then the weather turned against us. This is what really stymied the thing for about two weeks.
Mr. Specht: How did it stymie you? In what way?
Dr. Morrison: Well the delivery, the "Mulberry" as it vm.s called, they built the pre-fabricated harbour, the weather was such that it became very difficult to unload the material...seas were too rough and it cut down the rapid build-up of the material from what was anticipated.
Mr. Specht: Was there an atmosphere of apprehension?
Dr. Morrison: Well at my level probably we didn't get that, but certainly there was much concern, yes. Because of this, the inability of getting more troops in as quickly as they had anticipations of and the equipment, the supporting equipment to expand the beachhead particularly when they went into very stiff opposition north of Caen where they had the S.S. Troops and it took a fair build-up before they could push through there and of course, in the interval where we were building up, there was obviously apprehension. If they'd had a major attack from the Germans there, we were pretty thin on, as far as depth was concerned, but I wasn't strategist enough to probably realize that at that point in time.
Mr. Specht: Could you see the situation which was shaping up around what they call the battle of Falaise?
Dr. Morrison: Oh yes. If you were working on the maps which I was doing, you could see what was being carried out. I mean the design of the operation, the strategy involved. Once the build-up was large enough so that they could get the forces in, you could see pretty much the encircling movement that was taking place. As the days went by it became pretty obvious that the breakthrough was just a matter of time. That would be in late August, September of 1944.
Mr. Specht: After the breaking out you were with the Canadian Forces advancing through France and Rheims?
Dr. Morrison: Well, I was essentially with tactical headquarters, the General's tactical headquarters and we followed them up and the army headquarters, per se, are a pretty huge operation so the General always went ahead with his small tactical headquarters and set up communications. We followed them all the way up the coast line through until D-Day as a small tactical headquarters. We sort of leap-frogged as they moved up along the coast, up through Nimijigan....well prior to that we followed the sea coast with the forces just behind.
Mr. Specht: Where were you when the armistice, the cease-fire took place?
Dr. Morrison: Well we were in headquarters just outside of Apeldorn, I guess that's what the little town was, in the Nimijigan area in Holland on May 8th, when the ceasefire took place. You see that was in the same general area where the airborne division dropped and encircled in the previous year.
Mr. Specht: From your headquarters were you following that particular incident?
Dr. Morrison: We watched them go over, the planes go over, of course I had... my particular position you see, I knew what was going on. The general would get the information, his instructions from Field Marshall Montgomery, and then he would come back with them and one of my first jobs was to take these and map them in a broad sense, that you could see on the map what the overall army, the two armies at that time, we had the British Army and the Canadian Army, and there was an American Army... so that I was in the... as I look back now. I was in a preferred position, I didn't appreciate it at that time of having this kind of knowledge firsthand and could anticipate what would be the operation battle plan. They didn't always work out to plan, but it was an interesting post, position, and a position of great trust as I look back on it now, in a sense, from the point of view of secrecy and so forth.
Mr. Specht: What critical decisions would you say that you witnessed?
Dr. Morrison: Oh, I wasn't present at them, but I think the kind of decisions when Montgomery wanted to take off and move full steam ahead in the late fall of 1945 and there was a great debate that went on on very high levels at that point. Montgomery and Eisenhower were the top.... levels in this area. That debate is still going on I think in various areas as to whether they should or shouldn't have held back when Monty wanted to push right through. The other one I guess, is the time of the Battle of the Bulge around New Years of 1945, they had to do some quick shifting of troops in a hurry when the Germans made their push down around the Black Forest area. This was a rather exciting time as I look back on it, the decisions that had to be made. But again, at the top level, they would filter down to those of us in lesser positions.
Mr. Specht: Do you remember a fear of being cut off?
Dr. Morrison: Not really. I don't ever feel I ever thought of it, of the possibility happening. Perhaps I didn't have enough of the picture so I didn't really appreciate it.
Mr. Specht: How do you think the Canadian Army conducted itself in the actual war experience which you witnessed?
Dr. Morrison: I would say very exemplary, both in their fighting and in their general behaviour. From where I sat, I was sitting a fair distance behind where the actual fighting took place. I was up several times in the general forward areas but certainly on the whole I think they acquitted themselves very well in the overall fight.
Mr. Specht: What did you do after the war?
