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TRANSITIONS 2015 (link to 2015 calendar)



Last Post
Captain (ret.) Gord Cousins, CD


The Regimental Association of The Calgary Highlanders passes on the following:

We regret to inform you all of the sad news of the passing of Gord Cousins, CD, on December 1st, 2015 after a battle with cancer. Gord was very active in the Calgary Highlanders Regimental Association and with the Calgary Highlanders Cadet Corps. He was also a recipient of the Order of the Gallant Canadians. His good and friendly nature will be missed. Memorial details will be announced as soon as they are available.

The regiment passes on its condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Gord Cousins. More details regarding memorial services will be posted as they are received.


Update: the official obituary can be found at this URL:


The text reads:

COUSINS, Gordon George
Aug 10, 1948 - Dec 1, 2015

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of a great man, Gordon George Cousins. Surrounded by his wife and children; his brief, hard fought and courageous battle with AML came to an end on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at the age of 67 years. He will be greatly missed by his wife of 39 years, Jean; children, Jason, Douglas (Kelly), James (Becky), Heather (Aaron); his 9 precious grandchildren, Breanne, Katie, Tyler, James, Gracie, Jessica, Cody, Weston, and Hunter; and his mother, Eleanor Cousins. Gordon is predeceased by his father, Howard Cousins; and his dear brother, Douglas Cousins. Gordon was born in Mississauga, ON and later moved to Calgary in 1975. He lived a full life, raising 4 children, owning a business with Jean for 40 years, and numerous involvements in the community. Some of his passions included his church,  the Calgary Highlander Cadet Corps, winter camping, canoeing, teaching youth outdoor survival skills, and the value of respect, honor and team work. "Band Together" "It is better to fly with the eagles, then waddle with the weasels" "Many hands make light work". Gordon was a son, husband, father, brother, papa, uncle, Captain, and most importantly a friend and mentor to many. He strived to leave behind a legacy and a heritage that can continue onward. His successes have ultimately been a result of his undying faith in his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Even though we mourn his loss and feel his absence, we are left with joy and hope knowing that we will be together again. Relatives and friends are invited to pay their respects at Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Services, 12 East Lake Way NE, Airdrie, AB on Tuesday, December 8, 2015 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. A Celebration of Gordon's Life with be held at First Assembly Church, 6031 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 1:00 pm. Reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Gordon’s memory to either Youth Unlimited ( or Magic of Christmas ( 


Major Peter Boyle
Veterans Affairs Canada Commendation


The Commanding Officer passes on news of Major Peter Boyle's award of a VAC Commendation. Major Boyle is the Curator of The Calgary Highlanders Regimental Museum and Archives. Among his other accomplishments, Major Boyle planned and executed two major regimental pilgrimages to battlefields in Europe, in 2010 to commemorate the regiment's 100th birthday, and in 2015 to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Battle of St. Julien.


From the Veterans Affairs Canada website, the official citation reads as follows:


Major Boyle is a Canadian Armed Forces Veteran who served for more than 25 years. His devotion to the well-being of Canadian Veterans has been evident on many occasions where he has fundraised, organized and guided various battlefield tours overseas, including the 60th Anniversaries of Dieppe, D-Day and VE Day, and the 90th Anniversary of Vimy. Major Boyle is an active member of several Veteran organizations. He was Director for the Royal Alberta United Services Institute and of the Friends of the Colonel Belcher Hospital Society. Major Boyle is also an active 20-year member of The Royal Canadian Legion, and belongs to the Royal Canadian Military Institute, the Calgary Highlanders Regimental Association, the Canadian Battlefields Foundation and is a life member of the Royal Regiment of Canada Association, and was as well Chairman of the Calgary Soldiers' Memorial project. Major Boyle also helped raise funds to have a permanent memorial plaque installed in Normandy, France, to commemorate the accomplishments of the Calgary Highlanders, in August of 1944.

Last Post
Captain Christopher David Allan
24 October 2015


2nd Lieutenant J. Hill has passed on the sad news of the passing of Captain Christopher David Allan. According to 2Lt Hill:

Capt. Allan started in the CF as a Calgary Highlander officer and was well known to many still serving. He often attended our events following his Component Transfer to the Air Force and continued to considered himself a Cal High… he took our ribbing about his air force blue uniform in good spirits. He will be missed.

2nd Lieutenant Hill passes on two images of Captain Allan; after his transfer to the air force and employment as a CF-18 pilot, and below, doing the Battle Fitness Test as a Calgary Highlander. The regiment passes its condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Captain Christopher David Allan.


