In This Issue


The Powder Horn


Volume 10 APRIL 2000 Issue 1

In early March 2000, The Honourable Arthur E. Eggleton, Minister of National Defence, announced the appointment of Colonel Paul F. Hughes as Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada.

Following short engagements in the RCAF (Auxiliary) and the RCNR, Colonel Hughes joined the 3rd Battalion of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada in Toronto as a rifleman in 1962. He was commissioned a year later and served with the 3rd Battalion for 15 years as Adjutant, Company Commander and Deputy Commanding Officer until 1977 when his civilian job took him to Calgary.

In Calgary, Colonel Hughes served with the Southern Alberta Militia District and Western Militia Area until 1982 when he was appointed Commanding Officer of the Calgary Highlanders. On termination of that appointment he assumed command of Southern Alberta Militia District until his transfer to the Supplementary Reserve in 1987.

Colonel Hughes continued to maintain a strong interest in the Militia with active

involvement with the Alberta Army Cadet League, The Queen's Own Rifles Association in Calgary, and the Regimental Trust Fund.

A graduate of Queen's University with a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Political Science, Colonel Hughes worked for a brief time at Bell Canada as a management trainee before joining Xerox Canada Limited as a marketing representative. He remained with Xerox for 30 years holding a variety of management positions in Toronto and Calgary until his retirement in 1991.

Colonel Hughes is now the VicePresident of Mark Staffing Solutions, Inc., a company founded by his wife Beverley and now jointly owned by them. Under their creative leadership, Mark Staffing Solutions has grown to a multi-million dollar operation employing 20 people. It has become one of the largest suppliers of staffing in Calgary.

In 1997, Mark Staffing Solutions was runner up as the Entrepreneurial Company of the year - a competition run by the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

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Regimental Band and Bugle Concert St. Paul's Church, Bloor Street West Friday, 28 April 2000

Don't miss this special musical program to mark the 140th anniversary of the Regiment. Led by Lt. Rita Arendz, Director of Music, the Band will provide you with a musical entertainment that you will long remember. Tickets are only $15.00 each and may be obtained from the Battalion Orderly Room by calling (416) 973-3281 or Lt. Rita Arendz at (416) 665-7596.

Regimental Birthday Parade
Moss Park Armoury
1530 hours, Saturday, 29 April 2000

Come and see the Battalion on parade under the command of LCol B.G. McEachern, Commanding Officer. Spectators are asked to be seated by 1515 hours. All members on parade will be resented with a specially minted 140th commemorative medallion.

140th Gala Rifles Dinner and Ball
Sheraton Centre, Queen Street West
1830 for 1930 hours
Saturday, 29 April 2000

A memorable evening is in store for all who attend this special event to mark the Regiment's 140th anniversary. The Guest of Honour will be The Honourable Arthur E. Eggleton, Minister of National Defence Those in attendance will receive the 140th commemorative medallion. Tickets are limited to 300 persons at $65.00 each or $125.00 per couple. You may reserve your seats by calling Battalion Headquarters at (416) 973-3281 or Captain H. McCabe at (905) 294-6859.


Although Victoria Branch only meets a few times each year, our membership list remains healthy. Our fearless leader at present is Harold Drinkwalter who succeeded Ira MacDonald as President. The latter has moved to the Maritimes after suffering the death of his wife.

Our big event in 2000 will be the Regimental Birthday Dinner in the Wardroom of HMCS Naden on the 29th of April. HMCS Naden now occupies a brand new building and everyone is looking forward to seeing the new facilities.

I had contact recently with two members who served with the 1st Battalion in the 1960s, namely, Ralph Lemphers and Rudy Schafer. Like many from that era, both of them retired recently after successful civilian careers. Ralph was originally from Ceylon and he used to take a bit of ribbing about elephants and such. This was all in good fun but it is now frowned upon in an age of political correctness. They now have time to reflect on their army days so if there are enough former Riflemen in the Edmonton area a periodic get together would be in order.

John M. Tolley
Branch Secretary

Regimental Lottery tickets to support the Holland 55th Liberation Trip are still available from Art Gay at (416) 3623946 or Captain H. McCabe at (905) 294-6859.

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Retired LGen Charles H. Belzile paid a visit to Calgary during the period 22-26 March 2000 during which time he visited the Museum of the Regiments and fulfilled several speaking engagements. Some of the "old sweats" were on hand to greet him. A special dinner in his honour had been arranged at the Mewata Officers' Mess on 25 March by Col Don Ethell under the banners of the Princess Patricias Canadian Light Infantry and The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada.

