Dear Fellow Guardsmen January 2015
From the President.
I recently spent time with fellow Guardsmen from the Atlantic Branch and I realize how lucky we all are as Canadians and as Guardsmen. Much of the time at the Atlantic Reunion was spent raving about the problems of the day here at home, but when all was said and done we agreed that, notwithstanding the “Fontanas” (?) of the day, we are damn well off here in Canada.
On the Regimental Family front, the warmth that overwhelmed me, and I am sure others, was palpable. Remembrances of our early years, especially extra piquet ‘crimes’ and other misadventures, brought tears of laughter to our eyes.
Leo McManus, aided so well by Terry Dexter, showed great leadership as we discussed the future of our “formal” Association structure. The deliberations were deep and thoughtful. In the end, members gave the National Executive the authority to proceed with responsible planning for the future.
The Regimental Family will not disappear, but will continue - in some form or other - until the last one of “ A Regiment Worthy of Its Hire “, like all good soldiers, “Fades away”.
To all my fellow Guardsmen and families, I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and are looking forward to 2015.
Ian Douglas, Black Bear.
As you will see from the “AGM Notes”, there are some major changes coming in the next four years. One of these is already in play - starting this year, the Newsletter will be coming out annually - until 31 December, 2018. After that, some other ‘Canada-wide’ form of a newsletter may continue.
John Barclay, editor
Our sincerest sympathies and condolences go out to the families, friends and comrades of the Guards Family members who have passed on since our last Newsletter.
Graham Ball, Pauline Bayne (wife of Gordon Bayne), David Adam Beyea, Doug Brooks, Matthew Joseph Brumsey, Michael William Cairns, Ronald Frederick “Ronnie” Dupe, Wilfred “Earl” Gay, Dorothy Marie Hann (wife of George Henry Hann), Shirley Anne “Shirl” Kennedy (wife of George Kennedy), Irene Frances Laycox (wife of Al Laycox), Vincent Ernest MacDonald, William “Sam” Magee (PTI), Shirley McQuaid (wife of Gerry McQuaid), Mervin George Olinik, Evaline Partito (wife of Joseph Partito), Jaqueline Thiessen (wife of Hank Thiessen), James “Jim” Ryan, Len Thomas, Gerald Vincent Venn, Dennis Weir.
“ For as brief as water falling will be death.” (Conrad Aiken)
NOTES FROM THE AGM
This year’s “ National” AGM was held in Oromocto on 17-19 October, in conjunction with the Atlantic Branch annual reunion. There were over 50 members present and several major decisions required. “Well Done!” to our fellow Guardsmen for the support they provided to the Executive and all the Regimental Family during the deliberations. (ed)
The President opened the meeting with thanks to the Atlantic Branch members and its Reunion Committee for the planning and hard work that had gone into organizing the weekend.
He reported that the surrender of the Letters Patent, issued on 18 June, 1987, as approved by the 2013 AGM, will likely receive approval by the end of 2014. The hard work was completed by Dave DeClerq and Al Johnston, and we have already changed our name back to the original “Canadian Guards Association”.
The President noted that there have been concerns about the long-term care of the Guards Collection in the CFB Petawawa Museum. He has had informal contact with the RCR Association executive which has assured him that the RCR is willing and able to provide oversight of our collection when the time comes. He reminded members that the Museum is administered as a Non-Public-Funds (NPF) activity and thus our Association has no say in its final disposition.
The President summarized the saga of the Regimental Silver, it’s 40-year journey from Petawawa through the RCR and finally winding up as NPF property of the GGFG in Ottawa. The GGFG agreed to let us sell some of the Sterling Silver flatware on the condition that all money raised goes to the GGFG Unit Fund.
Note: The ‘sale’ of the silver has been completed, with some 28 Guardsmen purchasing 57 sets of 10 or 7 pieces. The amount of
$ 5,820 will be presented to the GGFG in January. Thanks to LCol Frances Chilton-MacKay CD, of the GGFG, and Gerry Wharton for the initiative, the “Guards’ Silver Committee” for completing the project, and to the members who purchased the silver. (ed)
The Financial Report.
