On April 9th, 2017, the 100th Anniversary of the launch of the Canadian Corps successful assault on Vimy Ridge, the Army Cadets of the Lower Mainland from units present at the attack gathered in Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery to remember and honour our fallen soldiers from the Great War from 1914-18 who are buried there. Almost 500 graves from veterans are present, many of whom succumbed to their wounds after being returned to Vancouver.
Supported by Mr Glen Hodges, the Executive Director of MV Cemetery, this is the third year that the Army Cadets have gathered to remember Vimy Day at the cemetery. Cadets numbering over 300 were present from the BCR, Seaforth, R West R, 39 SVC Bn, and 15 FD RCA, supported by a mixed band, including RCAF Air Cadet musicians, musicians from the 2381 BCR (Irish Fusiliers), Piper MAson Wilcox from 2290 BCR (101 DCOR), and a mini pipe band from POCO Seaforths. Ably supported by the CO of 39 SVC, who erected tentage for the guests at the Cenotaph and at the lunch area, and the staff of MV Cemetery, along with the Salvation Army WWII ‘Snack’ Truck Staff, St John’s Ambulance volunteers providing first aid, Her Honour Lt-Governor of BC, Judith Guichon, and Col Dave Awalt, Commander of 39 Canadian Brigade, were in attendance as VIPs, as well as Mayor Gregor Robertson from Vancouver, who read the proclamation appointing 9 April 2017 as Vimy Day in the City. Also in attendance were many senior officers, including HLCol Al De Genova from 15 FD, LCol Doug Evans BCR, HCol Bill Diamond from 39 CER, and Gayle Hawthorne and others from our BCR Association and BCR CO’s Committee.
The cadets led by the Vancouver Flag Party, and the Cadet Band under the command of Major Ken Whitney, were commanded overall by Cadet RSM Jalen Hall from 2290 BCR, with the RSM of 15 FD RCA as the Parade 2IC. On arrival at the Cenotaph and the main grave site, each cadet fell out and took post in front of a veteran’s headstone. Four 2290 BCR cadets in period costume carrying ceremonial drill Lee-Enfields manned the sentry posts at the Cenotaph. The MC for the service was our own Cam Cathcart, and ‘In Flanders Fields’ was ably read by Mr Christopher Gaze from ‘The Bard on the Beach’. The Lament and escort piper for Her Honour was MWO Ronstat from the POCO Seaforths.
Following an excellent parade and service, all the cadets and her Honour attended at MV’s Celebration Hall, where they were served lunch (Lisa’s famous vegetarian chili) by Roger & Louise Prouse, Linda Whitney, and volunteers from 2290 including Mrs Lisa Wroblowski and Dr Alastair Younger, our Sponsoring Committee Chair. We should not forget Maj Jim Barrett, CO 2290, who sits on the Vimy Committee with the Prouses, Cam Cathcart, Ken Whitney, and MWO Steve Kern, our parade marshal,and who writes all the parade orders and acts as the Vimy Parade Officer-in-Charge on the day of the Parade. Cadets and guests also had a unique opportunity to speak to Vimy Ridge in France via a wireless station which was set up on site. Our thanks and congratulations to all who attended and supported this event.