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PART 1 - Background        PART 2 - RCN         PART 3 - Army         PART 4 - Air Force      PART 5 - The PER Branch





Unification of the CF in 1968 resulted in the following changes:

  • the RCN P&RT Trade, the PTS (RCIC) and the RCAF Rec Spec trade were amalgamated and became the PERI 851 trade;
  • all CFR officers of the PTS (RCIC) and all officers of the RCAF Rec Spec Branch were assigned to the PE & R Sub-Classification in the Personnel Support Branch (PSPT/PER); and
  • other officers employed on P&RT duties in the RCN or extra-regimentally employed with the PTS (RCIC) had the option to reclassify as PSPT/PER officers or return to their ship/corps/regiment or unit for assignment to a classification for which they were best qualified.


The transitional stage had its expected ups and downs. The provisional PERI 851 trade Specifications prepared in 1967 placed considerable emphasis on program administration and facility management. Several trade adjustment courses were conducted in CFB Borden just before CFSPER was officially established. Three two-week courses were attended by most of the single service members in the trade at the time.


The shift in emphasis from instructional to administrative duties contributed to the PERI 851 trade being placed in the lowest pay field within the newly created CF trade structure. Lower pay and loss of prestige had a detrimental effect on morale, particularly among PTS (RCIC) personnel when the infantry trade was placed two pay fields higher than the new PERI 851 trade. During 1968-69 the new trade lost about 20 per cent of its personnel; many chose to take an early release or remuster to former trade(s) in higher pay fields. It is to the credit of those who remained that the trade survived and it’s members gradually regained credibility and respect as dedicated professionals in the field of PE&R.


The second generation of PERI 851 Trade Specifications was published in 1971. It redefined the PERI’s duties and responsibilities at TQ5 to TQ8 levels. Formal trade qualifying courses, however, were conducted only at the TQ5A and TQ6A levels. In 1981 the first TQ6B qualifying course was authorized. Finally, in 1983 the third generation of trade specifications was approved. It was meant to guide the PERI 851 trade through the 1980s.


On the officer’s side, the first CF PE&R course was conducted at CFSPER in May 1969. All officers who reclassified to the PSPT/PER sub-classification attended the course. The provisional specifications assigned the PEROs a number of purely administrative duties, not all related to PE&R.

In March 1976 DPERA sponsored an Advanced Procedures Training Seminar at CFB Petawawa. For most of the PEROs this was the first opportunity in seven years to get together and exchange ideas and experiences related to the operation of PE&R programs at the grass roots level. This seminar was followed by a number of similar workshops held at CFSPER and attended by all Warrant Officers as follows:

CWOs          Dec 1976;

MWOs         Mar 1977; and

WOs             Apr 1977.

In 1977 the PSPT/PER sub-classification became the PE&R Officer Classification (MOC 53) and was assigned to the Administration Branch.  The new MOC 53 PE&R specifications were published in August 1977.  In Late 1978, the formation of a separate PE&R Branch received approval-in-principle.  In January 1979, DPERA sponsored a workshop for senior officers, conducted at CFSPER and attended by all PERO Majors.  At that time, the Branch doctrine was formulated and the workshop proceedings were published in a comprehensive paper entitled, “What About the 80’s?”   In May 1980, CFSPER hosted a seminar entitled, “Lifestyle 80”, which was attended my most serving PEROs.  Finally, in December 1980, the establishment of the PE&R Branch was officially confirmed and promulgated in CFAO 2-10.  An Advance Notice of updated MOC53 specifications was published in May 1982.



Although Branch status was officially approved in December 1980 the accoutrements bearing the Branch Badge did not become available until 1983. Rebadging ceremonies during which all PEROs and PERIs received their new accoutrements were held at all CF locations on 9 June 1983. To commemorate this historical event 9 June was adopted as the official birthday of the Branch.


Back L-R: Bob Woodard; Tom Bowie; Peppy Girard; Ted Sillito; Carl Simms; Perry Mulhall; Ivan Lewis; Ken Brandel; Eddy Boisjolie; --------; Norm Banfield; --------; Gerry Lindner; Rip Riopelle; Kevin Callahan; Ray Bootland.

