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Former Regimental Sergeants Major of The Calgary Highlanders

 

Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Tucker, MMM, CD

Chief Warrant Officer Chris Tucker served as RSM of The Calgary Highlanders from April 2014 to June 2017.

 

Chief Warrant Officer Robert Besse, CD

Chief Warrant Officer Bob Besse served as RSM of The Calgary Highlanders from the summer of 2011 to April 2014.

 

Chief Warrant Officer Emmett Kelly, CD

Chief Warrant Officer Emmett Kelly was born in Montreal, Quebec, where he attended public school and later Dawson College. During his college years, he joined the Primary Reserve as a rifleman in The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, enlisting in 1982. In 1985 he completed the Infantry Section Commanders Course at L’Ecole de Combat R22eR in addition to his training as an infantry communicator, basic machine gunner and basic parachutist. While with the Black Watch he advanced from the rank of Private to Warrant Officer, and served in all possible positions within the rifle company, including an extensive amount of time with the Reconnaissance Platoon. In 1990, Warrant Officer Kelly was employed as a Platoon Second in Command during Operation SALON, the Canadian Forces' response to the OKA Crisis, and was attached to 5ieme Regiment Artillerie Leger de Campagne. Warrant Officer Kelly left Montreal and transferred to Calgary in August of 1995 where he joined the Calgary Highlanders as a Platoon Warrant Officer.

From 1995 to 1999 WO Kelly filled all possible senior administrative roles in the rifle company in addition to tasking as a platoon commander in 1998. In 1999 he took a three year Class B position at the Western Area Training Centre, Wainwright, as the Training WO where he completed the QL7 Infantry course and was promoted to Master Warrant Officer in April of 2001. He assumed the position of HQ Company Sergeant Major for the Land Force Western Area Training Centre, Wainwright, during that time. MWO Kelly returned to the Calgary Highlanders in 2002 where he has been employed as the "A" Company CSM, HQ Company CSM and Quartermaster Senior Instructor. In January of 2008 MWO Kelly completed the CWO Qualification Course at the Canadian Defence Academy, St Jean Sur Richelieu, Quebec.

In civilian life CWO Kelly is the Operations Manager for a major construction management company. He is married with one son and two daughters. He was promoted to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer in August 2008 and relinquished the appointment in the summer of 2011 before travelling to Sierra Leone as sergeant major of Horton Academy, part of Operation SCULPTURE, the International Military Advisory Training Team.


Portrait by Miko Photography

Chief Warrant Officer Flint Walters, CD

CWO Walters was named Acting RSM as of March 2004, previously holding the position of CSM of "A" Company in 2003, and Quarter Master Senior Instructor in the 2003-2004 training year.  MWO Walters was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer and appointed to the position of RSM on 22 September 2004. His appointment ended in April 2008.

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Receiving the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal from His Worship, Al Duerr, Mayor of the City of Calgary, April 2001

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Chief Warrant Officer K Griffiths, MMM, CD
2002 - 2004

Kent Griffiths was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and joined the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada after three years in Army Cadets.  The future RSM graduated with a degree in Diesel Mechanic, and served a peacekeeping tour in Egypt as part of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF).   In civilian life, a downturn in the oil industry forced a relocation to Canada Customs, and a move to Calgary in 1980, along with a transfer to the Calgary Highlanders.   Kent Griffiths moved on to work various duties with customs, including Customs Inspector at the Airport, Land border and Marine, Postal and in Commercial Operations.   He has also worked as Strategic Export Control/Counter Terrorism officer, and as a Drug Dog Handler.  His current duties are as a Client Services Officer.

In military life, Chief Warrant Officer Griffiths has qualified as Mortarman, Anti-Tank Gunner, Driver, Communicator, Machine Gunner, Intelligence Operator, Military Policeman, Harassment Advisor, First-Aid Instructor, and Paratrooper.  He has held the majority of warrant officer appointments in the unit, including Drum Major, and as a sergeant was one of the Colour Escorts for the Presentation of Queen's Colour in 1990. 

