UBC Archives Audio Recordings Collection

[Interview with Gordon Shrum, Armed Forces at UBC Project, Part III] Specht, Allen 1973-07-05

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Dr. Gordon Shrum
July 5, 197 3
Interview, Tape 3, Track
Mr. Specht: I would like to talk about some of the changes in the C.O.T.C. during the war. In September 1939 a credit was granted to undergraduates who passed the qualifying examinations.
Dr. Shrum: I believe that's correct, yes.
Mr. Specht: Did you take a stand on that at the time or help that decision come about in any way?
Dr. Shrum: I took no part in having this arrangement made. I think this was the decision of the senate of the university but, I believe it was discussed at the Association of Canadian Universities and Colleges or somewhere and they voted general agreement that this would be a policy across Canada. But I'm not very clear on that.
Mr. Specht: What do you think was the reasoning for that?
Dr. Shrum: Oh well, the people put in the time and you have to remember that in World War I, students were given a full year for enlisting...a year's credit. So it seems very reasonable that a person might get one three unit course or one unit. I've forgotten which it was. Credit for the amount of time you put in the C.O.T.C. provided he passed the examinations. There was real studying to do and this competed with the time that a student had for his other studies.
Mr. Specht: Also this time the National Defence Department instructed that the active services and the militia had to take one half of their officers from C.O.T.C. That was also at the beginning of the war. Do you remember, did this place immediate pressure upon C.O.T.C.?
Dr. Shrum: Yes, I don't think that this was enforced very much. My recollection was that this wasn't a very important item. I guess they had no difficulty getting the officers they needed, people volunteering from the university, but their officer requirements for the militia were rather limited, I think.
Mr. Specht: Another change was the 'A' and 'B' Certificates. They were abandoned in favour of new Canadian standards. These were prescribed in a manual.
Dr. Shrum: I think that was fairly early in the war, yes. But when we started out it was 'A' and 'B' Certificates. Of course as I told you, the syllabus for that must have been written shortly after the South African War, I think.
Mr. Specht: Can you specify what were the final differences between the old 'A' and '3' syllabus and the new.
Dr. Shrum: No, I can't say the differences. They weren't published manuals, as far as I can recall, they cane out in mimeographed mainly the new syllabus and so on.
Mr. Specht: Well, can you recall any changes in emphasis?
Dr. Shrum: No, I don't recall.
Mr. Specht: Up until 1943 when the Air and Naval training units were introduced on campus, all C.O.T.C. training was land warfare oriented.
Dr. Shrum: That's right.
Mr. Specht: Yet 1940, '41, '42 more than half of the officer cadets enrolled in the Air force and Navy.
Dr. Shrum: Some of your senior cadet officers when it came time to enlist, went into the Air force. But they had been trained in the military Army training. As I said before, I think discipline and map reading and military law and these subjects are more or less common to all the services. The Air force, they have to do parade. They have to move people from one place to another and you can only do that by getting them in parade and marching them off. Now they may have changed things a little bit... the groupings but the basic material is pretty much the same. There was very little difference even when these other branches of the service were introduced on the campus. Their training wasn't very different. When we'd have an inspection, these people would turn out and go through the movements just as the Army people did.
Mr. Specht: They wouldn't have received a commission....officer's commission though in the Air Force or the Navy. Or would they have?
Dr. Shrum: NO...and I don't know whether they received the commissions even after they'd taken the Air force training on campus. It may have counted something for it. Or they may have been taking it as officer cadets but they certainly weren't qualified as pilots or navigators and things like that when they left U.B.C.
Mr. Specht: But of course if they'd join the Army they would have a chance for lieutenant rank.
Dr. Shrum: Second lieutenant.
Mr. Specht: One other item, a controversial item is in the Ubyssey, an editorial. The Ubyssey seem to be shaping up as the opposition here. February 1944, the Editor was concerned because you had expressed to the cadets, this was during your parade, that they as a group, the officer cadets as a group should exert more influence in student affairs. Do you recall that at all?
Dr. Shrum: Oh, I probably said that.
Mr. Specht: Do you know what would have prompted you to say that?
Dr. Shrum: But why shouldn't they because they were the whole student body except the women and the people who were medically unfit!
