STRATHCONA’S GO MARCHING IN
Lieutenant Jim Katsaras
7 April 2009
It’s the end of March, the time of the year that all Strathcona’s commemorate the Battle of Moreuil Wood. The celebration of the Battle of Moreuil Wood begins with a sports day, which this year was curling, followed by a mess dinner, a parade and an all ranks dinner and dance. This year was the 91st anniversary and the two day celebration went off without a hitch.
Curling day was an educational experience for most. Some learned how to play the game, while others actually curled. The choice of the sport was a good one as it got many soldiers involved in the day and for most, it was an introduction to a new sport. The winners of the event were Capt Evans, MWO Mainville, Cpl Dunker and Cpl Perdis, as they swept “HARD”, through their competitors, and finished the day undefeated.
The mess dinner this year for the officers was held at the Fairmont MacDonald Hotel. It was quite an impressive venue. After all, if it’s good enough for Beyonce then it probably has just a little bit of swagger. Well, after the superb feast, it obvious where the confidence was coming from. Dinner was followed by toasts and then it was time to mingle. The night was enjoyable and it was an honour to be a part of.
The next day was the Moreuil Wood parade. As the soldiers marched onto the parade square of the LTF building, the Royal Canadian Artillery band played traditional marching melodies. After a brief welcoming from the Master of Ceremonies Lt Timms, and subsequently the word of command of “Markers” given by the RSM, the parade was underway.
The vigil party in this year’s parade was manned by four Sergeants, Sgt Hiscock, Sgt Caufield, Sgt Bolger and Sgt Clarke. Their timing was impeccable as their rifles were lowered slowly to the ground in unity; a job well done. Unfortunately, “Stand Easy” did not apply to them while there was a brief pause in the ceremony.
As the Guidon was marched proudly across the parade square, all paid their respects. The Old Guard which is comprised of retired Strathconas were then ordered to fall in. As the MC mentioned to the audience, the Old Guard serves as a reminder that “Once a Strathcona, always a Strathcona”. All were asked to rise for the arrival of Comd 1 CMBG Col Corbould, Comd LFWA BGen Jorgensen, the Senior Serving Strathcona Col Hilton and the reviewing officer and Colonel of the Regiment, Col Roderick.
The following promotions were granted: Promoted to the rank of MCpl were MCpl Grant, and MCpl Whittal. Promoted to the rank of Lt was Lt Wiome. The last promotion of the parade was to the rank of Capt and was received by Capt Selberg. The following Commendations and Decorations were awarded: Capt Hayward was recognized for his hard work on Ex Noble Guerrier as he was presented with the Land Force Quebec Area and Joint Task Force (East) Commander’s Commendation. The Canadian Forces Decoration was presented to Tpr Rodden, Cpl Murray, Cpl Thayer, MCpl Brake, MCpl Bulmer, MCpl Bowden, MCpl Petca, Sgt Caufield, Capt Haywardand Capt Selberg. The Canadian Forces Decoration 1st Clasp was presented to Sgt Michaud, and WO Fox. The Fox Bugle is awarded to the Corporal serving in the Regiment who has demonstrated the highest standard of general proficiency in the collective opinions of the Commanding Officer, the Regimental Second-in-Command, the Regimental Sergeant-Major, the Squadron Commanders, and the Squadron Sergeant-Majors. This year the Fox Bugle was awarded to Cpl Eady. The Colonel of the Regiment Silver Stick is awarded to the Master Corporal in the Regiment who has achieved the highest standard of general proficiency in the collective opinions of the Commanding Officer, the Regimental Second-in-Command, the Regimental Sergeant-Major, the Squadron Commanders, and the Squadron Sergeant-Majors. This year the Silver Stick was presented to MCpl Levis. The Neatby Pace-Stick is awarded to the Warrant Officer who has achieved the highest standard of general proficiency in the collective opinions of the Commanding Officer, the Regimental Second-in-Command, the Regimental Sergeant-Major, the Squadron Commanders, and the Squadron Sergeant-Majors. This year the Neatby Pace-Stick was presented to WO Jones. The Hessin Memorial Sword is awarded to the subaltern officer who, in the judgement of his fellow officers, has displayed the highest qualities of leadership, integrity, and ability. This year the Hessin Memorial Sword was presented to Capt Beitz. Congratulations to All.
The parade came to a conclusion as the soldiers were dismissed. The commemoration was entertaining to watch and went quite smoothly. It was now reception time, as all Strathconas were treated to an “All you can eat” lunch buffet, and as usual, the Chief Cook Sgt Walsh out did himself. The last function that made up the Battle of Moreuil Wood celebration was the all ranks dinner and dance which was held at the Fantasyland Hotel. This was organized by the QM, Capt Evans. The choice of venue was a good one. Dinner was delicious and was followed by a draw for door prizes. The DJ then played an eclectic mixture of Rock and Roll and it was time to “Get down”! A well organized, fun night for all came to an end without incident.
With the 91st Anniversary of The Battle of Moreuil Wood complete, it is now time for the Regiment to get back to the numerous tasks at hand, and look forward to next year’s celebration.