Captain Allan's obituary can be found online at and reads as follows:

ALLAN, Christopher David

Tragically, on October 24, 2015 at Campbell River BC, Chris Allan lost his life while salmon fishing on the Pacific Ocean with his friends. He will be forever remembered by the love of his life, Julie Martindale. Chris was an adored and cherished son of Debbie and David Allan of Toronto, ON, much loved by his brother, Doug (Michelle); and their son, Hudson of North Vancouver, BC; and by his sister, Jennie (Tyler) of Toronto. Chris was predeceased by his grandparents, Hugh and Susan Allan of Toronto and Bill and Margot Winspear of Dallas, TX. He was born in Toronto on May 3, 1984, raised in Vancouver and living with Julie in Cold Lake, AB. Chris and Julie were looking forward to celebrating their love of each other at their wedding this November.

Chris was an avid fisherman, skier, hockey player, golfer and outdoorsman. He had a deep love of family, learning and spending time with his friends, often living his life on 'after burner'.

The accomplishments in his career were of the highest order.

As a proud member of the Royal Canadian Air Force and of Canada's Armed Forces, Captain Chris 'Axe' Allan was originally posted to 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron, 4 Wing Cold Lake, AB in November 2010. He completed fighter pilot training on the CF-18 Hornet in July 2011, obtaining the status of a Canadian Armed Forces Fighter Pilot. In late 2014, Captain Allan used his exemplary skill and training during the first deployment of CF-18 Hornets to Operation IMPACT in Kuwait. In May of 2015 Captain Allan completed the Fighter Weapons Instructor Course at 4 Wing Cold Lake, a prestigious and highly sought after qualification among the fighter pilot community.

Throughout the past year, he continued to serve Canada with distinction, deploying on Operation REASSURANCE in Eastern Europe and on a second deployment to Operation IMPACT in Kuwait, earning him a campaign star. Throughout his career, Captain Allan participated in many military exercises, including Exercise COUGAR SOUTH, Exercise COMBAT ARCHER, Exercise RED FLAG (Alaska) and Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC; a multi-national exercise conducted alongside the Royal Canadian Navy and our allies). Chris' final posting was to 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4 Wing Cold Lake, AB, as the Deputy Squadron Weapons and Tactics Officer.

The family has established the 'Chris Allan Legacy Fund' to honour Chris' life and to manage and support appropriate initiatives in the years and decades ahead that were important to him such as, but not limited to, outdoor education, sustainable fishing practices and aviation training and excellence. Donations to his fund in lieu of flowers, would be very much appreciated by the family as follows:By phone: 250-381-5532 to make a donation by credit card directly to the Victoria Foundation.

By cheque: Send cheques to the Victoria Foundation at #109 - 645 Fort Street, Victoria, BC, V8W 1G2. Please ensure they are made out to The Victoria Foundation. Note the name of the fund in the memo line or in a cover letter.

A service to honour Chris for his family, friends and colleagues will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 12, 2015 at the Winspear Centre, 9720-102 Avenue, Edmonton, AB.


16 October 2015


Article and photos courtesy of MCpl Evan Bullock

In past years Exercise HEAVY METAL consisted of familiarization and qualification shoots for C6, C9, Carl Gustav, grenades and even a memorable .50 cal shoot. This year was quite an offshoot from the standard. The scope was PWT3 Qualification and Live Pairs Fire and Movement. 

On Friday October 16, 2015 the unit RV’d at Mewata Armoury at the usual 1900hrs where we drew weapons and hopped on the bus in a timely manner. The bus ride’s feature films, brought to you by MCpl  McDermott, were Pain & Gain and Edge of Tomorrow. After a stop at Chez McDonalds we arrived to CFB WAINWRIGHT at around 0100hrs. Not too shabby.

Reveille on Saturday was 0600hrs and a hearty breakfast was had at the mess before heading out to the range to zero and fire PWT3. The weather was optimal with not a cloud in the sky and a slight breeze. A previous narrative was provided for the last PWT3 so I won’t go into it too much. One of the benefits to firing on the CFB WAINWRIGHT ranges, as opposed to Edmonton, is that firers actually get to walk up to their targets and analyze their shots. We used the skills of shot analysis and adjusting our scopes to zero our C7s. I find it satisfying to minimize a grouping and adjust the scope to the correct zero position. I believe it gives the firers more confidence and assurance in their shooting. After completing the PWT 3 range we moved to the pairs range. On the way to the range we came across several sentries from multiple units posted on routes in and around their respective ranges. Their task was to ensure vehicles coming in and out were cleared by range staff in order to ensure maximum safety.

