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Cadets get insider view of Dockyard

Peter Mallett, Lookout Maj Jim Barrett guides members of Vancouver’s Royal Canadian Army Cadets in a tour of Duntze Head Battery and Dockyard, March 24.

Peter Mallett, Lookout
Maj Jim Barrett guides members of Vancouver’s Royal Canadian Army Cadets in a tour of Duntze Head Battery and Dockyard, March 24.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Teens from the Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps (RCACC) marvelled at the Royal Canadian Navy’s Pacific Fleet and Dockyard’s rich naval history during a morning tour March 24.

Thirty-five cadets from the lower mainland Corps were given a three-hour guided tour of the base as part of a two-day Citizenship Tour of Victoria.

The morning itinerary included stops at the Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton, the dry dock, Duntze Head battery, the Admiral’s House, and a chance to board submarine HMCS Victoria.

“The purpose of this and all the tours at the base is to help the community connect with our military,” said tour guide, SLt Louis Pierre Gosselin of Maritime Forces Pacific’s Visits and Protocol office. “The cadets all seemed genuinely interested in the many stories and historical anecdotes we have about Dockyard.”

Cadets came from four different units: two from Vancouver’s 2290 RCACC (the 101 Duke of Connaught’s Own Rifle) and the 2472 RCACC (15th Field Artillery), the 3300 RCACC (Bhai Kanhaiya) Surrey, and the 1838 RCACC from Maple Ridge, B.C.  

Wet and blustery conditions didn’t seem to dampen their enthusiasm about getting an up-close look at the home of the Pacific fleet.

“I thought there were a lot fewer ships here than there actually are. All of us [cadets] seem to be having a good time and learning a lot about the RCN today,” said MWO Andrew Kim, an 18-year-old student from Vancouver’s Magee Secondary School. “For me it was incredible to get a tour of the HMCS Victoria submarine and see how the RCN managed to utilize every single inch of space in the vessel.”

During their trip to Victoria, cadets visited the British Columbia Legislative Building, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, the Bay Street Armoury, and Work Point.

Helping conduct the tour was the 2290 RCACC commanding officer, Maj James Barrett, a former high school history teacher. He seemed to relish the chance to impart his vast knowledge of the “living history” that exists in Dockyard and its many historical sites.

“It’s really great to have the opportunity to give the cadets a look at the military base here in the city, specifically CFB Esquimalt, the birth-place of the province’s naval roots, and the

British Columbia Regiment of Royal Garrison Artillery,” he said.

Towards the end of their tour students enjoyed a boxed lunch on C Jetty before heading to their final destination, a tour of the national historic site, Fort Rodd Hill.

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