Mr. Specht: Yes. They would have been the vast majority.
For what reason would you think they should have had more influence as a group of officers training?
Dr. Shrum: Oh, I don't know. I couldn't say. They were probably so engrossed in their military training and their studies that there was a danger that the ordinary student affairs would be taken over by the women and the ones who were excused as medically unfit, I guess, or under age. I don't think that was a very important fact. As far as I can remember, at that stage, in 1944, there weren't any burning issues. There was no objection to military training. I guess, I've always been fairly outspoken on matters and may have said this to stir them up a bit. But I don't feel that we were in any way threatened by student opinion or that it was hampering the work of the corps in any way.
Mr. Specht: You thought the student government was co-operative enough?
Dr. Shrum: As I recall we never had any problem with co-operation from the student government. We only had a little resistance from two Deans...one was the Dean of Engineering, Dean Finlayson

And the other was Dean Clements, the Dean of Agriculture. Whenever we went on any of the fields on the campus, he was upset about this. One day we had, through the co-operation of the military units downtown, a parachute drop on campus to show the boys something about how this was done. Our people didn't jump, but they jumped out onto the big field, the pasture field where the medical buildings are now. That was a big pasture field. They dropped this material and then the men dropped too, quite a good show, it was. Then they went and recovered the material and got in action and so on. The dean was terrible upset about this. It frightened the cows. We tramped the grass...you know. It was rather ridiculous to think that tramping a little grass in a pasture field was their concern when the military had gone to a lot of trouble and expense to put on this drop. I don't know how many people they dripped but I would think it was close to a Company. It was quite a sight! And they dropped the materials as well...bundles. It gave the students some idea of what was involved in these things, you know. So we always had to be very careful not to go on the farm land if we could avoid it.
Mr. Specht: Was Dean Finlayson on the Committee for Military Education?
Dr. Shrum: Yes I think he was.
Mr. Specht: What were these meetings like? Of course you would have attended and the Chancellor and the President, applied science faculty....
Dr. Shrum: There was very little happened in those committee meetings on military affairs because the president, Klinck, I think, was always on my side. Anything that I brought to the committee would pass the committee as far as I can recall. There was never any problem. These people and Dean Finlayson didn't publicly show any resistance to military training. He certainly wouldn't in front of the president, you know. If course mind you, the president was the least military of all of them. But he was very, very conscientious about doing his duty as president of the university. He didn't let his personal feelings enter into what he felt was the duty of the president. The presidents of all the universities had agreed to have military training on the campus and he agreed wholeheartedly. I give him great credit. He was a Quaker, you know and naturally you couldn't expect him to be as enthusiastic as Dean Brock. Of course, Dean Brick in some respects was a real militarist. Then he was killed in an accident and Dean Finlayson eventually took over.
Mr. Specht: How about Dean Buchanan? This is going back, of course.
Dr. Shrum: Dean Buchanan was a Baptist and he wasn't very enthusiastic about military training either. The three deans were not. No one of them had as good an excuse as Dr. Klinck but Dr. Klinck, I could always rely upon him. The committee on Military Studies was never a problem as far as I was concerned.
Mr. Specht: Chancellor McKechnie also...he would be on the campus as that time.
Dr. Shrum: Well Chancellor McKechnie would be very strong for the military training. We used to meet down in his office downtown, this military committee. The meetings wouldn't last very long and everything would be approved. The Chancellor and the President were always supporting me 100%...whatever reasonable request I made.
Mr. Specht: Did you always find yourself as sort of the advocate of military needs during these meetings?
Dr. Shrum: No, I don't think I felt that I was an advocate. I felt that it was my duty to carry out the commitments that the university had made with regards to the thing, to the government and the other universities. I don't think that we tried to go farther or push military training. This certainly wasn't so. At the meeting I remember in Toronto, Dr. Klinck was never outspoken about this. He always said that whatever they agreed upon, the University of British Columbia would comply and do it wholeheartedly. Now, we tried to have the best unit in Canada...but we didn't try to push military training at the expense of studies or anything..I think we never said there could have been more military training or anything like that. This never came up.
