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Sgt Ret Al Kowalenko OMC

By: Sgt Al Kowalenko, OMC (Retd)

48th Veterans Services Coordinator

Greetings to our 48th Highlanders of Canada veterans of all eras, Active Battalion members, and our Regimental Family members.

The Summer season is now here and there are two important parades for 48th veterans (former serving  members) that will take place in July and August, as follows:


Monday, July 10, 2023 @ 10:30 am, Belleville Armouries

The Pachino Day Parade is an annual event held to recognize the WWII Allied forces landing in Sicily on July 10, 1943, as part of “Operation Husky” and the start of the Italian Campaign. The fighting lasted for two years throughout Italy culminating in an Allied victory in May, 1945.

The July 10th date is significant for the 48th Highlanders because our Regiment was deeply involved in the Campaign and won the majority of its 27 WWII battle honors in several major battles in Italy, all the while advancing north up the Italian boot towards northwest Europe and the Liberation of  Holland. This year is the 80th anniversary of “Pachino Day” and will include numerous celebrations in Canada and Italy.


The overall Italian Campaign was costly for the 90,000 Canadian troops who participated. There were a total of almost 6,000 Canadian soldiers killed and more than 20,000 wounded. The 48th Highlanders sustained losses of nearly 400 killed and more than 1,000 wounded as part of the First Canadian Infantry Division.

The key battle honors won in Italy by the 48th Highlanders and which are emblazoned on the Regiment’s colors include: Landing in Sicily, Assoro, Campobasso, Ortona, Liri Valley, Hitler Line, Gothic Line, Rimini Line, and the Lamone Crossing.


Many of our older 48th Regimental Family members will remember the colorful stories told to us over the years by our WWII veterans such as Sgt Herb Pike, Cpl Gord Outhwaite and many other “Old Sweats” who participated in the Italian Campaign. These war commentaries are shown in the special documentary DVD “That Dileas Spirit” which was produced for the Regiment’s 120th Anniversary in 2011.

Hosting the Pachino Day Parade will be the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment (Belleville), along with participation by The Royal Canadian Regiment and the 48th Highlanders of Canada. All three Regiments landed together in Sicily in July, 1943, and have been honoring Pachino Day for decades since then.

Our veterans’ contingent will be supported by our 48th Highlanders Association Drill Team who will carry the Regimental colors.

For those 48th veterans and their families/friends (and Active Battalion members) who would like to march or participate in the Pachino Day Parade, here are the details:


Date:  Monday, July 10, 2023       Time: 1030 hrs (form up on parade square)

Location: Belleville Armouries, 187 Pinnacle Street, Belleville, Ontario

Directions From Toronto: Highway 401 East to North Front St exit Belleville, then south to Pinnacle St.

Dress Code for 48th Veterans Marching in the Parade: 48th badged glengarry, white short-sleeve dress shirt, grey slacks, black dress shoes. Medal ribbons (if you have them) to be worn above the left shirt pocket. (Note: Any Active Battalion member who would like to participate may appear in their CADPAT uniform.)

Parade: Veteran members of the 48th, Hasty Ps and RCR will form up on the inside Armouries parade square 1030 hrs and march to the outside Armouries cenotaph for a memorial service from 1100 -1130 hrs. (If inclement weather, the service will be held inside.) This year the 48th veterans will be the lead contingent in the parade.

Luncheon: After the parade, participants and guests are invited to a traditional spaghetti lunch served on the Belleville Armouries parade square from 1145-1400 hrs. (Cost per person is usually $15 and tickets can be purchased on site.)

Guests: All members of the 48th Regimental Family are welcome to attend the Pachino Day Parade and memorial service. Seating is available. Local free parking is plentiful near the Armouries location.

Transportation:  Participants are responsible to provide their own transportation to Belleville. If you can assist with car-pooling that would be appreciated. VIA Rail also offers reasonable rates for return trips to Belleville from Toronto’s Union Station or elsewhere along their rail line.


Saturday, August 19, 2023 @ 1030 am, CNE, Toronto

This year, the Warriors’ Day Parade will celebrate its 101st Anniversary. The Parade began at Toronto’s CNE in 1921 after WWI and is the largest parade of its type in Canada with several thousands of participants and spectators.

In 2022, the 48th Highlanders Color Party (Association Drill Team) performed very well and placed third in the Parade competition from among the large number of Regimental Color Parties who participated.  We are looking for similar results this year and a good turnout of veterans for 2023.

Our parade contingent will again be supported by our 48th Drill Team, a guard commander, and the 48th Pipes and Drums.

For those 48th veterans who would like to march in the Warriors Day Parade, here are the details:

Date: Saturday, August 19, 2023         Time: 1030-1200 hrs

Location: Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), Toronto, across from Fort York Armoury, 660 Fleet Street (form up in parking lot by Princes Gates, CNE, by 1015 hrs)

Dress Code for 48th Veterans Marching in the Parade: 48th badged glengarry, white short-sleeved dress shirt, grey slacks, black dress shoes. Medal ribbons (if you have them) to be worn above the left shirt pocket.

