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Sgt Ret Al Kowalenko OMC

By: Sgt Al Kowalenko, OMC (Retd)

48th Veterans Services Coordinator

Spring greetings to our 48th Highlanders veterans of all eras, Active Battalion soldiers, and members of our extended Regimental Family.

Here are our current VETERANS SERVICES updates:


A small section of the 48th Highlanders Museum

The 48th Highlanders Museum, with assistance from the 48th Veterans Services Team, will be introducing a new outreach project in mid-2023 named the “Archival Video Interview Project” (AVIP).

The goal of the project will be to record in video/digital format the reminiscences of 48th Highlanders veterans (post WWII) for inclusion in the Museum video/digital archives. This will be for the use of the Regiment and military historians as needed in future.

Participants for this projects will include former 48th Honoraries, Commanding Officers, Regimental Sergeants Major, Cold War era veterans (home front and overseas), Balkans and Afghanistan War veterans, as well as members from the 48th Pipes & Drums/Military Bands. Also, those of the extended Regimental family who would like to participate and provide historical commentary on their family members who served with the 48th would also be welcome.

Interviews will be conducted by Museum staff and Veterans Services Team members over the course of the next few years (at various locations), and further into the future as required.

For more information, contact Mr. Peter Olsen, 48th Museum, at telephone: 647-774-5164, or email:


St Andrews Church Interior (Toronto ON)

On Sunday, April 23, the 48th Highlanders of Canada will participate in the annual “Act of Remembrance” Service (formerly known as the Church Parade) at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (King & Simcoe Sts) from 10:30 am-12 noon.

A special component of the service this year will be a ceremonial presentation of the medals belonging to Brigadier John P. Girvan, CMG, DSO, MC (former 48th Commanding Officer in WWI during 1918) which the 48th Museum recently acquired. As well, the medals of Brigadier Girvan’s wife, Nursing Sister Jean Elizabeth Sword, will also be displayed with his medals.

We encourage all 48th veterans and Regimental Family members to attend the Service and support St. Andrew’s and the Regiment for this important Spring event.

After the Parade, there will be a reception at the Church for members of the Regimental Family from Noon to 2 pm. (Please note the 48th Messes at Moss Park Armoury are now closed due to building repairs ongoing.)

Later in the afternoon at 3:00 pm, there will a Remembrance Ceremony conducted by the 48th Regimental Association Drill Team at Victoria Memorial Square (Wellington and Bathurst). This is in recognition of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment that participated in the Battle of York on April 27, 1813. The ceremony is open to the public.


The 48th Drill Team on Remembrance Day

During 2023, the 48th Regimental Association Drill Team will be participating in a variety of parades and events as follows: (These public events are open to all our veterans and members of the Regimental Family.)

  • April 23:  Act of Remembrance Service (St.Andrews)/Victoria Memorial Square Service
  • May 6: HRH King Charles III Coronation (local events TBA)
  • July 10: Pachino Day Parade (Belleville Armoury – includes veterans of The Royal Canadian Regiment, Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, and the 48th Highlanders of Canada on parade)
  • July 15: Orillia Scottish Festival
  • August 19:  101st Warriors Day Parade (CNE, Toronto)
  • November 4:  48th Highlanders Mount Pleasant Cemetery Service
  • November 11:  48th Highlanders 100th Remembrance Day Service (Regimental Monument)

Events that the Drill Team may participate in, but have not yet been confirmed, include the Georgetown Highland Games (June 10), the Cobourg Scottish Festival and Highland Games (June 17) and the Trenton Scottish Festival (September 9).

Members of the 48th Regimental Association Drill Team include veterans of the Regiment from different eras, as well as individuals who participate to keep the history and traditions of the 48th Highlanders alive.  All members are volunteers and new members are welcome to apply for the Team.

The Drill Team has won many awards in the past for their excellence at various parades and it continues to keep the 48thimage up front and center with members of the public, both in Canada and Overseas.