Mr. Specht: Can you recall any instances where there was a conflict during these committee meetings over say, priorities, military or academic?
Dr. Shrum: I do't recall any, no. There may have been some feeling on the part of these three deans but it was never expressed very openly in a committee meeting. I don't think that any of the three of them were wholeheartedly behind the program. Each felt that his own faculty had more important academic responsibilities and that if there was no military training at all, they might turn out better graduates who could help win the war because of the academic training which they had received. Any interference with that training was not helping in the war effort. Now I would think that that would be the basis for any opposition that they had. But, as far as I can recall, it was never expressed. I had very cordial relations with them but I knew that there was this feeling there.
Mr. Specht: Did you feel any conflict of interest yourself being Head of the Physics Department and also Commanding Officer of the Armed...
Dr. Shrum: No, I don't think so because in the Physics Department we became involved in radar training and technical aspects of warfare. No, I never had any problem there, I don't think.
Mr. Specht: With the introduction of the two other branches of the service and generally the whole mushrooming military establishment on campus, did the committee itself have to undergo any reorganization?
Dr. Shrum: Not that I recall, I don't think so. The committee on Military Studies, you mean?
Mr. Specht: Yes.
Dr. Shrum: It didn't meet very often. It met to receive reports and so on. The committee on Military Studies didn't in any way direct the program. You see, and they didn't finance it so there wasn't that much.. The financing came through directly between me and the military people either in Ottawa or headquarters in Victoria, you see. So, we provided our own accommodation in the Armouries...there wasn't really very much for the Committee on Military Studies to do other than to keep them informed of what was going on and that we were operating within our terms of reference.

Mr. Specht: Wasn't the committee kind of a intermediary though between university interests and the military interests?
Dr. Shrum: That's a good point. If there was a point that I want to put pressure on Ottawa or the military downtown, I would get the Committee on Military Studies, if I couldn't manage this myself, to send them a letter supporting my position. So from that point of view...but this didn't happen very often. They carried quite a bit of weird with the military authorities in this province and in Ottawa.
Mr. Specht: Your role as Commanding Officer and Director of Military Affairs on campus would have also expanded greatly compared to before the war. How did that change your job?
Dr. Shrum: In the university?
Mr. Specht: No, as a military commander.
Dr. Scrum: Well, as I think I explained earlier, I wasn't a military man. I wasn't a Dean Brock in that sense. I got coaxed into this job and then when the war came along, I had offers to go to Ottawa and to different jobs. As a matter of fact I wanted to get overseas and I couldn't manage this. This went before the Board of Governors, I had arranged to go and the Board of Governors simply said, "No." They wouldn't permit it. They thought the the work I was doing as the university both in the Physics Department and in the C.O.T.C. was so important that they wouldn't agree to it. So I just felt that I'll do my best here. I'm stuck here so that's it.
Mr. Specht: Why did you want to go overseas?
Dr. Shrum: Oh, I don't know. I think nearly everybody wanted to go overseas.
Mr. Specht: Was it out of a sense of duty?
Dr. Shrum: Id' been an old soldier. I mean, I'm a wartime soldier not a peacetime soldier. The war came along and I didn't want to be in Vancouver, I was wanting to be near...if not overseas, then in Ottawa or some place.
Mr. Specht: You wanted to be more directly involved with the war effort?
Dr. Shrum: That's right, when the war was on, yes. I also tried to get John McNaughton, whom I knew quite well, who was Head of the National Research Council to help. Of course he dropped that job immediately and went on active service and I put some proposals to him...even if I could get overseas to do scientific studies...closer to the battle zone. That's where I wanted to be. But. Oh he wrote back the same sort of letter saying, "Well, the things you're doing there and the way the C.O.T.C. is going, you're doing a good job and being appreciated. Stay with it." But that didn't really satisfy me and eventually I really signed up with Victor. I've just forgotten what his official title was. I agreed to go but then I thought maybe before I went I should get permission from the Board of Governors. So I put it up to Dr. Klinck and he said he would take it to the board but he wouldn't recommend it himself either. So it went before the board and they turned it down flat. So I had to stay with the C.O.T.C. and I put all my time into it. I did't have any other hobbies or anything and I was able to always carry on my other work.