Front L-R: Joe Bedard; Herb MacAulay; Bob Smith; Len Hughes; John Carr; Butch Goodey; Dave Edmonds; Harry Mayne; Ken Benoit; Ed Bogan; Coco Cote; Andre Rodrigue; --------; Denis Dufresne; Bill Sears.



The Branch came into being on 5 December 1980. It consisted of the PERO Classification (MOC 53) and the PERI trade (PERI 851); both of which were originally part of the Administration Branch.


Prior to unification of the CF, each service had developed a different approach for the role of their PE&R staffs in order to meet their particular circumstances and requirements. The Army emphasized unit fitness programs, the Air Force stressed recreation and individual fitness activities while the Navy’s emphasis was a judicious application of both.


Despite these differences, a number of PE&R functions were effectively administered on a CF Tri-service basis long before the 1968 unification of the CF, which included:

  • Beginning in the early 1950’s, the PTIs at the Canadian Military Colleges (CMCs) and at the Joint Canadian Airborne Training Centre (CJATC) were selected from qualified personnel of the three single services;
  • Many sports specialty courses conducted by the single service schools were open to and attended by personnel of the other services;
  • Some sports competitions at the national level were organized on a tri-service bases, eg the “Pearkes Trophy” in soccer; and
  • Two CF Tri-service gymnastic teams gained national prominence – one performed daily at the 1957 Canadian National Exhibition and the other toured Canada during the 1967 Centennial celebrations.


In 1968, as part of the CF unification process. All PE&R trades personnel were assigned to the PERI 851 trade within the Administration Branch.  At the same time, all Physical Education and Recreation Officers (PEROs) were assigned as a sub-classification to the Personnel Support Officer Classification (PSPT/PER).

The special events that led to the establishment of the Branch were reflected in the official records at the DPERA as follows:

  • 30 September 1977 – the PSPT/PER sub-classification of the Administration Branch was officially re-designed as an independent PE&R Officer Classification;
  • 29 July 1979 – the constitution of the PE&R Branch Fund was approved;
  • 5 December 1980 – official approval was granted by the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) for the establishment of an autonomous PER Branch (entry promulgated in CFAO 2-10);
  • April 1981 – the new PE&R Branch Badge was officially approved;
  • 10 June 1981 – Commodore G.M. de Rosenroll, CD, was appointed the first Colonel-Commandant of the PE&R Branch; and
  • 9 June 1983 – official rebadging ceremonies took place at the CFSPER at CFB Borden, with the CDS, General RM Withers, CMM, CD, presiding.  Simultaneous Rebadging ceremonies took place at all CF Bases and Stations.  To commemorate this occasion, the 9th of June was adopted as the Branch’s “official” birthday.



The Branch Motto, “MENS SANA IN CORPORE SANO,” which means “A sound mind in a healthy body,” best expresses the guiding principles that are embodied in the Branch Doctrine.


A distinctive badge, common dress accoutrements, a unique flag, a special march past and a collection of memorabilia related to past customs and traditions were all important symbols that promoted morale and stimulated pride and a sense of belonging to a particular military branch.


The Branch Badge.

Featured on the Branch Flag the Cap badge, Collar badges and Belt buckle.


Azure in front of 5 circles gules edged Or, all linked, a Phoenix Or issuant from flames proper.

The rings represent the Branch responsibility for fitness through PE and depict five, mutually interdependent components, namely the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual segments which contribute to a person’s ability to function effectively.

The phoenix, mythical bird that lived in the Arabian Desert, recreated itself from its ashes to live with renewed youth, strength and health. It represents a derivative of the word recreation and symbolizes the Branch responsibility in that regard.



Approved in 1982


The Branch Flag consisted of a white rectangle of proportions two by length and one by width. The Branch Badge is superimposed in full colour in the center of the white field.



