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[Interview with Ray Herbert, Armed Forces at UBC Project, Part III] Specht, Allen [unknown]

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Mr. Ray Herbert
April 9, 1974
Interview 503, Tape 2, Side 1
Mr. Specht: I noticed you have two recruiting periods in the year, one in September and one in January. Why did you have that?
Mr. Herbert: Well that simply reflects the fact that they had earlier referred to the re-allocation of quota from other universities and what they did if, for example, McGill had not filled its quota that would become available to us and we could recruit up to that to fill the program for the year. That's basically where that stems from.
Mr. Specht: Oh. I see. Would that create disparity though to cadets who registered in January and those who registered in September?
Mr. Herbert: They would have missed part of the training, but that's not serious. Again I had mentioned earlier that our training was not to any particular fixed programs so that we were not really disadvantaged by this. Some of them couldn't march very well on a big fancy dress parade, but what the hell! Their hearts were in the right place.
Mr. Specht: Would you sometimes perhaps, take cadets on even maybe not officially, you know, to pick up some training because you might think probably that there would be room for them in January?
Mr. Herbert: Well, we may have done that on an occasion, but by and large, no. That would be a demoralizing thing to create an expectation of that kind in case you couldn't or didn't fill it. Sometimes those were very, very eager and not selected in the first round would hang around and we certainly didn't... we treated them nicely, but it would... that would be the way in which that would occur.
Mr. Specht: Uh-huh, I see. The Air Force Squadron was distinct at U,B.C. because you had female members. What was the policy regarding, that?
Mr. Herbert: Well, it was instituted in 1952, I think, and it simply was that I suppose particularly the war time experience of the Air Force with women had been extremely good and they continued in the post-war fluctuation in the size of the Air Force to have some female members. Obviously in nursing and in our case, in the Air Force, in dietetics and with the expansion to which I referred around the time of the Korean War, this program was expanded again and women were employed in, apart from a specialty like dietetics, generally in administration and supply. Sometimes it emerged that way, we had one who did a lot of work in physical education because that was her major, but they were a great asset.
Mr. Specht: They were on the same basis as the cadets in the squadron?
Mr. Herbert: Yes they were treated exactly the same. Their initial training however, was in the first few years not conducted in the same location as the men. The first year we took women, the first group I think, totaled fifty from McGill, Toronto, U.B.C., and Alberta, as I recall it. They did their training at London, Ontario, which was then a base, which was also concerned with the training of Air-women, and was the better designed for their accommodation. In the latter years of the reserve officer's program, the women trained in exactly the same place and program with the men, during the sumner.
Mr. Specht: During the winter terms did they have exactly the same situation and parade nights?
Mr. Herbert: Yes.
Mr. Specht: Also in the mess?
Mr. Herbert: Yes.
Mr. Specht: How did women fit in though, in a predominantly male organization?
Mr. Herbert: I can't speak for women. I think they like men, so from that point of view, it was a source of happiness to them and from our point of view, they were hard working, anxious to do well, and did well. They fitted in, in my view, perfectly with the... all the traditions and everything else in the organization. It led to some cleaning up of some language in certain situations, I suppose, which is a desirable thing anyway.
Mr. Specht: How about your officer staff? How did you keep up your officer staff?
Mr. Herbert: Well, I think I indicated to you earlier that as the cadets moved up in seniority and experience and training, they undertook a good deal of the work of organizing, particularly, let's say, drill and that sort of thing, but the unit, of course, operated pursuant to an establishment laid down by the D.N.D. Initially it was one commanding officer, one squadron leader, one staff officer, a reserve flight lieutenant, one resident staff officer, who would be regular force, and a clerk to run the orderly room and that was the sort of establishment laid on, so any additional people we had we got through our own resources. Later the establishment was altered. It was raised to a Wing Commander position. I think really to correspond with the fact the C.O., the C.O.T.C. was a Lieutenant Colonel and the army couldn't go us one better, 2 IC. Squadron Leader, Two Flight Lieutenants. In our case, one of those flight lieutenant positions was taken up of course, by the officer at Victoria, then Victoria College, now Victoria University, and the other one, I was able to fill over the years on a kind of rotating turn-over basis with graduates of the scheme, who in each case and its not entirely coincidental, were law students, who, that is they had completed Air Force Reserve Officer training at this university or more frequently another university and had graduated from it and had come to do law studies here. Having know them during their training and so on, it was an ideal situation for them to, on the average for three years, take on this spare job which we labeled training officer.
