Tragic 1969 Watermanship Exercise

On 24 September 1969, a 1st Battalion watermanship exercise on the Sooke River went tragically wrong resulting in the injury of 4 soldiers from A Company and the death of Rifleman Harold Wayne George of Vancouver. The river had been considered safe when scouted earlier but was flooded by fresh rains at the time of the exercise.

Although all the soldiers were wearing life jackets, Rifleman Raymond Weeks, 22 of Calgary received a head injury and Rifleman J.G. Headrick, 18 injured his leg. Both were admitted to hospital while two other soldiers were examined at hospital but released.

The coroner reported in the following December and was critical of military leadership for the way the exercise was conducted. Two officers were later reprimanded after summary military trials.

1969 26 Sept Drowning clipping 2a

1969 2 Dec Coroner Findings pg1 1969 2 Dec Coroner Findings pg2

1970 Verdict 20

"In Pace Paratus – In Peace Prepared"

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