Dr. Morrison: Well I came back and stayed with General Crerar until he retired. We came back on August 7, 1945 and the Prime Minister, then, William Lyon MacKenzie King, decided that the General should probably do a tour of Canada as the General of the Canadian Army just returned and so I was fortunate to make that trip with him. We went from Charlottetown, P.E.I. to Victoria, B.C. and back again, visiting essentially military units, basically army, and military hospitals.
Mr. Specht: What was the purpose of these visits?
Dr. Morrison: Basically, I think it was a public relations if you like. Exposure to the people of the Canadian Army Commander who had just returned from the battle field. He did a fair amount of speaking as he went across... clubs. It was primarily designed to, particularly to go to the army units so that he would have a chance to talk to the people there.
Mr. Specht: I read in one of the reports, that he did visit the C.O.T.C. at U.B.C.
Dr. Morrison: That's correct. He visited U.B.C. I guess it would be either late January of 1946 or early February of 1946.
Mr. Specht: Do you remember that meeting?
Dr. Morrison: I remember the meeting yes. I remember we were in the auditorium, I think I have a picture of, one of the pictures taken that morning, at home. I don't remember, I wasn't in on the discussions that took place, but I was at the... I was present at the meeting at ah... that time.
Mr. Specht: This particular report said that they did discuss the future policies regarding the officer training.
Dr. Morrison: Yes, I have no doubts as General Crerar had a great deal of interest in this area. As a matter of fact some of the tings he was propounding about back then seem to be transpiring today although he was looking at it from... taking the young people, one of his philosophies was at that point in time officer training doing some of this, but not to the scale that he was envisioning. I think I'd be fair in saying he envisaged sort of a compulsory type of training, not necessarily military that would take young people from British Columbia and take them off to Ontario and bring the Ontarians out to Saskatchewan. In other words taking the young people away from their own family and get them to get to know Canada. It would be essentially an exchange of ideas and this is happening today in a variety of ways. You see schools doing this in an exchange programs. General Crerar, at that point in time, I often think about it, that this was one of the ideas he was very much in favour of. He could see the Canadian Officers Training Corps, that type of thing was doing some of this in a very small way and essentially this is what happened to cadets, they would go back to training centers in Ontario, or wherever they may be and there they met other young people from Canada and exchanged ideas. This had a lot going for it at that point.
Mr. Specht: When were you discharged?
Dr. Morrison: I took my discharge in June of 1946. After I left General Crerar, I had pretty well decided that I was going to stay in the army, make the army my career and trying to look at the future, I had decided that perhaps air-borne was the thing to do. I applied to the paratroop training centre at Shilo while I was posted there as their Adjutant in April of 146. I stayed there until June. I guess the real reason that made me change my mind was I couldn't get very much information out of Ottawa at that point in time as to just what was the future for people like myself who had not been regular soldiers prior to the war and what was the likelihood of being kept in. At the same time. I had given a lot of thought about the possibility of returning to the university with the benefits that had accrued for those service people who wanted to go back. I think it was a combination of both the wish to go back to university and I couldn't get the kind of satisfaction from headquarters about what was the future of somebody like myself. I ultimately decided in June. I went to my commanding officer then, I was acting Adjutant at the para-training centre and Colonel Stone was the commanding officer, and he simply suggested that I phone Ottawa and find out, which I did. I got negative answers so I asked for my discharge. I took my discharge.
End of Track 1

Dr. Finlay Morrison
March 22, 1974
Interview No. 502 Tape 1, Side 2
Mr. Specht: Which university did you continue in?
Dr. Morrison: Well I went back, after I took my discharge in June, I went to work as a pharmacist.. As you will recall as I said earlier I had my certificate or diploma which would give me a license. I was a licensed pharmacist in Saskatchewan at that point in time. This was one of the reasons I thought I'd make the military my career. I could stay in 'til I was about 50 or 52 then I could retire and go practice pharmacy, however, I changed my mind and... but I did work in Regina for Mr. Frank Edwards for just the months of June, July and August and then I returned to the University of Saskatchewan in September of 1946 and started on then completing my degree. Because of the fact that I'd had some arts in 1935, 1936, I was able to complete the degree in one year plus a couple of summer sessions, well they had a pre-summer session and then a summer session in Saskatchewan at that time... I graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy in 1947. I was offered... one of the things that made me want to go back to university was the Dean of the University of Saskatchewan in Pharmacy at that time was Dean Woods, was also there when I was, in 1940 to 1942 and he had written me that if I went back and got my degree, because at that time he had decided to accept the appointment out here to establish a new College of Pharmacy, and he offered me a position. I went back and got my degree. We worked out the details during the time I was getting my degree and so I came out here in August of 1947 after completing summer school in Saskatchewan and I've been here ever since.
