The Minute Book
Sunday, 18 August 2013

Relics of Base London
Topic: Wolseley Barracks


Carling Farms, Wolseley Barracks, No. 1 District Depot, Canadian Forces Base London, Area Support Unit London — the property has been known by a variety of names to generations of Canadian soldiers from Southwestern Ontario. Those soldiers lived at worked at "the barracks," it was from here they enlisted, trained, and marched off to Canada's wars, and from which many who were lucky enough to return to Canada were later demobilized to return to civilian life. Others served full, or nearly all of their, careers at Wolseley Barracks, watching the base grow and change with each passing decade.

The last major change to (then) Canadian Forces base London was the sale of half the property after the departure of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (1RCR), in 1992. The old Base Transport grounds is now a major grocery store, and much of what the soldiers who left knew as the "1RCR unit lines" is now a housing development of 125 homes.

And yet, even as the Base perimeter has shrunk, some remnants of previous eras of construction by the Department of National Defence remain.

The Old Stores Building.

Located behind McMahen Park and now serving a variety of uses as office space, the old Military Stores building can be seen on the 1922 aerial photo. This solid structure is a testament to its quality of construction and once marked the south-east corner of the base property.


 

1RCR Transport

Behind the Stores building is a garage. Once the home of 1RCR's Transport Platoon and the company Transport Sections, it is now a municipal facility operated by the City of London. Much of the parking area once used to store the vehicles of the Battalion is now a skate board park.

 

The Base Gym

Next we find the Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre, constructed during the late 1950s. Although the running track is now a community garden space, this building will be familiar to many old soldiers under it's previous moniker "the base gym."

 

1RCR Lines

All of these remaining building are along what was once the south side of the base property. between them and the current base boundary, where much of the 1RCR unit lines used to be, is a housing development of 125 homes. This view is taken from what was once the southwest corner of the parade square westward towards where McMahen Gate sat. Behind the houses on the right is the current base boundary fence.


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 4 July 2013 2:28 PM EDT

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