A white human figure on a red maple leaf was approved in 1971

Worn on the Branch Track Suit and T Shirt







                            Click the box below to hear the March past



The “All Sports March” was adopted in 1980 as the official Branch March. The official sheet music of the march is shown below. The March was first played on the occasion of CFSPER Change of Command ceremonies held on 10 June 1981 at the Buell Building Gymnasium at CFB Borden. It was traditionally played during the march-past at all CFSPER course graduation parades and at mess dinners when members of the Branch were in attendance




One of the centuries-old traditions the branches of the CF have chosen to adopt from the British military is the appointment of Colonel-Commandants.  The exact origin of the appointment is vague, but it can be traced to 1722 and the Royal Artillery.  Personnel given this appointment were not always active military officers.  Retired military officers and prominent citizens of the community also have been appointed.

In the CF this honour is conferred upon former CF officers who held the rank of colonel or above on retirement. The Colonel-Commandant is presented with a commissioning warrant signed by the Governor-General as the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces. Incumbents normally held the appointment for a period of three years.

The Branch had only two appointees. Commodore Glen DeRosenroll and Colonel Joe Parr.



DPERA by virtue of the appointment was also the Branch Adviser.



This appointment was the senior and most prestigious NCM appointment within the Branch. An appointment scroll was presented to each incumbent and the badge of office was a specially designed pace stick which was passed on to each succeeding appointee.


Although Branch status was officially approved in December 1980 the accoutrements bearing the Branch Badge did not become available until 1983. Rebadging ceremonies during which all PEROs and PERIs received their new accoutrements were held at all CF locations on 9 June 1983. To commemorate this historical event 9 June was adopted as the official birthday of the Branch.


During the pre-integration era, each single service used publications obtained from the British Navy, Army and Air Force as its primary training references, which included:

  • “The Royal Navy Physical and Recreational Training Manual” (BR 51 (1) 55);
  • “British Army Physical Training Pamphlets 1-10. (War Office Codes 9467 –9476;
  • “Principles of Anatomy and Physiology for Physical Instructors in the Royal Air Force”; and
  • The RCAF also used a number of Air Force Publications (AFP) that dealt with the organization and administration of community recreation programs in the Married Quarters (MQs).
  • Between 1959 and 1964 the RCAF Rec Spec Branch produced the 5BX and 10BX Plan Pamphlets as well as a number of manuals on coaching and officiating various sports (basketball, flag football, hockey, soccer, track and field and volleyball). The RCN and Army Physical Training and Recreation Staffs also adopted these publications for use.


Since its establishment in 1980, the Branch produced a number of its own publications which are listed below:

  • Physical Fitness In The Canadian Forces - This comprehensive manual was published in 1983 and dealt with all aspects of planning, organization, conduct and evaluation of physical fitness training programs used in the Forces. The manual was published in two volumes as A-PD-050-015. /PT-001 AND A-PD-050-015/PT-002.
  • Administration and Operation of PE&R Programs – First published as CFP 292 it was republished in 1984 as A-AD-292-001-/AG-001. It explained in great detail all aspects of personnel, program, equipment and financial management, as applicable to the administration and operation of PE&R programs in the Forces.
  • CF “EXPRES” Operations Manual – Published in 1984 it explained the new CF clinical assessment and exercise prescription program. “EXPRES was specially designed to provide CF personnel with a safe, sub-maximal fitness assessment, an individualized record and explanation of personal fitness level and a selected personalized program of exercise consistent with the individual’s level of fitness.
  • PE&R Branch Handbook – It explains the “raison d’etre” of the Branch and provided a brief historical background of PE&R in the three single Services prior to unification. It was used as the sole reference for this page.
  • Branch Journal – The professional journal of the branch was called the PERISCOPE. It was published annually by DPERA and contained articles written by PEROs and PERIs on current topics related to PE&R, announcements that were of common interest to PE&R members and a location list of serving members. It evolved from an informal bulletin called PERI-851-SCOPE first published in March 1969. The original purpose as stated in Vol 1, Number 1 still remains valid. The name Periscope was resurrected and is used to identify this web site.
  • Branch Newsletter – The Associate Members Newsletter was published semi-annually in July and December. Its purpose was to keep retired members informed of current happenings within the Branch and thus provide an opportunity to remain in touch and to preserve the bonds of comradeship among personnel who dedicated the best of their years to a common, worthy cause, so fittingly expressed in our motto.