Mr. Specht: When did you become involved in C.O.T.C.?
Dr. Morrison: I didn't get involved in the C.O.T.C. here until 1951. In the fall of 1951 I joined the C.O.T.C. as a contingent officer.
Mr. Specht: How did you become involved?
Dr. Morrison: Well, I... they were looking for personnel or officers, contingent officers as they were called at that time and I approached the then commanding officer, Colonel Bonner, Colonel Robert Bonner, and I was accepted as a contingent officer. I was approached to see whether I would be interested really and after I gave it some thought I decided I might as well get back into it. I went in as a captain, which was my rank when I was discharged, as a contingent officer and stayed with the unit until 1963 or something like that. Whenever I retired. I've forgotten the date.
Mr. Specht: While a contingent officer, before you became the Commanding Officer, what were your major duties? Dr. Morrison: Well, we at that time of course were parading 125 to 150 cadets on a three phase basis: first, second and then a third year training basis and the unit, the C.O.T.C. unit was broken down then into three phases and I was given sort of commanding, I think I started off with Phase One and moved up to Phase Two and then Phase Three. We had junior officers with us. It would be my responsibility to look after the particular phase that I was given command of. I did some lecturing in the military area as well as having outside lecturers. I also did some drill training or was present at the time the drill training was being given by an instructor. This ls basically what we did. We paraded one night a week for three hours and we had a regular syllabus laid down for us by the directorate in Ottawa and we followed this syllabus.
Mr. Specht: What area did you lecture in?
Dr. Morrison: I lectured in Man Management as it applied to the military. I lectured in the area of verbal orders or battle orders, or battle procedures, army organization. It depended on what happened to be on the syllabus. We crossed over as you went from one phase you would use a different training syllabus so you might lecture in that area this year, you might lecture in something else next year if you had a different phase or the training. Then, of course, we had a large number of outside speakers which we always brought in.
Mr. Specht: Would you recall some?
Dr. Morrison: Yes. Dr. Soward, Fred Soward, used to be a regular speaker for us. Since he retired from the university he had an annual one or two lectures. Dr. John Norris lectured with us for several years in the area of military history. Now and then Dr. Barry Leach lectured, again in the area of military history. Oh there were, I guess, any number of others that we used to bring in. Dr. Lewis Robinson, in Geography, used to come in and lecture on military geography. We used to use university personnel fairly heavily, but especially in a particular area. Those are some of the ones I can recall right off the top of my head.
Mr. Specht: Going back to when you first joined, do you remember having an impression of the unit 1n 1951?
Dr. Morrison: I think my original impression of the unit, because C.O.T.C. when we first started in 1942 was a bit of a... you know, a helter-skelter arrangement, the unit here, as I recall, was very well organized and the syllabus and everything was well laid on and this rather impressed me, the way the whole thing had been set up, because sometimes we would get stories, this was sort of a play, an evening of fun and games, but the unit took their training very seriously. This impressed me from the outset. Colonel Bonner and subsequently, Colonel McLean, these people were good disciplinarians and good, well trained in the military aspect. I suppose for this reason I enjoyed the unit. It was well organized, well managed, well run.
Mr. Specht: How would you say your own experience fitted in with C.O.T.C.?
Dr. Morrison: Well what I liked from the C.O.T.C. and what I missed very much when I get out was this, at the university level gave ma another out or my own immediate field so that I had contact with students from all walks of the university, because we drew students from all the faculties, from the student contact, it gave me this kind of contact which I appreciated. It also gave me an opportunity to meet these various speakers. I probably wouldn't have had this same opportunity in a small faculty. So it had these kind of rewards from my own personal point of view, which I enjoyed and I missed after the thing folded up. Mr. Specht: How would you characterize the students who joined the C.O.T.C., who were selected really?
