17th November 2014 Ottawa, Canada

We will remember them…

In a quiet corner of Ottawa by the junction of Sussex Avenue and Stanley Drive, there stands a fine memorial to the Canadian Officers loaned to Great Britain during the Second World War.

CANLOAN was an arrangement setup in 1943, under which Canada loaned 623 infantry and 50 Ordnance officers to the British Army Regiments. These junior officers led British infantry units in some of the fiercest fighting during the D-Day landings and the war in Europe or were involved in managing complex logistical challenges.

Throughout the campaign they suffered 75% casualties: 128 were killed or died of wounds, 310 were wounded and 27 were captured. They won a number of bravery medals, most notably 41 military crosses, one with bar.

The ‘CANLOANS’ came from all over Canada. Only a few knew each other but by the end of the war, they had formed a strong bond and created the CANLOAN Association.

The British High Commission and in particular the defence section has had a long standing connection with the CANLOAN Association over the years, recognising the huge debt that Britain owed to Canada. There is a tree dedicated to the CANLOANS on the grounds of the British High Commissioner’s residence Earnscliffe.

This year on 11 November I was honoured to participate in a ceremony with CANLOAN Association President Mr Archie Street, one of the very few remaining survivors at 94 years of age, and his son Rick. The ceremony was well-attended by many relatives and descendants of CANLOAN members, current British Exchange Officers (from all 3 Services) and staff from the British defence and the high commission.

CANLOAN Association President Mr Archie Street

During the touching ceremony, Captain David Rosser, representing the British Regiments, and Mr Street, representing the CANLOAN Association, each laid wreaths in memory of those brave Canadians lost in defence of the United Kingdom.

As the morning chill began to set in, we sought refuge at the historic Earnscliffe, official residence of the British High Commissioner where my heart was warmed by tales of gallantry over a curry lunch.

There are many reminders of the close and enduring relationship between our two countries, but I find myself drawn to this memorial in particular. As a veteran myself with personal connections in both the UK and Canada, the story and legacy of CANLOANS speaks to me and represents not only the values that I hold dear, but also those that are so intimately shared between our two great nations.

4 comments on “We will remember them…

  1. My dad was one of the wounded, Peter Pearce. He stayed in Scotland, married my Mum in Beauly, Scotland, had five children and ran a successful trucking company.

  2. I am so proud of my grandfather and all the other veterans of war. They are a testament to true bravery and unselfishness. Their sacrifice shall never be forgotten.

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