“The audited 2014 Financial Report shows the finances of the Association to be in reasonable shape. As of 31 August, 2014, the assets of the Association consisted of: cash in the bank - $11,303.35, and BMO GIC
Investments of $15,000.00, for a total of $ 26,303.35. As decided at the 2014 AGM, the National Association is no longer collecting membership dues, thus the cash assets will steadily decrease until reaching zero by 31 December, 2018.” Al Johnston, Secretary-Treasurer
Two important motions were approved unanimously a part of the business session.
1. “ That the Executive of the Canadian Guards Association be directed to plan for the dissolution of the Association and the cessation of Association activities and that the dissolution be effective no later than 31 December, 2018 - 2018 being the 65th anniversary year of the founding of the Regiment of Canadian Guards.”
2. “ That the National Association cease the collection of annual dues effective 31 August, 2014.”
Some of the issues raised during the discussions leading up to the motions included the following:
“Was it too early for such a drastic step?” It was considered that it was prudent for the Executive to have a clear mandate for dissolution, rather than just bumble along until there is no one left able and/or willing to keep it going.
“ Do the By-laws need amending?” Subsequent to the 2013 AGM, the By-laws were thoroughly reviewed and it was agreed that no changes were required.
“ Are there any plans for a final Reunion? “ It was suggested to the members that Petawawa could be the site of such an event in 2018 ( the Base was the Regiment’s Home Station). Jean Campbell advised that she would take it back to Petawawa Branch under advisement.
“ Do we have enough funds to last to 2018?” The Treasurer explained that at current expenditure levels and allowing for some higher prices, there would be sufficient funds to support the Activities of the Association until December, 2018.
“What will we do with any left-over funds?” This matter needs more research
and suggestions from members are encouraged. Whatever is decided will be put
to the Membership for approval.
In addition to these questions, in “Other Business”, the issue of a pro-rata
repayment of some portion of ‘Life” membership dues was discussed. In the end
the motion, “That members who have paid for a life membership during the last
nine years not be reimbursed”, was carried unanimously.
Board of Directors
The Nomination Committee advised that the entire current Board of Directors had agreed to stand for re-election. The members elected them all by acclamation. The Board members agreed to remain in their respective positions.
Ian Douglas -President, John Barclay - Vice-President, Al Johnston - Secretary-Treasurer, Dave DeClerq-Director, Terry Dexter - Atlantic, Ambrose Dwyer, Henry Campbell and Norm McBride (Museum)-Petawawa, JAS Haley - Guards net, Gerry Heffernan- webmaster, Percy Price - Guards Help, Howie Pierce - Director and Gerry Wharton - Past President and Museum.
Museum: Norm McBride reported that, up to mid-September, the Museum had over 2700 visitors and 42 tour groups, an increase from last year’s numbers. Of special note, Guardsman Winston A. Golden presented the Guard Collection with a DVD containing colour and B&W photos of the Guards. Those who viewed the pictures were so impressed with the quality and variety that they thought it should be shown to visitors. The Curator agreed that the DVD was of such good quality that a TV/DVD player was purchased and installed and now runs during visiting hours. A special “thank you” goes out to Guardsman “Goldie” Golden.
In a note from Kate Dixon, the Collection Manager at the Garrison Petawawa Military Museums, she stated, “I’d like to mention that I have had numerous visitors come up to me and tell me that they were part of the Canadian Guards.
I can see that there is a great amount of pride among Canadian Guards, and I appreciate hearing their stories and their visiting the museum. I look forward to working with and meeting members of the Association in the future.”
Membership: JAS Haley reported that there are 618 members currently held on the roll, of which approximately 20% are surviving spouses.
Guards Help: Percy Price reported that he continues to assist eight to ten members each month. He advised that he is active as a member of the “Advocacy and Liaison Group”, a part of the NATO Veteran Organization of Canada.
Newsletter - Since last AGM there have been three issues of the Newsletter, one of which was a special edition regarding the “Guards Silver” project.
Guardsnet - JAS Haley reported that the net continues to be active with over 400 addressees on file.
Website - Gerry Heffernan reported that the website is busy with over 3,000‘visits’ in August, most of which have been to the “bereavements” and “Comments” pages. The website is available worldwide so that visits are not always from members. The web “portal” is now owned by Rogers, with the next billing due in
October, 2014. (Note: the domain will be renewed for 5 years.)
Also, the Facebook page remains very active. It provides a place for members to view information and post their own input directly to the page, such as the photos of the Canadian Guards flag in Korea.
