Saturday, July 21, 2007

Montreal bound

The members of Ceremonial Guard that belong to the Canadian Grenadier Guards are going to be parading at Champs de Mars in front of Montreal City Hall tomorrow at 5pm. All are welcomed to attend. Below is a copy of the message that the Lieutenant Colonel Commanding sent out about this parade.

Click the Link to get directions to the parade site:

Google Maps - Champs de Mars - Montreal

Good day all,

The Canadian Grenadier Guards cordially invite you to attend the Regiment’s annual Montreal Parade. An outstanding display of colour and military precision, the parade takes place on the Champ de Mars next to Montreal’s City Hall. Fresh from their summer duties at Ceremonial Guard in Ottawa, dressed in their world-renowned scarlet tunics and tall black bearskins, the soldiers will parade here in their home city for this one night only. See and hear the troops march upon the field accompanied by the stirring music of the Ceremonial Guard marching band. Admission is free and a reception at City Hall will follow the parade. Come watch the Canadian Grenadier Guards of Montreal as they parade in their own city for this special event, this Sunday July 22nd, 1645hrs at the Champ de Mars in Old Montreal. Simply contact the CGG recruiting office by July 20th at (514) 496-1984 ext. 235 for more information.


J.L. Shone
Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant Colonel Commanding

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Saying goodbye to Cpl Anderson

Saturday, 14 July 2007, Ceremonial Guard was asked to perform the funeral ceremony for Cpl Anderson, who died in an IED explosion on 04 July 2007 in Afghanistan. The pallbearers were from Cpl Anderson's home unit, 3PPCLI, and the escort and guard were from CG.

Meanwhile there were 2 other funerals on the 14th with another 3 to happen this week, to bury all 6 of the soldiers that died on that tragic day.

Military funerals are always a very emotional event. The ceremony, is full of tradition that while it can never bring back the dead, is the best way of to say good bye to a comrade in arms.

There are several elements that make up a military funeral. The first is the church service, the coffin draped in the National Flag, with the dead's bayonet, medals, and beret on top, gets marched into the church on the shoulders of member of his unit. Often there will be a bagpiper to pipe in the coffin, the guard will be there as an escort.

After the funeral service, comes the burial at the graveyard. Here the procession, composed of, the escort ( 20 soldiers and 1 Sergeant), the guard (12 soldiers and 1 Sergeant) with rifles reversed, the Funeral Commander, and then the pallbearers. Everyone salutes as the coffin is marched in on the shoulders of 8 of his unit members. During the ceremony, the guard fires 3 volleys, and rests on their arms. A trumpet plays last post, and the reveille, and the bagpipes play a lament. Near the end of the ceremony the coffin gets undressed, the flag folded and then the flag, medals, and beret get presented to the Mother or Widow. After the ceremony, everyone in their turn go to pay their final respects, the military members marching up to the coffin, halting and saluting.

Farewell Cpl Anderson

Monday, July 16, 2007

Norwegian Invasion

This past week we had some guests fro Norway come to visit. Hans Majestet Kongens Garde (HMKG) (lit., His Majesty The King's Guard) were in Ottawa, and they were part of the Changing the Guard Ceremony with us on 2 days. Their band accompanied our band during the inspections and the Drill Team performed their routine after we marched off. I would have enjoyed having them on parade with us, as I didn't get a chance to see their routine live since I was on parade both days that they marched up with us. These guys are really good, as good as the USMC Silent Drill Platoon, so they made us look bad, but they get 6 months of training to do their show, we only get 3 weeks, and they do exhibition drill, where we do Ceremonial Drill, it's slightly different. The biggest difference being their's is much more exciting, where ours is traditional and functional.

This is one of the better videos of them that I have found, hope you enjoy it.

This is an exert from the Montreal Gazette talking about their stay in Ottawa.

Norwegian Ambassador Tor Berntin Naess has scored a cultural coup. The ambassador, who confessed he finds it difficult to attract cultural groups from Norway to Ottawa, is playing host this week to 130 members of the King's Guard.

The group of predominantly 19-year-olds is in town after flying to Halifax to participate in the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo for the third straight year.

In Ottawa, they spent Monday visiting the Parliament Buildings, and yesterday they joined their Canadian counterparts to take part in changing the guard. Wednesday marked the first time a foreign contingent has been allowed to participate in changing the guard with the Ceremonial Guard on Parliament Hill.

The ambassador said the young men and women enjoyed their visit to Parliament and looked forward to participating in the changing of the guard. In addition, they performed last night at Ashbury College for a group of several hundred invited guests. Thursday, the ambassador hosted a party for them at his residence.

"Very seldom do we have something from Norway in Ottawa," Mr. Naess said. "Normally they want to go to New York and it's hard to get them to come here, too."

