Several hundred gathered to pay their respects. Possibly, as many or more pooled their resources to help bring the community's respect and thanks to those who served, many giving their very lives so that we could live in peace.
At this time of reflection, thoughts must also go out to those on the home-fronts who did so much for those who left home to serve. Thoughts also were then, and to this day, due men and women who continue to serve, and those to come, who may be called on to reach out to grab the flame and hold it high. And to catch it, if and when it falls.
The ceremony took place on the Esquimalt lands owned by Veterans Affairs Canada. Land and all within, that have been declared a National Historic Site!
And so it should be!
The ceremony would never have happened without the tremendous dedication and support from a wide group of national and local government entities as well as many other groups and individuals.
Each stood, or sat, and dealt with an incredible down pouring for about an hour, in honor of those at rest before them.
At the federal level, Veterans Affairs Canada and their very dedicated staff and volunteers at the cemetery performed numerous tasks to bring the event to life. Maritime Pacific Command was represented as was the commander of CFB Esquimalt and the Base Chief. Army, Navy, Air Force, Korean Veterans, Peacekeepers, Merchant Navy, Women Veterans of Canada, the Royal Canadian Legion and the BC Command of the Army, Navy, Air Force Veterans in Canada were also key attendees and participates. As were numerous cadet groups, scouts and girl guides.
The badges of several reservists were also noted. And one could not go to such an event without the tremendous contribution of the Canadian Scottish. Their association band marched on the dignitaries, the Colours and Honour Guard to the tunes of the pipes and drums. We even heard the wonderful voices in song, from the Victoria Children's Choir.
At the municipal level we must acknowledge much of the background work and support of the folks at the Township of Esquimalt, and the Mayor and others who also attended the ceremony.
So too, we need to thanks the great folks at Thrifty Foods, the Gorge Vale Golf Course and The Lodge At Broadmead.
Some were even presented to selected youth. Popular local media personality Cliffe Lequesne, assigned the children with individual special guests of honor and they accompanied the child to a grave nearbye for placement.
In the top of 3 images we see the Colours having just arrived and folks standing in salute to their arrival. At the center is a wider picture showing some of the veterans accompanying the Colours. And at bottom we see a few of the dignitaries at the dias and under cover to it's right.
My poor images are the results of the inclement weather.
The Master of Ceremonies reminded those gathered, that due to Covid, this was the first such ceremony in several years. After the singing of O Canada, a prayer was given, then the Last Post and a Minute of Silence performed.
At this point Lilian Luyk gave the Act of Remembrance.
Ms. Luyk's father... Ken Curry was one of 580 Canadians who, serving with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry who stormed the beaches of Dieppe on 19 August 1942. Very close to these men of the RHLI on the same beach where the men of the Toronto Scottish, oft noted in this space, also landed.
(Just 5 weeks before this landing, a navy signalman heled the storming of another beach. This being Guandalcanal. You've hopefully read of Douglas Munro's bravery in numerous blogs in this space as being the only Medal of Honor recipient in the US Coast Guard's history. And he too, was a Canadian, from Vancouver. The US is so proud of him they named six war ships after him. Even the Headquarters building in DC is so named in his honor.
Within hours the RHLI lost 197 men. Another 174 became POW's. Ken Curry was one of these and was released at Armistice. This Hamiltonian relocated to Victoria BC in the 1980's. After some 73 yrs of marriage he died while a resident at The Lodge at Broadmead.
He was Canada's last veteran of Dieppe!
Guest Speaker Mark Zuehlke needs no introduction to anyone with a serous knowledge of Canadian WW ll history. He is an author from Victoria who was earned many awards for his work as not only a mystery writer but also for his incredible Canadian Battle Series. If memory serves well, his numbers given to me recently were that he has written over 25 books. He is often referred to as the most popular Canadian military author of the day.
His address to the gathering left all with some horrible details about the blunder at Dieppe... and at the same time, some incredible tidbits about heroism. After his talk he was approached by many in the crowd, who enjoyed chatting with him, being amazed at his knowledge and an ability to converse with those from all walks of life at the service.
Since this blog is getting far too long, I will return on Sunday to finish it off.
NOTE... at that time I will bring you an important note re this blog.
Please join me then.