After receiving our range safety brief we practiced dry runs of team fire and movement before breaking off into two man teams for the live portion. Teams were tasked to approach possible enemy locations. Once the targets popped up the team fire and movement portion began. After the double tap, dash, down, sights, observe the teams assaulted the enemy position. Unfortunately due to dry conditions we were unable to employ T Flashes as simulation grenades. After clearing the trench, teams advanced and destroyed two more enemy positions. It was noted by staff that the fresh new Privates Ardell and Abboud had performed the task in the quickest and most effective manner. Sgt Wagg and Cpl Hardiment were the only ones to have expended all 90 rounds. I found this exercise beneficial as I hadn’t shot a live fire attack in many years. It really builds on the skills we practice while shooting blanks and enhances confidence. It is one thing to perform an attack with blanks, but when live rounds are going downrange it drives home the need for taking those aimed shots and communicating with your fire team partner. After the range was completed we headed back to base for dinner and weapons cleaning. Two of the Officer Cadets also took off later in the night for navigation exercises.

 Another reveille at 0600hrs and meal in the mess was followed by 1 Platoon staying on base and clearing out the shacks and 2 Platoon heading out to the range to pick up brass and return the targets. We departed Wainwright at approximately 1100hrs and watched Charlie Wilson’s War and Crank on the way back to Calgary. At 1700hrs we were dismissed.

All in all, the weekend was a success with those shooting PWT 3 and Live Fire in teams. It is not often we get to fire live outside of the conventional range and it was a great training opportunity for all ranks. I, as well as others look forward to building on the skills we learned and refreshed over the weekend with group, section and hopefully platoon live fire attacks.

Photos courtesy MCpl Bullock.

(Top, in article): Zeroing on Range 6

(Above): Beautiful conditions to zero on Range 6

(Left): MCpl McDermott and Cpl Nistuk get pumped up for the pairs range

(Below): Cpl White in a moment of deep reflection following the pairs range

Lieutenant-Colonel F. Lee Villiger, CD
28 October 2015


To mark his retirement from the military, Lieutenant-Colonel F. Lee Villiger, CD (centre) was presented a print depicting the regiment's first combat action
at Kitcheners' Wood in April 1915. The presentation was made in the Mewata Garrison Officers' Mess, in front of the Regimental Colours, by
Regimental Sergeant Major C. Tucker (left) and the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel K. Clapperton. LCol Villiger commanded
The Calgary Highlanders from 2002-2005, and served a total of 32 years in the Canadian Army.


Private (ret.) William "Bill" Green
20 October 2015


The following photo and caption comes from 2nd Lieutenant Fraser and Sergeant Nussbaumer:



Private William (Bill) Green lost his headdress years ago. On 20 October 2015 soldiers of The Calgary Highlanders presented him a new glengarry.
Bill Green served with The Calgary Highlanders in the Second World War and is now 94 years of age.


Washington Military Department "EVERGREEN" Magazine

Fall 2015 Issue


The latest copy of Evergreen, the news magazine of the Washington (state) Military Department, has a feature article about Exercise GRIZZLY DEFENDER which saw soldiers of The Calgary Highlanders training with counterparts in the Washington Army National Guard. For decades, the regiment has had an official friendship with the 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment. Exercise GRIZZLY DEFENDER was the annual summer concentration of 41 Canadian Brigade Group, held 13-25 August 2015 in Wainwright. A total of 60 American soldiers came north to train with the brigade.


Evergreen can be found at:


More info on the special relationship with the 1/161 Infantry is here.


Thank you to Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan P. Beddall of the Washington Army National Guard for sharing news of the magazine article.



GRIZZLY DEFENDER 2015 - at top Sgt B. Forrest (right) and below Sgt. B. Gaisford (right) in the field with
troops of the 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, Washington Army National Guard. 41 CBG photos


Ross Ellis Memorial Lecture
29 October 2015


This year's Ross Ellis Memorial Lecture in Military and Strategic Studies (co-sponsored by the UofC Centre for Military and Strategic Studies and The Calgary Highlanders) is scheduled to commemorate the 71st Anniversary of the Battle of Walcheren Causeway. The lecture will focus on that most significant battle in The Calgary Highlanders' history. In addition to the lecture presented by author and historian Mark Zuehlke, we are also extremely proud to partner with Valour Canada. This year's Ross Ellis lecture will commence with the premiering of the Ross Ellis and Walcheren Causeway video produced by Valour Canada as part of their Monumental Canadian video series.

