The Pacific Coast Militia Rangers served as the military’s eyes and ears along the Pacific coast - video

Video / May 31, 2017 / Project number: 17-0075


(The green Canadian Rangers logo quickly appears on screen. Three maple leaves, a rifle and an axe are stamped into the middle of the Ranger shield, with a red banner marking 70 years of the Canadian Rangers 1947-2017 appearing immediately below in white text.)

(Scene opens with Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel Whitney Lackenbauer sitting off to the right of the screen with small cabins appearing in the background)

Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel Whitney Lackenbauer: If we take a more flexible approach to the history of the Canadian Rangers, we actually go back to the dark days of the Second World War. It was 1942; the Japanese had already launched their offensives on Pearl Harbor and Hong Kong. British Columbians, in particular, in Canada, were very nervous about the threat of a Japanese invasion of the coast.

(Music starts – drums beating.)

(Cut to black and white footage of soldiers marching out of a building carrying rucksacks over their shoulders.)

The big challenge was, you don’t want to divert resources that you want to go and use in the European theatre to the Pacific theatre, against a possible but pretty remote threat.

(Music switches to light piano music.)

(Cut to black and white footage of a logger working on cut logs in water, with a logging plant in the background.)

So the idea was, turn to the communities themselves in British Columbia where men, who were too young or too old for military service, or were engaged in essential industries like logging or fishing, where they could serve as a home defence force.

(Cut to a black and white still photo of soldiers dressed in uniform as they march past carrying rifles.)

So they could be given rifles, a very limited uniform just to show that they were members of an official military, and some very modest training. In turn, they could work to defend their homes and at the same time serve as the military’s eyes and ears along the Pacific coast.

(Cut to a still image of two Pacific Coast Militia Rangers dressed in rain gear as they stand next to a waterfall and read a map.)

So they performed this role from 1942 through to 1945, then as the war wound down, the decision was made in Ottawa to close down the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers, with the understanding that perhaps in the future, some organization like this on a nationwide level maybe could be recreated if the need came.

(Fade to black. Fade to title reading: Strong. Proud. Ready. Forts. Fiers. Prêts.)

(Fade to National Defence identifier and copyright information. Fade to Canada wordmark.)



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