Information Contact: Mr. Peter Olsen – Tel: 647-774-5164 / Email:


Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) maintains an active website that provides information on the following areas that are displayed on their home page:

  • Mental and Physical Health (support services)
  • Financial Programs and Services (support for income)
  • Education and Jobs (post-service)
  • Housing and Home Life
  • Families and Caregivers (benefits for families)
  • Remembrance (information re: history, memorials, and medals)
  • Veterans Independence Program (VIP) (for those aged 80+ or infirm)
  • VAC Funeral and Burial Program (delivered by the Last Post Fund for those veterans qualifying via a means test…more information at

If you are a 48th veteran and require assistance in any of the above areas, please contact our Veterans Services Team at 416-219-4967 /  and we will be happy to answer your questions and assist you in your follow-up with VAC.

The VAC website is at or call toll free 1-866-522-2122 if you wish to speak to a live agent. There is also psychological support service 24/7 at toll free 1-800-268-7708.


One of the questions we receive most often is “Who is a Veteran in Canada”?

For the past 20+ years, Veterans Affairs Canada has defined a “Veteran” as follows:

“Any former member of the Canadian Armed Forces (Regular and Reserves) who successfully underwent basic training and was honorably discharged”.

This definition allows the more than 600,000+ CF veterans who have served since the 1950s to qualify for VAC services if they require it. Conditions such as hearing loss, tinnitus, vision loss, joint injuries, dismemberment, occupational stress injuries (formerly PTSD), among others, are all eligible for financial compensation if you can prove they were due to your military service.

Please contact us if you have questions about whether you would qualify for VAC assistance and what support documentation you would need.


For all our veterans and members of the Regimental Family who have not yet joined the 48th Highlanders Regimental Association, please visit the 48th website at and click on the tab “Join Us”/”Join the Association”.

Membership is free and you will be kept posted on various articles and news from the Association when you submit your email address.

As well, further information on 48th Veterans Services and past VS Blogs are also available by clicking the tab “About Us”/“Veterans Services”.

The current Association contact is Sgt Guy Bowie, CD (Retd) at email   Guy will be pleased to answer information requests about the Association, its benefits and upcoming activities.      


Since our last Veterans Services Blog #3 (June, 2022), we have lost two prominent 48th WWII veterans:

Major Tom White, MSJ, CD (Retd)

Tom passed away on August 30, 2202, in Toronto, at the age of 96. Tom will always be remembered for his long term commitment to the Regiment since his time as a 48th home front weapons instructor during WWII, and for his steadfast support to members of our Cadet Corps and our Officers Mess over the years. (A full profile on Tom was included in the December 2022 edition the Falcon).

WO Ken Milsom, CD (Retd)

Ken passed away on February 11, 2023, in Toronto at the age of 103. Tom served with the 48th overseas in England in 1940-41 and later with Allied Headquarters in Northwest Europe 1942-45. Ken was well liked by all his family and friends at the Central King Seniors Residence in Weston. (A profile article on Ken will appear in the June 2023 edition of The Falcon).

Our two remaining 48th WWII veterans are still doing well and staying spry:

Captain Norm Gogo, CD (Retd)

Norm will be celebrating his 102nd birthday on June 18th in Penatang, Ontario, where continues to live independently and remains in good spirits. He served with both the 48th and the Signals Corps in Northwest Europe during WWII. Norm has attended several Liberation of Holland events and was warmly received by the Dutch people.

MWO George MacLean, CD (Retd)

George recently celebrated his 103rd birthday on February 4th at the Martindale Gardens Retirement Residence in Milton Ontario. He was a 48th home front weapons instructor during WWII is now the most senior 48th veteran of the Regiment by age. George was recognized last October for his 75 years of continuous membership in the 48th WO/Sgts Mess and his 60+ years of active and volunteer service to the Regimental family.

48th Veterans Services Team Contact Information 24/7:

Telephone 416-219-4967 and email

For any 48th veteran from any era, we are here to help and keep you connected.


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