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Regimental Monuments of The Calgary Highlanders

Canadian Monuments

Regimental Monument - Mewata Armoury

The Regimental Monument resides in front of Mewata Armoury; dedicated in 1998, the monument takes the form of a Universal Carrier, of the type used by the Regiment in the Second World War, painted in the markings worn by the 1st Battalion from 1944-45.  A plaque dedicates the memorial to all soldiers of the the regiment and its predecessors who have "Served Canada in War and Peace."  Regimental Markings included a gold maple leaf on Royal Blue, indicating the 2nd Canadian Division, and a green square indicating the 5th Brigade, upon which was placed the Unit Sign "62" in white.

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Lieutenant Brian S. King, CD, Curator of the Regimental Museum, received permission from 41 Canadian Brigade Group to place a vehicle in front of Mewata Armoury, after discussions in the Museum in 1997.  This form of homage is common in other armouries and military bases across Canada.  Lieutenant King sought out collectors in order to obtain an appropriate vehicle, and negotiations with the Canadian War Museum yielded this fully restored carrier, from the collection of Jack Guthrie, a notable Calgary vehicle collector, now passed on.  The concrete pad for the carrier was donated by BURNCO and the plaque purchased by the Regimental Funds Foundation through a grant from the Royal Alberta United Services Institute.  The markings were researched and painted by Corporal Michael Dorosh, at that time a clerk with battalion headquarters.

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Memorial Plaque - Calgary City Hall

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Returning veterans of the 10th Battalion erected a plaque at City Hall (now known as the "Old City Hall" building) to commemorate the actions of that unit at Kitchener's Wood.  The plaque in its original form is shown above.  The annual St. Julien's services since before the Second World War have involved a wreath laying at this plaque.  The inscription reads:

APRIL 22nd

At the end of the Second World War, the plaque was amended to commemorate the service of the Calgary Highlanders in the Second World War.     Underneath a likeness of the Regimental Cap Badge is the inscription

LIVES IN THE WAR 1939 - 1945

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Russ Boyle Statue - Central Park

While not specifically dedicated to the regiment, the Boer War memorial in Calgary's Central Park does have a regimental connection.  The figure seated atop the horse depicts Russ Boyle, who later became the first combat commander of the Tenth Battalion, CEF.  Boyle was killed in the first action of the battalion, at Kitcheners' Wood during the fighting for St. Julien as part of the Second Battle of Ypres.   Lieutenant Colonel Boyle is specifically mentioned on the plaque at City Hall (above) but despite his likeness being used for this statue, his name does not appear on the monument, dedicated simply to those Albertans that fought in South Africa from 1899 - 1902.

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The statue also dispels the urban myth that suggests the number of feet an equestrian statue has in the air will tell you the fate of the rider.  Urban mythology would have one believe that a man depicted on a horse with one or more feet off the ground was killed in battle.  Lieutenant Colonel Boyle's horse has all four feet solidly on the ground.
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European Monuments

St. Julien

The memorial at right was erected in the 1990s by the St. Julien Elementary School.

In the last few years, the school children have visited the memorial on April 22nd to pay their respects to the men who participated in the action at Kitcheners' Wood.

Photo courtesy Principal Robert Missinne.

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Clair Tison

During the Regimental Centennial year, the people of Clair Tison held a ceremony on 6 June 2010 at which a sizeable contingent of Calgary Highlanders were able to participate, at which a monument was unveiled. Clair Tison had been the scene of a very successful action by the regiment on 12-13 August 1944, for which the Commanding Officer had been recognized by the award of the Distinguished Service Order.

Calgary Highlanders at Clair Tison 6 June 2010
Photo by Nancy Desilets
The plaque at Clair Tison
Photo by Nancy Desilets


As part of the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe) Day, Mr. Fokkens, Mayor of the City of Doetinchem, established a special celebrations committee chaired by Dr. Paul Bijkersma.  The doctor recommended that the City Park be renamed in honour of Lieutenant Colonel Mark Tennant and that a monument for the Calgary Highlanders who were killed in the fighting there be established, with funding from local and provinical corporations in the Netherlands.  The City Council approved.

Captain Mark Tennant had been severely wounded in the fighting to open the way to South Beveland in October 1944, but returned to the Calgary Highlanders to participate in the final weeks of fighting, distinguishing himself during the battle for Doetinchem where the Highlanders and Le Regiment de Maisonneuve both fought to clear the city between 1 and 3 April 1945.
Thus, as a measure of thanks on the fiftieth anniversary of Holland's liberation, the City of Doetinchem named the park "Mark Tennantplantsoen - Een Canadese bevrijder" - "Mark Tennant Park, A Canadian Liberator."    Trees in the park still contained shrapnel; mute evidence of the fighting that raged there in April 1945. tennantsmall.jpg (3594 bytes)
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The memorial at right, like the street sign above, was unveiled on 4 May 1995 in Doetinchem.  Mister Marco Gerritsen designed the stainless steel memorial, which was made by Rovasta in Bleiswijk, and installed by Mister Haan Bestrating.  Engraved on the face of the memorial are the names of nine fallen Highlanders, and the legend: "Greater love hath no man." 

A final touch to this tribute to the Calgary Highlanders was the planting of a Canadian maple tree next to the stainless steel memorial.

The memorial has been visited by Calgary Highlanders each year since the unveiling.

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Loon Plage, France.

Major (retired) William J. Riley - who during World War Two had served as an artillery Forward Observation Officer and attached to the Calgary Highlanders in action - paid for this bronze plaque.  The shoulder flash depicted on the plaque was worn from the early 1970s to the late 1980s, when the CF Uniform lacking shoulder straps was in use.