In 1965 the PE&R Section was established at the then recently integrated CFHQ in Ottawa. It was headed by LCol Jim Harber and was comprised of one PE&R senior officer from each service: LCdr Doc Savage (RCN), Maj John Reeves (ASO PT) and S/L Harry Kerrison (Rec Specs).

Later the section was upgraded to a directorate and LCol Harber became the first Director Physical Education and Recreational Training (DPERT). In broad terms DPERT was responsible for originating, developing and promulgating PE&R policies applying to members of the CF.

Until the summer of 1968 the Directorate was located in “C” Building of the DND Complex on Cartier Square. During the following two years, on four different occasions, the directorate offices were shuffled across the city ending up at the Vered Building at 245 Cooper St. During this same period the directorate experienced a number of reorganizations and reallocations within the Personnel Branch of CFHQ, namely:

  • Until late 1969 DPERT was part of the Director General Individual Training (DGITP) and the Directorate of Branch and Trade Training (DBTT);


  • In the fall of1969 DPERT was relocated in the Director General Personnel Services (DGPS) Division, where it joined six other directorates: Legal, Welfare, Personnel Benefits, Food Services, Exhibitions and Displays and Ceremonial;


  • Effective 1 April 1970 DPERT was assigned to the Director General Personnel Support (DGPS) Division;

In late 1971 DPERT was down graded to a section and was absorbed by the Directorate of  Personnel Support Operations (DPSO);

  • The spring of 1971 brought reorganization and reduction in staff from seven to five officers (1 LCol, 2 Majors and 2 Capts);

In the fall of 1972 the PE&R Section of DPSO was again upgraded to directorate level, becoming the Directorate of PE&R and it remained in the DGPS Division. This would not have been accomplished without the year of untiring efforts given by the then DPSO 3, LCol Joe Parr

  • On 1 Sep 1973 DPER and the Directorate of Personnel Support Services were amalgamated to form the Directorate of Physical Education and Amenities (DPERA). The staff establishment was increased to cope with added responsibilities for Special Services, Amenities, Entertainment, CF Movie Guild, Canadian Legion Book Depot and Messes and Institutes. The new establishment provided for 13 positions. They were 1 LCol, 5 Majors, 4 Capts, 1 Sgt and 2 civilians.


In retrospect the 1973 reorganization was a turning point in the history of DPERA, which finally provided the stability it required to develop meaningful PE&R policies and chart the course for the future. It is interesting to note that DPERA location, designation and even telephone locals remained unchanged for more than a decade. This 1973 reorganization was the first major milestone in the long process toward branch status of the PER MOC 53 Officer Classification and PERI 851 Trade, which was finally accomplished in Dec 1980.



CFSPER was established in 1967 upon unification of the single service PE&R Schools. The APTC and the RCAF R&PE School co-located in 1966 and conducted the first integrated course for PE&R Instructors. In 1967 The RCN P&RT School moved to CFB Borden and on 6 Nov 1967 the unified CFSPER became fully operational. The first Commandant was S/L Harry Kerrison and the first CWO was WO1 Skip Schamehorn.

Official crest of CFSPER. The figure is in CF green on a round orange area. The head, clockwise from the top is white representing all colours blended, followed by the three primary colours of red, yellow and blue. Two learning torches, common to all schools in CFTS, surmount the design.  The Branch Motto MENS SANA IN CORPORE SANO underlines it. The crest was designed by then WO Al Blondel.                                                     

The CFSPER Flag. Cconsisted of a featured center design that symbolized a person in motion in many activities. Physical activity is represented by the figure, which, when turned in any position, is in action and could represent such activities as gymnastics, soccer, fencing, basketball, track and field, badminton and even art painting. The varied colours and positions of the head represent the variety of activities and people involved.


PART 1 - Background        PART 2 - RCN         PART 3 - Army         PART 4 - Air Force      PART 5 - The PER Branch     Top