Mr. Specht: Was the role much more administrative during the war because of the vast amount of administrative work that would be required?
Dr. Shrum: Well, of course, I had staff. I think I've had some success in my life as an administrator in that it involved getting competent people surrounding me and giving them the job and expecting them to do it without very much interference from me.
Mr. Specht: One of your adjutants was Major Topping?
Dr. Shrum: Yes, he's still around and Sheridan Walmsley, he was the adjutant for most of the period during the war. He sort of reflected my strict discipline. I thought he was a little too extreme sometimes but in any case he did a very good job. He was a good administrator for handling records and so forth. Now he was there for three or four years as an adjutant. He had been a school teacher at Kitsilano and he went back to Kitsilano and later was in charge of adult education, I think...or evening classes or something for the school board. He just retired a year ago but he's selling insurance now. He could tell you some stories about discipline because this was the adjutant's job more or less...to parade these people and enforce whatever punishment was meted out to them.
Mr. Specht: Capt. Riddehough?
Dr. Shrum: Riddehough, he was an interesting fellow too. He was a member of the university staff. He was a professor of classics. He was one of the last people you would think would take a keen interest in the military. But he was very keenly interested. Although he wasn't the world's smartest soldier, he tried hard! He was our intelligence officer. Some interesting stories about intelligence...he's a very sharp fellow, and very interesting, yes.
Mr. Specht: Intelligence officer...(laughs)....why would this be required on U.B.C. campus?
Dr. Shrum: Well, you'd be surprised.
Mr. Specht: Oh.
Dr. Shrum: Yes, he'd around I think. He wrote a book here recently of poems. He was always....at lunch he had some little couplet that had a classical connotation or something. Yes he was very interesting.
Mr. Specht: Of course Col. Logan too was in Classics, wasn't he?
Dr. Shrum: Yes.
Mr. Specht: In 1944, President McKenzie succeeded President Klinck.
Dr. Shrum: Yes...that's right.
Mr. Specht: Did this result in any changes?
Mr. Shrum: Well, President McKenzie always enjoyed his popularity Dr. Klinck didn't aim for popularity so that there was a little difference. As a matter of fact, I think back in Toronto when this idea that the universities should take military training was first brought up, Dr. McKenzie was there representing, I think, the University of New Brunswick, and he was one of the few university professors that thought maybe universities shouldn't be involved in military training at all. Even though he had a splendid record in World War I and had more background than most of the other university presidents, certainly more than Dr. Klinck who never had any military training in his life. But by the time he came here he was pretty well convinced that this was a good thing to do and he was very co-operative. There was something very solid about Dr. Klinck, his position. Dr. McKenzie always supported me but there was just a little difference. Of course it was close to the end of the war then, anyway.
Mr. Specht: Chancellor Hamber?
Dr. Shrum: Oh, he was very strong. He was even much stronger than Chancellor McKechnie. Hammier had a great deal of influence in the city...more than McKechnie probably because he was somewhat younger. He was very, very, wholehearted in his support of anything military. Never any problem there. He was just as strong as Chancellor McKechnie and in an position to push his ideas a little more than Dr. McKechnie because he was full time as Chancellor. He was the first chancellor, I think, that moved in a desk up at the university and thought of being there quite frequently, you know. Chancellor McKechnie, he was an outstanding surgeon and he had a very busy medical practice. But Hamber, he was retired and was more or less, full time chancellor. Not quite as much as Phyllis Ross when she became chancellor. Not only did she have a desk and so on at the university, she had a full time secretary.
Mr. Specht: Summing up, what do you think was the main contribution of C.O.T.C. to the war effort?
Dr. Shrum: To the war office? Well it provided them with

Young people, some of the ablest young people in the community, with university background and with some basic training. It may have saved three or four months in their training and it would be expensive training them for three or four months. It gave them a reserve of officers that they could draw upon as they needed them. They could have got along without it, but they would have taken in university graduates without any basic training at all and it would have taken them that much longer to train them for officers overseas. Now I was very disappointed and as I say I'm not a peacetime military man, but I was very disappointed that after the war when eventually the government decided they couldn't afford to continue the military training on campus. So the units were disbanded. I think that was a great mistake. There weren't very many students involved but there were a few students who were interested in this. Cost was a flimsy excuse...to say that the government couldn't afford it. This I think was a very great mistake because it's an important thin, I think for the country to have a few people who are university trained with some basic knowledge of military problems, history and so forth.