Dr. Morrison: Its difficult, what do you mean by characterizing them?
Mr. Specht: What kind or people were they? What do you think were their ambitions, interests?
Dr. Morrison: I think basically, they were for the most part pretty serious young men who were looking for some training in man management and I think this is the unfortunate connotation that C.O.T.C. or the service units on the campus developed, that they were training specifically for war, I dispute this or refute this because this wasn't basically our intent, it was partly our intent to train these young people, but I can think of a number of them who have gone out now and have taken their place in the community. On the whole I found them a very conscientious young group. It was interesting, like you always watch young people and see how they do mature. They would come in very immature and they would spend a summer away in military camp and then watch them over the years. On the whole they were young people that I think, were interested in what they were doing. They were interested in getting some training and many of them went back to the reserve when they finished with us or else went on to the regular army. In essence we were training these people and they went back out into the community and into the reserve area.
Mr. Specht: Let's go back again, what did you think of the armoury?
Dr. Morrison: Here?
Mr. Specht: Yes.
Dr. Morrison: I thought we were fortunate to have such fine facilities for training purposes. The university was a very, well... whoever, well I know who was instrumental in setting it up and it was very far-sighted. It was the envy of most of the universities across Canada that we had our own facilities for training. We had our own facilities for lectures, for drill, for mess, and as a consequence, I think this had a great deal to do with the unity within all three services and the unity within each of the services. There was a home base, there was a headquarters, which the cadets could call their own, sort of thing. I think it was very significant.
Mr. Specht: Did you take part in the summer camps?
Dr. Morrison: No, not really, as C.O. when I took over as Commanding Officer, I visited a number of them each summer, but I didn't participate. I'd go back and visit the cadets and visit with the C.O. to see if there were any problems or any areas of concern, but I never went back as an active.
Mr. Specht: How do you view the summer camps for what they offered as compared to the term parades?
Dr. Morrison: Of course, the summer camps were designed to Train you specifically in your major area of interest, if you were a signal man you went to the signal corps training centre. There then they concentrated on what was basic to your specialty. Again they were full time, they were run as a regular army camp. They were taught by regular army personnel. On the whole, the first while the cadets found it a bit rigorous. They would get some of these hard-nosed military instructors and the training. On the whole most of the kids would come back after they had sort of got over the first week or two they enjoyed it, I think, on the whole.
Mr. Specht: Would it be possible to perceive the difference in the cadets who had been to summer camp and returned the following year to you?
Dr. Morrison: Oh yes. You could see quite a change. You bring them in as I say, in the first phase of training, which some of them wouldn't get started with us until after January, because maybe their boards wouldn't have made their selection and then you see them come back the next fall after a summer at camp and they're two different people.
Mr. Specht: How would you compare the C.O.T.C. with the... the purposes of C.O.T.C. during the war years and later on?
Dr. Morrison: Well, of course, I suppose during the war years you were obviously training for war. I don't think there's any question about that, whether it was a war or training for emergency in the event of war at home or so forth. After the war, and certainly as we got farther away from the end of the war, the whole emphasis on training at the reserve level changed and it became more oriented to training for community emergencies, disasters and that's why I say the training, the type of military training that they were getting was probably more concerned with this type of training, man management, how to handle an emergency situation in case of a disaster. As you know the reserves in some cases did a fair amount of civil defence training laterally. I think from that point of view the emphasis on training, changed but it was about that time that the C.O.T.C. folded up as well.
Mr. Specht: Do you remember anything specific, examples of how the training changed? Maybe a particular practice dropped and something new adopted.
Dr. Morrison: Well, except when they went into the emergency training, we got into training for disaster, in the event of disasters, emergencies, in this area. Which probably are not much different than if you have a bomb go off for an earthquake, the kind of civil disaster, the results of it are essentially the same. So you were trained more along this line as opposed to say, training for how to operate a 105mm Howitzer or something like this. So that there was some of the syllabus was left out in order to put this other type of emergency training in.
Mr. Specht: Was this changing orientation reflected in the lectures?
Dr. Morrison: Yes, because the syllabus then, here again we used to bring outside lecturers in who had more background in this area. The syllabus again from the directorate, as time went on, this was the latter part of the 50's I guess, early 60's, that this emphasis shifted to the emergency training aspect.
Mr. Specht: How about in terms of world outlook?