What: "A Perfectly Engineered Killing Ground: The Calgary Highlanders and the Walcheren Causeway Battle"; presented this year by author and historian Mark Zuehlke.
When: Thursday, 29 October. Doors open at 1800h; Lecture begins at 1900h
Where: The Military Museums of Calgary (4520 Crowchild Trail SW)
Dress: Business Casual or CADPAT w/ Glengarry (serving Calgary Highlanders)
RSVP to Nancy Pearson Mackie (Centre for Military and Strategic Studies) at by 23 October.



25-27 September 2015

The Calgary Highlanders Complete First Range of Training Year

Article and Photos by Major Andrew Beauchamp, Officer Commanding "A" Company

With the end of summer the leaves change colour, the days become shorter, a chill creeps into the air and a new training year begins. As with every new training year all members of The Calgary Highlanders are called on to re-qualify on a number of basic soldier skills including the C7 Personal Weapons Tests. Over the weekend of September 25-27, 2015 The Calgary Highlanders deployed 57 soldiers to CFB Wainwright to conduct C7 PWTs 1 and 3. Below is one soldier’s account of the PWT 3:

We had just finished zeroing our C7s and completed some shooting from a range of 300 meters. The range flags were catching the gentle breeze as we walked towards the 400 meter point. This was an opportunity to quietly reflect on the marksmanship principals and on the test ahead. At the 400 meter point the RSO quickly reviewed the test. The orders started coming quickly after the brief and I clamoured to find my first magazine. The RSO behind me shouting the orders ‘with a 14 round magazine, LOAD!’, ‘READY – 300 meters!’, ‘WATCH AND MOVE’. At this point I shifted my focus down range, waiting, watching for the targets to appear. After what feels like an eternity I see the dark image of the figure 11 target emerge. The test is underway.

I clamber to my feet and run 100 meters to our first firing point. As I complete the run the sergeant behind me reminds our relay to shoot ‘2 ROUNDS AT EACH TARGET’. I get into the prone position, align my rifle with the target and deliberately fire my rounds; as the last round is released the targets go down. Placing my weapon on safe I wait for the targets to materialize again. Suddenly there they are and I find myself running to the next firing point. As I’m completing the 100 meter run it dawns on me I need to adjust my site as the sergeant behind me yells ‘KNEELING POSITION.’ I take a second to adjust my sights before controlling my breath and squeezing off my rounds. This time it seems like the targets have barely fallen when they pop back up. Running to the 100 meter firing point I realize I my magazine is empty. I reach for my last magazine as running up the mound at the 100 meter point. Quickly I change my magazines before getting into the prone position and firing off my rounds. It’s a little more difficult to calm my breathing after this run and ultimately I didn’t fire one round before the targets fell; hopefully I don’t need that point to pass the test. Now we’re ordered ‘UP!’ and we start walking forward, scanning for the targets. As we hit the 75 meter point the targets pop; I am and fire two rounds and the center of the targets chest before the targets fall. We continue advancing towards the 50 meter point. This time you hear the butts NCO yelling ‘TARGETS UP’ before you see the target appear; I aim and fire again. Finally we advance to the 25 meter point. As the targets appear the sergeant reminds us to fire ‘BURSTS!’. Quickly I adopt the standing position and, looking over my sight, switch to automatic before pulling to trigger to the familiar ‘burappp’ of C7 automatic fire. With the test complete we file back towards the administration, anxiously awaiting our scores.”

Range staff coach members of The Calgary Highlanders on EXERCISE HIGHLAND MARKSMAN, 25-27 Sep 2015 at CFB Wainwright.

As part of range background activity 41 Combat Engineer Regiment provided instruction on Explosive Threat and Hazard Awareness and Recognition (ETHAR) during EXERCISE HIGHLAND MARKSMAN, 25-27 Sep 2015 at CFB Wainwright.


3 Canadian Division Training Courses

Summer 2015


Summer is traditionally the season for reservists to complete trade, leadership and other career training.



Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Ursich, Commanding Officer of The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, presents Corporal R.J. Green with the top candidate award during the Primary Leadership Qualification (Infantry) course 0044 graduation parade at 3rd Canadian Division Support Base Wainwright on 10 August 2015. Image by: Master Corporal Malcolm Byers, 3 Cdn Div Support Base Wainwright ImagingWT01-2015-0004-005



Lieutenant-Colonel Kyle Clapperton and Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Tucker, Commanding Officer and Regimental Sergeant Major of The Calgary Highlanders, man the reviewing stand as Primary Reserve Infantry Development Phase 1 (PRes DP1 Inf) Course 0020 marches past during their graduation parade at 3rd Canadian Division Support Base Wainwright on 7 August 2015.Image By: Master Corporal Malcolm Byers, 3rd Canadian Division Support Base Wainwright ImagingWT01-2015-0002-009


Calgary Highlanders Cadet Corps Joint Annual Ceremonial Review

7 June 2015


On Sunday, 7 June 2015, cadets from 2137 (Calgary), 2383 (High River), 3016 (Airdrie) and 3125 (Chestermere) Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps held a combined annual review at Mewata Armouries. All four corps are affiliated with The Calgary Highlanders. The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Kyle Clapperton, was the Reviewing Officer. A number of awards were presented to cadets on parade.


