Coldstream Battle School

The Canadian Battle Drill Training Centre

In June 1942, the Canadian Army began operating the Canadian Battle Drill Training Centre in Courtenay, BC. In July of 1942, the Canadian Battle Drill Training Centre was moved to the rural community of Coldstream, BC in the Okanagan region of the BC interior.

The vast holdings of the historic Coldstream Ranch provided an ideal training area for the army. The ranch manager, Mr. Tom Hill, allowed the army access to the entire 11,000 acres of ranch land for training purposes. Thus a large-scale training operation began its operations in this tucked away corner of the province and made its own unique contribution to the ultimate Allied victory.

The battle school eventually included obstacle courses, live fire areas for training troops under fire, a bayonet assault course, a mock village for urban combat, simulated European combat settings, and river crossing training areas. The troops trained in a realistic setting that taught and tested the field, combat and leadership skills required by combat infantry leaders. A Bren carrier section assisted in teaching mobile warfare to the soldiers and officers under training.

The graduates of the training at the Coldstream Battle School went on into action overseas on Italian and European battlefields with the Canadian regiments and divisions thrown against the Axis forces there. In this sense, this region of BC served as the training ground of the army and many veterans learned the art of war, battlefield survival and leadership in the pastoral setting of the beautiful Coldsteam Valley of BC.

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During WWI and WWII, women took over the work of the men, while maintaining their traditional roles at home. They ran Kelowna’s fire brigade, forming the ‘Ladies Hose Reel Team.’