Dr. Morrison: I don't recall any..
Mr. Specht: Would you for example have less of a Cold war emphasis and turn more to peace keeping or the U.N.?
Dr. Morrison: Well, certainly laterally this was emphasized. Probably the role the Canadians would play in any major conflict might be sort of as a peace keeping role which I think, is pretty well what we have today essentlally. This was I think, emphasized as far as the Cold war. Of course, this was really where the emergency training came in. You were looking at the Atomic bomb. This was really what brought this whole business of civil defence on at that point in time, and we've gone through that phase now. The emphasis on the civil defence aspect was emphasized because of the Cold War situation. At least in my opinion that was one 0£ the reasons why we went to this type of training. Not just C.O.T.C., but so did the reserves generally.
Mr. Specht: How did you become Commanding Officer?
Dr. Morrison: Well, they appoint a committee of course, to make the selections and I don't know how I was selected. I suppose it was my military background. I don't even know who was on the selection committee. I imagine there were recommendations put forward by my predecessor and then the committee reviews the senior officers, you see. At that point in time we had a Lieutenant Colonel and there were four of us who were Majors.
Mr. Specht: How did you feel about taking over?
Dr. Morrison: I was very honoured and looked forward to it because this was, I particularly like the fact, I had been with the unit then about eight or none years at this point in time. I enjoyed my involvement with the cadets so I was quite pleased to be selected at that point in time.
Mr. Specht: How did you perceive of the role of Commanding Officer?
Dr. Morrison: Well of course, at that point in time, the Commanding Officer, at least in my view, was a man who was there to give leadership, direction, to make decisions that had to be made, and also maintain a good organizational set-up, to carry on the training that was required by the syllabus of training. We, of course, were supported in this regard by a full time resident staff officer. They of course, were the real key to the continuity, if you like, and the liaison with the active forces so that the contingent officers and the commanding officers per se, was really the man who was responsible to see that the wheels kept going in the right direction and was held responsible that they were. He certainly took a lot of his advice from his contingent officers and in particular, his staff officer.
Mr. Specht: What were the main issues while you were commanding officer?
Dr. Morrison: I suppose the main issue really happened towards the latter part of my term, and was the gearing down, the closing out, the phasing out, I suppose would be a better term, of the C.O.T.C. It started about the time I took over. They were cutting back on the numbers of new recruits they would bring in to the point where the over-all establishment was dwindling to the point where, again if you don't have a good viable organization, it doesn't help to recruit people. I think the main issue while I was in there was this whole issue of the gradual phasing out of the services on the campus as such. One which I regret to see happen.
Mr. Specht: This squeezing of quotas started as early as Colonel McLean's time?
Dr. Morrison: Oh yes. It started before my taking over froM Colonel McLean. He was very instrumental in carrying the fight against this over the years.
Mr. Specht: How would you wage the fight?
Dr. Morrison: Well basically it was carried on by the commanding, the then commanding officers through the headquarters, the local army headquarters, you know you go through the regular channels back to Ottawa. the Minister of National Defence, then it was General Pearkes, at the beginning, then laterally, Paul Hellyer. It was Mr. Hellyer who finally put the finishing touches to it. Whether you can blame him for it per se, but certainly he was minister at the time when they finally withdrew the units from the campus.
Mr. Specht: When you were commanding officer the Conservatives were in power in Ottawa. Was there any difference between them and the Liberals?
Dr. Morrison: No. I think the trend had started. The movement or whatever, or whoever was instrumental in phasing this back basically from the point of view of economics, the cost, and I think when Mr. Hellyer, I suppose after General Pearkes, came Mr. Hellyer and it really started under the Conservatives. Mr. Hellyer's policies are well known about his amalgamation and the whole bit.
Mr. Specht: Wasn't General Pearkes favorable towards the military and C.O.T.C.?
Dr. Morrison: Yes, he would have been. The difficult thing for somebody like myself to understand, I guess when you're a politician you have other problems as well that you have to weigh. Certainly I would think that General Pearkes, with his background would have been very favorable to the C.O.T.C., but I think it was Mr. Hellyer who was really the one who finally finished it off.
Mr. Specht: Do you have, I think you mentioned when I was talking to you earlier, that you had a meeting with Paul Hellyer?
