Message from the Commanding Officer
Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) rank insignia

Hello Highlanders –


It’s hard to believe that we’re at the August Long Weekend already – the mid-point of summer.  The summer sure is flying by.


You’ll have seen the FALCON by now, and know several notable, long serving members have retired during this past training year:

  • WO Ian Dewar
  • Sgt Colin Dewar
  • Sgt James Dewar
  • WO Peter Ross
  • BSM John Murray
  • Capt Bill Darling


We talk about the Regimental Family, and as I thought about these individuals, it struck me that there are families within the Family.  Let me dig into that a bit:


The Dewar Clan

  • Archie Dewar and his brothers Peter and Bob joined the 48th Highlanders in 1927. A fourth brother, Alex, joined in 1939 and served until 1945.  Peter served for 11 years, Bob for 16 years, while Archie served for 37 years, during 13 of which he was the Pipe Major.
  • Bob had a son (Bob Jr) who served for 13 years, and Bob Jr had a daughter, Denise, who served for 7 years.
  • Archie had a son name Sandy who started volunteering as a Piper at age 14 before joining the Regiment in 1962. He served for 45 years, and was the Pipe Major from 1985 – 2007 when he retired.
  • Sandy had three sons (Iain, Colin and James) who all served in the Regiment. Sandy also had a niece (Barbara) who served.
  • Iain’s son Andrew also volunteered with the P&D for 5 years.
  • In total: 12 members of the Dewar family served 198 years of active service and another 41 years of volunteer service – an amazing 239 years, and all with the P&D. I expect that this is a record which will never be broken.


The Darling Clan

  • Lt Col C.W. Darling joined the Regiment sometime around 1900, and commanded the Home Bn during the Great War, and the Regiment between 1919-1923.
  • His brother Capt Clifford Darling was the first officer of the 15th Bn to be killed (1915).
  • Lt Col WWG Darling (son of Lt Col C.W. Darling) joined the Regiment in 1929.  He went overseas in 1939 with the Regiment, and commanded the Princess Louise Dragoon Guards during the Italian Campaign in the Second World War.  He later commanded the Regiment between 1946-1949.  He had two sons – Bill and Bob.  He also had a sister (Betty) who married Eardley Wright – a Major in the Regiment.
  • LCol Bob Darling joined the Regiment in 1959.  He became the DCO before transferring to the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders of Canada to become their CO.  He was the HCol of the 48th Highlanders between 2004-2007.
  • The other son (Bill) did not serve in the Regiment, but was an RCME Officer.  His three sons (Bill, Ted and Warren) all did.  Ted and Warren each briefly in the 1980s, and Bill is Capt WM Darling, former RSM, who just retired this month.
  • Bob’s daughter, Sasha, is now the HLCol of the 48th Highlanders.


The Ross Clan

  • In the United States, five brothers get a ship named after them (of course they all had to die when their ship got sunk). In Canada, five brothers all join the same Regiment, and they’re known as the Ross’.
  • Doug – joined the Cadets in 1971, and enrolled in the Regiment in 1975. He left the Regiment in 1979 to go to university.  He was a civilian sponsor for international students attending the Canadian Forces College.  He moved to England, trained with the Royal Army Ordinance Corps, raised a 48th polo team there, and was commissioned into the Royal Army Chaplain’s Department where he is currently attached to the Princesses of Wale’s Royal Regiment (ACF) as a padre.
  • Peter – joined the Cadets in 1974, and enrolled in the Regiment in 1977. He has been one of the longest serving 48th Highlanders – serving with the Regiment for 44 years.  He has been the PMC of the WO & Sgt’s Mess for 16 years. He is well known for being an outstanding CQMS, as well as being a key Driver Instructor at the 32 CBG BSL for many years.
  • John – joined the Cadets in 1975 until joining the Regiment in 1981. Served with the Regiment until 1984.  During that time, he completed the Dvr Wh Crse, was a Dvr Instructor, completed the Jr NCO Crse, was promoted to MCpl and participated in Op REFORGER in 1983.  John continues to be a host to Foreign Students at the CAF Officers College in Toronto
  • Bob – joined the Cadets in 1976, and the Regiment in 1980. He is best known, not for his active service, but for his carpentry work in the WO & Sgts Mess where he built the bar and the Memorial Room, as well as the coat room.  Bob is currently a professor at Conestoga College.
  • David – joined the Cadets 1980. And served in the Regiment from 1984-1985.


And there are other families that have had siblings or multiple generations serve in the Regiment.  We all know the “usual cast of characters” – the Elms family, Beal family, Cameron family, but there are a number of others too – ones that we don’t often note:


Read’s Col Read is a former CO.  His father was a Lt in the 15th Bn, and his daughter is on the Regimental Senate
DeHarte’s WO 1 DeHarte served in the Great War, and was later the RSM.  His son served a Sgt in the Second World War
Gledhill’s WO 1 Gledhill served at the RSM of the 15th Bn in the Great War, and again as RSM 48 Highrs between 1927 – 1934.  He had a brother who was a Sgt.  A son and a grandson were both WOs. Three granddaughters also served (an MWO, a Sgt and a Pte).  A great-granddaughter is now a Reg F Sgt in CFB Borden.
Crook’s RSM, and two sons
Turner’s RQMS, and a son who was CO
Boggiss’ RSM, and a son who was an MWO
Mason’s Two brothers – a Sgt and a Cpl served in the 1990sand 2000s
Simpson’s Two brothers – both Cpls (we called the older one Bart and the younger brother Homer) served in the 1990s
Haldenby’s Father and son – both COs.  The father took the Regt overseas in 1939, and later became a Brigadier.  He also designed the Regimental Memorial at Queen’s Park.  The son commanded in the early 1960s and later became HCol
Johnston’s CO during the Italian Campaign.  Was subsequently promoted to Brigadier and commanded 11 CIB in the 5th Division.  A brother and two nephews also served.


By no means is this the complete list – I asked BGen Young (Ret) and Col Beal (Ret) if they know of others, and here is what they came back with:


Shaw’s Sershall’s George’s Bent’s
Fraser’s Chipman’s Newman’s Church’s
McDougall’s Fullerton’s Jackson’s Stark’s


The list they gave me included the names of more than 50 more families.  One in particular caught my eye – the grandfather of Ian MacDonald (our Regimental Photographer) served in the 15th Bn.


I was surprised that there were so many father-son-grandson and brother connections who served in the Regiment.  But then I looked at the nominal role and saw that the tradition of “families within the Family” is still alive and strong today:


  • Turner’s (not related to the Turner’s above) – two brothers in the Pipes and Drums
  • Kalabic’s (although the younger brother just released)
  • Boyden’s – father and two sons – one son still serving, and the father serving with the 48th Highlander Cadets – and as the Coach of the Regimental Hockey Team.
  • Mayer’s – mother and son still serving
  • Best’s – brothers (LCol and Cpl)


If you know of others, or if you’d like to expand a bit on your “Family within the Family” – feel free to contact Steve Gilbert or Adam Bernard, and they’ll make sure that the story of your family history within the Regiment gets posted for others to read.


As you can see, there is a long and enduring tradition of “families within the Family” in the 48th Highlanders.  I can only imagine the stories and tales that get told and retold when those families get together on weekends, or over family meals.


But the really important thing is that they all belong to Our Family – the 48th Highlanders of Canada.


And on that note, I’ll sign off the net.  Enjoy the rest of your summer.  Stay safe, stay healthy, stay positive.



Niner – Out

R.A. Alkema



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