January 15th, 2021

Letter: BATUS celebrates 49th birthday

By Letter to the Editor on January 5, 2021.

Dear editor,

Forty-nine years ago on January 7, 1972, 14 original members of the British Army arrived in Canada from the UK via Washington D.C., Montreal and Calgary to the final destination at CFB Suffield to set up what all local’s now know as BATUS.

We were a very weary and unsuspecting lot of individuals. The location was very isolated out in a vast prairie, all the buildings were WW2 vintage and many of them, including some of the PMQ’s, had be condemned years ago.

We were welcomed in the very cold and snowy weather by members of Defence Research Establishment Suffield (Defence and Research Development Canada). I still to this day am not sure how the members of CFB thought about us Brits invading their territory.

Today you would not recognize the area compared to what is was in 1972 – so much and many new buildings and infrastructure.

My family now has a very long association with the area, firstly myself four years at BATUS, my daughter over 25 years with BATUS, CFB and now DRDC, my granddaughter 3 years at DRDC and my son-in-law.

Again happy birthday BATUS, you bring so many great memories to so many British soldiers which will last a life time.

I know that many of the soldiers have said that ‘Suffield’ was the very best posting they ever had and the only bad time was leaving and returning to being a normal soldier in the UK. Sadly only a handful of the original 14 remain alive. (RIP brothers your duty is done).

Neville A. Palmer

Medicine Hat

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