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10 Mar 02
CMP Armour
The Canadian Armoured Corps was virtually non-existent in 1939, yet by 1945 was fielding two full armoured divisions (the 4th and 5th), in addition to an independent armoured brigade and numerous smaller units.
It owes its existence to the tireless efforts of one man, Captain (later Major General) Frank Worthington. Known invariably as "Worthy", he had served with the Canadian Machine Gun Corps in 1918, where he learned first-hand of the value of armour on the battlefield. One of the few who stayed with the miniscule Permanent Force between the wars, Worthy never tired of pushing for an armoured element in the Canadian Army. His dream was in part realized in 1930, when he was permitted to form the Canadian Armoured Fighting Vehicle School at Camp Borden [Ontario] in 1930.
Originally equipped with 12 Carden Loyd Machine Gun Carriers, this school evolved into the 'Canadian Armoured Fighting Vehicles Training Centre' in 1938, once the threat of war had driven the politicos into releasing funds for preparation. At that time, two Vickers Mk.VI light tanks were added to the CAC's strength. Ten more followed in 1939.
The Canadian Armoured Corps was largely unaffected by the general mobilization in the fall of 1939. Six battalions of the Non-Permanent Active Militia had been declared 'armoured units' as far back as 1936, but it took the Blitzkrieg of May 1940 to motivate the Department of National Defence into providing the administrative infrastructure for (the now) Colonel Worthington's armoured force. The Canadian Armoured Corps was officially formed in August 1940, with the senior units the Ontario Regiment, the Three Rivers Regiment, the 1st Hussars and the Fort Garry Horse.
The fall of 1940 found Worthy in possession of 265 Renault tanks built in 1917 and originally found in new condition in storage at the Rock Island Arsenal. They were purchased for $120 a piece as "scrap iron" destined for the 'Camp Borden Foundry', in order to subvert American regulations governing the export of war materiel. As obsolete as they were, they were nonetheless warmly received!
In the interim, plans to manufacture a Canadian tank had been underway since 1937, again courtesy of Worthy. Pressure on British industry led to the initial manufacture of the Valentine (despite Worthy's objections) in 1941, by the Angus Shops of Canadian Pacific Railways in Montreal, but most of the production run of 1,420 tanks were sent to the Russians, who declared them amongst the best vehicles the Allies supplied during the war (see the Valentine page below for more info). 
The unique Canadian Ram followed very shortly, based upon the chassis and powerplant of the U.S. M-3 Lee. In return it spawned the American Sherman, which became the backbone of all Allied armoured forces for the rest of the war. The Ram also led to the production of the Sexton S.P. gun (armed with the ubiquitous 25 pdr), which eventually supplanted the U.S. Priests in Canadian formations and served long after the war in many countries.
Frank Worthington, who was once but a single voice of reason lost in the clamour of inter-war disarmament, had seen his dream come true. He ended the war appropriately as Major General Worthington and is revered today as the father of the current Royal Canadian Armoured Corps. His final resting place is, appropriately, on the crest of the ridge which forms the centrepoint of Worthington Park, the military museum at CFB Borden.
Please see below for further insights into the men and vehicles of the Canadian Armoured Corps.

Ram The Canadian Ram
The Ram tank was a unique Canadian AFV derived from the chassis of the American M3 medium. Shortsightedness in design requirements ultimately doomed it to early obsolescence, but it fought well in many modified configurations in addition to being a model for the successful U.S. Sherman.
Sherman Sherman Medium Tank
Coming soon... the mass-produced Sherman was the backbone of all Allied armoured formations in WW2, and indeed still serves today in several countries around the world. Canadians employed Shermans in both Italy and Northwest Europe.
Stuart Stuart Light Tank
Coming soon... the American Stuart light tank had its roots in the inter-war U.S. M-2. In WW2, it was first supplied to, and earned the kudos of, the British Army in North Africa. Later models served the Canadians well in both Italy and Northwest Europe as reconnaissance vehicles.
Valentine Valentine III
The British Valentine Light Infantry Support tank, while obsolete early in the war, was the first tank produced in Canada. Most of ours went to Russia, but some 30 remained in Borden throughout the war for training purposes. The Russians loved theirs.
Churchill Churchill Mk.VII Crocodile
Canadian armoured units used Churchills early in the war, culminating in their landing at Dieppe in support of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. Thereafter, while Canadian armoured units re-equipped with Rams and later, Shermans, the Churchill remained the core of infantry support in Northwest Europe with derivatives such as this Crocodile flame tank.
Priest Priest S.P. Gun
Coming soon... the American M-7 Priest self-propelled gun (105mm howitzer) came ashore with the 6th Field Regiment (RCA) on D-Day. At the end of July, the lads found themselves turning over these Priests to a very 'hush-hush' project headquartered at Bayeux, France. Hence was born the legend of the Kangaroo...
SextonThe Canadian Sexton S.P. Gun
Coming soon... in 1943, Ram tank production ceased and the line was turned over to the production of the Sexton self-propelled gun. Built on a Ram chassis and armed with a 25 pdr field gun, the Sexton went on to serve well throughout the balance of the war, and indeed, for many years after.
ArtyArtillery and Anti-tank
Coming soon... an examination of the tools and techniques of RCA regiments, including the significant contributions of the vulnerable anti-tank elements within the infantry divisions. UBIQUE.

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