The Queen's Own Rifles display in the Museum of the Regiments now reposes in the 5th Gallery. It is a very attractive addition to other Southern Alberta regimental displays in the same area of the Museum. The two silver bugles acquired in England by Col and Mrs. Paul F. Hughes adorn either side of the Regimental silverene drum which forms the focus of the display Local members of the Regiment are extremely grateful to those who contributed a total of $5,800.00 to defray the costs of mounting the display. A photograph of the display will appear in a future edition of "The Rifleman."

Calgary Branch will celebrate the Regiment's 140th birthday on Saturday, 22 April at the Royal Canadian Legion Kensington Branch #264 starting at 1745 hours. The cost is $40.00 per couple plus an additional $5.00 for the annual membership fee. Those affiliated with the Regiment who wish to attend should contact Clay or Louise Hodder at (403) 249-4434.

Maj Doug Williams has spent much time and effort in putting together a book of anecdotes and amusing stories of incidents that actually occurred during the Regiment's service in Western Canada. He has made considerable progress but more input from former members of the Regiment is needed to make it a really outstanding publication. So sit down and put your pen to paper if you have any anecdotes relating to your service in the 1st or 2nd Battalions and/or the Regimental Depot. Ralph Ridley, 3448 Lane Crescent S.W., Calgary, AB T3E 5X2 will gladly accept your submissions for relay to Doug Williams.

Finally, Calgary Branch joins with many others in wishing LCol Jim Taylor a happy and healthy 80th birthday on 15 April. Should you wish to add your good wishes, his address is LCol J. Taylor, 20 Eagle View Way, Cochrane, AB TOL OW2.

Ralph E. Ridley


On the initiative of Col Paul Hughes a Regimental crest has been carved on one of the pews in the Royal Memorial Chapel in Sandhurst. This represents a unique event in the Regiment's history in that very few British and Commonwealth regiments have been so honoured. An official unveiling of the crest will take place next year when one or more senior Regimental officers will be free to travel to the United Kingdom to participate in the unveiling.


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The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada Trust Fund was established in 1959 for the express purpose of raising funds for "the efficiency, welfare and well-being of the Regiment" which at that time consisted of two Regular Force Battalions and the Militia Battalion in Toronto.

Today the Trust Fund continues to exist to provide dress uniforms and accoutrements for the Militia Battalion and the Regimental Band; to publish and distribute its annual journal called "The Rifleman" and periodic newsletters called "The Powder Horn"; to maintain and upgrade the Regimental Museum at Casa Loma; and to support other activities which are deemed by the Trustees to be of benefit to the Regiment as a whole.

To meet the costs of its programs and activities, the Trust Fund must raise a minimum of $20,000.00 annually. Most of its funds come from donations of Queen's Own Rifles veterans of World War II and former members of the Regular Force battalions. With the passing of years fewer and fewer veterans and former members of the Regular Force battalions remain, therefore it is incumbent on every member of the Regimental family to take up the slack and ensure that sufficient funds are raised to meet the Trust Fund's financial obligations.

Every recipient of "The Rifleman" and "The Powder Horn" is encouraged to make a donation to the Trust Fund to ensure the continuance of its programs which are essential to the welfare and well-being of the Regiment.


Under the Land Forces Reserve Restructuring Plan, Militia units that fail to pass an army viability evaluation are subject to disbandment or redesignation as combat support units.

The evaluations rate the unit's size, its soldiers' collective and individual skills, its ability to recruit and retain soldiers, its ability to balance its budget, and its ability to provide soldiers for military tasks and natural disasters.

Recently, DND released a report stating that as many as 41 of 139 Militia units across Canada have been classified as "nonviable". Among the historic Militia infantry regiments named as "nonviable" are the following:

1st Bn The Royal Newfoundland Regt.
Princess of Wales' Own Regiment
2 Irish Regiment of Canada
The Algonquin Regiment
Lake Superior Scottish Regiment
Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders
Royal Winnipeg Rifles
Royal Regina Rifles
Seaforth Highlanders of Canada
Canadian Scottish Regiment

Colonel The Honourable John Fraser, former Speaker of the House of Commons, has been tasked by the Minister of National Defence to head a Monitoring Committee on Reserve Restructuring. His Committee's recommendations will be crucial to the future of the Militia. The fate of our historic Militia infantry regiments as well as the future of the Reserves rests on the recommendations of the Committee.

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Captain Stanley C. Biggs, QC, LSM, had the honour of representing The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada on the pilgrimage of Normandy veterans during 2-13 June 1999. On return to Canada, Captain Biggs penned his thoughts of the trip, excerpts of which are given below.

