During the Second World War, forces from the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps formed the 1st (Canadian) Parachute Battalion, which served with 6th Airborne Division.
Other Canadian infantrymen joined British Airborne units by volunteering, and also via the CANLOAN system. By the end of 1943, battle casualties had resulted in a shortage of junior officers in the British Army and a scheme was agreed with the Canadian Army to help fill this gap. Under the scheme 673 officers served on a voluntary basis in the British Army. 623 served in Infantry Regiments, although not all of these were Airborne.
They acquitted themselves with distinction: 41 Military Crosses (1 with bar), 1 US Silver Star, 1 Distinguished Service Cross, 4 Croix de Guerre, 1 MBE and 1 Dutch Order of the Bronze Lion were awarded to CANLOAN officers. They also paid a high price: 128 were killed or died of their wounds and a further 310 were wounded. As a further example, of the 10 CANLOAN officers who fought with the 7 King’s Own Scottish Borderers at Arnhem, 2 were killed and the remaining 8 were taken POW.
Canada still retained an Airborne military capability to the present.
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