Between Guardsnet, website and face book, we appear to have a very efficient electronic communications network.
Petawawa/Pembroke Branch: The Branch continues to thrive with close to 100 people taking part in various activities. The June barbecue was a big success, and special thanks were issued to Norm McBride and his committee. The BBQ provided a relaxed atmosphere in which the members could discuss Association matters such as the future care of the Guards Museum Collection.
The Branch Annual Dinner Meeting was held on 6 December at the RCL Petawawa Branch 517. By all reports it was well attended, and the meeting decided that there would be no change in the Branch Executive. (ed)
Atlantic Branch: Terry Dexter thanked everyone for their continued support at the Atlantic annual Reunions. Membership stands at 105, which includes a number from Across Canada who have chosen to be members of the Atlantic Branch. “It was encouraging to have members join each year and that has helped make the Atlantic Branch a strong organization”.
In an open discussion, Ken Zinck ( with Ted MacDonald) noted that the Branch Patron, Colonel Milton Gregg, had passed away in May of 2014. He reminded the Branch of how much the Greggs, “were revered by all who knew them.” He went on to describe the dictionary definition of a Patron as being, “a person whose support or protection is solicited or acknowledged by the dedication of work.”
He stated that he and Ted had spoken to many long-serving members and all agreed that the one member who has been the glue to hold our Branch together for so many years, is Terry Dexter - ably assisted by his lovely wife Marion. The Motion, proposed by Ken Zinck and seconded by Ted MacDonald, that: “Terry Dexter be appointed Patron of the Canadian Guards Association, Atlantic Branch, effective 18 October, 2014”, was carried unanimously.
The Executive for the coming year is: President - Leo McManus, Past President - Terry Dexter, NB VP - Bob Christenson, NS VP - Don MacKinnon, Secretary/Treasurer - Marion Dexter, Web Master - Mary George, and Wellness - Marion Dexter.
The 2015 Atlantic Reunion will be held in Port Hawkesbury, NS, hosted by Rick & Mary George.
The 2016 Atlantic Reunion will be held in Woodstock, NB, hosted by Leo & Sheila McManus.
Our congratulations to Terry on his appointment as Branch Patron, and to the entire Atlantic Branch for their collective strength of purpose.
THE BAND REPORT
One of our Italian members, Carmelo Lombardo, (as far as I know, no relation to Guy Lombardo) served for 31 years in the Canadian Forces. He joined the Guards Band in 1964. After 4 years he was transferred to the RCR Band in London, Ontario. That Band was then moved to CFB Gagetown, where Carmelo served for another ten years. In 1980, he was posted to the Calgary PPCLI Band and in 1980 he moved to the RCN Stadacona Band in Halifax. He retired there in 1994.
He recalls an interesting experience on his first gig, in 1965, for the opening of the new Toronto City Hall. Due to an unforeseen delay, he was stranded and turned up 15 minutes late, in battledress. He goes on to say, “ At that time we traveled by bus in battledress, not civvies, and I didn’t bring any civvies with me thinking I had no need for them. I was fresh out of Depot Training. (Editor’s note: Band members were taught dress, drill and other soldierly duties at the Guards Depot in Petawawa.)
Carmelo says he tries to stay active and have fun, but no longer plays either instrument, clarinet or saxophone, which he played in the band(s). He still keeps in touch with other Guards Band members such as Brian Williams, Bob Micheaux, Ron McCallum and Jerry Klaasen.
Many thanks to Bob for his “Report” which he has faithfully submitted for nearly 15 years. I look forward to his next one. (due November 2015, Bob)
Marie MacDonald from Halifax: “ After returning from a fantastic weekend at the Atlantic Branch Reunion in Oromocto, I called on Mrs. Gregg, affectionately known as Norma. She likes to be kept up on the latest happenings and we discussed the weekend and memories of times gone by. Like everyone she is getting older, but she still can cut a mean rug on the dance floor!
I told her of the nomination and unanimously approved appointment of Terry Dexter as the next “Patron” of the Atlantic Branch. Milton Gregg, the much loved first Patron, left Terry with big shoes to fill, but we all thought he was very worthy of the role. Her comment was that Milton thought very highly of Terry and would certainly approve.