RSM Griffiths has been honoured with the Head of the Public Service award - the highest honour possible for a public servant.  He also holds the Regimental award of the Clan of the Gallant Canadians in the rank of Chieftain.

In March 2004 he took up the appointment as Acting Brigade RSM of 41 Canadian Brigade Group, encompassing all reserve units in the province of Alberta. In April, he was recogized by the Canadian Forces Ombudsman with the Commendation for Ethics of the Ombudsman for National Defence and Canadian Forces. He later was appointed Reserve Army Sergeant Major, the highest non-commissioned appointment possible in the Militia.

In 2007, he was admitted to the Order of Military Merit in the rank of Member, backdated to September 2006.


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Chief Warrant Officer Byron E. Fletcher, CD
May 2000 - 2002

Byron E Fletcher was born in Canterbury, New Brunswick in 1951.  In 1969 he joined 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and travelled extensively, including NATO postings to Germany and Norway and several United Nations peacekeeping tours to Cyprus and Croatia.  In 1995 he came to the Calgary Highlanders as a Sergeant and served in many positions until his eventual promotion to Chief Warrant Officer and appointment as Regimental Sergeant Major in May 2000.  He was succeeded as RSM by Kent Griffiths, who at that time was Quartermaster Senior Instructor of the regiment.  Fletcher has had two sons with his wife Carol.


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Chief Warrant Officer Russell A. Meades, CD
February 1997 - May 2000

Lieutenant-Colonel Russ Meades was born in the town of Abingdon in the Royal County of Berkshire, England in June 1962. On 25 July 1981, he joined the Territorial Army in London and in February 1982 he was posted to the 2nd Battalion the Wessex Regiment (Volunteers), a resident infantry unit of 5 Airborne Brigade (now 16 Air Assault Brigade). While with the British Army, LCol Meades served in France, Germany and Canada and on UN duty in Cyprus.

 Lieutenant-Colonel Meades' qualifications as a mountaineering instructor led him to his first trip to Canada in 1988 as a senior NCO to teach climbing to the British Army in Jasper, Alberta. Immigration and attachment to the Calgary Highlanders as a British soldier followed in 1990 and he enrolled in the CAF and the Calgary Highlanders as a Warrant Officer in January, 1991.


As a Calgary Highlander, LCol Meades served in the capacity of Training Warrant Officer, Platoon Warrant Officer, Company Sergeant-Major and Quarter Master Sergeant Instructor. He was appointed as Acting Regimental Sergeant Major in August 1996 and promoted to Chief Warrant Officer in February 1997.

At the completion of his tenure as RSM in May 2000, LCol Meades was commissioned from the ranks and promoted to Captain. He served for a year as a rifle platoon commander and was briefly the training officer, after which he commanded B, A, and HQ Companies. From 2004 to 2007, LCol Meades also served full-time commanding the Land Forces Western Area Training Standards detachment for Alberta.

In July 2007 LCol Meades was appointed as full-time Operations Officer for the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (4 CRPG), headquartered in Victoria, BC. He subsequently commanded 4 CRPG's 500-strong British Columbia Canadian Ranger Company and was promoted to Maj in February 2011 as 4 CRPG’s Deputy Commanding Officer. Between October 2011 and March 2012, LCol Meades commanded the Coalition Training Advisory Team for the Afghan National Army's NCO Training Brigade in Kabul on Op ATTENTION ROTO 0.

Lieutenant-Colonel Meades graduated from the Canadian Forces College Joint Command and Staff Programme in 2015, where he focused on Advanced Joint Warfighting. On June 26 2016, LCol Meades was promoted to his current rank and took command of the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group.


