Battlefield Tours: The Major is Going. Cadets Just Came Back!

The Major and Wife Sheila Embarking on WW11 Battlefield Tour

H25917  Danny McLeod aka “The Major” and wife Sheila will be departing Canada 25 April and due to return 10 May.

This will be the 14th and likely, the last formal Battlefield Tour of North West Europe, organized by Danny McLeod, celebrating the 65th Anniversary of VE Day.

There are still a few spots open – If you would like to join, contact DH Tour 2289 Fairview Street, Suite 313 Burlington ON 1-888-5973519 ASAP for details, while there is still room, or Call Danny McLeod 613-546-7045.   mcleod_61@sympatico.ca

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“It was at that moment that the headstone became a soldier, that the soldier became a Canadian, that the Canadian became a son, and that the son became an entire family.”

8th annual battlefield tour –  life changing experience for some…

By: 24700 Matthew J. Zelina (RMC 2010)

From February 20-28th , twenty-six third and fourth year cadets and nineteen faculty members journeyed to northern France and Belgium in order to take part in the 8th annual battlefield tour. Working up to the departure date, the cadets and faculty met every Wednesday evening, beginning in early January, in which study preparations were executed; group presentations were carried out by cadets on the specific battlefields they would be visiting. We visited the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Amiens, Ypres, Verrières Ridge, Dieppe, and Juno and Omaha Beach to name only a few. On each of these battlefields, all on the trip were fortunate to have the expertise of LCol (ret’d) Delaney, Maj (ret’d) Boire, and Prof. Hennessy narrate every facet of the operations we covered. As a participant, being able to speak only for myself, I can confidently acknowledge that this tour has altered and shaped my perspectives on soldiering, leadership, and our nation’s history.

It is a bizarre feeling to stand in a farmer’s field, a place of one man’s livelihood today, which was, only a short time ago, a pit of death, violence, and muted glory to hundreds of thousands of WWI and WWII soldiers. What makes this tour so intensely emotional and moving is the constant encounter with death. As a 4th year cadet here at RMC, I can walk through the memorial staircase and look at the faces and names of those who have given their lives in our nation’s service; however, after visiting the very place they were killed, and then paying my respects at their graves, I cannot help but feel a powerful connection with these soldiers that would otherwise be absent without confronting the reality of death and war on this tour. For the first time in my military career I understand what it means to ‘remember.’

Approaching one cemetery, I stared out into what appeared to be a blanket of gray reaching for the horizon. After walking closer, the stones slowly melted away from one another and they formed neat rows. I walked up to a single grave marker and knelled down to read the name:

W. Collins, Cpl.

Age 24. Royal Winnipeg Rifles.

Remembered always in death as in life.

Mum, Dad, Family, and your Princess.

It was at that moment that the headstone became a soldier, that the soldier became a Canadian, that the Canadian became a son, and that the son became an entire family. Then, after standing up, I looked out at the thousands of other soldiers, Canadians, sons, and families. It is overwhelming to realize the cost of war.

In other areas, the trip offered me practical lessons that I can use as an armoured officer; my ability to read and use the ground has greatly improved, as well as my grasp on defences and machine gun placements.

This is a tour that I can only describe as life changing. It ought to be the goal of every cadet at this college to be competitive enough to be selected for this tour and be offered the opportunity to learn about war, remembrance, this nation’s history, and the soldiers whose footsteps we walk in.

Their Names Liveth For Evermore

 

  1. Beaumont-Hamel memorial
  2. Cabaret cemetary
  3. Danger Tree at Beaumont Hamel
  4. Dieppe Beach
  5. Farbus Battery
  6. German Cemetery
  7. Headstone
  8. L’Arc de Triomphe
  9. Menin Gate Ypres
  10. Mother Canada- Vimy Ridge
  11. Notre Dame de Lorette-French cemetery
  12. Pegasus Bridge
  13. Puis Beach – Dieppe.
  14. St. Eloi
  15. Thiepval Memorial
  16. Tyne Cot cemetery
  17. Vimy Ridge Memorial
  18. Vimy Trench System

One Comment

  • 3584 Archie Beare

    March 14, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Thank you for the report and photos of the tour – an obviously moving experience for all who attended.

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