The soldiers practise with radios communicating during an exercise. Photo by Mike Chouinard

The soldiers practise with radios communicating during an exercise. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Army reserve soldiers do recon training at Seal Bay

Canadian Scottish Regiment has about 20 soldiers training locally

For anyone seeing men in camouflage in the area between Seal Bay and Crown Isle this weekend, they can rest assured it was only a training exercise.

The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s), an army reserve unit based on Vancouver Island, was taking part in Exercise Scottish Ceannardas, a patrolling exercise. The word ‘Ceannardas’ comes from Scots Gaelic and meaning ‘leadership.’

The exercises are critical for preparing army reserve soldiers, who could be required to respond to range of crises close to home or abroad. Over the weekend of Feb. 6 and 7, the exercises are allowing them to work on reconnaissance skills in preparation for future infantry courses and leadership training. Elements include cross-country navigation, command and control, field craft, tactical movement and radio communications.

From September to May the unit works on Wednesday evenings, with a training exercise one weekend each month during that period. The soldiers will be continuing coursework through the spring to complete summer training.

“We’re giving them an exposure to things before they go on their leadership training,” says Capt. Cameron Park, public affairs officer.

Saturday was a day to practise, with the exercise Sunday, in full camouflage facepaint, slated for an area between Crown Isle and the Seal Bay Armoury, home to the regiment. They have been able to secure access from property owners to help for the Sunday exercise by providing a corridor of wooded terrain.

On Saturday, they did some reconnaissance preparation, with four soldiers, working pairs, communicating via radio from locations to look at an objective from different angles, while not confusing teammates with the enemy. The four members were Cpl. Ian McLean, Cpl. Liam Clifford, Cpl. Dan Karr and Cpl. Jesse Dybal.

“It requires them to move apart and then move back together,” says Maj. Chris Scott, who commands Bravo Company of the Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s). “You’re doing that within close proximity … you have to be very stealthy.”

These infantry soldiers train for different skills, including the use of weapons and communications systems, for exercises such as raids and ambushes, all conducted to prepare for different weather and terrain. The focus in recent years has been to train reserve soldiers to support domestic operations such as responses to natural disasters.

The Canadian Scottish Regiment is based in Victoria with additional locations at Nanaimo and Seal Bay. Part of the 39 Canadian Brigade Group and the Canadian Army Reserve in British Columbia, it is made up of soldiers from throughout Vancouver Island. They are about 30 serving out of Nanaimo and 20 from Seal Bay.

For more information about the Canadian Scottish Regiment or army reserve, call 250-363-8153 or

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The Scottish Regiment members do exercises in preparation for training through the spring and summer. Photo by Mike Chouinard

The Scottish Regiment members do exercises in preparation for training through the spring and summer. Photo by Mike Chouinard

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