AN INDIE IS:

Indie saying no indie

Afghanistan

During the Afghan mission (2002-2014) military personnel from CFB Shilo participated in every rotation.

Twenty soldiers were killed, others were wounded, some continue to cope with their injuries.

Honour them all for their sacrifice.

The following photographs were published in the Shilo Stag.

These 20 soldiers from CFB Shilo paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country while deployed to Afghanistan. They shall not be forgotten.

These 20 soldiers from CFB Shilo paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country while deployed to Afghanistan. They shall not be forgotten.

Buildings named in honour of Korean war heroes

In June 2015, three main buildings that make up Kapyong Barracks at CFB Shilo were officially named in honour of three soldiers who served at the battle of Kapyong, Korea.

The main building (C-106) has been named after Colonel Stone.

As the ‘Special Force’ was being established for the Korean War in July 1950, Colonel Jim Stone was chosen to command what would become the Second Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (2PPCLI).

By February 1951, 2 PPCLI was deployed as part of a UN response to a Chinese and North Korean Spring Offensive.

Tasked with defending Hill 677 at Kapyong, his decisions and orders were instrumental in preventing the collapse of 2 PPCLI’s position from Chinese attacks on that very flank.

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Warrant Officer First Class Les Grimes

Warrant Officer First Class Les Grimes. photo: Shilo Stag

For his powerful leadership, sound judgment and valour at Kapyong, he was awarded a third Distinguished Service Order.

The maintenance and transport hangar (C-105) has been named after Warrant Officer First Class Les Grimes.

Affectionately given the nickname “Daddy” by the younger troops of the battalion, WO1 Grimes served as the Regimental Sergeant Major of the Battalion at the Battle of Kapyong.

On 24-25 April 1951, his unwavering dedication and fatherly presence anchored the men of 2 PPCLI in their resistance to the Chinese onslaught.

Building C106 Annex is now named for Private Wayne Mitchell.

The Pte Mitchell Annex is a purpose-built facility to house the Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV III and VI).

Pte Mitchell was born in Virden, Manitoba and enlisted in the Canadian Army with 2 PPCLI in 1950.

Soon after, he would find himself in Korea, where he would make his mark at the Battle of Kapyong.

Despite his position being attacked by 100 Chinese soldiers, his valorous conduct became the stuff of legend.

He was severely wounded, barely able to stand for loss of blood, and overrun by Chinese soldiers yet he defended his position and saved the lives of several of his comrades.

Private Mitchell was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, second only to the Victoria Cross.  He was 19 years old at the time.

The $39.4 million, 30,000 square-metre Kapyong Barracks was completed in 2004.

The complex is composed of administrative, operational and training areas. These include a base training support component, a maintenance and transport hangar, as well as a purpose-built facility to house the Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV III and VI)

For more about the three war heroes, see these excellent articles by the Shilo Stag

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Brandon researcher finds local connection to In Flanders Fields author

Marc George

Marc George

A few years ago, The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery launched a project to erect statues of John McCrae in 2015 to mark the centennial of the writing of “In Flanders Fields”.

One statue was placed in McCrae’s home town of Guelph, Ontario.

The other was placed in Ottawa at the National Artillery Memorial in Green Island Park to highlight John McCrae’s long service as a Gunner officer.

While I was still the Director of The RCA Museum in Shilo, I was asked to provide the historic input for the project because I had been researching John McCrae for several years.

I stayed with the project after I retired until the statues were unveiled.

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My principle contribution was to draft the storylines about John McCrae, the writing of his famous poem and about the Second Battle of Ypres.

The drafts were then extensively reviewed by a very wide range of stakeholders and I amended them as required to produce the final texts.

John McCrae statue at the National Artillery Memorial in Green Island Park John McCrae statue at the National Artillery Memorial in Green Island Park

A real highlight for me during the research for the storylines  was that with the help of Clive Prothero-Brooks at the Museum, I was able to use photographic evidence to confirm that John McCrae was wearing an Artillery uniform when he wrote the poem.

As a Brandon resident, I really enjoyed playing a part in the project because John McCrae had a connection to our city.

