As well as being a time of preparing for participation in the country’s first shooting war since Korea, 2005 was a year for commemorating the history of the LER. In late August a tour group of about 40 people, most of whom were serving members of the Regiment, visited the battlefields around Ortona, Italy, the scene of some of the hardest fighting for the LER during the Second World War. After joining Canada’s Ambassador to Italy, Robert Fowler, in the dedication of a plaque in Ortona’s main square commemorating the battle, the group visited the Moro River cemetery, where many of the LER dead lie along with their comrades from the 1st Canadian Division. They then went on to walk through the battle sites around the city; the Gully, Casa Berardi, San Leonardo, Cider Crossroads and the streets of Ortona itself. In mid-September the Regiment and other Edmonton-based Units took part in a ceremony for the unveiling of an equestrian statue of General Griesbach in the centre of the Garrison Woods Development on the former CFB Griesbach site.

In September of 2006, at a Change of Command parade, LCol Paul Bury handed over command of the Regiment to LCol Hans Brink.

Photo by: Master Corporal Jill Cooper, CFSU(O) Photo Services SU2007-00158-077 Copyright: DND.

 

Drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed, on Sunday, April 8, 2007 the Vimy contingent of the Canadian Forces paraded through the streets of Arras, France, exercising the just granted Freedom of the City of Arras. Led by The Loyal Edmonton Regiment's Maj. Eric Gilson, the contingent's soldiers – representing the 48 battalions of the four divisions of the Canadian Corps that fought in the Battle of Vimy Ridge on Easter Monday 9 April 1917 – are marching through a symbolic city gate.

In 2007 a contingent of soldiers from the LER joined a CF contingent of over 300 soldiers sailors and airmen, sent over to France to celebrate the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial. Major Eric Gilson, of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment, was selected as the Guard Commander. Every unit of the Canadian Corps was represented by their perpetuating Regiment in the Guard, the LER represented the 49th Battalion. Major Gilson led the Guard in the Sunset Ceremony, a Freedom of the City Parade in Arras, and the Dedication Ceremony at Vimy. He accompanied Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II while she inspected the 200 man guard.

Photo by: Master Corporal Jill Cooper, CFSU(O) Photo Services.SU2007-0155-18 Copyright DND.

 

La Chaudiere Military Cemetery, 7 April 2007. A regimental burial party carries the casket bearing Pte Peterson's to his final rest in La Chaudiere Military near Vimy.

As part of this Vimy 90th Anniversary celebration the LER conducted a full military funeral for a missing soldier, Private Herbert Peterson, of the 49th Battalion. Private Peterson was one of 17 soldiers who went missing after a night raid on 9-10 June 1917. His remains were discovered during a construction project in 2003 along with another member of the Regiment. Forensic and genealogy research led to the identification of the two soldiers. Private Peterson’s niece, Doreen Bargholtz and other family members were invited to join dignitaries such as General Rick Hillier, Chief of Defence Staff, MGen Andrew Leslie, Commander of the Army and the Colonel in Chief of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, The Right Honourable Adrienne Louise Clarkson PC CC CMM COM CD FRSC(hon) FRAIC(hon) FRCPSC (hon) at the funeral at La Chaudiere Cemetery just south of Vimy Ridge France. Gen Leslie congratulated LCol Hans Brink, the Commander of the Funeral Party, and the soldiers of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment for conducting an outstanding job at the funeral.

Photo by: Master Corporal Jill Cooper, CFSU(O) Photo Services/SU2007-0155-41.

 

Family seated with dignitaries standing behind during the graveside interment service.

In December, another contingent from the LER went to Europe, this time to the Netherlands. The village of Hoevelaken named a street in honour of Private Walter Strang of the LER who was killed in action near the village on 19 April, 1945. The CO, LCol Hans Brink, and several other serving members of the Regiment accompanied Walter Strang’s nephew, Ian Strang, and veterans Bill Teleske, Ken Froland and Maurice White to the unveiling.

In April, 2008, the Regiment celebrated the 100th anniversary of its origins in the 101st Battalion raised in 1908. During that event there was also a change of command ceremony with LCol Hans Brink handing over to LCol Mike Prendergast. LCol Prendergast spent the last half of 2008 in Khartoum, Sudan as part of UNMIS, the United Nations Mission in Sudan. He joined Captain Darby Whitebone, who had joined Operation Safari there in April. In November 2008, without returning home Captain Darby Whitebone deployed to the Darfur region of Sudan for a second peacekeeping tour, this one with UNAMID, the United Nations / African Union Mission in Darfur. Here he was employed as a Training Advisor to the African Union Forces on operations against the various rebel groups.

Photo by: Capt Darby Whitebone.

 

Darby Whitebone prepares for an aerial patrol, 29 May 2011.

In March 2011 Captain Whitebone returned for a third mission in Sudan. This time he deployed to Southern Sudan with UNMIS. This mission came to an end with the separation of South Sudan, becoming its own country. Captain Whitebone remained in Southern Sudan as a Military Observer and a Training Advisor to the Ethiopian Army with the newly formed UNISFA, the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei.

Photo by: Corporal Fraser Logan.

 

17 August 2009. The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, signs documents officially standing up the new Yellowknife Company, Army Reserve (C Company, The Loyal Edmonton Regiment.

The LER throughout its century of existence has had strong connections not just with the City of Edmonton but throughout northern Alberta. In 2009 that reach extended still further with the establishment of C Company in Yellowknife, NWT. The stand-up of the Company in August attracted a large and distinguished official party, including the Minister of National Defence, The Right Honourable Peter MacKay, the CDS and the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories. The formation of the Company marked the first time that a primary reserve Unit will be based north of 60.

In the early years of its second century The Loyal Edmonton Regiment was conducting operations at home and far away. In 2010 Master Warrant Officer Tim Turner was in Sierra Leone as part of an international team training peacekeeping forces for Darfur (Operation Sculpture). Several soldiers from the LER took part in providing security during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver (Operation PODIUM).

In February 2011 Capt Rob Gliddon, representing the CO (LCol Prendergast who was on pre-deployment training for Afghanistan), and RSM Keith Jacquard travelled to Hillingdon a suburb of London, U.K. for the unveiling of a blue plaque to commemorate Ceil J. Kinross V.C. The plaque was unveiled at the home where Ceil J. Kinross lived prior to immigrating to Lougheed, Alberta. The following month, March 2011, Maj Mike Fawcett, representing the CO who was still on pre-deployment training, and an LER Burial Party travelled to La Chaudiere Military Cemetery in Vimy, France to lay to rest Private Thomas Lawless whose body had been found with Private Peterson in 2003 but it had taken longer to identify his remains.

Photo by: Master Corporal Jill Cooper, CFSU(O) Photo Services/ SU2011-0268-015.

 

The relatives of Pte. Thomas Lawless receive the Canadian Flag, the pall for his casket, from the hands of Maj. Michael Fawcett, the burial party commander.

In February and March 2012 LCol Prendergast, after returning from Afghanistan in November 2011, deployed to Ghana and Kenya as Directing Staff for a Tactical Operations Staff Course and an Exercise Planning course which are sponsored by the Directorate of Military Training and Cooperation to provide training assistance for African Officers who may deploy on peacekeeping missions and would be working in UN HQs.

Now, as at any time during the past hundred years, the LER is one of the most well-trained and efficient reserve Units in the country. The Regiment maintains its long and proud tradition of readiness to serve Canada wherever it might be needed.

 

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