Reserve Naval Commander Bourke was awarded his VC and also the DSO for saving about 40 lives of sailors in the waters off Belgium in failed attempts to scuttle two vessels at different harbours. Facilities inside those harbours housed German Submarines that got repairs and supplies, and from which they operated during the Battle of the Atlantic. Much has been written about these events in earlier blogs in this space.
From the picture above you can see the majestic trees that actual canopy across the road in some places during the summer. Past blogs also brought you the story that the street was to become known as Memorial Avenue but over the years that got forgotten by the officials of the day.
Recent blogs have also told of the new life to the street with the addition of some 30 road signs and interpretive displays explaining the significance of the trees and signs.
The above plaque tells us that back in 1926 the Municipality of Saanich and the Victoria Horticultural Society's Heritage Tree Committee mounted the plaque. It tells that in 1922 French General Joseph Joffie, Lord Byng and General, Sir Arthur Currie each planted one of these London Plane trees in this very area.
As I drove by en-route to the Bourke ceremony, I saw two young girls about high school age, placing something on the plaque. Someone also placed a wonderful wreath on the tree itself. Here's a better picture of the plaque taken later in the day.
I am looking up at a low flying airplane, no doubt sent to watch over us... hehe.
Several Bourke family members and I stand off to the left in the image above.
I then had to race downtown to the location of the Afghanistan Memorial. After this was formally unveiled the committee creating it turned it over to the PPCLI for its upkeep. They in turn have decided to visit it each Remembrance Day and hold a brief service there before attending the major service at 11 am just a few blocks away.
Dougal and I served together for many years in the 1960's with the Toronto Scottish Regiment. Both advancing from recruit to Sergeant before he headed off to join the CF and about then I was promoted to Warrant Officer but soon work had me moving to Halifax. There I joined a second reserve unit for several years and then relocating to BC, and joined a 3rd unit where I was promoted to Master Warrant Officer. Five years later I retired from the military.
Dougal is now retired but serves as the President of the local Branch of the PPCLI Association, and thus his appearance at the Afghanistan Memorial on the 11th.
And as a special thanks to Captain Dougal Salmon, here is the cap badge that we both honour to this day with the work we both continue to do.
See you next Sunday,