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RSM McCumber collection via Guy McCumber

Chief Warrant Officer Glen Disley, CD
24 June 1992 - 1996

Glen Disley came from a long line of military personalities; born in Picton, Ontario he was educated in Calgary, graduating from Viscount Bennett High School in 1968.  He held various jobs before joining the Calgary City Police in March 1978.  His career in the Highlanders began while still in High School, and by 1977 was a Master Warrant Officer.   The photo at left was taken in 1979.  His shift work with the Police conflicted with his reserve army schedule, and Disley left the Highlanders for the Supplementary reserve in 1980, returning to the unit again in February 1991.  Promotion to Chief Warrant Officer came in May 1992, and his appointment to RSM in June, in which capacity he served until his retirement from the Canadian Forces in 1996.


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Chief Warrant Officer William J. Donovan, CD
1988 - 1992

William J. (Bill) Donovan was born in Brockville, Ontario, and naturally enough joined the Brockville Rifles in July 1971.  After nearly two years in the Reserve Army, Donovan joined the Regular Force, training at Canadian Forces Base Cornwallis as well as CFB Calgary.  Promotion followed rapidly, to Corporal in 1976, Master Corporal in 1977 and Sergeant in 1981, the same year he joined the Calgary Highlanders.  As a reservist in the Highlanders, Donovan continued to progress in rank, to Warrant Officer in 1984 and Master Warrant Officer in 1987. 

His overseas service included Norway, Cyprus (UNFICYP), Egypt and Israel (UNEF), as well as serving in the US and the UK.  In addition to his Canadian parachutist wings, he also qualified for US Army parachute wings.  He performed the majority of duties and appointments available to an NCO in an infantry company, including rifleman, section second in command, section commander, fire controller (mortar platoon), platoon second in command, platoon commander, company quartermaster sergeant (CQMS), company sergeant major (CSM), and Ops and Training Sergeant, as well as a tour as Drum Major of the Regimental Pipes and Drums.

Promotion to Chief Warrant Officer followed in 1988 and appointment as Regimental Sergeant Major of the Calgary Highlanders.  After his term as RSM, promotion to Captain followed, and he served further as a company second in command and company commander before retiring in January 1998.  Captain Donovan worked for Xerox Canada Ltd., and had two children with his wife, Denise.



Chief Warrant Officer William Toews, MMM, CD
1985-1988

RSM Toews was the last serving Calgary Highlander with Canadian Army war service, having served with the PPCLI in Korea.  During the 1970s, Warrant Officer Toews served as Regular Support Training WO with the Calgary Highlanders; after leaving the Regular Force he joined the Regiment permanently and relinquished the RSM appointment only upon reaching mandatory retirement age.

 


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Chief Warrant Officer Martin McCumber, MMM, CD
1977 - 1985

McCumber was appointed to a second term as RSM in 1977, where he served until 1985, when he was once again made District RSM.  After retiring as District RSM in 1990, he went on to act as a cadet liason; in 1997 he retired but joined the Supplementary Ready Reserve and was attached to the 2137 (Calgary Highlanders) Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps.

RSM McCumber saw a great deal of growth in the Canadian Forces; during his first tour as RSM, American involvement in Vietnam was still very much affecting the way Canadians viewed their own military.  In 1973, at the end of this first tour, the unit had 45 soldiers in total and 3 band members.   Three years later, the unit had 120 on strength.  While in 1977 the Calgary Highlanders only had six warrant officers and sergeants, by 1985 it could boast 22.

In civilian life he worked at Eaton's for 20 years and from 1981 to his retirement in 1998 worked for Xerox as well as holding secretary-treasurer and president positions with his union at Xerox.

RSM McCumber passed away on 26 June 2003; in his career he had been recognized as a Member of the Order of Military Merit; membership in this order is limited to one-tenth of one percent of the total strength of the Canadian Forces and is awarded only to those who display exceptional qualities.   McCumber also had three clasps to his Canadian Forces Decoration, recognizing 42 years of long service and good conduct in the Canadian Forces.

