Canadian soldiers who lost their lives while on duty in Canada in non-combat roles will be honoured by the Malahat branch of the Royal Canadian Legion on Oct. 21.
While Nov. 11 is Remembrance Day in Canada for all soldiers who died in combat, for the past several years, members of RCL Branch #134 have also been recognizing the deaths of more than 2,300 Canadian service personnel who died while serving on Canadian soil.
The tradition began in Oct., 2014, shortly after the deaths of servicemen Nathan Cirillo and Patrick Vincent.
Corporal Nathan Cirillo was shot in the back and killed on Oct. 22, 2014, as he stood ceremonial guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, while Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was murdered in a hit-and-run by an Islamic extremist in Quebec just 48 hours before the attack on Cirillo.
Wil Nash, president of the RCL’s Malahat branch, said a memorial service at the Cobble Hill Cenotaph will be held at 11 a.m. on Oct. 21, the closest Saturday to Oct. 22, to honour Cirillo, Vincent and the 2,354 other Canadian soldiers who died while serving in Canada.
Alistair MacGregor, MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, will be in attendance at the ceremony, as well as Kingsley Benjamin Buss, Duncan’s town crier, who will be playing a First World War bugle dated to 1917 and will be in full red-coat uniform.
Nash said the names of all the soldiers, which were provided by Veteran Affairs Canada, will be displayed in two volumes in the memorial box at the main entrance of the branch, located at 1625 Shawnigan Lake-Mill Bay Rd.
“We’re still looking for names that will be added to the book each year,” he said.
“Soldiers who pass away will be added into the book with dates as people give them to us. If you know of anyone we have missed, please contact the branch by email or regular mail to ensure the names of their loved ones who have given their lives while serving in Canada have been included.”
Nash said Legion member Bob Collins, a former member of the Queen’s Own in Winnipeg, and possibly other volunteers, are expected to again stand at attention overnight at the Cobble Hill Cenotaph to honour Cirillo, Vincent and the other soldiers.