" To return to several sites of battles fought 55 years ago was an emotional experience for me. With great respect and sadness, I remembered particularly 13 of my close comrades in the Regiment who did not survive, namely, Ken Arrell, George Bean, Bob Fleming, David Hazzard, Ken Macleod, David Owen, Tom Parkinson, David Philip, Jack Price, Gerry Rayner, Bob Sawyer, Bill Stewart and Bob Stewart. At the same time I solemnly reflected at each of the many cemetery services that there but for the Grace of God lie I.

The therapeutic value of a good story was never lost and there were many exchanged; some perhaps needed a little salting. In many cases if the stories were not so grim they were funny and even unbelievable. To take only one example, one morning in August I was ordered to recce an area south and east of the Regiment's front line to see if any of the enemy's frequent ambush plans had been established before the Regiment moved into the area. When I reported the enemy's position to LCol Steve Lett, he ordered my group to rejoin the Regiment. Racing back along a narrow country road, all of a sudden the nose of a German 88 gun mounted on a Panzer tank appeared at a bend in the road pointing right at us not more than 30 metres away. J.P. Moore (later the RSM), one of the best carrier drivers ever, was

my driver. I yelled to him "Up the spout". He said a "Hail Mary" or two, and with full throttle he drove straight at the tank. No shot was fired. A Typhoon aircraft had previously destroyed the tank and its crew. The tank just sat there silent and impotent. As we jogged right at the last moment and rushed past, the crew on each carrier in turn gave a thumb's nose derisive salute and our hearts stopped throbbing. Once more we gave praise and thanks to Typhoon planes. Moments like that one never forgets.

There were many interesting, challenging, varied and exciting episodes just before D-Day and during my 85 days of continued front line action in Normandy until I was wounded just before crossing the Seine on 30 August 1944.

There were 5 places in particular I hoped to re-visit - Juno Beach at Bernieres-sur Mer, Hill 80 (over 6 miles from the Beach), the town of Le Mesnil Patry where Jack Lake was seriously wounded, the Town Hall of Bretteville l'Orgueilleuse where I was ordered by Brigadier Blackadder to prosecute two soldiers for conduct unbecoming in a well-disciplined army, and finally Le Gros Theil, a village where my recce force was almost ambushed.

In conclusion, suffice it to say that the local Normandy friends of the Regiment, Mde Mary Bennett, Mayor Alexandre and Mr. Paul Paris and many others could not have been more helpful to me with respect to all five places and I am very grateful. "My" Town Hall as I remembered it is now boarded up."

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Editor's Note. Periodically, the Editor of "The Powder Horn" receives requests from the family or friends of deceased former members of the Regiment to have their names listed so that their military colleagues are made aware of their passing. Names of former members of the Regiment who died in the past year and whose families and friends requested the publication of their names are listed below.

DOWN, Keith. Queen's Own D-Day veteran of B Company.

EAGER, Frank Morley. Passed away 21 March 1999 in Mexico.

HASKIN, Al C. Passed away 29 November 1999 in Edmonton. Served with the 1st and 2nd Battalions, the Canadian Airborne Regiment and the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.

HORE, Norman. Queen's Own D-Day veteran. One of the four riflemen whose picture was taken on D-Day in front of the now-famous building on the beach at Bernieres-sur-Mer.

MURRAY, Alwyn W. Passed away 26 November 1999. One of four sons of John and Mamie Murray who served in World War II. Alwyn was badly wounded in action at Goch on 26 February 1945 losing the sight of his left eye. He was saved by CSM Charlie Martin whom he had the pleasure of seeing again during the Normandy Reunion in 1989.

TASCONA, Frank (MM). Queen's Own DDay veteran who passed away in

Barrie, Ontario on 1 March 2000. He was the President of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 4147 in Barrie at the time of his death.

TELLIER, Joseph Paul Omer. Passed away 22 April 1999 in Calgary.


Ms. Kim Mathieson, a military history buff whose family has a history of military service, recently visited the Toronto gravesites of Queen's Own Rifles casualties from the Fenian Raids of 1866 which she found in a deteriorating state due to neglect.

Of the nine riflemen who were killed or died of wounds, seven were buried in Toronto, one in Woodstock and one in Stamford (Welland).

In a letter to BGen D.A. Pryer, Honorary Colonel, Ms. Mathieson proposed that the Regiment locate the nine graves and mark each with a plaque identifying the occupant of the grave and the circumstances of their participation in the Fenian Raids.

This matter was brought before the Regimental Senate meeting of 25 March 2000 and there was unanimous agreement among the Regimental Senate members that Ms. Mathieson's proposal be accepted.

Efforts will be made to identify the location and identity of the gravesites and to bring them to a state of repair worthy of the Regiment.