Dr. Morrison: Well I did... yes. Mr. Hellyer was out here and met with the commanding officers. After I took over we still, because of the fact it was started under my predecessor, we asked him to stay on sort of as our spokesman, because he had the whole background and Colonel McLean and the other two commanding officers of the Air Force and the Navy met with Mr. Hellyer. Yes we had Mr. Hellyer to the mess for lunch. I remember very well. I sat beside him. I can remember Mr. Hellyer saying to me "Colonel Morrison, we're not in the educational field." because I was trying to sell him on some of the things we were doing. I still remember to this day his statement, "The federal government is not in the educational field." Just what he meant by this I never could quite get clear from him.
Mr. Specht: Yes, that's a hard one.
Dr. Morrison: Well I think what it is behind it is I was trying to point out you see, the C.O.T.C. or the services gave a kind of training for the young people that they couldn't get otherwise. A training that would go on into the community in the years ahead. I think this is basically why he made his remark that the federal government was not in the educational field. He assumed, I presume that he felt it was an educational matter.
Mr. Specht: But defence was something that is national in scope.
Dr. Morrison: That's right it should be.
Mr. Specht: Do you remember others who were involved in resisting the disbandment of the C.O.T.C.?
Dr. Morrison: Well, of course, we had our then president, Colonel MacKenzie or President MacKenzie. I don't think he got directly involved but certainly he was a very active supporter of the services on the campus. Colonel, the late Colonel Logan, of course, was the originator of re-activating the C.O.T.C. in 1928, after it had been off campus and people like this. Colonel Shrum, these were all people who had a great deal of knowledge about the C.O.T.C. and I don't know how active they were. The real people who got into the, if you like, the tight to retain were the then commanding officers like Colonel McLean, Wing Commander Herbert, and Dr. Young or Captain Young. They probably. as the C.O.s carried out and mustered whatever other support they could from other people, on the campus or in the community.
Mr. Specht: When did you step down?
Dr. Morrison: 1963, I think it was, August of 1963.
Mr. Specht: What were the circumstances?
Dr. Morrison: Well the appointment, the C.O.T.C. appointment was on a term basis of four years and I think I had a little longer than four years, four and a half or maybe possibly five, but at that point in time, I felt, you know, it was somebody else's turn.
Mr. Specht: Did you stay with the C.O.T.C. after?
Dr. Morrison: No. Oh no. Well, I stayed with them after, but not in an official capacity. I used to attend their functions and still do as a matter of fact, if and when they have any military functions.
Mr. Specht: This last question is going to probably relate to the areas you've... things you've talked about before. What do you think is the chief value of C.O.T.C. for the individual?
Dr. Morrison: Well, I think the, one of the chief values, as I see it is training in the area of man management, if you like, and this general area of how to handle people in the event of a disaster, in the event of an emergency you have a nucleus of people that are out there that have some basic training that you can call on very quickly and I think we have had evidence of this: the flood of 1948, I was out manning the dikes, for the simple reason that they, if you like, just ordered out the reserves. I think this kind of training is important. As I said earlier, I can see people like John Fraser now, who is an M.F. I don't say that C.O.T.C. made him M.F. necessarily, but certainly I think it had something to do. There are several lawyers around town I can think of who are ex-cadets of C.O.T.C. So I think this kind of training had a great deal to do with people going back out in society.
Mr. Specht: How do you think C.O.T.C. serves the country... let me re-word that. What do you think the relationship between C.O.T.C. and citizenship is?
Dr. Morrison: I guess I... I think there is a definite relationship there, because the training that we were given at that point in time, related to citizenship and involvement of the individual and his responsibility in this particular area of citizenship. I frankly feel that the federal government is back doing much the same things as we were doing in C.O.T.C. now with some other program... under a different name. It probably doesn't have the connotation of training for war, but they're trying to do essentially the same thing, teach people citizenship, and teach people in a number of these areas.
Mr. Specht: Do you think a person would have a more responsible attitude towards his community?
Dr. Morrison: After training with C.O.T.C.?
Mr. Specht: Yes.
Dr. Morrison: My answer would be yes. I can't prove it, but my answer would be yes. I've watched the young people and been involved with them myself and I think he has a greater appreciation of his responsibility to society and to the community generally. How you prove that I don't know.
End of Track 2


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