All posts by Melanie

About Melanie

Retired wordsmith and shutterbug

Cascadia Priory Member Receives Queens Platinum Jubilee Award

Thursday, January 20, 2023, Chevalier Tony Moore, of Cascadia Priory of the Order of St George was awarded the Queens Platinum Jubilee Award of Outstanding Service to the Community. Tony is a Zone Commander with the Legion and is currently the President of the Wally Branch. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Legion Veterans Village Research Foundation and is on the Board of Directors for the Order of St George.

Cascadia Priory is excited to Introduce Can Praxis

Can Praxis is a new beneficiary of Cascadia’s efforts to raise funds for worthwhile Veterans Programs. True to our own priorities, Can Praxis recognizes Veterans and their families, from both the Military and all First Responders, struggling with Operational Stress Injuries. Based in ALberta, they have been recognized as the leading Equine-Assisted Therapy provider for the Veteran and First Responder communities across Canada.

Help us welcome them into the Cascadia Priory family with your support for the Second Annual Unsung Heroes Gala, this April st at the UBC Sage Restaurant. They will be there to share their vision of the benefits of Equine Therapy and testimonials from their ten year history of successful operations.

British Columbia Regiment Battalion Parade 2022

The gathered BCR Cadets, Officers, and Veterans at the 29th Battalion cairn after the parade

By Chevalier Gordon Barrett

On 24 Sept 2022 Chevalier Gordon Barrett was the padre for the BCR Perpetrated Battalion Parade of the Regimental Family. Participants included veterans, serving members, cadets, and supporters of the Regiment.

The assembly gathered in front of the Pacific Coliseum at the 29th Battalion Cairn which marks the location of the assembly point of soldiers preparing to depart Vancouver for Europe and WWI. The purpose was to conduct a ceremonial parade, commemorating the service and sacrifice of the members of the 7th (1st British Columbia) Battalion, CEF, 29th (Vancouver) Battalion, CEF and 102nd (North British Columbia) Battalion, CEF. This is a ceremony that has been perpetuated by The British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own, since World War I.

It was an extremely successful day with over 100 BCR cadets attending.

29th Battalion Cairn located at the Northwest corner of the Rollerland Building across from the Pacific Coliseum at the PNE in Vancouver, B.C
BC Regiment Cadet Corps on Parade in the “Hollow Square”
LCol (ret) Chevalier Jim Barrett CD, the Parade Commander, taking the salute from the senior cadet
LCol (ret) Chevalier Jim Barrett CD, and Major (ret) Malcom G paying homage to the BCR Veterans of WWI
Capt (ret) the Reverend Chevalier Gord Barrett preaching the sermon
BCR Senior Cadets, Serving Officers & Members, and Veterans after the Perpetuated Battalion Parade

Cascadia Priory April 2022 Investiture

Congratulations and welcome to the 27 new Knights and Dames of the Order of St George at the first ever, Cascadia Priory hosted, Western Investiture.  

The first Investiture since the beginning of COVID was held in Lower mainland of British Columbia. The Investiture ceremony was held on April 23 in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in New Westminster. The ceremony followed the established Order of St George investiture protocols, and was supported by the cathedral organist, a Metis soloist with the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah” and the Royal Westminster Regimental (RWR) band. The ceremony concluded with a stirring bag pipe rendition of “Highland Cathedral” performance by the Seaforth Highlander (SH) Regiment band accompanied by the Royal Westminster Regimental band and the Cathedral Organist. CBC was present for the event to record and later aired on the nightly news.

The investiture was also celebrated with a Gala dinner on Saturday evening. SH of C and the RWR band were on hand for our entertainment. “Black Bear” performed by Seaforth Highlanders Pipes & Drums at The Order of St. George investiture banquet in the Sheraton Guildford. The Order of St…. | By Grant | Facebook

The guest of honour was the Honorable Kerry Lynne Findlay, the then Conservative Shadow Minister for National defence. We also had the pleasure of having Chevalier David Sutton honour our event as the investiture Marshall.

Cascadia Priory Gifts a Copy of Afghanistan: A Canadian Story to the Mayne Island Library

This coming Remembrance Week drop by the Mayne Island Library (Southern Gulf Islands) to discover the book “Afghanistan – A Canadian Story”. The book has been gifted to the library by Cascadia Priory of the Order of St George. Veteran and member of the Order of St George, Melanie Graham, will be on hand Sunday November 6 —1:00 to 3:00, to read excerpts from the book, and share some of the back story of how this remarkable book came to be. 

“Afghanistan: A Canadian Story” was an almost five-year labour of love, begun in 2010 by Graham and a team of determined volunteers – all still in uniform. The challenge was to gather the boots on the ground stories of our role in Afghanistan, a challenge that often involved travelling across the country. Veterans, however, were initially reluctant to share their experiences, often claiming they were just doing their job. Time, patience, and touring a collection of films on Canada in Afghanistan eventually convinced the men and women who served that their stories were worth telling.

