Bye bye Medicine Hat

BATUS is on a use agreement, not a lease. Originally it was leased, but in 2006 it was converted to an agreement whereby the UK can use the base indefinitely. The UK pay for their operating costs.

Canadian copy of the treaty:
Agreement Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on British Armed Forces' Training in Canada

UK copy of the treaty:
Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of Canada on British Armed Forces’ Training in Canada

This UKDJ article explains the history if you are interested.
Britain in Canada – The British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS)

UK involvement at Suffield Alberta started in WWII as replacement for UK chemical warfare testing after the UK got kicked out of bases in French Algeria when France fell. Post WWII Canada kept the area as a base, but just what went on there is vague other than it was used for "experimental" work. When the UK got kicked out of Libya by Gaddafi in 1969 they needed a new training area in a hurry (this seems to be a recurring theme here) and ended up back in Alberta under a 10 year lease agreement.

The lease was rolled over several times until in 2006 it was decided to instead convert it to a treaty allowing the UK to use Canadian bases indefinitely. You will notice the treaty is not limited to BATUS, just "use land, air space and installations, and station personnel and equipment, at such sites as may be agreed by the Secretary of State for Defence of the United Kingdom and the Minister of National Defence of Canada".

The UK pays the cost of operating the base, including buildings, civilian employees, utilities, etc. They also use Canadian DND purchasing channels for local procurement of goods and services, for which they pay an administration fee.

From what has been said, the UK will continue to use BATUS, just not use it for armoured warfare training. The stated reasons for pulling tanks out sound quite reasonable, that with far fewer tanks in future the UK can't afford to dedicate significant numbers of them to training in a place which is far from any potential action.
From reading the treaty I think that is the overarching treaty and it makes no reference specifically to BATUS. As I said from what I remember (it's 10 years ago) I thought BATUS had it's own specific terms and conditions to coin an industry phrase
 
From the Daily Telegraph

A defence source close to the plans told The Telegraph: “If you only have 148 tanks and 22 of them are stuck in Canada, that’s 22 tanks that are not at readiness and not available to do anything operational.

“If they are training in Poland or Duqm, the logic is that they are having a more operational and deterrent effect.”


An extra 22 tanks! We don't want to fight but by Jingo if we do...

That's Putin told!

Rule Britannia!
Why does this remind me of the last days of the Wehrmacht's 9th Army ?
I also STR that all the training vehicles in Sennelager were formed into a scratch unit to fight the Anglo American advance in March 1945 as well .
 
I may be wrong but I think the sale of four Upholder class subs was done for something like $1 but included a lengthened lease for BATUS.
At one time I did find the story convincing, but apparently that was just a proposal that never materialized, or possibly a smoke screen to hide the actual cost of the submarine purchase.

PROCUREMENT OF CANADA’S VICTORIA CLASS SUBMARINES Report of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs

The impression I get, although I don't have proof for it, is that the supposed barter deal was a sham to hide the cost of the purchase and make it appear that we were getting the submarines for less than the headline cost. The details actually only came out as part of the investigation into the HMCS Chicoutimi fire. However, given how much misdirection and complete lack of transparency goes on in Canadian defence procurement, I find this explanation quite plausible.

Perhaps the debate on the value of the submarines following the incident aboard the Chicoutimi and on the real costs involved would be less virulent if the acquisition of the Upholders had not been portrayed or perceived as a bargain.

The emphasis on the possibility of a barter arrangement in the departmental announcements concerning the acquisition of the Upholders left many Canadians with the impression that at least part of the costs would be covered by the funds owed by the United Kingdom for the use of training facilities in Canada by British forces. It may even have given the impression to some Canadians that the barter arrangement guaranteed that the submarines were being obtained at little actual cost to the Canadian treasury, even though the announcements did point out that the submarine project “will cost no more than $750 million — one-quarter of what it would cost to buy or build new submarines.”52 There was therefore much surprise when the Committee learned that no barter had actually taken place.

There's a number of things to unpack there. One is that the barter deal never actually took place.

Another is that nowhere is it stated that the lease payments on the bases would actually offset the cost of the submarines even if the barter deal were arranged. It was just claimed that the submarines wouldn't cost more than $750 million (they ended up costing more than this), and that the base lease payments would be deducted from the cost of the submarines (although they never were).