Pipes and Drums of the cadet corps on parade.


(All photos are thumbnailed, click to enlarge)

Senior non-commissioned rank on parade, with Colour Party.

Lieutenant-Colonel Kyle Clapperton, CD, Commanding Officer of The Calgary Highlanders, takes the salute.

Inspecting the cadets.
Honorary Colonel Michael Shaw inspects No. 2 Guard.
Inspecting the pipes and Drums.
Several awards of the National Star of Excellence were made.
Presentation of the Royal Canadian Legion Medal of Excellence.
Presentation of the Lord Strathcona Trust Fund Medal.

Promotion of Cadet Instructor Cadre officer Arlen Peterson to the rank of Captain.

Cadets on parade.
Final March Past. All four corps are visible in the photo.
Corps colour party.


United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR)
31 May 2015



The photo above recently appeared on a military social media site. Former Calgary Highlander Fabio Lacentra posted some recollections about the incident that seem compelling enough to share here. A note on UNPROFOR: After the United Nations revolved to mediate between warring factions in Croatia, Canadian officers began to be deployed to the former Yugoslavia. The Vance agreement of 1992 provided the impetus for the United Nations Protection Force to be deployed. Their mandate was to "conduct security patrols, establish checkpoints, provide route maintenance, clear minefields and construct and maintain shelters in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina." The Canadian contribution to this force was called Operation HARMONY, and was deployed from 1992 to 1995. The forces involved in this Operation rotated on a regular basis, each Rotation ("Roto") involving new units, and new opportunities for reservists to participate. Several dozen Calgary Highlanders depoloyed to the former Yugoslavia as augmentees to Regular Force units in various capacities, the majority with Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. The photo above was taken during Fabio Lacentra's tour when he served a medic. He posted the following to social media in May 2015 after seeing the photo (Lacentra is second from the left in the photo above). (Minor edits by the webmaster):

I thought to myself, wait a minute that's my ambulance they're taking (as I had two vehicles signed out to me, that's another story in itself) and Trevor was my Ambulance partner so if he was going on a call or to render aid to someone I should be sitting next to him. As the convoy pulled passed I fell in to line as if I belonged there, disregarding the ... tasking to go sit at the rail head and watch vehicles getting off loaded from rail cars (because in Canada this is an activity that merits a stand-by ambulance) but we were in Croatia (former Yugoslavia) and these was a conflict going on so I thought ... peacetime rules didn't apply here. Therefore, I disregarded my tasking and technically disregarded my orders and chain-of-command and followed the convoy out of camp. In the end I was glad I did and never once regretted that type of choice in all those years of service. After all that was said and done we saved a farmer whom had been crushed under his tractor, his hand as flat as a pancake was also saved and Rob and I knew the true story of how the scene / call went. As we reviewed the photos that the CF photo tech who some how managed to jump onto the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) convoy took we noticed that both Rob and I were almost always blurred as if in motion (while) others seemed to be captured standing stone solid in their roles. I was touched many years later to be wandering through The Military Museums in Calgary and there on the wall was a large B&W photo of a young Cpl Lacentra kneeling at the side of a Croatian farmer who was poorly strapped to a spine board and ill fitting C-collar (due to his fractured jaw) holding a left hand at the wrist that was as flat as a pancake and with the other hand raised pointing to his ambulance partner Trevor Stone looking at him and giving him ventilatory instructions (not that Trevor needed them) as he applied the O2 mask to the old man's fractured face. As I looked at the photo of the grim scene of these Medics and soldiers doing everything they could for this person whom they did not know or had no clue as to where their loyalties lied in this conflict. The only color that stood out in the photo was the pale blue hats & and helmets that some of the soldiers wore and the emblem of the United Nations (which I was so proud to be a part of). I did not see myself as the centerpiece of the photo but rather the theme it represented and the symbol it offered. How all of us as individuals and countries will always rise to the occasion and do all we can in one's time of need, with little regard for our own needs and safety. It made me proud to have served and be part of that important honorable cause, larger than all of us, but all of us made it possible.

