A few weeks ago, I received a package at work from an unknown sender.
Addressed personally to me, it piqued my interest immediately. With three stamps in the upper right hand corner, one of Superman, one of Tommy Douglas and the other of an insect, I had no clues as to what the contents could contain. I can barely make out the Canada Post stamp that reads the mail is from someone in Moose Jaw. It’s also not often we receive hard mail in the newsroom.
I opened the envelope and found a document with writing on it stating “For your readers.” So naturally, I have decided to share its contents. The paper, titled "History of The South Saskatchewan Regiment," read as follows, in typed font:
“The Regiment dates back to 1908, being connected with the 20th Border Horse, a mounted infantry regiment, with headquarters and one squadron in Manitoba and squadrons at Weyburn, Estevan and Carnduff in Saskatchewan.
“In 1915 the 152nd Battalion was allotted to the present regimental area of the South Saskatchewan Regiment, with headquarters at Weyburn. The unit embarked for overseas on 3rd October, 1916, and on reaching England was split up into reinforcements for the 4th, 5th, 28th and 102nd Battalions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The 152nd Battalion was allotted Battle Honours of “Arras, 1917,” and “Hill 70.”
“In 1920 The South Saskatchewan Regiment was formed with five active battalions, the 3rd at Weyburn and 5th at Estevan. In 1924 the 3rd Battalion became known as The Weyburn Regiment and the 5th as The Saskatchewan Border Regiment, with headquarters at Estevn and companies at Estevan, Carnduff, Lampman and Neptune. These two regiments were amalgamated on 15th December, 1936, to form The South Saskatchewan Regiment, with companies at Weyburn, Estevan, Assiniboia and Oxbow.
“During 1924-35 the Weyburn and Saskatchewan Border Regiments became affiliated with The Royal Warwickshire Regiment and The Border Regiment respectively. These affiliations still hold with the South Saskatchewan Regiment, whose regimental badge bears the antelope, wreath, cross and eight-pointed star of the two Imperial units.
“On 1st September, 1939, the Regiment began mobilization to full war strength. Training was carried on at Weyburn, Regina and Camp Shilo, and after moving to Toronto in October, the unit disembarked at a port in Scotland on Christmas Eve, 1940.
“Their Majesties the King and Queen inspected the Regiment in the spring of 1941, and in February, 1942, Lieutenant-General B.L. Montgomery, C.B., D.S.O., a former Commanding Officer of The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, officially visited the Battalion and was received at a special parade and luncheon.
“Training culminated in the raid on Dieppe on 19th August, 1942. Here the Regiment held the right flank and successfully formed a bridgehead. Some companies proceeded as far as two and a half miles inland and fought their way out again.
“The first Victoria Cross awarded to Canadians in World War II was awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel C. C. I. Merrit, the Commanding Officer of the Regiment, who is now a prisoner of war.”
I thought it was a timely moment to share the contents of the package, to which I couldn’t find the name of the sender. As this year comes to a close, it is a time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. The year 2013 is almost done and soon 2014 will begin. It’s a cycle we go through every year.
I love history. I find it very interesting. The past plays an important role in our present and future, just as those two time periods play an important role in the past and in each other. It all intermingles together, which is why I think we can’t lose sight of any of those three time zones. Our focus needs to be on the present with some thought to the future and a reflection on the past.
So, in my final column of 2013, here was a taste of the past. To my mystery sender, thank you for the document. I found it to be an interesting read.
To everyone, have a great rest of 2013 and stay safe.
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.