Prior to Canada's declaration of war on September 10, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were applying to their Commissioner for release in order to join the Canadian Active Service Force. Shortly after the declaration of war, authority was granted by the Government to recruit a maximum of 120 volunteers from the RCMP.
As the entire establishment of No. 1 Provost Company were RCMP volunteers, Army General Order 206 of 2nd November 1939 included an amendment to G.O. 135 renaming the Company to No. 1 Provost Company (R.C.M.P.) CASF.
Training for the initial 116 volunteers commenced immediately at RCMP "N" Division, Rockliffe, Ontario (a suburb of Ottawa). On a training course lasting less than a week they studied military law, learned army drill (which was slightly different from RCMP drill), and mastered the Norton motorcycle. The Company then left Canada for England as part of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division. Arriving in England on the 17th of December, 1939, the Company began intensive training for it's role as an infantry division Provost Company.
The Company was made up of 16 man sections, each commanded by a Sergeant. The second in command of each section was a corporal, the remaining 14 men were lance corporals. As the war progressed, many of the original RCMP members were promoted and transferred to other Provost units, with over half of them being commissioned. As replacements joined, the numbers of non RCMP members of No. 1 Provost increased, by 1945, few original members of the Company remained with the unit.
Due to the number of RCMP members requesting discharge in order to join the CASF, the Commissioner forbid further transfers in late 1940. Many other Mounted Policemen joined the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force during the war, upon the expiration of their RCMP contracts. A total of 215 members of the RCMP are known to have served with No. 1 Provost Company.
Company members undergoing motorcycle training in England, 1940.
Third re-enforcement draft at Camp Borden Ontario, in July, 1940.
In early and mid 1940, several re-enforcement drafts were sent to No 1 Company.
Back Row: left to right: McCarthy J.; McCutcheon F.S.; Puffer H.L.; Patterson C.F.; Rance R.F.B.; Brown T.
Middle: Smith L.B.; Richmond E.C.; Gabie G.H.(?); Jones T.; Greene J.; Rose G.A.; Ackland J.E.V.
Front: Warner R.R.; Fisher T.; Unknown 2Lt; Unknown Captain; Unknown Sgt; Duff R.W.; Baynton R.J.E.
The man third from the left in the front row appears to be wearing the pips of a Second Lieutenant although his battledress jacket has a closed collar as worn by Other Ranks. He has an officer's type cane and may be an Officer Cadet.
All are members of the RCMP with the exception of the Officer in the center, a Captain in the Lorne Scots.
The 1st Canadian Infantry Division and No. 1 Provost Company participated in the Sicily invasion on July 10, 1943 and the landing on the Italian mainland. The Division fought it's way up the Italian countryside and was withdrawn to North West Europe in early 1945. No. 1 Provost Company wound up at the end of the war in Holland.
On September 26 1945, the last RCMP members of No 1 Provost Company left the unit for return to Canada, and the Company was disbanded on October 18.