2013 Alberta Flood

The work of The Calgary Highlanders in the 2013 Alberta Flood is chronicled on another page of this website, here. The photo sequence at right show the area of Inglewood that 1 Platoon of "A" Company assisted City of Calgary engineers stabilize. Click the photo to enlarge. Top image was taken on the day the the Highlanders were working the river bank, 24 June 2014. Middle image is the current Google street view imagery, taken in July 2014, showing  the street and adjacent footpath in the midst of reconstruction. Bottom image was taken 16 May 2015, showing the area as it appears today, with the new footpath and cul-de-sac restored to its pre-flood appearance.

The 2013 Alberta Flood was the most expensive natural disaster in Canadian history, resulting in over 5 billion dollars in property damage.


Last Post
Jim Rycroft

The Regimental Association passes on the following:

We regret to announce that Jim Rycroft passed away on Thursday, 23 April 2015, at 90 years of age.

Jim was born on 10 December 1924 in Spirit River, Alberta, the 9th child of Robert and Helen Rycroft. He joined the Army during the Second World War and served in the Calgary Highlanders. Jim was one of the last remaining veterans to have fought at the Walcheren Causeway during the Canadian Army's drive to clear the Scheldt Estuary in order to open the port of Antwerp to Allied shipping.

After the war Jim returned to Alberta and married Edith Spry, his wife of 66 years until her death in April 2014. Together they raised seven children who, together with 18 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews, survive Jim.

A funeral service will be held on Thursday, 30 April at 2:00 pm at Beaverlodge Alliance Church. Those wishing to extend their condolences may do so at



St. Julien Centennial Battlefield Pilgrimage 2015

The Calgary Highlanders sent a delegation to Europe from 18 April to 1 May 2015 to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of St. Julien and the counter-attack by the 10th Battalion, C.E.F. (whom the Calgary Highlanders perpetuate) on Kitcheners Wood. A full account of the two weeks of activity will eventually appear here. Major events included a parade at the Canada Memorial at Green Park adjacent to Buckingham Palace on Sunday, 19 April, with soldiers of the 10th Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery,  The British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own) who perpetuate the 7th Battalion, C.E.F., The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment) (who perpetuate the 4th Battalion, C.E.F.), and The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary's) who perpetuate the 16th Battalion, C.E.F. The units then moved to Canada House for a reception with their royal colonels-in-chief, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II met with soldiers of The Calgary Highlanders. On 22 April 2015, the centennial anniversary of the first poison gas attacks on the Western Front, the CF delegations took part in national and international commemoration ceremonies at Vancouver Corner (site of the "brooding soldier" memorial). The Calgary Highlanders and The Canadian Scottish had a memorial dinner on the former battlefield.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Colonel-in-Chief of The Calgary Highlanders, poses for a formal portrait with the regimental delegation on Sunday, 19 April 2015 at Canada House in London. (Click to enlarge)



Last Post
Harold Norman Holmgren

The Regimental Association passes on the following:

We regret to inform you of the passing of Harold Norman Holmgren at the age of 94 on March 17.

Harold was born in Estevan Saskatchewan on 17 September 1920 and enlisted in the Calgary Highlanders on 15 June 1940. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1943 and served as a platoon commander in C Company until wounded on 9 October 1944 during the intense fighting to hold the town of Hoogerheide, Holland, against large-scale determined enemy attacks. The intensity of this fighting is clear from the Highlanders' casualty figures: by the time the battle ended on 11 October the Battalion had lost thirty men killed and another seventy wounded. However, they had prevented the brigade front from collapsing.

Harold was predeceased by his wife, Nefia Elanor, but is survived by six children and numerous grand and great-grand children. Funeral Services will held at McInnis & Holloway (82 Crowfoot Circle NW) on Thursday, March 26 at 2:00 pm

The Regiment passes on its deepest sympathy to the family, friends and comrades of Harold Norman Holmgren.

Last Post
Pipe Major Donald Neil Maxwell, MMM

The regiment is saddened to hear of the passing of former Pipe Major Don Maxwell, a member of high standing in the Calgary piping community and a Member of the Order of Military Merit. Pipe Major Maxwell joined the Regimental Pipes and Drums of The Calgary Highlanders as a boy piper in 1952 at the age of 14. His father had served in the Regiment as an officer during the Second World War and his brother had been Pipe Major in the early 1950s. He achieved the rank of sergeant with the Pipes and Drums, and transferred to Toronto with his civilian employment in 1963. He continued piping with the Cabar Feidh Pipe Band, winning the North American Championship in 1964.

