The 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion was an airborne infantry battalion embedded in the British Army during World War Two. Tinning’s first assignment overseas was with this Battalion (5 Jan 44- 12 Feb 44) while it underwent training in Wiltshire.
Operation MANITOBA took place on 20 Jan 44, near Winterbourne Stoke. “The idea behind this exercise is to drop the complete fighting personnel of this unit on one dropping zone in the shortest period possible with a rapid clearance…” This allowed co-operation with the Royal Air Force which flew the Albemarle transport aircraft and which would subsequently carry the Battalion into action on D-Day in June, 1944. The exercise involved five hundred men (fifty planes from three airfields) all dropped with their equipment in one zone in fifteen minutes.
Tinning wrote an observer’s account of Operation MANITOBA: “The whole Dropping Zone was covered with gold, green, red and blue blobs of deflated chutes… On landing the men rushed on their containers, took out packs and Bren guns, and ran to the agreed rendezvous. At no time were more than a few men discernible on the field although 500 or more were dropped that afternoon.“ From CMHQ Report 138; CP Stacey