Norma will be 94 this coming January. She still lives in her own home, with three care-givers popping in at different times of the day. She has had a difficult year with the passing of her beloved husband and a child, but she is strong in spirit and heart and has a wonderful memory. For those who would like to keep in touch with her, the address is as follows: Norma Gregg, 7007 Fielding avenue, Halifax NS, B3L 2H1.”
John Hughes from Orillia:
“ I am sorry to see that so many of our Family have left us, but we will go on. I was speaking to Ian Douglas on that subject at the summer barbecue in Petawawa. I recently received a letter from the Beechwood Cemetery regarding the DND provision of a military presence at funerals in the National Military
Cemetery, and have passed it on to you for inclusion in the newsletter. I enjoy the
Newsletter, especially the good news.” For information, contact Manon Bourbeau or Michel Falardeau at: National Military Cemetery, 280 Beechwood Ave. PO Box 7025, Ottawa ON, K1L 8E2. Telephone 613-741-9530 and toll free at 1-866-990-9530. E-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org .
To Marie MacDonald, John Hughes, Gerry McQuaid, Melanie Ball, Terry Dexter ( Congratulations), Howie Pierce and JAS Haley in particular and all the other “usual suspects”, my thanks. John Barclay, editor.
We are nearing the end of this marvelous Association but not The Regimental Family. I believe it will be many years before the obituary of the “Regiment Worthy of its Hire” appears in any media. This newsletter will be continued, in some form or other, (by me, I hope) after the last issue in this format, in December, 2018. I offer you my thanks for your support, comments and correspondence over the past 20-plus years. It has been, and will continue to be, my pleasure to serve you as Newsletter editor, as long as my editor, my wife Barbara, puts up with my strangled grammar. John Barclay.
A MARI USQUE AD MARE
THE REGIMENT THAT WOULD NOT DIE
By Strome Galloway, edited by John Barclay
It was well over 50 years ago that they last paraded as Guardsmen, on a hot day in July, 1970. At midnight on the 5th of July that year, The Regiment was reduced to nil strength and by midday on the 6th, the remaining members of the Canadian Guards had received their marching orders to their new units in the Canadian Forces.
Why are there over 600 of us, Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks, Guardsmen all, keeping the spirit of The Regiment alive? That question is answered in the prologue to the Regimental History, in the excerpt below.
“We had something once - we have something now. The current serving members of the Armed Forces don’t know what we’re talking about, and that’s too bad. Civilians could not, and will never know. “It” was a spirit, a presence, a sense of being, of belonging; of being one with a select group, of being a Guardsman. It was not something one bragged about nor did one have to prove it to anyone.
“It” did not come easily. We worked and worked hard! We were told that if we wanted to be ‘right of the line’ we would have to earn it and prove to others that we were deserving of the honour - and we did! “It” was a responsibility, a trust for all to look after each other irrespective of rank, human frailties, likes or dislikes. We looked after each other beyond the requirement that the profession of arms dictates. “It” was a sense of accomplishment, of achieving those things expected of us even when we didn’t think we could.”
Those of us who are proud to call ourselves “Guardsmen”, have held the Regimental Family together through the Canadian Guards Association. Established in the Fall of 1969, it held its first Annual General Meeting (AGM) in the Spring of 1970. RSM Jim Baird was elected President and assigned Assn No.1,
our Honorary Colonel, Roger Rowley, was assigned Assn No. 2. As they had throughout the life of the Regiment, the families of the members provided steadfast support, helping to organize and staff many of the celebrations, reunions and staffing Branch executives. Truly a Regimental Family.
Over 44 years of AGMs, we published a set of By-Laws (that guide us yet today); organized triennial National Reunions; established three branches, Picton, Petawawa/Pembroke and Atlantic; compiled Regimental artifacts and created the “Guards Collection” at the CFB Petawawa Military Museum; produced our Regimental History entitled “A Regiment Worthy of its Hire” (written by Bill Patterson and edited by Steve Brodsky); established a Canada-wide e-mail Guardsnet, an international Website, and this Newsletter. The Regiment’s 50th Anniversary celebration in both Ottawa and Petawawa was a huge success, as was the Ottawa gathering for the 50th Anniversary of the first Guard Mount on Parliament Hill. General ageing and, alas, deaths, have reduced our numbers - but not our enthusiasm. And so we have something today that no one can take from us, no matter what the demands - we can say,
“We are Guardsmen - A Mari Usque ad Mare.”