1st Canadian Parachute Battalion

In February 1944 Tinning observed a training exercise by the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion on Salisbury Plain. Conducted to simulate an invasion of Normandy the Canadian paratroopers were dropped wearing full gear alongside metal containers packed with mortars and ammunition. The object of the exercise was to drop 500 paratroopers with supplies and have the drop zone cleared of men, supplies and parachutes within fifteen minutes. One particular difficulty involved gathering up the parachutes that had become fouled in trees. The three paintings below show a progression of events as Tinning (an official army war artist) recorded them for posterity. At left – a paratrooper opens a container on the field; in the centre is a preparatory sketch of a container parachute fouled in a tree; and on the right is a “finished” oil painting of the scene. These works are in the Tinning fonds at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and the Canadian War Museum (CWM) in Ottawa.

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