Mr. Specht: So your contacts partly through the law faculty, you would have learned that here were some men who have experience. So you just asked them to join. Do you remember some names?
Mr. Herbert: Sure... there's Mr. Norman Gish, well... first Maro Soule, who is a graduate of Royal Military College, he's a lawyer downtown now... then there's Norman Gish, who is a lawyer, but with one of the big forest companies. He was a graduate of the scheme in Alberta and came here to law school. Another one, the last one I can think of at the moment is Fred Reagh; Fred Reagh was... had served in the Air Force on a regular basis prior to coming to law school. He had had a short service commission and flew jets in Europe and then became a law student when I had the good fortune to know him and I nailed him to be the training officer. I think all of them enjoyed it and it was a modest supplement to their incomes.
Mr. Specht: R.O.T.P. started in 1952.
Mr. Herbert: Yes, the same year as the ladies.
Mr. Specht: You would have had some R.O.T.P. cadets in the Air Squadron?
Mr. Herbert: Yes we... when our R.O.T.P. scheme came in a number of the fellows then in the reserve, and particularly in reserve taking air crew training, transferred across to R.O.T.P. That is they became subsidized at the university and that really was the initial group.
Mr. Specht: You mentioned also, the same year 1952, Victoria College established a unit. Do you know why? Why that came about?
Mr. Herbert: Well, there were two reasons. The C.O.T.C. had a detachment there and in a sense we were competing tor people at that time, it was a time of Army expansion as well as Air Force expansion and the navy, of course, the local unit here didn't have a detachment. There was a U.N.T.D. division at the University of Victoria operating out of the reserve establishment in Victoria. were determined that we ought to expand in that way and we did. Mr. Specht: How did they relate to you?
Mr. Herbert: At Victoria?
Mr. Specht: Yes they were subordinate to the unit here.
Mr. Herbert: Yes they were just a detachment of this squadron.
Mr. Specht: You were Commanding Officer and the person in charge there would be like a second in command?
Mr. Herbert: We used to just call them the officer in charge of Victoria. All the clerical and administrative work the order room work was done out of the U.B.C. office, of course.
Mr. Specht: Was there any other interaction as far as training?
Mr. Herbert: We made a practice of bringing them over as many as we could or was convenient to do, for the tri-service and ball and occasions of that kind. would come too for things like mess dinner, but primarily we... at least in the latter years organized a situation whereby the three groups at Victoria, Army, Navy and Air Force, would have a joint mess dinner. A couple of occasions it was up at Esquimalt, and perhaps more frequently at the Work Point Barracks, the Queen's Own Regimental Officer's Mess. The idea really behind that, was because again, we wanted to as we did here invite as guests the representatives of the educational institution in which we were functioning. So thus at the Victoria Dinner. I would go one year perhaps preside because it was the Air Force's turn to be the duty service for tri-service matters. Our guest would be, for example, the principal and later the president of Victoria College, the University of Victoria and those people there who assisted us with the training program, lecturers and so on, so it was made a really Victoria College occasion even though these were, as far as the Army and we were concerned, detachments.
Mr. Specht: Did that fit in okay with the quotas, the different categories and everything?
Mr. Herbert: Well we had to carve out of the total quota, whatever we took in at Victoria. This made it very, very awkward later when the corps got so small because had to have enough people there to make it kind of viable, and at the same time we were getting damn near un-viable here as a single unit and then of course, at the same time, in the latter years. they expanded again in the sense that we would recruit from Simon Frazer University when it started. So there was a further dilution of viability, I call it, in terms of numbers.
Mr. Specht: Speaking of quotas, when did you first start having your quotas reduced? There was like an expansion at the time of the Korean War.
Mr. Herbert: Yes, well, through 1952, 1953, 1954, I would say the quota began to come in meaningfully around 1954. Well that's just my best recollection.
Mr. Specht: Yes. That coincides with what others have said. In the mid-fifties anyway it started. Why do you think that started, why do you think they started to lower the quotas?