RSM Martin McCumber, MMM, CD was survived by the youngest of his two sons, Guy, as well as his second wife, Helen.  His eldest son, Martin James William McCumber, who had served as an NCO in the Calgary Highlanders before moving to the Regular Force, tragically predeceased him in May 2003.



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Calgary Highlanders photo via RSM Flint Walters, CD

Chief Warrant Officer John W. McNeill, CD
1976-1977

John McNeill was born in 1941, joined the Young Soldiers in 1959 and became a Calgary Highlander in 1960.  He worked for the Fire Department in civilian life, earning the Exemplary Service Medal, and serving in the capacities of Training Officer, Public Information Officer, and Captain of No. 2 Fire Hall.  As a Calgary Highlander he progressed through the NCO ranks to become RSM and was also a qualified Canadian Forces parachutist.

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RSM McCumber collection via Guy McCumber


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Calgary Highlanders photo via RSM Flint Walters, CD

Chief Warrant Officer Gordon Malcolm, CD
1973-1976

Chief Warrant Officer Gordon Malcom joined the Calgary Highlanders in 1948 as a boy piper, and apart from service with Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in 1950-51, served the regiment continuously in every available NCO appointment.  He attempted to see service in Korea but when it was discovered he was only sixteen years old he was prevented from doing so.  He served a three year term as Regimental Sergeant Major.


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RSM McCumber collection via Guy McCumber

Chief Warrant Officer Martin McCumber, MMM, CD
October 1971 - July 1973

Martin Barry McCumber was born 30 January 1941 in Barrie, Ontario.  He joined the 1292 (Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)) Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps in 1954 and left in 1959 as a Cadet/Squadron Sergeant Major.   He joined the South Alberta Light Horse on 30 April 1957, and transferred to the King's Own Calgary Regiment in 1959, where he was promoted to Corporal.  In 1960, he was a Bombardier with the 59th Light Anti-Aircraft and served both as an artilleryman, and an infantryman when the unit reroled as infantry and being designated Lanark and Renfrew Scottish.  He was eventually made Sergeant, with transfer to the Calgary Highlanders coming in 1962.  By October 1971 he had risen through the warrant officer ranks and appointed RSM in October 1971 with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer.  McCumber went on to become District RSM, and would be appointed RSM of the Calgary Highlanders again in 1977 (see above).


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Calgary Highlanders photo via RSM Flint Walters, CD

Warrant Officer Class I AL Sanofsky, MMM, CD
1966-1971

Al Sanofsky was born in Calgary in 1921 and enlisted in the Canadian Active Service Force at Mewata Armouries on 6 September 1939, as a member of the First Division Ammunition Company, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps.  Too young to go overseas at that time, he had to wait until 1940 when he left from Camp Petawawa for the UK with a Nova Scotia unit.  He served in Europe until the end of the war, married his wife Jean in 1943, and was discharged in September 1945.  He joined the Calgary Fire Department on his return from overseas and rose to the rank of Lieutenant, then Captain.

Joining the Militia in 1946, he was a member of the Canadian contingent that travelled to the UK for the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  As a member of the RCASC, he was promoted to Warrant Officer Class I in 1957, and was the 22 Militia Group RSM from 1959 to 1964, when he transferred to the Calgary Highlanders.
 

As Regimental Sergeant Major, he played an important role in  many historic parades, such as the Trooping of the Colours at the Stampede Corral on 11 April 1965, and the presentation of colours at Currie Barracks on 25 May 1967.   He moved on to become Alberta Militia District RSM and, received the second clasp to his Canadian Forces Decoration in June 1973 (recognizing 22 years long service and good conduct), and was made a Member of the Order of Military Merit in 1975 at an investiture at Rideau Hall.   In civilian life, Sanofsky had made District Fire Chief and in 1979 was promoted to Division Chief.  By the time of his retirement on 1 November 1981, he had earned the Exemplary Service Medal and Clasp, recognizing 35 years of service with the Fire Department.  Al Sanofsky is now deceased.


