William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

CURRIE BARRACKS

Double time to the Shannon Coolee lads, that’s out in old Sarcee.
2Lt Dick Cowling was young and tough and he led young guys like me.
Now I look at a black and white photo of Currie Barracks, as it was back then.
Depot platoons were upon the square they were training young Canadian men.

Brasso for D rings, black shoe polish for those new ammunition boots,
Spoon out the pimples and learn to spit shine and then learn how to shoot.
Road runs every morning and parade square drill every day.
End and mid month to the paymaster we went to be issued our Army pay.

Graduation to the First Battalion, far across the square:
After six months in Depot we’d all soon be over there.
Don Ethell was a Lance Corporal, and back then that was next to God.
In B Coy we had an Acting CSM, he was known to us all as the Rod.

Staff Hendricks ran the BOR up there at the battalion head shed.
Chester, and Lumpy Stewart, and Zump the Pump they are all now dead.
These were the heroes of my youth old soldiers from World War Two.
And those who fought in the Korean War those were my heroes too.

We left Currie far behind and joined the British Army on the Rhine.
To Deilinghofen we would go as they built that Berlin Wall, you know.
After three years in the German rain we never went back to Currie again.
As at Work Point our Riflemen, now Patricia’s, marched in the Esquimalt rain.

Suburbia now covers the open spaces of Currie Barracks as it was back then.
But a picture sent to me by Rifleman John Metcalfe, has opened my memory again.
It reminds me that we can never go home, after over the planet we roam.
Currie Barracks, in my minds eye, will always be this Rifleman’s home.

RSM (WO1) Rusty Rowbotham: “You’ve all found a home in the Army lads!”
Q: Rifleman Willbond, what do you do when you come under fire?
A: Sir, Dash, dive, roll, crawl, observe, return fire, kill the enemy! Sir.

Currie Barracks
Those WW2 H Huts to the extreme right of the picture were drafty to say the least. The fire piquet man had to stay alert, and keep putting coal into each pot belly stove at each end of the drafty barracks. He had to wear his great coat against the draft and to fill the coal buckets from the bins outside. When we moved over to the brick depot building it was heaven although the ACIs lived in the barracks with us and they inspected night and day, at least it was warm. There are two Depot Platoons drilling on the square in this picture and you can see 3 ACIs with each platoon.