So, the submarines weren't "free" and their cost gives us no insight as to what the UK may have been paying in terms of base lease costs, assuming it wasn't just a nominal net sum to begin with.

My recollection from the news announcement when the base lease was converted into the base use agreement as described in my previous post was that it was stated that the UK would not be making any lease payments on the base, but would pay for their own costs in terms of operating the base. Unlike the above I don't have a reference for this so take it with a grain of salt.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
At one time I did find the story convincing, but apparently that was just a proposal that never materialized, or possibly a smoke screen to hide the actual cost of the submarine purchase.

PROCUREMENT OF CANADA’S VICTORIA CLASS SUBMARINES Report of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs

The impression I get, although I don't have proof for it, is that the supposed barter deal was a sham to hide the cost of the purchase and make it appear that we were getting the submarines for less than the headline cost. The details actually only came out as part of the investigation into the HMCS Chicoutimi fire. However, given how much misdirection and complete lack of transparency goes on in Canadian defence procurement, I find this explanation quite plausible.



There's a number of things to unpack there. One is that the barter deal never actually took place.

Another is that nowhere is it stated that the lease payments on the bases would actually offset the cost of the submarines even if the barter deal were arranged. It was just claimed that the submarines wouldn't cost more than $750 million (they ended up costing more than this), and that the base lease payments would be deducted from the cost of the submarines (although they never were).

So, the submarines weren't "free" and their cost gives us no insight as to what the UK may have been paying in terms of base lease costs, assuming it wasn't just a nominal net sum to begin with.

My recollection from the news announcement when the base lease was converted into the base use agreement as described in my previous post was that it was stated that the UK would not be making any lease payments on the base, but would pay for their own costs in terms of operating the base. Unlike the above I don't have a reference for this so take it with a grain of salt.
Interesting - surely an FOIA request might unpack the costs a bit more…
 
Interesting - surely an FOIA request might unpack the costs a bit more…
The costs in terms of the submarine "barter deal"? As noted above, the deal never really existed. It was a sham, a smoke screen for a major defence procurement at a time of major government austerity in Canada.

The escalation of the true cost of the submarines beyond the original estimates? That was thrashed over as much as it could be, but that's a bit out of scope for this thread.

The terms and conditions under which the UK uses BATUS? Nobody in Canada cares whether the UK is paying anything beyond their own operating costs to use BATUS or any other bases, so nobody in Canada is going to bother with an FOIA request in connection with it. You can put an FOIA request in if you feel motivated, but if you get a response other than the usual "denied on security / commercial / diplomatic grounds", I suspect you will get a mass of paperwork that doesn't actually tell you anything without someone from the inside to interpret the context around it.

Sir Humphrey Appleby is alive and well and living in Ottawa.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
The costs in terms of the submarine "barter deal"? As noted above, the deal never really existed. It was a sham, a smoke screen for a major defence procurement at a time of major government austerity in Canada.

The escalation of the true cost of the submarines beyond the original estimates? That was thrashed over as much as it could be, but that's a bit out of scope for this thread.

The terms and conditions under which the UK uses BATUS? Nobody in Canada cares whether the UK is paying anything beyond their own operating costs to use BATUS or any other bases, so nobody in Canada is going to bother with an FOIA request in connection with it. You can put an FOIA request in if you feel motivated, but if you get a response other than the usual "denied on security / commercial / diplomatic grounds", I suspect you will get a mass of paperwork that doesn't actually tell you anything without someone from the inside to interpret the context around it.

Sir Humphrey Appleby is alive and well and living in Ottawa.
I won’t be putting an FOIA request in as I’m not remotely interested - I just mistook you for somebody who was!
 
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Every tour I have done of CFB Suffield or CFB Wainwright have been the drunkest I have ever been in my entire life. In fact, how I never died in the cold, or the heat while in a drunken coma in Canada - I'll never know.

This is a right kick in the swingers for beer swillers like me and the rest of the British Army.

All the great places we ever served in the British Army really are going down the pan.

Who in their right mind would want to serve in a no beer Wadi when you could serve in a beer flooded Prairie?!

I mean seriously? FFS it's a ridiculous decision - denying men a drinking holiday like this in their careers.

And what will come of good ol'e Zero Bravo?

