Recent Pemberton Museum News

Pacific Coast Militia Rangers

Remembering the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers

We are remembering the Pemberton division of the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers this month in honour of remembrance day.  It has been 71 years since Victory in Europe Day at World War II end. Seventy one years ago today the world celebrated the end of the World War II. On May 7, 1945, Germany signed an unconditional surrender bringing an end to the war in Europe.

In B.C., the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers were formed after the attack on Pearl Harbour and the declaration of war against Japan in 1942. These men were volunteers, ranging from the young age of fifteen to those that were considered too old to enlist. These individuals were instructed in tactical situations such as how to effectively observe areas patrolled. They performed military surveillance, and provided local defense of the coastline against possible Japanese invasion including anti-sabotage measures and protection of lines of communication and transportation. There were about 138 companies that patrolled the areas of Vancouver Island, the Bridge River and the lower Fraser Valley.

Training became an issue because the companies were so spread out that the volunteers were not able to attend the training camp. Those that were able to attend were instructed in methods of training. After attending the training camps, the volunteers would then pass on the instructions that they learned to their own men. On September 1, 1942 a training publication called “The Ranger” was created to help meet the needs of the widely spread out force. The Ranger was filled with useful information that every Ranger should have clear knowledge of.

The Rangers never engaged against the enemies but they did play a crucial role in securing the areas of potential invaders by air, land or sea. Rural communities had a feeling of security knowing that these men were on patrol. On September 30, 1945 at Brockton Point Oval, after three years of service, the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers were disbanded.  At the peak they reached over 15,000 volunteers.  In Pemberton, volunteers included: Lt. A.R.Mawbey, Sgt. M. Miller, Sgt. F.B. Menzel, Cpl. J.C. McKay, Cpl. E.H. Gethen, L/Cpl. L. Shore, L/Cpl. W. Fowler, L/Cpl. R.H. Taylor, L/Cpl. M. Williams, L/Cpl. J. Taillefer, L/Cpl. A. Anderson, Rng. C. Ronayne, Rng. R. Ronanyne, Rng. J. Arn, Rng. J.A. Pope, Rng. R.A. Taylor, Rng. M. Shantz, Rng. J.W. Shire, Rng. B. Bish, Rng. N. Collin, Rng. T. Andrews, Rng. N. Fraber, Rng. F. Wallace, Rng. N.J. Decker, Rng. A. Summerskill, Rng. H.I. Perkins, Rng.  R. McDonald, Rng. H. Erickson, Rng H.L. Harwood, Rng. H. Wallace, Rng. E.H. Blakeway, Rng. D. Fraser, and Rng. A. Fowler.

Check out a video presented in Battle Scars Season Two by the Canadian Militaria Preservation Society Museum of the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers: