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  • Writer's pictureMartin Zeilig

Cameron Highlanders Monument

The journey from the initial idea to the dedication ceremony of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada memorial and statue was quite a journey, according to Bob Vandewater.

Photo credit: Martin Zeilig, Voxair Photojournalist

Vandewater, a former Honorary Colonel of the Camerons and member of the advisory board as well as chair of the regiment’s foundation and senate, was one of the main speakers at the October 2 ceremony.

In attendance were approximately 150 civilians and military personnel, including Winnipeg Mayor Bowman and representatives from the Province of Manitoba. A reception was held at Minto Armoury afterwards.

Photo credit: Martin Zeilig, Voxair Photojournalist

Featuring two shiny blocks of black granite from India, the memorial details the regiment’s history in the First and Second World Wars as well as other theatres of action and during peacetime.

The bronze statue shows a WW1 soldier in full First World War gear, including the leather apron that was worn in the trenches. It is, of course, dedicated to the Highlanders who were killed or wounded during the two wars. Italian artist Guido Mariana, who is famous for his sculptures, created it.

Photo credit: Martin Zeilig, Voxair Photojournalist

The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada is a Primary Reserve infantry regiment of the Canadian Army. It is part of the 3rd Canadian Division 38 Canadian Brigade Group and is headquartered at the Minto Armoury in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is the oldest highland regiment in Western Canada.

Details of The 79th Cameron Highlanders of Canada were placed on active service on 6 August 1914 for local protection duties.

“The 79th Cameron Highlanders of Canada contributed one company to the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish), CEF (perpetuated by the Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s).

“On 1 September 1939, the Camerons were officially notified of the impending war. Within 17 days of being ordered to mobilize, the battalion was at full strength of 807 all ranks. This time the Camerons would not fight in their kilts as the regiment had 25 years earlier. A War Department directive issued in April 1940 made battledress the standard uniform for all units and the Highland regiments reluctantly surrendered their kilts for trousers.

“When the Reserves were tasked with raising a formed Rifle Company to augment 1 PPCLI on Operation Palladium Rotation 11 to Bosnia in 2002, the Camerons provided the Company second-in-command, Company Administration Officer, and eight other augmentees.

“Today the Camerons fulfill both military and ceremonial functions at home and abroad.”

“All the bills are paid and there’s a little money left over to pay for the celebration shortly at Minto Armouries,” said Mr. Vandewater, who noted that the total cost for the entire memorial was over $400,000 with the major donors being the City of Winnipeg, the Province of MB, and the Winnipeg Foundation.

“We are fortunate to have such strong supporters that envisioned this project and took that vision and turned it into a reality,” Lieutenant-Colonel Jon Baker, CO of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, said.

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