Moreuil Wood 2006
By Lieutenant P.E. Leonard
While 18 inches of snow tried to derail the festivities of Moreuil Wood 2006, the event nevertheless was a complete success. The celebrations got off to a quick start with the Moreuil Wood Sports Day 2006 on 16 March. Now this is always a lively one, particularly when the Sarcee Room tries to gang up on the officers in the early morning hockey game. The Officers took the hockey game 5-0, but did not fare near as well the rest of the day, losing the broomball game to the Sarcee Room and the soccer and ball hockey games to members of the Track Pad (the ball hockey game was especially tight - a couple of members of the Mariner Room were given stiff introductions to the gym floor). In the end, though, it was the members of the Track Pad who took the day, winning, unlike the other messes, all of their games (humiliating their opponents, in fact, in a couples of those matches). Cpl Leaman accepted the award on behalf of the Track Pad and was good enough, even though he was certainly entitled, to not remind the rest of the Regiment how soundly beaten they had been.
The celebrations continued into Thursday night with the Warrant Officers’/Sergeants’ Mess Dinner and on Friday for the Officers’ Mess Dinner. It was during the Officer’s Mixed Mess Dinner that Colonel Hilton presented the Regiment with a painting commemorating the presentation of the Regiment with its current Guidon by the Honourable Lois Hole, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, in Edmonton on 18 May 2000. This was the last parade in which Colonel Hilton commanded the Regiment until his Change of Command parade in June of that year when he would passed the reins of the Regiment to Col Ellis. The painting can now be found hanging on the walls of the upper hallway of the Harvey Building.
On Saturday morning, with a blizzard in full swing, the Moreuil Wood parade went ahead. This year’s parade was attended by a host of visiting Strathconas and other members of the Armour Corps; the Colonel Commandant of the Armour Corps, Colonel Peter Hunter, and Armour Corps RSM, CWO Chris Kitching, were in attendance. Past Regimental members made on strong showing on the parade square as many retired Strathconas made their way from across the country to attend this year’s event. The parade was marked by Sgt Kellough’s dramatic account of the Battle of Moreuil Wood and the annual delivery of Regimental awards. Cpl Belisle won the newly created Fox Bugle Award awarded to the top Corporal in the Regiment and Sgt Sobczuk earned the Colonel of the Regiment’s Silver Stick for the top Master Corporal. This year’s winner of the Milroy Cross Belt was Sgt Dickson and WO Laughlin won the Neatby Pace Stick as the top Warrant Officer in the Regiment. Jennifer Gray, wife of Capt Darren Gray, who is currently serving his country and representing the Regiment in Afghanistan, accepted the Hessin Memorial Sword on his behalf as the top Subaltern in the Regiment.
Once the parade was dismissed, soldiers and their families made their way back to Regimental lines for a light lunch before making their way out to battle the snow to get back home. Later that night a great majority of the Regimental family made its way to Shänks for the annual All Ranks dinner and dance. The weather may have made it difficult for many of our fellow Strathconas to join us, however those who were able to get to the event had a great time and were very pleased to be able to share such an evening in the midst of the Regimental family. By the end of the night everyone made their way home, exhausted from three days of sports, parade and dinners, some a little worse for wear, but all happy to have been lucky enough to have shared with their fellow Strathconas and families another successful celebration and commemoration of the battle of Moreuil Wood.