He returned to Calgary that year and became Pipe Major of The Calgary Highlanders, serving until 1967. Civilian employed forced him to stand down from his responsibilities as pipe major, but he continued playing with the band until it was reduced to nil strength in 1969. After the band was reactivated in 1975, Don Maxwell returned and led the Regimental Pipes and Drums in a second tour of duty as Pipe Major from 1977 to 1981. During his second tour of duty he achieved the rank of Master Warrant Officer. Despite his civilian duties as Comptroller for PanCanadian Petroleum, which boasted over 1,100 employees, Maxwell rebuilt the Pipes and Drums into the largest pipe band in Calgary, successfully competing on the local Highland Games circuit. The Canadian Forces rewarded him with the rare distinction of admission to the Order of Military Merit in the rank of Member in 1983.

After leaving The Calgary Highlanders, Don Maxwell formed his own successful civilian pipe band, Clan Maxwell.

Details of his obituary are as follows:

MAXWELL, Donald Neil, MMM
May 4, 1938 – Calgary, Alberta
March 21, 2015 – Calgary, Alberta
Donald Maxwell beloved husband of Marilyn Maxwell, passed away on March 21, 2015 at the age of 76 years. Besides his wife of 55 years, Donald will be lovingly remembered by four sons, Donald G. (Margaret), Robert, Richard (Tracy) and Scott; five grandchildren, Donald W., Laura, Meghan, Katelyn and Alexander and great granddaughter, Masyn. He is also survived by a brother, Dr. Gordon (Jeanine) Maxwell, as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. Donald graduated from Crescent Heights High School and became a chartered accountant and Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer of Pan Canadian Petroleum Limited. His greatest joy was his family. Donald's hobby was the bagpipes and he played "many a tune" at a wide variety of competitions, functions and parades. He was the Pipe Major of The Calgary Highlanders. Donald was awarded the Order of Military Merit (MMM) by The Governor General of Canada. He was the Founder, Pipe Major of Clan Maxwell Pipes and Drums. Funeral Services will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY (Chapel of the Bells, 2720 Centre Street North) on Friday, March 27, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. Graveside Service to follow at Queen's Park Cemetery in the Field of Honour. Condolences may be forwarded through In living memory of Donald-Neil Maxwell, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park.

The Regiment passes on its deepest sympathy to the family, friends and comrades of Don Maxwell.

Stepping Off
The Ride Across Canada

From former Calgary Highlander Paul Nichols:

I realized the power of a heart felt story when a random lady in a shop in Vancouver saw the Regimental crest on my jacket and told me her story. She cried and hugged me as we talked and the people in line behind me had tears in their eyes as she told of living through the siege of Sarajevo. For two years they were near starvation and dodged daily sniper fire and it was Canadian troops that saved their lives and eventually got her out.

I am proud to be a former Calgary Highlander and served with 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry during the UN mission in the former Yugoslavia in 1993. When our first daughter was born, I left the military and my wife and I returned to our small town in central BC. Together with our daughters, we run a farm and riding center and our farm is certified through both the British Columbia Therapeutic Riding Association and the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association.

When I left the Calgary Highlanders I left the brotherhood and my support network. As a veteran who has been under fire and struggled to make the transition to civilian life, I know how lonely it can be making a home in a community that doesn’t recognize a contemporary veteran. I stopped telling my stories and then began to spend a lot of time inside my own head wondering if my service had been worthwhile. My own journey included my dog, my horse, and a lot of time alone on the river with a fly rod. Ultimately it was the Bosnian woman in the shop that took the time to share her story that changed my life and I am a different person today because of her.

Several years ago I returned to the military as a Canadian Ranger and, under the supervision of BC Coy 4 CRPG, I took on the creation of a basic horsemanship course/exercise. Dozens of Canadian Rangers and Regular army have been through this training and we have developed some proficient, confident riders. One evening around the fire we were discussing the days ride and one of the Patricia’s asked what our Post Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment program looks like. This when we realized that we were uniquely suited to make a difference and it was the beginning of an idea.

My wife and I have assembled a crew and we are stepping off April 13, 2015 from Victoria BC and leading a horse back relay across Canada. My wife will lead an advance party with trucks, trailers, several horses and small crew and she will co-ordinate with communities to find our veterans who will then be given a riding lesson. Once they are safely through her lesson, these veterans will be staged and take their place to join the ride with me for either a half or part day as we pass through, or close to their own communities. As we travel across the country on horseback accompanied by these other riders we will document their stories which will then be organized and shared with the people of Canada. Our objective is to make it across Canada in 200 days and include as many veteran guest riders as we can. This ride is not about one veteran and his family riding across the country for a cause. By the time our horses get us to the Atlantic coast we will have been joined by and have heard the stories of over 700 Canadian Veterans. As these stories are collected and reflected on, we will create awareness and encourage discussion of the challenges that our service men and women face as they transition back into the world of civilians.

