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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Cascadia Priory of the Order of St George is running an ongoing fundraising campaign for the Citadel Canine Society. Donations gratefully accepted through our donation link and all money goes towards service dogs for Veterans.
CITADEL CANINE SOCIETY is a CRA registered charity that trains and delivers PTSD – OSI medical service dogs to any Military Veterans, and First Responders (police, fire, ambulance, nursing, and 9-1-1 personal). We provide these wonderful dogs at no charge to the recipients.
Citadel Canine is the only registered charitable training school within Canada that exclusively specializes in PTSD service dog production. THAT’S ALL WE DO. While we are based in Vancouver, BC we have training activities stretching from Newfoundland-Labrador right across the country to British Columbia. Citadel Canine is one of Canada’s largest PTSD service dog providers, and we are Canada’s longest-running mission specific PTSD service dog provider. Half of the dogs we have paired to date have been for CF veterans, and the other half have been paired with First Responders. Within that group more than half are with police members, including a large number of RCMP members.
This is a long clip. A few specific timelines – 1 hr 12 min Dame Carolyn “Metis Elder”, 1 hr 14 min Kailey “Metis Soloist” “Hallelujah”, 1 hr 36 min Seaforth Highlanders Regimental Pipes and Drums, “Highland Cathedral” (my favourite).
Sian LeSueur, Silver cross mother who lost son in Afghanistan anguished by Taliban takeover
“Now I thank all the soldiers, there is nothing the military has done wrong to me in the aftermath of me losing my son. They taught my boy how to clean, how to iron and respect and dignity.” — Sian LeSueur
Author of the article: Sarah Grochowski – Publishing date: Aug 22, 2021 • August 22, 2021
Dressed in black, bereaved mother Sian LeSueur solemnly knelt on the plush red steps of Burnaby’s All Saints Anglican Church Sunday. She closed her eyes in reverence.
Meanwhile, an ocean away, Canadian soldiers are rushing to evacuate 20,000 Afghans from Taliban soil amid the conflict that killed LeSueur’s son, Private Garrett Chidley, 12 years ago.
With the wave of a sword near each of LeSueurs’ shoulders, the Chilliwack resident who has borne the lifelong weight of losing a child, was knighted and bestowed a silver medallion around her neck.
“I’d always had this fear of one of my children dying. When I got that knock on the door my worst fears came true.”
LeSueur and her husband Brad were one of 14 B.C. families honoured Sunday for their children who died during Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan. Knight Commander Allan Plett ennobled parents in a ceremony, naming each a Field Knight or Dame in the Order of St. George.
“For me, this honour was for him and always will be,” LeSueur said through a veil of tears. “He would have been 33 this year.”
Garrett, a member of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, was stationed in Kandahar when an improvised explosive device ripped through the light armoured vehicle he drove, killing him, three other soldiers and a Calgary reporter on Dec. 30, 2009.
“The explosion flipped the vehicle on its back,” LeSueurs said. “Garrett died instantly.”
The 21-year-old had been part of a provincial reconstruction team deployed to strengthen civil government, suppress resurgent Taliban forces and build local infrastructure. Of the 40,000 Canadians deployed to Afghanistan since 2001, 155 were killed.
LeSueur said the Taliban’s lightning-speed rise to rule in the country has shocked her.
“I never knew it was going to affect me this way. The grieving process never stops.”
The mother expressed anguish over Afghan citizens being forced from their homes to hide or flee in fear of Taliban persecution.
“I’m heartbroken for the children,” she said. “Because the military was there for years many children, especially girls, were able to leave the country and lead successful lives.”
Since its 2001 military touchdown in Afghanistan, Canada led a successful nation-wide initiative to vaccinate all Afghan children against the scourge of polio and helped clear nearly a third of the estimated 10 to 15 million landmines, among other objectives.
When Garrett joined the military out of high school at age 18, LeSueurs initially disapproved.