Mr. Specht: Similar to the way the corps was functioning during the thirties and the war did come about and at least you had a basic organization.
Dr. Shrum: Yes, that's right. This was established when the war broke out and as I said earlier we were practically the only organization in the province that could train officers...We had the syllabus. We didn't have the staff but we had the organization and we were able to expand and take good training to 1800 students almost overnight. So I think it was a mistake. They kept most of the militia units going and operative but they dropped the training programme on the university campus. Now maybe every university wouldn't want to continue to do it but at U.B.C. we had very good facilities. We had the Armory. There was a small body of students, it didn't have to be large, that maintained this. There was no effort made by the student body to drive them off the campus saying this was out of keeping. Might have been if they hadn't been dissolved before the revolution broke out in 1967 or whenever it is. There might have been trouble then, I don't know. There was in the States. But by this time the units had been disbanded.
Mr. Specht: Do you think that the U.B.C. contigent was very a good compared contingent compared with other campus contingents?
Dr. Shrum: Well, I think by any standards you want to measure them by, they were the best.
Mr. Specht: What standards?
Dr. Shrum: Well, competition...shooting, say for instance.

End of Track 1

Dr. Gordon Shrum
July 5, 1973
Interview, Tape 3, Track 2.
Dr. Shrum: I think too, the fact that our students waived their pay and built an Armoury. No other C.O.T.C. in Canada did that. That must be a mark of high morale and enthusiasm that they were willing to do this. As I recall, there was never any national competition in which our contingent didn't either rank first or near the top. This also carried over into the radar training. Here we had national examinations for these radar mechanics that we had at the university. They came under me too, sort of an off-shoot of the C.O.T.C. and the Physics Department I suppose. We ranked first in that. There was no argument about this because they took national examinations and the results were published and we were by far the best.
Mr. Specht: How about the regular army, did they seek out U.B.C. officer cadets mere so than from other universities? Dr. Shrum: Well no. There would be no way of measuring that because our people went to local units in British Columbia, Seaforths and Canadian Scottish, and so forth and they weren't drafted by units in other parts of Canada. These units used to come and interview the students. They were anxious to get young men with character and ones that were well developed physically and so on. This was more important than the amount of training they had. They looked upon the training as a bit of indoctrination for these people but the active service units weren't so concerned with how much we had actually taught these people. They were going to take them in and make them officers in any case, you see.
Mr. Specht: Were you connected at all with the defence...the gun emplacements below the cliffs in Point Grey?
Dr. Shrum: We had no connection with it at all.
Mr. Specht: That was all run by the regular forces?
Dr. Shrum: Yes. And that was all very hush-hush and so forth.
We weren't allowed down there. I don't ever recall going down there much myself.
Mr. Specht: Were there regular units on campus to man those?
Dr. Shrum: They had their own quarters. It was all fenced off with barbed wire and so on. We had no connection with it at all. They didn't call upon us for any assistance or anything.
Mr. Specht: Were you allowed to walk down to the beach?
Dr. Shrum: No you couldn't because there was no way you could get in there. It was all barbed wire, you see. Both above and down below, you couldn't get close to it.
Mr. Specht: What do you think is the main value of military training to the individual? I'm not thinking in terms of what he'd contribute to the services.