Mr. Herbert: Well there were a number of reasons. The service was... as such was pre-occupied with, of course, manning its regular ranks and consequently the focus of their attention was on the R.O.T.P. The reserve element had, from that point of view, not been as productive as they bad hoped. In addition, I suppose, we'd just have to say a cost factor. They had during this period opened, of course, the College Militaire Royal St. John for officer training and they were operating of course, Royal Roads and the Royal Military College. Their political masters, the treasury board, the providers of the funds for defence would, no doubt, question the validity of expenditure on officer training that was on its face, not productive in manning the ranks of the regular forces, however, much value we may have attached to it from a citizen-education point of view. So I think for those kinds of reasons, economy, they began to limit the intake. Also, of course, as the expansion ceased and the service sort of settled in size to the extent that it did, then they had to have, of course, some consideration of the opportunities for useful summer employment for these people and that would be a minor factor in fixing a number and deciding that would be it. Equally so, that the same time they expanded the college scheme into Newfoundland and smaller maritime universities so that there was a dilution from that point of view too. They were going to more sources for really less people. Hence one can understand why the quota was... system was introduced.
Mr. Specht: Do you think when R.O.T.P. was instituted did you, did anyone feel that this is a kind of an indication that there might be changes. R.O.T.P. might be forever more the sure source of recruits?
Mr. Herbert: Yes. I don't think there's any doubt of that. A lot of us questioned the validity of this scheme from, again, our own very narrow point of view. We all thought that probably a better way, at least from a university point of view of doing it, would be to encourage the individual to enroll in the reserve for the first year then the service could look at him, but equally important the individual would get a good look at the service and ha could make an intelligent judgement about making a career of it and the retention factor would probably be better. That was a bit idealistic however, because part of the impulse for the program came from the education side in Canada. It was thought that not only would it be good for the service in getting people but it might create opportunity for young people to go to university who otherwise could not for financial reasons go. So the recruitment then really, for a good proportion of these people, was done outside the university, prior to university sort of starting. People would arrive here perhaps recruited in Saskatchewan to be R.O.T.P. members of my squadron and I'm not disparaging Saskatchewan but one of the problems in the scheme as a national scheme in moving people around much according to their preference once the colleges were filled was that there is a wide variation in pre-university education across the country. That's perhaps less so now, but for example Saskatchewan used to give a senior matriculation with twelve years of elapsed education. In B.C. we wouldn't let them in until they had thirteen years of elapsed education. The Saskatchewan student could then get into applied science for example, with a year less education. for that technical reason, than the local man and he just wasn't competitive. It was a very tough situation. Many of them suffered thereby. That's not to say if they stayed in the Saskatchewan system and gone through it that they wouldn't have ended up a perfectly good engineer, but it's just the timing of it was harmful to them. These were problems that we conferred about from time to time manually and then endeavored to rectify.
Mr. Specht: Did you ever take your idea to the authorities? The idea of why not start R.O.T.P. for second year students instead of first year.
Mr. Herbert: A feature of the.... We ended each reserve officer's school session with an annual C.O.s conference, which would be attended usually by the... chaired usually by the Air Officer of Training Command and his staff officers from Air Force headquarters who were concerned with the thing and all the R.S.O.s and C.O.s and such other officers as might be available. A very thorough review of previous experience and future plans took place at that time. So that, oh yes, there was constant interchange. We'd have annual visits from staff officers from training command and from headquarters during the winder again with a view to ironing out problems and exchanging views. The thing was taken very, very seriously almost in a surprising way the amount of attention paid to this form of officer training.
Mr. Specht: These annual C.O. meetings now, they would have become as you said, a real place for the interchange of experiences. Having the C.O.s from units across Canada I wonder if you have... if it would have been kind of a good occasion to kind of get together and if you... if there was a difference with the R.C.A.F. the regular air force?
Mr. Herbert: I know what you mean. Most of us certainly felt and we were certainly treated not as some different kind of animal or a mere reserve, but as a full-bore member of the service, for those purposes and times in which we were serving. It was a rewarding experience from that point of view and our views were of the greatest interest and treated with deference by them too.
Mr. Specht: I wonder say, the quota issue, would this have been taken up at these meetings?
Mr. Herbert: Oh yes... (Laughter)... and then the answer was much as I have given it to you, that their dictates of economics and so on, were producing that.
Mr. Specht: I'd like to ask you about the organization. Now the Air Squadron, the University Air Squadron was directly under the headquarters Training Command? This meant that you would have had parity with the Sea Island base or any other Air Force base?
Mr. Herbert: Well, parity, well in a sense. We were an independent unit and we had our own quarters and I was the C.O. In that sense, well mind you, we were in a very narrow range of activity, so you wouldn't compare it in that way, but in effect my superior was the Air Officer Command, Training Command. That is there was no intermediate headquarters between me and him. For example, the C.O.T.C. I think, were responsible to, at least to some extent, to the local area commander, yeah, the district commander.