Guests:  All members of the 48th Regimental Family are welcome to attend the parade. Admission to the CNE on August 20th is free to all Canadian Forces(Regular and Reserves) current and past members. You must show your CF identification (Active or Veteran) card to gain free admission to the CNE.

Parking: There is also free parking for veterans at the CNE underground lot by the Princes Gates.

Viewing Stand: Located just inside the Princes Gates, there is a large, multi-tier viewing stand for those who would like to see the Parade at a better vantage point.

Post Parade: Various messes will be open at Fort York Armoury for post-parade participants and guests.  Drinks, sandwiches and light snacks will be available for purchase.

More information on the Warriors’ Day Parade may be obtained on their official website at


A small section of the 48th Highlanders Museum
In our last Blog #4, we reported on the start of an important outreach history project for the 48th Highlanders Museum. It is called the “Archival Video Interview Project” (AVIP).
The goal of the project is to record in video/digital format the reminiscences of 48th Highlanders veterans (post WWII) for inclusion in the Museum archives. This will be for the use of the Active Regiment, the extended Regimental Family, and military historians, as needed in future.
Over the next few years, we encourage all our senior 48th veterans to participate in this history project. It is open to anyone who served in the Regiment in any era from the 1950s to the present. These informal interviews can range anywhere from a half hour to a few hours depending on the number of topics the veteran would like to cover.
For more information, and to book an appointment, please contact Mr. Peter Olsen,
48th Museum, St. Andrew’s Church 73 Simcoe street, at telephone: 647-774-5164, or email:
The museum is open every Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00 hours to 14:00 hours.
Interviews can be setup in a place most comfortable for the participant.

Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Updates

Veterans Affairs Canada has recently launched a new “Veterans Homelessness Program” (VHP) to provide funding to organizations that assist Canadian Forces veterans (Regular and Reserve).

Over the next five years, VAC will provide more than $70+million in grants to these organizations in an effort to combat the homeless problem. Each year in Canada there are at least 2,000 CF veterans who are homeless and need assistance.

Each organization applying for grants will receive up to $6-million over the five years for their services to veterans. These services are to include rent supplements, counselling and addiction treatment.

For more information visit the VAC website at, or call 1-866-522-2122.

Happy Birthday Wishes To Our 48th WWII Era Veterans:

Captain Norm Gogo, CD (Retd)

Norm Gogo celebrated his 102nd birthday on June 18th. He continues to live independently at his home in Penetang, Ontario, and is always happy to hear from 48th Regimental Family members.

MWO George MacLean, CD (Retd)

George MacLean celebrated his 103rd birthday on February 4th. He recently re-located from Milton to The Village On The Ridge, Ridgetown, Ontario (near Chatham) to be closer to his son, Bill, and his family.

Our best wishes go to our two remaining 48th WWII era veterans. We will remember their War service and sacrifice on behalf of Canada and their communities. Their long term commitment to the Regiment has always been appreciated and honoured.


It was with great sadness that we learned of the sudden passing of MWO Mark McVety, CD, on April 24th at the age of 69 after several years of health challenges.

Mark served in the Canadian Forces with the 48th Highlanders of Canada from 1970 through 2012 (including a stint with Lorne Scots) and retired as the 48th Drill Sergeant Major (DSM)…a total of 42 years in uniform during the Cold War and beyond.

After his military service, Mark was also an active volunteer as President of the 48th Old Comrades Association (OCA), Executive Member of the 48th Continuing Sergeants Association (CSA) and tour guide at the 48th Regimental Museum. His knowledge of 48th history was far ranging and he often regaled Museum visitors will colorful stories of the Regiment’s historic war battles, Commanding Officers, Regimental Sergeants Major, and weapons, uniforms, badges and accessories used since the unit’s founding in 1891.

Mark was a true 48th Highlander and the very definition of dedicated service to his Regiment. Older members of the unit and Regimental Family who knew him well will remember his brusque style, dry wit and crusty manner in dealing with all challenges. He once said “If you cut me, I will bleed Davidson tartan”. He will be greatly missed by all his family and friends in the 48th.

RIP Mark.......thank you for your service…you were truly Dileas Gu Brath!


 Sgt Al Kowalenko, OMC (Retd), 48th Veterans Services Coordinator


Cell: 416-219-4967    (Message service available 24/7)


(Note: The website contains details of the various areas we help veterans and their families.)

There are a number of volunteers in our Veterans Services Team network who are available to help you. They are all 48thveterans who can discuss veterans’ issues and ways to obtain support.

Please call or email us if you have questions about VAC applications, government veterans’ services programs or 48thveterans’ events for 2023.  We will do our best to assist you.



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