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Calgary Highlanders photo via RSM Flint Walters, CD

Warrant Officer Class I David Boyer, CD
1960

David Boyer was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta in May of 1920.  In 1940 he joined the Edmonton Fusiliers, and volunteered for a newly formed unit known as the First Special Service Force, better known today as "The Devil's Brigade."  This unit was formed of both Canadian and American soldiers and was recognized as the most highly trained infantry unit of the Second World War, drawing its recruits from experienced and educated NCOs, the average rank was Sergeant.   After service with the FSSF he moved to the Loyal Edmonton Regiment, being wounded at Ortona, Italy.  He finished the war with the Loyal Edmontons, and joined the Calgary Highlanders in the early 1950s.  He retired as RSM of the regiment in the 1960s.  In civilian life, he worked at Great West Saddlery from 1946-59, then Stafford Foods until 1964 and finally Century Sales until 1985, in addition to 10 years as a professional boxer followed by refereeing.   Boyer had five children and 22 grandchildren by his first wife, who passed away in 1978; he had two grown children with his second wife whom he married in 1983. He passed away at Foothills Medical Centre on 7 December 2006, aged 86.


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Warrant Officer Class I R Down, CD
1956

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Warrant Officer Class I A Grey
1950

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Then Sergeant Bowen in Canada before the Regiment moved to the UK in 1940.

Warrant Officer Class I Vince Bowen
July 1944 - 1945 (First Battalion)

Vince Bowen came to Canada from his native England prior to World War Two.  In 1939, he was a Troop Sergeant in the 15th Alberta Light Horse, the regiment commanded by J. Fred Scott and from which many Calgary Highlanders were recruited in 1939.  He became Transport Sergeant of the 1st Battalion, Calgary Highlanders, and rose to the rank of Warrant Officer Class II, going to France in July 1944 with the battalion as a Company Sergeant Major.  When RSM Stanley was wounded, Bowen took over and remained in the position until the end of the war, returning to Calgary with the unit in late 1945.  He returned to Pincher Creek and died in the early 1970s.

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RSM Bowen at left, photographed with Lieutenant Colonel Dalt Heyland upon arrival in Canada from overseas in November 1945.


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Warrant Officer Class I EV Stanley
September 1939 - July 1944 (First Battalion)

EV Stanley was a native Englishman who served in the British Army in the First World War.  He enlisted in the Calgary Regiment (Tank) after moving to Canada, and by 1939 had reached the rank of Captain in that unit.   After the outbreak of war, he resigned his commission to serve as first RSM of the First Battalion, Calgary Highlanders.  He accompanied the unit to Shilo and then the UK in 1940, and in 1942 was Struck Off Strength as a result of a motorcycle accident - a very frequent occurence among Canadian soldiers in the United Kingdom.  He rejoined the battalion in late 1942, again as RSM, and remained in the position until the unit landed in Normandy where he was wounded.  Struck Off Strength again, he was sent to the UK and a holding unit.  He returned to Canada in 1945, and moved back to the UK to take up permanent residence in 1946.

RSM Stanley was regarded as a good RSM, firm but fair, and had the respect of the men under him.  The excellent performance of the battalion in Northwest Europe is credited in part to him for laying the foundations for an efficient unit.

Stanley died while on a pleasure cruise and was buried at sea.


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Warrant Officer Class I   J Heppel
1939

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Warrant Officer Class I McChesney
1936

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Warrant Officer Class I Duncan Mitchell, MM
1921

The records of the Canadian Expeditionary Force list a Duncan Mitchell enlisting in Calgary in July 1915.   Born in Perth, Scotland, Duncan Mitchell listed his birthdate as 27 April 1892 and his prewar trade as "Driver".  The final rank for Duncan Mitchell is listed as "Company Sergeant Major" and he is the only Duncan Mitchell listed as being from Calgary. 



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