4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group Change of Command

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Article / August 9, 2016

Capt Chris Poulton, Public Affairs Officer, 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group

Three months after the December 7th 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbour, a group of concerned citizens from Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley organized to stand watch over their shoreline and readied to defend it from Japanese attack.  The legacy of that citizen commitment to Canada’s defence remains today in the form of the Canadian Rangers.

The 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (4 CRPG), Headquartered in Colwood, BC, perpetuates the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers of the Second World War and maintains the time-honoured watchful gaze upon western Canada’s remote and coastal regions.

“The men and women of the 4 CRPG operate in a very similar manner to the PCMR,” said LCol Russ Meades, 4 CRPG’s newly-appointed Commanding Officer.   “They live and work in western Canada’s most remote coastal and inland locations and are a vital layer to our country’s security.”  “

During the Second World War, many of the men from the Cowichan Valley headed eastward to join Canadian Expeditionary Forces fighting in Europe, but those who remained recognized that Canada’s remote west coast was left unprotected.  

 “Everybody was going east to fight over in Europe and there was no one left to defend the coast so we figured we had to,” said John Motherwell, a 92 year old PCMR veteran and an honoured guest during  4 CRPG’s change of command ceremony  June 26, 2016.   “We were concerned that after Pearl Harbour we had to do something.  At least we could report it if we saw any Japanese submarines,”  he said.

For the next three years, until the end of the Second World War, PCMR volunteers increased to around 15,000 throughout British Columbia, ever watchful and safe-guarding Canadians. Nearly 75 years later, the legacy of standing watch continues. 

In his inaugural address at 4 CRPG’s change of command parade, LCol Russ Meades described an exciting future for 4 CRPG.   “We will operate in the farthest reaches of Western Canada taking everything nature can throw at us,”   he said. He also stated the importance of developing young Canadians via the Junior Canadian Ranger program.

LCol Meades takes over as commanding officer at a time when 4 CRPG is healthy, robust, and viable, much due to the dedication of former commanding officer LCol Tim Byers who commanded the unit from 2004 to 2016.

“Lieutenant-colonel Byers created immense positive change, not only in  4 CRPG but at the national level through his initiatives,” said LCol Meades. “My job is to take 4 CRPG to the next level in terms of capability, capacity, and institutional resilience and robustness. Connecting our past to our future will play an important role in all of that as will our 75th anniversary in 2017.”

4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group consists of 43 patrols located in remote regions across Western Canada and as far south as southern Vancouver Island.  There are over 1,000 Canadian Rangers operating part-time in 4 CRPG, as well as over 800 Junior Canadian Rangers learning valuable life-skills, traditional values, and outdoor skills.

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