Mr. Specht: But say now you had a request, say of another base, say the Sea Island base, now you'd go through the headquarters who in turn would at that level at Sea Island... take it back.
Mr. Herbert: Yes these bases were instructed from Air Force headquarters to afford us, as a unit, certain services and facilities, such as supply. But as far as that goes, you know, we were always on good terms with the local people even though they were in a different command, I mean real terms of friendship on social occasions and so on. We were, again, I emphasize, welcomed as if we were full-bore members of the service. So these matters of medical services and so on, supply, pay and these sorts of things were largely done on a buddy basis in a way, although the legal structure underlay of course.
Mr. Specht: In 1958 the units had a tri-service staff officer.
Mr. Herbert: That's correct, Colonel, now Lieutenant Colonel, then Major Reynolds, yes.
Mr. Specht: What was the rationale behind setting this up?
Mr. Herbert: The minister of national defence of the day, Mr. Fearkes, looked around and he saw a hell of a lot of regular force people being employed in what struck him as an activity that could well be supported by one officer instead of three. At U.B.C. for example there was an Army resident staff officer and a Navy staff officer and an Air Force resident staff officer and separate orderly rooms and clerks, and his conception, which was not original or new, that the movement towards integration of forces, this seemed to him to be, the situation was right for economies as well and accordingly he determined that that would take place, and it did. The difficulty with it was, of course, you're still different systems, different channels of command and different requirements, even though we were all engaged in the same business. The reason I think...
Mr. Specht: How did the tri-service, R.S.O. work then, how did it work out?
Mr. Herbert: Well it really transpired, because of these differences that I've referred to, and because of our experience with the hours that the former individual officer seemed to be required to put in, that we were going to require assistance, additional to that that the one R.S.O. could provide. The local Air Force headquarters again, this is this cooperation bit, sort of annotated one of their officers to devote a good proportion of his time to our affairs, so at that time Flt. Lt. MoNichol, who is Col. McNichol and c.o. at Comox, who besides doing his own work at the headquarters which was in personnel, but where there were other people to help cover it all, came along to U.B.C. and functioned much as the old R.S.O. had done. Col. Reynolds of course, did operate to coordinate a lot of these activities and just did, what must have been for him, in difficult circumstances, in my view a splendid job. He had to adjust his training inexperience to some nuances at any rate, of for instance differences in system and organization and ideas, and he did that remarkably well.
Mr. Specht: Did that continue through-out?
Mr. Herbert: No, it lasted about... now my recollection's bad... I think two years and then the regular force staff officers were appointed for each unit again. The experiment didn't really work. We just found that it was too much to do.
Mr. Specht: In the 1958 Commanding Officer's Report, in reference to this, this would be your... you are the author I think, it says "He is immediately responsible to the recently created director of the R.O.T.P," Was that the situation?
Mr. Herbert: Yes. This emphasizes and serves to illustrate the increasing emphasis of R.O.T.P. At headquarters they had determined to appoint a senior officer to be over-seer, in a sense, the R.O.T.P. business. I think the first one was Brigadier Rothschild, as he then was, later Major General Rothschild, so it was a high level appointment. He sort of, oversaw the R.O.T.P. side of things.... I don't know that it was a highly effective structure. We were quite satisfied, at least I was, with how we were doing. That is to say total integration of the reserve and regular and the same pattern of training, the same treatment. I thought this was a better method. However, that was the case.
Mr. Specht: Say after the Second World War, it is usually referred to as the cold war period and perhaps we can say the cold war had kind of undergone changes since this time and I was wondering if you can recall any changes that resulted from a different foreign policy that Canada evolved over this time? For example, I would say during the Korean War this was strongly a cold war issue, although Canada was there under the U.N. auspices. Still that and treaty alliances. Later on Canada started to get more involved in peacekeeping which is something perhaps a little more neutral.
Mr. Herbert: I would say that although that has been, of course, the emphasis of the last years, and in fact the actual employment of a considerable portion of our defence personnel, that the... commitments extant let's say in the fifties are still with us. Canada is still a member of NATO and makes a now diminished...
