Veterans Services Team Blog #8
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Sgt Ret Al Kowalenko OMC

By: Sgt Al Kowalenko, OMC (Retd)

48th Veterans Services Coordinator

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

Each Summer,  we look forward to two important parades for our 48th veterans that will take place in July and August, as follows:


Wednesday, July 10, 2024 @ 10:30 am, Belleville Armouries

The Pachino Day Parade is an annual event held in Belleville, Ontario, to recognize the Allied forces landing in Sicily on July 10, 1943, as part of “Operation Husky” and the start of the WWII 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 during 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 81st anniversary of “Pachino Day”.

The WWII 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.

48th Highlanders at the Battle of Ortona, December 1943

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

Our veterans’ contingent will be supported and led 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:  Wednesday, July 10, 2024       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 in the parade with our veterans may appear in their CADPAT uniform.)

Parade: Veteran members of the 48th, Hasty Ps and RCR will form up inside the Armouries parade square at 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.)

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.) A cash bar is also available.

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. There are discounts for veterans with your CAF photo ID card.


Saturday, August 17, 2024 @ 1030 am Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), Toronto

Official poster for the Warriors Day Parade 2024

This year, the Warriors’ Day Parade will celebrate its 103rd Anniversary. The Parade began at Toronto’s CNE in 1921, three years after WWI.  It is the largest parade for CAF veterans in Canada with several thousands of participants and spectators each year.

Our parade contingent will again be led by our 48th Drill Team, a guard commander, and the 48th Pipes and Drums. We are looking for a good turnout of our 48th veterans to help support the event and keep our Regimental Colours flying.

This year the Parade will be commemorating the RCAF Centennial and the 80th Anniversary of D-Day. Expect a lot of Air Force types to be participating this year!

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

Date: Saturday, August 17, 2024       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. (NB: 48th Active Battalion members usually march with the 32 Brigade CAF contingent in the Parade.)

Guests:  All members of the 48th Regimental Family are welcome to attend the parade. Admission to the CNE on August 17th 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 (north side underground entrance).

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


48th Veteran Sgts at the Regimental Monument Queens Park Toronto

Disability Pension Adjustment

As a result of a recent class action lawsuit, Veterans Affairs Canada will be adjusting upward all of its Disability Pension payments made to CAF veterans during the period 2003-2023.

The adjustment will be approximately 2% of the total pension received by individuals during that time period.

If you currently receive a Disability Pension, VAC will do the adjustment and provide you with a lump sum for your portion of the 20-year period in question by the end of 2024.

If you require more information, please contact the hotline which has been set up at 1-833-839-0648 or visit the VAC website at Check their Home Page section “Alerts” and click on under the title “Disability Pension Corrective Payments”.


VAC Veteran Definition:

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

Note: If you have completed your CAF service and have sustained an injury during duty, you may be qualified for disability benefits. Contact our Veterans Services Team for more information.

Key VAC Contact Numbers:

  1. General Enquiries: 1-866-522-212 (Claims, Account Updates, Benefits)
  2. Assistance Service (24-hour counselling with a Mental Health Professional) : 1-800-268-7708

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WISHES To A Special 48th WWII Era Veteran:

a photo George McLean meeting the Queen

MWO George MacLean, CD, (Retd) celebrated his 104th birthday on February 4th, 2024. He was born in 1920 in Toronto, a year and a half after the end of WWI.

He currently resides at The Village-On-The-Ridge, Ridgetown, Ontario (near Chatham), close to his son, Bill, and his family.

In reaching the milestone age of 104, George becomes the oldest 48th Highlander of modern times and the last of our WWII era veterans that we know about. He has been featured in various historical videos and newspaper articles over the years… a member of the 48th WO/Sgts Mess for 75+ years…and a true Highlander through and through.

All the best to you George for another good year ahead!!


At present, the 48th Highlanders have two veterans who are now long term residents of the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre in Toronto:

Sgt Oswald Reece, CD (Retd) has been a resident since last September and is located in Room 8 at K2W wing. He welcomes visitors and can be reached at 647-381-4125 to arrange a time. As well, Ozzie would like to see 48th veterans from his era (1975-2008) to share stories and talk old times.

Capt Bruce Beaton, CD (Retd) has been a resident at Sunnybrook for several years. He was recently relocated to Room 74 at L2 wing. Visits for Bruce are limited. Please contact our Veterans Services Team for more information.


48th Highlanders of Holland (brown tunics) host the 48th Drill Team
during a visit to the Netherlands

Plans are starting to gel regarding a special 48th Highlanders Commemoration Trip to Holland during May, 2025, centered in the city of Apeldoorn.

As many of you are aware, 2025 is the 80th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands by our Canadian forces, as well as the end of World War II on the European Front.

Every five years since the end of WWII, the Dutch have celebrated their liberation and invited Canadian military veterans who fought in the War to help them recognize their special anniversary.

 Unfortunately, in 2020, the planned trip by our 48th veterans was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic. This will make next year’s trip even more significant and anticipated.

The 48th Highlanders overseas veterans of WWII have now all passed on and it is up to our next generations of 48thveterans to keep the memory of our War veterans and liberators alive in Holland. The Liberation in 1945 created a special bond between the Dutch citizens and Canadian soldiers that still reverberates to this day.

Under the direction of our HLCol, Sasha Darling, a contingent of 48th Regimental representatives is being organized to travel to Holland’s Apeldoorn region in May, 2025.  The contingent will include Active Battalion troops, veterans from various eras, Drill Team members, and Regimental Family members.

The 48th Highlanders of Holland Pipes & Drums will be hosts and participate with us in various parades and key events that have been scheduled during early May.

HLCol Darling will be sending out information on the Holland trip in the near future with air fare and accommodation rates.

Plan to book your travel arrangements early and be part of 48th history in the making!


(Includes 48th Association Drill Team Events/Festivals This Summer)

  • July 10: Pachino Day Parade (WWII Landing in Sicily 1943) at Belleville Armouries

  • July 20: Orillia Scottish Festival

  • August 17: Warriors Day Parade (CNE Toronto)

  • October 25: 48th Change of Command Parade from LCol Jason Morische to new CO, LCol Tyler Wentzell  (Moss Park Amoury)

  • October 26: 48th WO/Sgts Mess Dinner (Moss Park Armoury) (NB – Restricted to past and present WOs and Sgts)

  • November 9: 48th Mount Pleasant Remembrance Parade and Luncheon

  • November 10: Remembrance Day Parade (48th Regimental Monument, Queen’s Park)

  • November 11: Remembrance Day (Monday) –Toronto City Hall Service (Optional)

  • May 2025: 48th Contingent Trip to Holland (celebrating the 80th Anniversary of the end of WWII).  More details to follow later this year. Open to all 48th past and serving members.

  • TBA: Change of Honorary Colonel from HCol John MacIntyre to new HCol Sasha Darling… (Date not yet confirmed.)

Special Note:  The 48th Highlanders website at has now added a new tab “Calendar” to the top of the Home Page.  Please consult it for further information on the dates and events listed during the year. Additional dates and amendments may be submitted to Sgt Adam Bernard, CD (Retd), Webmaster, at email


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


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


(Note: The Veterans Services Team Blog #1 on the 48th website contains details of the various areas we help veterans and their families. All previous blogs published since March, 2021, are now available on the site as well.)

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, injury benefits, government veterans’ services programs or 48th veterans’ events for 2024. 

We will do our best to assist you!

Would you like to CONTRIBUTE to the FALCON Journal?

The NEXT DEADLINE for material for the FALCON is 14 July,please email your article and photos to



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