KERRISON, Harry Franklin, Major C.D. (ret'd) 1922 – 2013

Continued from Last Post . . . . In the autumn of 1952, he was sent to AFHQ for a conference with Wing Commander J.K.Tett and his civilian colleague, Mr. John Pearson, former Director of Recreation in Brantford, Ontario. The two of them had been appointed to establish a directorate and trade for the development of physical fitness, sports and recreation, in the RCAF. Following this meeting, a trade of "Recreation and Athletic Specialists" was established (to which he was immediately remustered). In early 1953, Wing Commander Tett and John Pearson convened a meeting in Toronto, Ontario including: Flt. Sgt. Jack Curtis, P&RTI at Station Centralia; Cpl. William Buck, instructor at the Disciplinarian School at Stn. Aylmer and myself. After two days, this group of five drew up the plans for the establishment of the Recreation and Athletic Specialists School at Station Aylmer, as a part of #2 Composite Training School. The 10 week courses started in the spring of 1953. The instructional staff on the first course consisted of the five personnel who had met in Toronto and drafted the course. Wing Commander Tett was only present on a few occasions at the start and finish of the first course. The students were selected from Manning Depot in St. Jean, Québec, from among special recruits with various athletic, recreational or show business backgrounds. In addition, some members of the Disciplinarian trade, and recognized airforce athletes, were chosen for the course. Graduates of this course were mustered into the Recreation and Athletic Specialist trade. Those with ranks of LAC and above retained their former rank. These tradespeople became known as "Rec Specs". Harry continued to command this course until 1956 , when transferred to RCAF Station Camp Borden, as the Recreation Officer. At about this time, W.C. Tett hired a well known physical educationist named Dr. William Orban. He was directed to devise a program which emphasized the developments of a high level of fitness, but would consume only a relatively small amount of the personnel's time. The net result was the development of the internationally renowned "5BX Program". In 1958, before the 5BX program was authorized, Harry was seconded to AFHQ to take two summertime reserve specialists to the All-weather Fighter stations across the country to test the fitness of their pilots and navigators and also to instruct them, and the base Rec Specs, in the use and conduct of this program.   This rejuvenated emphasis on the physical fitness aspect of the "Rec Spec" trade called for a considerable revamping of the training syllabus of the course (which had now been transferred to RCAF Station Camp Borden) and the job descriptions of the trade. The course then became known as the "Physical Education and Recreation Specialist" course and its graduates assumed the same trade title. After the cross country tour, he was transferred to NDHQ as the officer responsible for physical fitness training in the Physical Fitness and Recreation Branch of the Canadian Forces. After three years at NDHQ, he was transferred to CFB Borden as the Commandant of the newly established Canadian Forces School of Physical Education and Recreation (CFSPER). There the key staffs from the schools of the three services were embraced, courses were added for coaches, officials of various sports, recreation courses of several types, aquatics courses and unit physical training instructors courses.  He remained in this position for over three years and retired on 28 August, 1971, having truly enjoyed his service career


Harry passed away July 5, 2013 at Centre d'hébergement Champlain Gatineau, Québec. He is survived by his beloved wife, Beryl, of fifty-five years, two nieces, Sandra Potter and Deborah Stenson (Don), both of North Vancouver, B.C. and cousins, Denise Powell (Don) of London, Ontario and Don Wallace (Sue) of Ancaster, Ontario. Harry had a varied and interesting career as listed below: Major (S/L retired) Harry F. Kerrison C.D.; Royal Canadian Air Force 1941-1945 with 422 Squadron in Maritime Command; Enlisted as Radar Technician, 1941; Remustered to Navigator, 1944; Bachelor of Physical and Health Education, University of Toronto, 1948; Physical and Recreation Officer in peace time Armed Forces; Former Commandant of Canadian Armed Forces School of Physical Education and Recreation; First Executive Director of the Canadian Track & Field Association, 1971; Coach-Upland Harriers Track & Field Club, 1971-1975; Coached 3 Olympic Athletes, 2 of whom are currently members of The Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame; Projects Officer at Dominion Command of The Royal Canadian Legion in Ottawa, Ontario; Director of The Secretariat for Fitness in The Third Age; Thanks and appreciation are extended to the staff on the third floor of Centre d'hébergement Champlain. In lieu of flowers donations would be appreciated to any of the following: Wakefield Legion Branch 214; Air Force Association Wing 410; Wakefield Memorial Hospital; or charity of your choice. Funeral will take place on July 12, 2013, 11:00 a.m. at The McGarry Memorial Chapel, 139 Valley Drive, Wakefield, Québec. Visitation will be from 10:00-11:00 a.m. and a reception will follow the service from 12:00-1:30 p.m. Burial will be at The Beechwood Military Cemetery, Ottawa, Ontario, at 3:00 p.m.