End of Tape 2, Side 1

Mr. Ray Herbert
April 9, 1974
Interview 503, Tape 2, Side 2
but still substantial contribution on its NATO treaty commitments to maintaining a force in Europe and the North Atlantic and the NORAD agreement is... still obtains, that is the North American Air Defence agreement with the United States whereby we provide a very,
not a very considerable military clout input, but certainly we assumed a good deal of responsibility in that regard. Indeed, for many years, Air Marshall Slemon, of course, was the 2 IC. of NORAD in Denver, and he was really a continuing commander of the American Chiefs and would come and go. He really assumed large responsibilities there and he has been succeeded since then by the senior Air Force officer as 2 IC. of NORAD. The largest sub-headquarters, of course, is in Ontario at North Bay. So these commitments continue really, although our contribution to them has manifestly diminished. You can't run the service down from 180,000 to 80,000 and still make the same kind of waves.
Mr. Specht: I was wondering though in, say perhaps some of the lectures and things like that that you had if there would have been perhaps room to express a philosophy of U.N. orientation? Mr. Herbert: Yes. One of the things we tried to take advantage of cause people were very knowledgeable in this area and... on the University staff was to spread that light, as it were, to the cadets who wouldn't otherwise be exposed to it, you know, and to, take a fellow in applied science he's all wrapped up an engineering studies and so on, well its good for him to come out on a Thursday evening and get a dollop of something else, some insight into world politics, and the organization that are concerned with it and so on.
Mr. Specht: I am going to digress a little bit... you referred to the organizations in which Canada is involved, NORAD, you know. Now NORAD is linked with the defence of North America with the United States. I wonder how you feel personally, if Canada was not to some extent becoming more submerged in the... with the United States that having a more distinguished foreign policy?
Mr. Herbert: Gosh! I don't know. In terms of actual participation by American Forces on Canadian soil, I've... for example manning some of the radar sites and so on, that has diminished in fact from what it was at one time when the threat of air attack on North America was considered to be, if not probable, quite possible. Today, I suppose I would say that... kind of likelihood is considerably diminished and we're into this age of inter-continental missiles if there are any serious differences of opinion. But we are, after all we, Canada lies between Russia and the United States if you look at the globe, and we're, I suppose a species of if you like, buffer zone between the two, geographically and certainly our interests are much more easily identified tied as being alongside or analogous to or along with those of the United States than they are of the Russian Empire, so that, so both cultural, practical and political reasons I see a good deal of correlation between the foreign policy of the two countries. We're a very minor figure in terms of, particularly I suppose, of numbers of people although I don't back off from anybody in that we can haul our weight and more than do so and have done so demonstrably in history.
Mr. Specht: Don't you think this close involvement though might result in a loss of some identity, some sense of distinction?
Mr. Herbert: Well, I suppose it does. Canada is kind of a curious country, you know, it was sort of hung together with some sort of improbable and disparate groups by Sir John A. primarily. It tended because of being overshadowed by the enormous power to the south to identity very strongly with England, with Britain, and the institutions that we derive from England, the parliamentary system, the sovereign and there was, oh a damn near I suppose hysterically pro-British attitude, I think largely explicable in terms of anxiety about the overwhelming power, both economically and culturally and every other way, lying to the south of us. Of course, since then there's a great deal of Canadian self-confidence seriously, I think, maybe unfortunately, but that's the way these happen, identified with the efforts in two world wars. People often speak, and I think quite meaningfully, of Canada being born at Vimy Ridge, World War One, where there was a sense of pride, of achievement I suppose in the horrendous circumstances developed during World War One and equally in World War Two, the country made an enormous contribution. Canada had the third largest navy in the world at one point in world war two in terms of numbers involved. You know that's an extraordinary thing to say an extraordinary effort for such a small population, and in the corresponding effort in the air and on land. I suppose the comparable group perhaps they did even more in those same terms would be Australia.
Mr. Specht: How did you stand on let's take one issue, in 1962 the Cuban crisis; now President Kennedy and the United States requested the evening before he declared his quarantine. He said he wanted permission to fly missiles over Canada and John Diefenbaker. the Prime Minister at that time, refused it at first. He said well I have to consult.
Mr. Herbert: I didn't really know any of those details. I knew in a vague way that Mr. Diefenbaker had kind of waffled as it were, at that time of that crisis, to I suppose, the apprehension as much as anything of our neighbours, but I think its an awfully significant fact that they took the trouble to consult or ask him.
Mr. Specht: But it did kind of capsulize the issue of in the name of defence that Canada had perhaps not expect total sovereignty, Of course, I guess we do that anyway in treaties.