The result is a compilation of 150 of the very human stories, with photographs, of those who served Canada in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2014. At the back of the book is an informative section on the military components that make up an overseas deployment. There’s also a section dedicated to the memory of the fallen, military, and civilian.

Since 2002, 158 members of the Canadian Armed Forces were killed serving in the Afghanistan mission. Four Canadian civilians were also killed, including one diplomat, one journalist and two aid workers. The book has their photos at the back, the casualty page of the web site (see below) has their stories.

The job of collecting the stories was all done at the expense of the project volunteers. Over the course of over two years the submissions were painstakingly reviewed for authenticity, edited, and formatted by the volunteers, with every effort made to retain the integrity of the story tellers.

Once the book was ready for print, we desperately needed funding. We had a small Ottawa firm, Magic Light Publishing, advising us and willing to print our efforts as a beautiful coffee table book, but that would require thousands of dollars that we didn’t yet have. A member of the Order of St George came to our rescue, however, and soon more than enough funding was provided by the Power Workers Union of Ontario. “Afghanistan: A Canadian Story” was successfully launched in Ottawa, 3 November 2014. 

Figure 1Afghan Book Team: Maj Dave Muralt, Emilie Faucher, Military Family Resource Centre Rep, Captain Susan Magill, John McQuarrie, Melanie Graham, Sgt Devon Fraser, Grant Cree

2014 Launch Captain (retired as Major) Susan Magill, Lt(N) (retired) Melanie Graham, Peter MacKay, Major (Retired) Dave Muralt, John MacQuarrie – Magic Light Publishing

In 2015 we discovered that one story in the chapter for 2002, was fraudulent. It had slipped by our fact checkers. Not bad for one out of 150 stories! The author had served briefly in the Army but had never deployed. He made up the story to convince a young lady to date him. The book was quickly revised, a few stories that had missed the cut off added, and one story moved to another chapter year. An e-version was published later that year.

The Order of St George is an international chivalrous Order that has existed in Canada since 2003. Their mission is “to better the health and well-being of members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Veterans and their families, and support the Canadian Cadet and Junior Ranger Programs.” Cascadia Priory is the British Columbia based branch of the Order of St George. https://cascadiapriory-ostg.org/

“Afghanistan: A Canadian Story” is a remarkable book that provides Canadians with an opportunity to better know the men and women who have served and continue to serve Canada.

All proceeds from book sales, by the way, hard copy, and e-version, go to support Canadian Veterans and their families.

More information on the book can be found at http://www.afghanistanacanadianstory.ca/

Kamloops “Canadian Walk For Veterans”

September 26, 2022

by Gord Sands KStG

It was a beautiful sunny Saturday September morning when 26 brave souls came out for our first ever Kamloops version of the “Canadian Walk for Veterans”

Included in our group were our Member of Parliament, Frank Caputo, His Worship, Mayor Ken Christian, city council member Bill Sarai, Provincial Legion President Craig Thompson, and local Legion President Daniel Martin.

We also had RCMP members, veterans, and community members join us along with the Kamloops Mounted Patrol attend.

It was a relaxing 3km walk around the park with plenty of friendly conversation.

A lot of conversation centered around the plight of veterans and those who bravely supported Canadians in various missions throughout the world, and the efforts to get them to a safe place.

We also had great local media coverage, with CFJC doing a pre-event interview. they also attended and walked with us. The local newspaper, Kamloops This Week also came out and covered the walk.

Being new to Kamloops I am so grateful for the support and assistance to the Legion #52 in making this event such a success.

It was an honour and privilege for me to represent both the Order of St George, The Canadian Walk for Veterans program, and True Patriot Love program.

Canadian Walk for Veterans 2022

JOIN US FOR THE 2022 CANADIAN WALK FOR VETERANS
September 24 & 25

Canadians Walking Shoulder to Shoulder

Register Now

5th Annual Canadian Walk For Veterans

Everyone who registers for the Canadian Walk For Veterans will receive a 2022 Challenge Coin manufactured right here in Canada by veteran-owned Dracks Military Plaques. This years image depicts a Canadian soldier with his locally employed interpreter and on the back of the coin is the military creed – “Leave No One Behind”.

If you register before September 10th you’ll receive your coin at the event. For those who register after September 10th we will send you your coin by mail.

Check out this short launch video where Parliament pays tribute to the Canadian Walk For Veterans in the House of Commons – CLICK HERE TO SEE VIDEO

True Patriot Love Afghan Resettlement Fund

Afghan interpreters, cultural advisors and locally employed people were essential to Canada’s mission in Afghanistan. These individuals choose to support Canada and our values, despite the inherent risks.

Now that the Taliban has regained control of Afghanistan, the lives of those who offered their assistance and the lives of their families are in immediate danger. The Government of Canada has announced special measures to bring them to Canada safely and help them resettle but there will be much additional support needed.