Mr. Naess said that although these soldiers have not seen combat, they have many friends who are in conflict zones -- including serving as part of Norway's contributions to the NATO efforts in Afghanistan -- and they may end up doing the same when their service with the King's Guard comes to an end. For its part, the King's Guard is responsible for protecting the royal family and holds ceremonial functions at peace time.

But travel is not uncommon. Its members have performed six times at the prestigious Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which takes place at the the entrance to Edinburgh Castle. The King's Guard has also made appearances outside Napoleon's tomb at Les Invalides in Paris, at the Grande Place in Brussels and at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Canada Day

(I wrote this on 02 Jul 07, but didn't get to post it till 05 Jul 07)

Yesterday, Ceremonial Guard posted guards on the National War Memorial, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa for the first time. This is something that most of the Guards seem very eager to do, as it is a huge honour, and even more visible than guarding the Governor General's residence. I personally can't wait until my first chance to participate in the guard at the tomb.

Canada Day for the Ceremonial Guard is a busy one, I believe that it is the single busiest tourist day in Ottawa. The detachment that was at the War Memorial is posting guards from 7am till 12am, which makes for a very long and busy day. Myself I was involved in the 2 other ceremonies that we had to perform today. The first was the normal Guard Mount at 10am, for this parade, I was one of the 2 Colour Escorts. Then at noon, we provided a 100 man guard for the arrival of the Governor General to the Canada Day festivities. Again I was part of the Colour Party, but for this parade, we had both Colours on parade, so that made me the centre person on parade, which made it easy for my father to pick me out on TV.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Medals, the HEGG, and Parades

Over the past 2 weeks, we've had 2 presentations of the Medal of Military Valour, they were both won for exceptional service in Afghanistan. It's quite an honour to work with these 2 modern heroes.

This past week, we've started the morning mounts, and my division has done fairly well, they need some more polish. On the 23rd we did the first mount, I was #1 Divison Commander, for me it was the best first mount that I've ever done. In years past there has either been divisions that would run into each other, or some catastrophic timing issues. But this year, it came off pretty well, far from perfect...

On the 25th, we did the HEGG inspection, it's always special doing a parade for the Governor General. After the parade, I got to meet the HEGG, in the Officers Mess of the Governor General's Foot Guards.

Now that parades have started, I've also started teaching 8 soldiers of my platoon, their Soldier's Qualification. This is their second military course, and their first one that is Army specific. They all started a few months ago with their BMQ (Basic military qualification) this is the first course all soldier, no matter what element, must complete. One they complete the SQ, they will go onto their trade course, for most that will be their Basic Infantry Qualification.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The End of Drill...

... well of intensive drill anyways. Tomorrow is the last day of intensive drill and then we do our first Guard Mount on Saturday.

Over the past 3 weeks, besides getting the worlds best "farmer's tan", I taught my division of 22 troops a lot about drill and the traditions of the military. It's not easy taking people that speak 2 different languages, I have both French and English speakers in my division, and teaching them all the fine points and details of drill. When doing drill I can be very worried about the smallest things, like where the hands are, is the thumb sticking out, or tucked in, are the feet at the proper angle, and many more small details. We teach them all the moves they need and then we teach them the Guard Mount format, but there is just too much information for them to master in the 3 weeks that we have to do it in. One of the hardest things, is getting people that have thought they knew how to do a particular movement, but they were doing the small things wrong, change the way they were doing things. A good example is standing at attention, it's one of the first things we learn as a soldier, but in order to make it look good we have to make suer everyone does the movement exactly the same. So we ensure that everyone pulls the weapon in as their leg comes up, because if left on their own, some will have the weapon forced in as the leg comes up, some as it comes down, and some in the middle. So it's had to break people of their habits, and introduce the new habits that we want them to have.

So over the 3 weeks, we taught, or re-taught them how to march, halt, stand at attention, stand at ease, stand easy, shoulder arms, order arms, fix bayonets, un-fix bayonets, present arms, change arms, do right and left forms, right and left turns, slow march, and perform double sentry drill.

So tommorrow, they will be doing drill for the first time in their full dress uniform, some of them will be a little suprised to find out how tight it is, and how much it will restrict their movements. And then on Saturday the next phas eof the summer will begin. I'm really hoping that it goes well.

Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Day 1 Ceremonial Guard 2007

Well the troops have hit the ground. I'm 1 Section Commander for 3 Platoon, and have 26 troops in my division. Not much going on today, just got the guys into their rooms, and introduced them to the staff. Tomorrow will be more interesting, as we are having the change of command parade for the Commanding Officer and the RSM.

Here's to hoping we have a great summer.