Mr. Herbert: Well we... I think before Canada never had been sort of sovereign in the sense that... the United States for example, could afford to be. We were always part of first of all the British Empire, part of the British Commonwealth, we relied in a sense on the Royal Navy financed by England for many years to be our principal means of defence, We didn't, I don't think there was every any serious contemplation since the Fenian raids anything like a war-like struggle with the United States. It's just not there, so that we've, to some extent, we've always indulged ourselves in going along with somebody else's foreign policy and in today's world, it seems to be an increasingly ineffectual gesture to attempt to do so. The... whole world situation is one of checks and balances and the lives and the gives and the takes and so on, within this framework we see laterally increasing emphasis on serving where it will appear to be in our own best interests I suppose.
Mr. Specht: Canada today, of course, is in possession of vast territory north and in the Arctic. Its possible to foresee that Canada may not be able to say "hands off its completely ours," if there were vast discoveries of oil or something like that.
Mr. Herbert: Oh I have little doubt that we have sovereignty over the Arctic Islands and that it is recognized, particularly these contemporary moves to extend control over coastal areas and waters. This is a source of controversy right now. I think it's coming in terms of conservation if nothing else and so we'd see it expanded sort of, sovereignty in that sense.
Mr. Specht: Yes. As you know a couple of years ago the United States did send a ship through there to test the viability of shipping in that area and there seemed to be a little bit of conflict with the Canadian government.
Mr. Herbert: There is some significance to the fact that it was escorted by a Canadian ice-breaker and was... that was as much as anything and assertion of that sovereignty.
Mr. Specht: If I remember right Canada had to offer to escort them.
Mr. Herbert: Well, I really don't know the details, but I think it was significant.
Mr. Specht: Yes I, as I say, if I remember right that's what I recall. The point is worth looking into. So...
Mr. Herbert: The United States, of course, has always been very strong on freedom of the seas, shipping, its a considerable maritime nation. On their routes too, as was the case in Britain of course, and I don't doubt that they find it intensely irritating for example, to have their tuna beats picked up a hundred or so odd miles out to sea off the coast of Peru and arrested, but they seem to have learned to live with that so... that's a sign of the way things are going I think.
Mr. Specht: To return to U.B.C., 1958 seems to be quite an eventful year. I have another fact: air crew training was removed from your syllabus. I wonder, do you know why that came about?
Mr. Herbert: Yes. We actually had discussed it earlier but I can repeat it. The really, three factors, they're not unrelated, they're very much related. The introduction of all through jet training or wing standard, the costs of providing it, and the inefficiency of providing it on an interrupted basis. Coupled with that I think a decision to downgrade the plans for the auxiliary reserve air force, which we saw come to a head in the closing out of the 19 Wing at Sea Island and so on in several years time.
Mr. Specht: What did the effect of these have upon your unit?
Mr. Herbert: Well, it was extremely serious. We... I was very upset. I argued like hell that they should at least finish off the guys we had in the stream to wings standard, because this is a tremendously important thing to a young man to get that badge of achievement, and that they should finish them off to wings standard on the old basis on the Harvard, they could move to the auxiliary and so on, and there was no reason to make an abrupt change of that nature. Now that dealt with the existing people and I didn't succeed with either one of those arguments. In fact, one of the fellows that was involved in that was, is a chap called Jack Henwood, who was pretty well known around U.B.C. He quarterbacked the football team the only reasonably successful year it ever had and a real spunky little character. When they cut him, pinched off his flying training as it was approaching completion, he applied to transfer to R.O.T.P. and he was quite ineligible on all the counts we normally think of. He was too old, he was married, he was in Commerce - that wasn't too serious, but not an engineer, not this or that, so a staff officer came out from Ottawa and I had Mr. Henwood in to see him. I said why not? And the staff officer said why not indeed? We've got a good guy and he's already, christ, more than half trained. So we bent all the rules and he went into the regular force. Some of the others were enabled to complete their training by transfer to the auxiliary, going short-short service and so on, but it was a very, very painful time for all of us. The other effect or consequence of course, was the elimination of air crew training. You lost, what was in my view, the ideal attraction in getting the very best recruits. After all it is or was, a flying service and everything should focus around that. Although there are all kinds of jobs to be done in engineering, administration and supply and all these things, nonetheless part of the thing is flying.
Mr. Specht: Did that result in any difficulty in filling quotas?
Mr. Herbert: Not really, no. The quotas were getting so damned diminished, they were starting to diminish by then that it really wasn't a problem. I just don't think we got the same quality that we did in reserve at any rate. Flying was still available for the R.O.T.P. men.