True Patriot Love Foundation, in partnership with organizations across the country, has launched a fund to be used to assist in their resettlement once they arrive in Canada.  The fund will be distributed across Canada to local organizations working directly with Afghan refugees and their families as they adapt to life in Canada, providing support for legal costs, housing, language training, mental health supports, employment and education training and more. Learn more about True Patriot Love truepatriotlove.com

British Columbia Regiment Hill 140 Remembrance Service

by Capt (ret) the Reverend Chevalier Gord Barrett
Cascadia Priory, the Order of St George

On Tuesday, August 9, members of the British Columbia Regiment (BCRs) met at the Beatty St Drill Hall in Vancouver for their annual ceremony of remembrance forthe WWII Battle of Hill 140.The battle took place right after the Normandy Landing and was the precursor to the closing of the Falaise Gap.155 soldiers of the BCRs died in the fighting on 9th August or from their wounds shortly afterwards.

Lt-Col Chevalier Jim Barrett, was the Master of Ceremony and Parade Marshall for the 28th Armoured Regiment (British Columbia Regiment) and his brother Capt (ret) the Reverend Chevalier Gord Barrett delivered the sermon, asked for the final blessing and gave the dismissal.

Prior to the dismissal, Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret’d) Dave Sproule,on behalf of the Regiment, presented Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel Bill Diamond with a beautiful painting entitled “The Hill”.He had commissioned this wonderful piece of art from Ken Hughes, M. Des (RCA), Artist/Designer. It was a very fitting and poignant gift for the Regimental Family on this special day of Remembrance from our good friend and colleague, Colonel Sproule.

Lt-Col Barrett’s Speech

I am Lt-Col Jim Barrett, your Master of Ceremony and Parade Marshall for the 28th Armoured Regiment (British Columbia Regiment) Hill 140 Commemorative Service, in which we annually remember those soldiers from our Regiment who served gallantly overseas with the Regiment during World War II through Normandy, OPERATION TOTALIZE, and into Northwest Europe participating in the liberation of Holland and then into Germany.

Seventy-Eight years ago on the morning of the 9th of August 1944, our Regiment, as part of the 4th Canadian Armoured Division in Normandy, led the first attempt to break through the German Defenses and link up with the Americans closing the Falaise Gap and destroying the German Army in Normandy. Called OPERATION TOTALIZE The BCR and the Algonquin Regiment, travelling on the backs of our Sherman Tanks, were tasked as part of a Battle Group known as Worthington Force to lead a night assault and advance to our objective at Hill 140.

The Polish, who were supposed to advance on our left flank, were delayed when they were hit hard in error by American Bombers just prior to the launch of the assault. So we were to go it alone under the command of our Commanding Officer, Lt-Col Don Worthington. Our tanks were to know our direction by the illumination from Canadian Searchlights to our rear. Yet another innovation of our Corps Commander, Gen Guy Simmonds.

A town on the route which had not been taken as planned forced Worthington Force off to their left flank and with the subsequent dawn came under heavy fire from German 88s and headed to the high ground almost two miles from their objective and wound up on Hill 140, engaged with the Headquarters and tanks from Kurt Meyer’s 12th SS Panzer Division.

Fighting all day, 48 out of 52 tanks were lost in the battle, and the survivors fought throughout the day supported by Typhoons.

Both CO’s all Majors and many senior Officers and Senior NCOs were lost in the fighting, with the survivors escaping back to our own lines at night, leaving the seriously wounded behind to be cared for by the Germans. A captured German Officer had guaranteed their safety, and many survived because of the subsequent medical care they received. This in the face of earlier murders of Canadian Prisoners by the same SS Unit.

Following the battle, the Regiment was rebuilt and participated in the closure of the Falaise Gap prior to operations in Belgium, Holland, and into Germany by the end of the War in Europe on 8th May 1945.

155 soldiers of our regiment died in the fighting on 9th August or shortly afterwards from wounds. Today by this service we commemorate and remember them and our 28th Armoured Regiment (BCR) comrades.

Photos

A gathering of Comrades
BCR members attending the BCR Hill 140 Remembrance Service
BCRs attending the Hill 140 Remembrance Service
Capt (ret) the Reverend Chevalier Gord Barrett
delivering the sermon
Getting ready for the BCR Hill 140 Remembrance Service
Lt Col (ret.) Chevalier Jim Barrett, CD recounting the
BCR involvement in the Hill 140 battle during WWII
Old friends
Presentation of the BCR Hill 140 painting by the artists Ken Hughes, far right,
at St Julien Square next to the Beatty St Drill Hall
Presentation of the BCR Hill 140 painting by the artist, Ken Hughes,
next to the Sherman Tank in front of the Beatty St Drill Hall
Socializing after the BCR Hill 140 Remembrance Service
A chance encounter with a visiting group from England
who thanked us for doing our part in WWII.