Dr. Shrum: Well, first of all it's a question of discipline.It doesn't matter where he goes in business, he's going to be subject to a certain amount of discipline. It isn't the same as military discipline, but if one is introduced to strict discipline, then I don't think that....well, when you go out into business or school teaching or whatever it is, you know something of the fundamentals. You know what was wrong with the military type of discipline. If you're responsible for other people, you'll have some idea of how to handle this problem of discipline. And if you're disciplined yourself, you realize that this man is senior to me, so provided that he takes the responsibility, then I'll do as he tells me. Now I've always felt that if a senior person tells somebody what to do, then it goes sour, he shouldn't blame the fellow who did it. He should take the blame himself because it was his instructions. But this, as far as I can see, is the main benefit of a military training. You learn how to handle men. You don't handle them the same way, in civilian life, but at least you have one method that you've been exposed to. And you probably, as I did when I was in the service as a gunner, I realized the things I didn't like about it, you know. But I am certain that I could never have accomplished the things that I have with my limited ability without the military training that I have had at various times. It has been a tremendous help to me. As I said, I think I'm a fairly good administrator. Well I think I've learned some of that from the military because in the military, you have a chain of command. Everybody is expected to carry out his part of the programme. If he doesn't, the whole thing breaks down very quickly. You see this in a civilian job, so you realize the importance of having every person, regardless of his seniority, looking on his job as a key position... a key job if the whole programme is going to function. In active service this is tremendously important.... in battle. Well they say the chain is as strong as its weakest link, well you see it right there. If any part fails, communication signals or supply of munitions or communication of orders, all these things. I would say it's something like a chess game, military. It's more like chess than any other game I know of.
Mr. Specht: In 1945-'46 when there was no longer compulsory military training, you spoke to a freshman class and said that possibly physical training might become a compulsory part of a student's programme. This had to be subject to the approval of the Board and possibly then, military training then, C.O.T.C. could be an alternative to this.
Dr. Shrum: Well, physical training was compulsory after the war because I think during the war, they realized how important physical fitness was. But this didn't work. I don't think you can have compulsory physical education any more than you can have compulsory military education on campus....except in wartime. Only in wartime would compulsory military training be acceptable. We certainly found then here at U.B.C. where we had compulsory physical education that it was of very little value. Of course we had a great deal of physical education in the Army, but even with the army discipline strong as it was, if a man doesn't want to do the exercises with some vigor well, it doesn't do him much good. The only way that you can do that is by long group marches and running and so on but when it comes to what we used to call 'Physical Jerks', I never found any way of making fellows get any benefit from it if they didn't want to. They can go through the motions but it's how you go through the motions that determines the benefit you get out of it.
Mr. Specht: Did you play a part in having the decision come about to have compulsory physical training? Did you speak to the president or bring it up at the committee?
Dr. Shrum: I don't know if I played any part. But if I played any part, I know my sympathies at the time were that those taking part in games on the campus and those taking military training should be exempt from compulsory training. But I don't remember playing any part in pushing this compulsory physical training. Because I think I felt that it wouldn't be very successful. But if they did have it, then those who were participating in games or in C.O.T.C. and similar activities should be exempt.
Mr. Specht: Just before you relinquished your command in January1946, there was a luncheon meeting in honour of Mr. Crerar. This was attended by C.O.T.C. officers, veterans of the Corps and the Director of military training. At this meeting, it was reported that you discussed the future military training... the type of training. This was an informal discussion. I wonder if you have any remembrances of that discussion?
Dr. Shrum: No, I wouldn't remember in any case. General Crerar wasn't a very, at that time in life, a very stimulating personality in my estimation. So I don't think we had a very exciting discussion. Now if you had said Col. Ralston, then I would have said, "Quite likely." because I found him a very stimulating man. He was Minister of National Defence. He was out here.
Mr. Specht: You met with Col. Ralston?
Dr. Shrum: Oh, several times and I always found him to have a very businesslike approach but a man with ideas. He wasn't surrounded with people as capable as I though they should have been but that was probably because he didn't have much to choose from.
Mr. Specht: February 1946, that was your last....
Dr. Shrum: Col. Ralston and C.D. Howe were two minister that during the war were really outstanding, I thought. Any meetings I ever had with them, I went away respecting their ability, their dedication and I always found them stimulating.
Mr. Specht: How about McKenzie King, did you have any opportunity to meet him?
Dr. Shrum: Yes, but I never....I didn't know him well enough and probably didn't have enough personal discussion with him, but I never found him every exciting.
Mr. Specht: In February 1946, you had your last march past as Commanding officer and after that you were out of the corps completely. Did you have any reflections at that tine or do you have any now about how you felt? You had been in this Corps for a very long time.