The Canadian people love their troops and our communities will support them but often times don't know who they are after they clear out of the military. By educating our communities and raising awareness to the changing face of their veterans, we can give them the opportunity to truly support their troops. We believe that this timely help from the communities that they have served will lower the incidence of PTSD and family break up and I personally know that timely help can change a life.

Paul Nichols CR MCpl

For more information or to register to ride, go to: or visit on Facebook at Communities For Veterans- The Ride Across Canada.


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Lawrence Arthur Cooper

The family of Lawrence Arthur Cooper passes on the following, via the Regimental Association:

Canadian Forces Unit Commendation

On Friday 9 January 2015 the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Tom Lawson, CMM, CD, presented the Canadian Forces Unit Citation to The Calgary Highlanders. The Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer, CWO Kevin C. West, MMM, MSM, CD was also present during the ceremony. Sergeant Gaisford commanded a quarter-guard in an intimate ceremony held at Mewata Armouries.

General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff presents Lieutenant-Colonel Kyle Clapperton, Commanding Officer of The Calgary Highlanders and Chief Warrant Officer Chris Tucker, Regimental Sergeant Major of The Calgary Highlanders  with the Canadian Armed Forces Unit Commendation at Mewata Armouries on 9 January 2015. Chief Warrant Officer Kevin West, Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer is at right. The award is composed of a scroll signed by the CDS and a medallion. A pennant is also awarded, which the unit will fly for one year from the date of award. The scroll, medallion, and pennant will be permanent artefacts, which can be displayed by the unit to showcase their significant contribution to the security and stability of Afghanistan. Photo by Master Corporal Melanie Ferguson (Canadian Forces Public Affairs).

The presentation was followed by a full unit parade on Saturday, 10 January 2015. The reviewing officer was the commander of 41 Canadian Brigade Group, Colonel John Conrad. Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, Member of Parliament Joan Crockatt, and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi were also in attendance and addressed the parade. Photos and further details will be made available as they are provided to the webmaster.

The award is a first for a reserve force infantry regiment and recognizes the unequalled contribution of The Calgary Highlanders in the War in Afghanistan. During the submission for Battle Honours, which required the unit to have contributed 20% of its strength to overseas missions to qualify for the Theatre Honour "Afghanistan", the regiment was found to have contributed more reservists for overseas missions than any other reserve unit in the Canadian Army. A total of 126 overseas tours were completed by 105 Calgary Highlanders. The citation for the CF Unit Commendation also recognized the unique relationship the unit maintained with civilian employers, permitting so many soldiers to perform military duty and return to their full-time vocations in the community. From the DND Backgrounder:

On May 9, 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the awarding of the theatre honour AFGHANISTAN to units from the Regular Force, as force employers, and from the Reserve, as force generators.

In order to receive the battle honour, a Reserve Unit had to have force generated at least 20% of their 2011 unit strength between 2001 and 2011. On average, the deserving Reserve Units generated 30% of their 2011 strength.

The Calgary Highlanders, however, generated a prolific 107% which was significantly more than any other Reserve Force unit in the Canadian Army. During the mission, The Calgary Highlanders deployed 126 soldiers out of a unit strength of 111 personnel.

Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Kyle Clapperton, CD, paid special tribute to past command teams with his remarks on both occasions, and the culture of training developed in the Regiment through the long years of the Afghanistan war. Several former commanding officers and Regimental Sergeants Major were present at the events, including Lieutenant-Colonel (ret.) S.E. Blakely, Lieutenant-Colonel R. Goebel, Lieutenant-Colonel M. Owens, Lieutenant-Colonel M. Vernon, Lieutenant-Colonel T. Manley, CWO K. Griffiths, CWO E. Kelly and CWO (ret) F. Walters.

From the citation:

From 2001 to 2011, the Calgary Highlanders demonstrated outstanding dedication and sustained commitment towards the war in Afghanistan. The leadership and deployment culture within the unit, along with a unique outreach effort with civilian employers, contributed to their success. The exceptional collective effort of the Regiment is a direct reflection of its operational focus and has contributed to the Army commitment to Afghanistan.  In so doing, the Calgary Highlanders has brought much credit to itself and the Canadian Armed Forces.

Details of the CF Unit Commendation may be found on this page of the website.


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