“I was worried about him, he had lifelong plans to become a history teacher.”
It wasn’t until she saw the man he was becoming and what he had been learning that LeSueur got on board with his military calling.
“Now I thank all the soldiers, there is nothing the military has done wrong to me in the aftermath of me losing my son. They taught my boy how to clean, how to iron and respect and dignity.”
Canada’s combat role ended in 2011 and the last of its troops, which had stayed behind to help train Afghanistan’s army and police forces, left the country in 2014.
Two military aircraft are currently assisting evacuation efforts out of the country’s capital city, Kabul. Almost 1,000 Afghan refugees have now landed in Canada.
Author of the article: Kellen Taniguchi Publishing date: Nov 09, 2021
For one retired veteran, helping Afghan refugees evacuate the country that’s now under Taliban control is an issue that hits close to home.
Stephen Peddle, 47, served in the Canadian military for 28 years, including two missions on the ground in Afghanistan — one in 2007 and another in 2012. He left the service in 2019.
Peddle got involved with the current Afghan refugee crisis to help his former interpreter, Sangeen Abdul Mateen, who served on the ground with him in 2007, get his family members to safety.
“He was not just my interpreter, not just my friend, but my cultural adviser while I was in Afghanistan who I credit with helping keep myself and my comrades alive,” said Peddle, who added the interpreter helped him integrate into Afghan culture and was able to pick up whether danger was nearby.
So far, Peddle has helped evacuate 12 of Mateen’s 13 family members who were stuck in Afghanistan. Mateen came to Canada in 2012 and became a master electrician. Peddle said Mateen now owns a successful commercial business in Oshawa, Ont., where he and his family now reside.
Peddle said one of Mateen’s brothers is still in hiding from the Taliban and they are working on getting him to Canada.Peddle said Mateen’s father was a senior officer in the Afghan National Army and if he would have been found by the Taliban, he likely would have been executed for helping Canada.In 2007, Peddle served in Kandahar where he worked with about 500 Afghan soldiers mentoring them on the “fine art of war.” Peddle said he wouldn’t have been able to do his job without Mateen translating his words to the soldiers.
“These are the Afghans that helped us,” said Peddle. “These are the ones that made it as safe as they could for us while we were there. So, I do feel a sense of obligation as well. We packed up and left and some of them are still stuck there under a very evil regime.”
Peddle is a fourth-generation soldier after his grandfather served in the First World War. He said serving has been a family legacy based on his beliefs — he believes in Canada, all the values that encapsulates what makes us Canadian and protecting those values at home, but also exporting those ideals abroad.
“It’s representing Canada on the world stage and that’s what it really means to me to be a soldier. It is to exemplify the best of what our society represents,” he said.
Peddle’s efforts have been noticed by the Order of St. George and he will be officially “knighted” in Burnaby, B.C., next Sunday.
Allan Plett, knight commander and prior of the Order of St. George Cascadia Priory, said he will be using his blessed sword to official knight Peddle as a field knight because he meets the criteria and beyond.
“It’s an honorary rank for anybody, veteran or civilian, that goes above and beyond the call of duty in the area of community service,” said Plett. “In this case, that community service was a military or veteran community service doing something that was just plain the right thing to do because he knew how to do it.”Peddle said being able to do something positive for the Afghans that have helped Canadians lifts him up and makes veterans feel a lot better about what has happened over there which is why the Order of St. George struck a chord with him.In partnership with True Patriot Love, the Order of St. George launched the “Afghan Interpreter Resettlement and Veterans Mental Health Campaign” last summer with the aim to raise money to help relocate Afghan interpreters and support the mental health of veterans which Plett says has taken a hit since the recent “total abandonment of Afghanistan.”
The campaign was completed on December 31st, 2021, and raised $54,046 to be disbursed to the True Patriot Love Foundation Afghan Resettlement Fund, which 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.”
Below are some of the media links to the story. The CBC one is the best as it has two great photos of Stephen.