At right, Major Riley, MC, CD as he appeared in October 1944, in a photo taken in Antwerp.  During the fighting at Loon Plage on 8-9 September 1944, an enemy artillery observation post was spotted in the steeple of the local church.  Mark Tennant, at that time a Captain serving in Support Company, later reported using 23 rounds from a 6-pounder anti-tank gun to destroy the church tower.   Major Riley, attached to the Calgary Highlanders from the Royal Canadian Artillery as a Forward Observation Officer (FOO), later claimed that it was he who knocked down the church, using 25-pounder guns from his own unit.  On that occasion he selected the roof of an abandoned brewery for his own observation post.

In 1983, doing business with a nearby shipyard and noting that the church had been rebuilt, he arranged for the above plaque to be unveiled on 19 June.

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Groningen, The Netherlands

Memorial tablet at Groningen, The Netherlands.  As part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations of VE Day, the City of Groningen Council, like their counterparts in Doetinchem, wished to make a visible tribute to the Calgary Highlanders that fought for their liberation.  In conjunction with the 1945 Committee, the City Council elected to plant a forest on the eastern outskirts of Groningen.  The committee further decided that the Liberation Forest would have 13,000 trees - one to represent each member of the Second Canadian Infantry Division.  The trees were to be purchased, to pay for the planting and upkeep of the monument in the centre of the forest.  The Calgary Highlanders purchased 25 of the trees, and the memorial was unveiled on Dutch Remembrance Day - 4 May 1995.

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In the middle of the forest stands a Canadian Maple tree that had been planted in 1945, facing a stone table on which the names of all the units of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division are carved.  Like the memorial in Doetinchem, this tribute has been visited by Calgary Highlanders each year since its unveiling.

In June 2010, a contingent of Calgary Highlanders visited the monument as part of the Centennial Battlefield Pilgrimage.

Calgary Highlanders at Groningen in 2010.
Photo by Nancy Desilets

Walcheren Causeway, The Netherlands

In 1986, Lieutenant Colonel C. Forbes of Le Regiment de Maisonneuve attempted to raise funds for a monument on the west side of the Walcheren Causeway, where all three units of the 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade (Black Watch, Regiment de Maisonneuve, and Calgary Highlanders) had fought on 31 October - 1 November 1944.  The Dutch name for this terrain feature was the Sloe Dam.  Dutch Colonel Wilhelm Kasteleijn, an advisor to the Dutch Royal House, agreed to help with the project.

The Construction Contractors of the Provincial Government of Zeeland took over funding and installation of the monument.  A stone monument was donated by a Mr. Sandee, and French, English and Dutch text were engraved on the marker.  Mr Jan Den Hollander arranged for an unveiling ceremony and on 31 October 1987, His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of The Netherlands unveiled the monument.   Veterans of the battle represented all three regiments, and Defence Minister George Hees was also in attendance.  In October 1944 he had been a staff officer with no combat experience who nonetheless volunteered to go forward at Walcheren Causeway and lead one of the rifle companies when all of their own officers had been killed or injured.

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Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Murray Dennis, CD, Regimental Sergeant Major Bill Toews, CD and Pipe Major Robert Henderson all attended the unveiling.  Pipe Major Henderson was inspired by the event to compose a slow march entitled "The Sloedam", which has become the unofficial Slow Time March Past for The Calgary Highlanders.

The monument itself stands on the west side of the former causeway, where it touches Walcheren Island.  Other monuments nearby commemorate the first battle for the causeway fought 15-17 May 1940 by Dutch troops, and a small Scottish monument marking the efforts of troops of the 52nd (Lowland) Division who also fought at the Causeway in November 1944.  Students from Dutch schools on Walcheren Island itself now maintain the site and conduct services there on Dutch Rememberance Day every May.  Calgary Highlanders have visited the site annually since 1994.

Because of the ongoing ingenuity of the Dutch in reclaiming land from the sea, much of the area now lies above water and is unrecognizable as a serious obstacle to vehicle or foot movement, as it certainly was on 31 October 1944.

In early 2008, Dre Pompen of the Royal Netherlands Army took the following photos for Sergeant Denny Russell. The monument originally located at the west end of the causeway has been rearranged to accommodate construction, including rail and road work. The view east across the polder to the east end of the Sloedam was blocked by a new rail line, and so a raised viewpoint has been incorporated into the landscaping behind the monuments so that the Canadian start line can be seen. The Walcheren Liberation Committee is apparently still not happy with the layout and is asking the railway to make more changes, hoping that the Canadian and British memorials will not be overshadowed by the large French monument; they also hope that a map of the battle will be restored and repositioned. Photos below show (clockwise from upper left) a front and rear view of the French memorial; a memorial to the 52nd (Lowland) Division; a monument to the 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade; a view looking east toward the Canadian positions; and an overall view of the layout of all three memorial markers.

In June 2010, a contingent of Calgary Highlanders visited the monument as part of the Centennial Battlefield Pilgrimage.

Calgary Highlanders at Walcheren in 2010.
Photo by Nancy Desilets

Villers-les-Cagnicourt, France

In 2015, the regiment once again sent a contingent to Europe on a centennial battlefield pilgrimage, this time marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of St. Julien. A number of other regiments that perpetuated battalions of the C.E.F. took part in ceremonies with the regimental contingent. One of these events was a plaque dedication at Villers-les-Cagnicourt. The Calgary Highlanders dedicated a plaque to one of its two Victoria Cross recipients, Sergeant Arthur Knight, who was fatally wounded in fighting in the village on 2 September 1918 and died the next day. Descendants of Sergeant Knight, VC were on hand for the dedication.


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