His sister, Geills, married James Kilgour and moved to Brandon in 1905. The couple lived here until 1927, raising four children.

John McCrae even visited them in the Wheat City.

Their oldest son was born in 1911.  He was named John McCrae Kilgour after his uncle and was called “Jack” just like his namesake.

He also became a doctor and served in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps in World War Two. Jack Kilgour passed away in Winnipeg in 1996.

There is another great local connection to John McCrae, and that is the printing plate in The RCA Museum in Shilo.

The plate was produced by Major General E.W.B. “Dinky” Morrison after the Great War from a copy of “In Flanders Fields” given to him as a souvenir by his good friend John McCrae, shortly before McCrae died.

Copies taken from the plate were sold by The Royal Canadian Artillery Association to raise money for the widows and families of Gunners who had been killed in the Great War.

Kathleen Christensen of the Museum staff did great work to locate the original document in the Library and Archives of Canada.

While I was still Director, I was able to travel to Ottawa and confirm that the text from the printing plate is an exact match to the original.

I was also able to use other documents written by McCrae to confirm that the printing plate is in his handwriting.

The final evidence that the original and the printing plate are a pair came from comparing the donation records in the Library and Archives to the ones in the Museum.

The original was donated to them by “Dinky” Morrison’s stepson the same year that he donated the printing plate to The RCA Museum.

It was actually researching the printing plate that first sparked my interest in learning all that I could about the story of John McCrae and his Gunner connections.

Flanders Field original text

A recent copy of the poem printed off the plate

I am very proud that he was a long serving member of my Regiment. I am also very proud of The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery for organizing the statues on behalf of all Canadians and then successfully fundraising for them.

It was very rewarding to be part of this project, which ended up being the official national commemoration of the centennial of “In Flanders Fields” and of the Second Battle of Ypres.

I love the idea that these amazing bronze statues by Ruth Abernathy will stand as memorials to John McCrae and his iconic poem for generations to come.

I have wondered several times what the ceremonies will be like at the statue sites to mark the bicentennial of the poem in 2115!

Marc George

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Part of the RCA Museum In Flanders Fields display, with replica statue of John McCrae

Part of the RCA Museum In Flanders Fields display, with replica statue of John McCrae

The RCA museum will be open from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm on Remembrance Day.

Admission is free with a voluntary donation the Soldier On program.

The RCAF WWII British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Memorial

A portion of the CATP Memorial Wall with the bronze statue of an airman in the background. photo by Bill HIllman

A portion of the CATP Memorial Wall with the bronze statue of an airman in the background. photo by Bill Hillman

THEY GREW NOT OLD

During the Second World War thousands of young Canadian men and women, as well as some from other countries, enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

By the end of WWII the R.C.A.F. was the fourth largest air force in the world.

Canadians also joined the Royal Air Force, Naval Fleet Air Arm and Ferry Command.

Between September 1939 and August 1945, 18,039 died serving these British Commonwealth forces.

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Members of the British Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal New Zealand Air Force came to Canada to further their training, of whom 1146 lost their lives in or near Canada.

The 300 foot airfoil-shaped granite wall, watched over by a bronze airman, has been erected on consecrated ground.

CATP Airman statue

The names and ages of these young men and women have been etched on this wall as a permanent tribute to the ultimate sacrifice they made for our freedom.

For us, they grew not old – Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum

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Canada Remembers

“The unveiling of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Second World War British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Memorial took place on September 10, 2014 in Brandon, Manitoba.

It pays tribute to the brave airmen and airwomen of the British Commonwealth who lost their lives during the Second World War.

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The memorial is impressive in both size and scope.

It has a 100 metre long row of black granite panels etched with 19,256 names, a 2.5 metre tall bronze statue of an airman and 1,150 square metres of paving stone, including a 20-metre wide RCAF wing in full colour.”  – Veterans Affairs Canada

Giant Royal Canadian Air Force crest embedded in the paving stones at the Memorial entrance

(Photo: Lyle Gawletz – Museum Photo Reproduction Unit)

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poppy

Lest We Forget