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Some pics I took on my last 6 month tour in BATUS -
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I went to Oman to fix some kit in 2013. I spent three days there and had a leaving do. I was that pissed on Dab (Dortmund beer) I woke up with a RAF girl.





She asked me my name and I said Pikey @don't tell him pike
 
I won’t be putting an FOIA request in as I’m not remotely interested - I just mistook you for somebody who was!
I'm interested only to the extent that it makes for an interesting discussion.

I suspect that getting information out of Ottawa in connection with BATUS is hopeless, but apparently a bit of googling turns up the following from Westminster.

Ministry of Defence (Procurement) Debate between Gordon Henderson and Craig Whittaker Wednesday 19th October 2011

The short version is that BATUS is run as a joint UK-Canada base (Canada uses part of the base as well). The UK pay 80 per cent of the operating costs, and Canada pay 20 per cent. The UK share of operating costs (in round numbers) is £80 million a year.

On top of direct operating costs the UK also pay £20 million a year. It's not clear what that sum is for, but I suspect it may be the UK's share of payment in lieu of taxes to local municipalities in equivalence to what a commercial property owner would pay, although this is speculative on my part. Such payment in lieu of property taxes is normal for other federal property, although I don't know about this base specifically. The actual agreement / treaty (see a previous post for this) explicitly excludes the UK paying anything for the value of the land used by the base.

It is quite possible that the UK-Canada agreement on the use of bases may have been used as a template for the new UK-Oman agreement, but again that is speculation on my part.
 
I'm interested only to the extent that it makes for an interesting discussion.

I suspect that getting information out of Ottawa in connection with BATUS is hopeless, but apparently a bit of googling turns up the following from Westminster.

Ministry of Defence (Procurement) Debate between Gordon Henderson and Craig Whittaker Wednesday 19th October 2011

The short version is that BATUS is run as a joint UK-Canada base (Canada uses part of the base as well). The UK pay 80 per cent of the operating costs, and Canada pay 20 per cent. The UK share of operating costs (in round numbers) is £80 million a year.

On top of direct operating costs the UK also pay £20 million a year. It's not clear what that sum is for, but I suspect it may be the UK's share of payment in lieu of taxes to local municipalities in equivalence to what a commercial property owner would pay, although this is speculative on my part. Such payment in lieu of property taxes is normal for other federal property, although I don't know about this base specifically. The actual agreement / treaty (see a previous post for this) explicitly excludes the UK paying anything for the value of the land used by the base.

It is quite possible that the UK-Canada agreement on the use of bases may have been used as a template for the new UK-Oman agreement, but again that is speculation on my part.
When did the Pond Jump Exercises in Canada end? There used to be a couple each year for light role battalions, somewhere near the Rockies. Had a mate who went out as admin staff for three month's for the two six week exercises. They then moved south to Fort Lewis in Washington State for three months for the two six week exercises held there. Lucky git. He made a fortune. To cap it all he was posted to Hong Kong for two years not long afterwards.
 
I went to Oman to fix some kit in 2013. I spent three days there and had a leaving do. I was that pissed on Dab (Dortmund beer) I woke up with a RAF girl.





She asked me my name and I said Pikey @don't tell him pike

Result - you bagged an "AVAITOR" as they are known now - even if she was one of the bints on the RAF check-in desk who's only role in life was to tell you you to unbungee your helmet from your Bergan before it was loaded onto Flight RomeoRomeo bah de blah blah back to Blighty.

Can you tell us what the equivalent of the Sin-Bin is in Oman?

Or what the penalty might be for someone declaring a "Naked Bar!", or for doing star jumps in the street sans trousers or undercrackers? You know - things that happened regularly in Canada.
 
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Well they say that the Canadian praires are very similar to the Russian and Ukrainain steppes. Freezing cold in winter and boiling hot in summer. Lots of Ukrainians emigrated to Canadia. Apparently it was the third most spoken language in Canada after English and French. Michael Wittman would have felt at home at BATUS.

Something like 1 million Canadians with Ukrainian heritage.

Was looking at it just last week – a lot of peasants brought across at the turn of the 19th/20th century, to farm the prairies.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Um....there's a Premier inn in Abu Dhabi that sells London Pride on draught......just sayin'....beats the hell out of ghastly Belgian raspberry beer in the Novotel.
 
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