This May, as you will read in the most recent, excellent issue of the Falcon (link here), active members of our Regiment and Regimental Family travelled to France and Belgium to pay tribute to our Great War fallen and tour 15th Battalion CEF Battlefields. The primary event was the Dedication of the Memorial at Hill 60 in honour of LCOL William Renwick Marshall, DSO, the latest (and final) 15th Battalion CEF Memorial, followed by participation in the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate and a 15th Battalion CEF Battlefield tour led by BGen (Ret’d) Greg Young and Mr. Simon Godly.
Our Regimental Family paid tribute to LCOL Marshall along with Field Marshal Haig’s Own Pipes & Drums and a number of members of the Ypres community. It was well attended. I was deeply honoured to be part of this Dedication along with our Commanding Officer LCOL Jason Morische, Brigade Commander (and former CO) Colonel John McEwen, several former Commanding Officers including BGen (Ret’d) Greg Young, Col (Ret’d) Bill Jensen, LCOL (Ret’d) Ian Cameron, LCOL (Ret’d) Andrew Paterson, LCOL (Ret’d) Ron Alkema, former Honoraries HCOL John Newman and HCOL (Ret’d) Geordie Elms, our Padre and Brigade Chaplain Major Don Aitchison, Capt Pim van der Toorn, Lt Sadman Khan, Sgt Ferdinand General, Sgt Brandon Gundert, MCpl Jonathan Deurloo, MCpl Jesse van Overdijk, Piper Cpl Haden Landolt, Cpl Jose Aguilar Valencia, Cpl Thomas Koulias, Pte Krutarth Joshi. If you haven’t had a chance to read about it yet, there are great photos and reflections in the Falcon (link here) and also posted on the 48th Regimental Association Facebook site (for those not receiving the Falcon, please register on the main Regimental site by clicking here.)
Having such a meaningful contingent to attend and pay our respects shows the strength and depth of our community bond.
Touring around the countryside in Artois and Flanders, visiting hallowed ground such as Vimy Ridge, St. Julien Memorial (The Brooding Soldier), Nine Elms Military Cemetery, St. George’s Memorial Church in Ypres, the Vimy Cross Memorial and numerous 15th Battalion CEF Memorials, I felt immense gratitude and awe for the bravery and sacrifice of our soldiers. Participating in the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate was an honour we shall remember always. The Battlefield tour revealed the astonishing breadth of knowledge of BGen (Ret’d) Young as well as Simon Godly. How fortunate our community is to have such unique access to this part of our Regimental history. Col (Ret’d) Bill Jensen, HCol (Ret’d) Geordie Elms and LCOL (Ret’d) Ron Alkema accompanied and ably assisted with the 15th Battalion CEF Battlefield tour.
As BGen (Ret’d) Greg Young has written in the Falcon, it is fitting that we all take a moment to review the 15th Battalion CEF Memorial Project’s incredible journey, initiated in 2007, documenting and honouring the legacy of this Battalion which is carefully captured in the Memorials, Museum and online profiles. It has been a monumental mountain of work, a true labour of love. https://15thbattalioncef.ca/project/project-background/ In this reflection, on behalf of the Regimental Senate and Regimental Family, we give thanks to those who have been involved throughout the life of the Project.
The founders of the 15th Battalion Memorial Project are Honorary Chairman HCOL John Newman, Chairman BGen (Ret’d) Greg Young and Capt (Ret’d) Vic Goldman. We are grateful to you all for having the vision and seeing it through.
The Project’s other team members are Simon Godly, Hon. Captain RNZN Freddy Declerck, Capt (Ret’d) Steve Gilbert, Lt. (Ret’d) J. Richard Hergel, Sgt. (Ret’d) Guy Bowie, Cpl (Ret’d) Peter Sieniewicz, Regimental Photographer Ian MacDonald and Erwin Ureel, supported by webmaster Col (Ret’d) Bill Jensen who redeveloped the website and has been managing a great deal of relevant content which has resulted in greater awareness of the Project and Battalion. In addition to the hard work of the Project Team, the generosity of our donors has made it all possible. HCOL John Newman funded this latest and final Hill 60 Memorial and we express our gratitude to him for his ongoing and consistent generosity.
Massive thanks to our Honorary Colonel John MacIntyre who very generously funded the Trusts to enable the Regimental Group to attend the Hill 60 Memorial Dedication, the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate and 15th Battalion CEF Battlefield tour. It was because of his vision (to enable a meaningful group of serving members to attend) that such an exceptional opportunity and rare experience came to fruition.
LCol Marshall’s painting in the Officers’ Mess has inspired me for as long as I can remember. His brave leadership and the “infinite” respect that he garnered from the brave men he fought with and led in the 15th Battalion CEF are part of the strong legacy he leaves which continues in our soldiers and our Regimental Family. We will remember those who have served and carry those who made the ultimate sacrifice in our hearts and minds. When HCol Newman and I toured the reconstructed trenches of the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, I saw wild poppies for the first time in my life. I was so moved that I couldn’t speak for about three minutes. Having lost young people in my life, I have an idea of the experience of surviving family; they will also remain in my heart and mind.
“Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night”
For the Fallen
Robert Laurence Binyon
We will remember them.
Dileas Gu Brath
Honorary Lieutenant Colonel