Mr. Specht: How would you describe your relationship with the C.O.T.C. and the U.N.T.D.?
Mr. Herbert: Excellent! Better than excellent! Great! For a variety of reasons, not necessarily in order of importance, either, we had firstly identification of the commanding officers with their profession, we were all university professors in the same university, and you start off with that... in the earlier part the U.N.T.D. training was downtown, but we, the Army and Air Force shared the armouries, the C.O.T.C. maintained, the Navy maintained officed there as all three did and the Army and the Air Force, of course, shared the mess and in the latter years the Navy were brought into it. Before I came to the unit, they'd already had a tri-service, two tri-service parades and balls which were the melding of the units for ceremonial and social occasion and that of course continued. This created quite a bond and some healthy rivalry as well.
Mr. Specht: Can you specify some of the competition or rivalry I guess is a better word?
Mr. Herbert: Oh it would be childish in a way, but sort of things like, for example, I'd done quite a lot of drill work in my time one way or the other, and fancied myself as being pretty good at it. I never, ever had a cadet faint on parade, because I used to tell them all not to. And quite frequently the Army did. Well this was a useful point to make a snide remark to your troops or them and you know, like we're better than they are. That sort of thing. A healthy rivalry. We also had, of course. an annual sort of sports night with all three units in which we engaged in healthy rivalry of that kind, a wide range of activities and ending up with a beer fight and that sort of thing. And each unit put on a mess dinner annually to which the C.O.s and certain representatives of the other were invited and we cross-fertilized in that sense.
Mr. Specht: You had three mess dinners a year you mean?
Mr. Herbert: Yes and in addition we had open to all, but primarily to the Army and Air Force again, as a regular matter, New Years dance in the mess, some other social occasions. sometimes movies this sort of thing. So there was a good deal of mixing up and we all, the Victoria thing sort of pulled things together too. That I described to you. I think there was a great deal of mutual respect, for example, the Navy, in the early years at any rate, would bring over a D.E. to take prospective recruits for the U.N.T.D. for a ride up Howe Sound Sound in a little exercise and so on aboard ship, but invariably my staff officers and the Army would be invited and invariably we'd go and we'd have a hell of a good time. And we'd learn something about the Navy too. So that there was a good deal of that kind of cross-fertilization. I was even invited to sit on a Navy selection board. I would try to do so when I could. This helped put in appreciation of each other's program and so on.
Mr. Specht: Each year you took turns organizing the tri-service parade. This was called duty service. What was involved in that?
Mr. Herbert: Well, quite a lot, as a matter of fact. It involved I suppose first of all, finding an appropriate date, which would be constrained by the end of training on one hand and exams coming up on the other. And doing it well in advance in order to get the Lieutenant Governor to... to have the Lieutenant Governor available to come. Tying it back with wherever you're going to hold it, for years we held it at Discovery, it was only the last few years that we held right out here in our own Armouries and we had a kind of a floor on there that would serve the purpose. And, you know, casting up the invitation list, who you were going to invite, what's the cost going to be, who's the caterer, how do you decorate the place, you have to get the band, and all these things have to be booked well in advance or they're just not available. There's a great deal of planning and effort goes Into that thing and, you know, bars, bar service and as I mentioned the food, setting up the... before and cleaning up after are major facets of an enterprise of that kind. Particularly when you're borrowing somebody else's place as in the case of Discovery.
Mr. Specht: Would the different services ever do it in a different way? Like would you introduce perhaps, Air Force traditions in some way or was there a basis for a kind of rivalry in this? Outdoing the person or ever anything like that?
Mr. Herbert: Well I think everybody, you know, they pretty well fell into a pattern. You know, it's controlled by the nature of the event I suppose, the ceremonial parade, and each year, of course, cadet commander of that parade would come from the duty service. They'd have to select an outstanding fellow with a cool head to run this thing. It's quite a chore to command the parade, particularly a ceremonial one, there's things to remember to do in the right order and get people back where they started from and so on. In a narrow place like the armories or a small place like the armories it was quite a feat to run an efficient and impressive parade, but we had a good luck all the time.
Mr. Specht: Would you be involved in the organization of the duty service too?
Mr. Herbert: Oh yes. If you were duty service you carried the can that's called responsibility. I could delegate it around, but you have to see that things are done.
Mr. Specht: The reason I thought there might be a difference is because in the case of the Navy, they had a different mess set-up. The senior officer, the commanding officer was not...