Dr. Shrum: Well, I guess I had some satisfaction in being conceited enough to feel that I'd done a good job. (chuckles) I was very proud of them and was very happy that I was being succeeded by Bob Donner who as so much younger and was a graduate of U.B.C. and was very capable of carrying on. He'd been my training officer, of course. He got wounded overseas and came back. He was one of the training officers.
Mr. Specht: He was very young, probably 25 or 26. Didn't you have any reservations about his age?
Dr. Shrum: No.
Mr. Specht: None at all?
Dr. Shrum: No. I never have any reservations about people's age if they're capable enough of doing the job. I always operated on that basis.
Mr. Specht: After the war you served on the board that selects officer cadets out of those applying to get on the programme. What qualities do you think you emphasized in your decisions about who should be selected?
Dr. Shrum: Well, I don't remember too much but I remember one thing, that I always cross-examined them myself...to see if they were coming in because they wanted to take military training or because they wanted to supplement their income or get summer employment or something of this sort. I was very anxious that the money we spent...we could only admit a limited number...was on people who were anxious to follow a military career or take some part in the militia as an officer when they graduated. This was one of the reasons that the Department of Defence in Ottawa got a little sour on the C.O.T.C. after the war. Because although they spent money on these people and trained then, very very few went into the militia afterwards as officers. The military was very short of officers. They couldn't get them. But the difficulty was that a young engineer graduating from U.B.C.... his first job isn't in Vancouver, may he way up at Vanderhoof or someplace. So he had no way that he could take part. Or students if they were really good, they were going off to some other university for graduate work or something...so it didn't appeal to them to be active in the militia downtown. There was a great deal of social obligation and so forth and they couldn't afford the money or the time. So there was quite a bit of criticism of the C.O.T.C. after the war because the people they turned out would be training at the universitty for two or three years. Then when they graduated from the university the militia units couldn't get them. they weren't interested. I think that was the reason...it wasn't that they couldn't afford the money that they closed down the C.O.T.C., I don't think it was a valid reason. I still think it is a very good idea to always have an engineer in Vanderhoof who was interested enough to devote three years at the University as a military man and if something happened and he were needed, he'd be available right away. But he couldn't get very enthusiastic about peacetime soldiering and neither could I, you see. I had the greatest sympathy with these fellows. I never tried to rush any of them into the units.
Mr. Specht: The Commanding Officer's annual report was quite a lengthy report, how were these written up? Did you author them yourself or did you have some of your staff prepare all the details on promotions and summarizing the year's events?
Dr. Shrum: Well of course, Mr. Walmsley would do most of that. And they were very much the same you know...those reports. (chuckles) They didn't vary very much. They'd just change figures and so on. Well there'd be sore comment that I'd make myself but he would prepare most all of that. I was busy. I had the extension department and the Physics department as well as well as this. Immediately after the war, I had the housing problem too. So that's the point of being a good administrator. I wouldn't be found dead working out the details of some of those tables....digging up the information. That's somebody else's job, not my job. My job is to see that he does it and does it correctly. That's all though...that's as far as I need to go.
Mr. Specht: When you were a commanding officer, were you conscious at all of having to project an image? Anything like this cross your mind?
Dr. Shrum: An image of what?
Mr. Smecht: As commanding officer, did you feel you had to project a certain...standards or values?
Dr. Shrum: No, I think I just did this automatically. I had been an N.C.O. in the University of Toronto battery. I had only been off the farm two or three years before I went into that job and I came from what they thought was a Theological College, Victoria College. I had medical students and dental students and engineers, some of them senior to me in the university and I had to command these people and I learned how to do it. I learned pretty much the hard way but...(chuckles). So I think that by the time I commanded the C.O.T.C. it was kind of a natural thing to do. It wasn't difficult because then I was a professor and these were undergraduates, you know. But I never felt any tension involved in making a parade of 2,000 students. There again I was more concerned not with what the students did but that each one of my officers knew what to do. They're the ones that can foul it up....not the individual student. This is military administration really. Establishing your chain of command and having the right people In the right posts. Nearly everybody can do a good job. But he can't do a good job in some different job, you know. He can do one kind of good job. Therefore it's very important to get people into the job that they can do we1l...and they like to do it. This is quite important.
End of track II.


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