Island family invited to Remembrance Day ceremonies in Belgium

Three generations of Macintosh family served in military

This Remembrance Day will be special for Duncan’s Rod Macintosh and his dad, Richard.

Richard, who lives in Comox, has been invited by his former regiment, the Calgary-based Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, to attend the ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War in Mons, Belgium, on Nov. 11.

Richard, who joined the regiment in the 1950s, was stationed in Germany 50 years ago and was a part of the parade that was also held in Mons at the time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

The armistice that ended the war was signed in Mons, which was liberated by Canadian troops.

It was also the site of the death of the last soldier from the British Empire killed in the war, Canadian George Price who died two minutes before the ceasefire went into effect at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918.

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Rod, who also served with the PPCLI in several overseas assignments during the 1980s and 1990s before settling in Duncan to work in real estate, has been invited to attend the ceremony on Nov. 11 by the regiment to assist his 85-year-old father.

Rod said the Macintosh family’s connections with the military and the PPCLI run deep, with his grandfather, McGregor Macintosh, serving with the regiment during the First World War, along with two of MacGregor’s brothers, one of whom died in battle and is buried close to Mons.

“My grandfather lost an arm while fighting in the trenches in April, 1916, and was sent back to Canada where he spent the rest of the war,” Rod said.

“When the Second World War started, MacGregor rejoined the regiment, despite only having one arm, and spent the war running a training depot in Calgary.”

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Rod himself is no stranger to conflict around the globe, having spent time as a peacekeeper in Cyprus as well as Rwanda shortly after the massacres there in the early 1990s that saw hundreds of thousands killed.

He said he and his dad are looking forward to attending the ceremony in Mons, where they will be part of a large delegation from Canada that will include veterans, cadets and government officials.

“After the ceremony, we’re going to rent a car and go visit the grave of my great uncle, who is buried close to the city,” he said.

“It will be my dad’s first visit to the grave in 50 years. We also intend to visit Hill 60 in Belgium, which is where my grandfather lost his arm. It will be an honour to be a representative from Canada at the ceremony, and to see many of the historic sites from the First World War which are close to Mons.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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