Mr. Herbert: Yeah, it was a different set-up and it goes back to ancient Naval tradition where mid-shipmen and... were messed in what they call a ward-room - a gun room, and the officers of course in the ward-room. No we had no such distinction out here and indeed in the... it worked out the same way. In our service of course, we considered that once the kid was an officer cadet why that was part of his training was mess etiquette and this like and participating fully We never drew a distinction. On the other hand, the Navy group were very much... ran their own show so they maybe even got a more valuable experience in that sense. I can't estimate it. We had a cadet P.M.C. and mess committee out here, but it was largely army oriented. It was their mess and we joined it, although we may be out-numbered them from time to time. I was always very careful, frankly, to leave it Army administered, even though I might differ in some senses in my service, from the way they do things, because, you know, if you start making too many waves you may get the job and I always thought I'd better go along with them than get saddled with it. (Laughter). They tended to run to a much closer supervision by a staff officer, one of the majors that I would have... done or the Navy did. I think, but that's by the way.
Mr. Specht: Well one last question on that, if you can answer it, how would you describe the mood of the tri-service parade night? I'm referring of course to the annual...
Mr. Herbert: Oh, usually pretty good. It was quite an imposition on the cadets, who were engaged in their studies and exams were looming up and so on. We'd lay on some, of course, extra drill, a rehearsal the night before with the band and it would look awful usually and the next day they'd lay it on for you, you know. They were wonderful. It was, I think, they took a real pride in the accomplishment, you could sense that. They felt, I think, honoured by the occasion being dignified by the Lieutenant Governor going and coming; and the University President, Chancellor and a large stash of guests and they'd get through that damned parade and it would all have gone alright. Vie also had the Lieutenant Governor present the senior ones with their commission scrolls. Which marked the occasion in a fitting way. Then there'd be the tea party after, upstairs in the mess and people would chat and drift around and the medals clanked. It was a very, very good occasion, very gratifying occasion. Then followed by the party in the evening which was usually a success. We never... one other thing about it I always thought was interesting, when we first started there there was very, except on special occasions, there would be no bar... liquor facilities, and I instituted the idea of having beer after parade night and was stretched that to wine with supper and then we ultimately ended up with the full thing, but, again, this was part of education and responsibility too. We never had a traffic accident out of here and they treated it with respect. Again, it was a good, far better to have them having a drink and conversation and whatever in the mess than zottin' off parade down to some local beer parlour, I thought, you know.
Mr. Specht: This bar that was set up, was that eventually a weekly, open every week then?
Mr. Herbert: Oh eventually it was built right in and was open whenever the place was open. Well, not at noon or anything like that, but parade night.
Mr. Specht: Before you personally responsible for that coming about?
Mr. Herbert: Well, I was one of the pushers, I think, yeah, you could put it that way. You know, sure some of them were young and under-age, seventeen, eighteen something like that, but what the hell, I was seventeen or eighteen once and I know what one's propensities and inclinations are and it was better to do it that way than some other way, anyhow the proof of the pudding is in the eating - it worked. I recall when I first mooted the idea of holding the tri-service ball in the armouries one of my cohorts, fellow C.O. said "My God! What about the bar and stuff? We'll get raided by the Mounted Police:" Well we might, we're going to run it downstairs, you see. I said well hell, you can write a D.R.O. and just extend the mess to cover the Whole armouries. We were licensed and I'll fix the Mounted Police. So I went over and saw the Mounted Policemen and invited him and his wife to come. Ha, ha, ha, ha! And he graced the occasion in his beautiful red coat and had a wonderful time and we became good friends. So we didn't run into any problems of that kind. And he quite agreed with me that it was a better controlled formal party of that kind than the kind of thing he frequently had.
Mr. Specht: Being legal... would it be legal for a cadet under twenty-one to drink?
Mr. Herbert: No.
Mr. Specht: It wasn't. Even though it was a...
Mr. Herbert: Federal establishment? No...
Mr. Specht: On board ship a person under twenty-one could. Mr. Herbert: Yes. But nobody could catch him. He's at sea anyhow, but this has been discussed from time to time by various legal luminaries, I'm reasonably satisfied that the provincial liquor laws prevail throughout the province even though you may be a federal establishment, because we had a provincial license for the mess of course.
Mr. Specht: I guess it was 1964... the year 1964 - 65 was the first year that you had the Navy unit on campus?
Mr. Herbert: Yes, my recollection is poor, but I guess that would be it, yeah.
Mr. Specht: And then you
End of tape 2, side 2.


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