EDMONTON AIRBORNE SOCIAL CLUB

 

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WE HAD OUR JUMPS

WE HAD OUR FEARS

BUT THE BEST TIMES WE HAD

WERE THE EDMONTON YEARS

                                                                                             In the summer of 1977 the Canadian Airborne Regiment was relocated to Petawawa, Ontario. Today the spirit of one of Canada's finest Regiments is kept alive in Edmonton, Alberta, through the Airborne Social Club. Membership to date sits at approximately 200 and the club continues to grow. The Association consists mostly of former members of the Airborne Regiment, however, there is representation from the whole Airborne family including serving members of 3 PPCLI jump company. The Airborne Social Club is always looking for new members. If you are a former jumper from the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, 1st Special Service Force, the Mobile Striking Force, the Defense of Canada Force, Canadian Joint Air Training Centre, 28 Central Ordnance Depot, the Canadian Airborne Regiment, Canadian Forces Parachute Maintenance Depot,  Canadian Airborne Center and the present day Jump Companies you are invited to join the Airborne Social Club. All you have to do is print out the  Application Form and send it to the address given on the form.

 

DEDICATION OF THE EX COELIS MOUNTAIN RANGE

In 1994 the Alberta government named a mountain located in Banff National Park in the Rocky Mountains "Ex Coelis", in honour of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. On September 8, 2000, an engraved granite monument was unveiled by Her Honour Lois E. Hole, CM, the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, in the presence of over 300 people. The Canadian Parachute Centre in Trenton, Ontario supplied the Ex Coelis Mountain Climbing Team. These parachute instructors climbed and placed cairns on two of the peaks. The ceremony was a huge success because of the assistance given by serving military and Government of Alberta agencies. In addition, the Airborne Social Club of Edmonton, Alberta, who for the most part are retired members of the Canadian Airborne Regiment, played a key role in the dedication ceremonies.

On June 6, 2001, the very first D-Day ceremony was held at Siffleur Falls. The ceremony had a two fold objective; first to commemorate the founding unit of Canada's military Airborne tradition; the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and to present the newly-minted Canadian PeaceKeeping Service Medal to former members of the Canadian Airborne Regiment. To mark the occasion the Airborne Social Club assembled it's own team of Mountaineers who climbed Mount Normandy, erected a cairn and placed a time capsule for future generations.

GRIESBACH DEDICATION CEREMONY - CANADIAN AIRBORNE REGIMENT PLAZA

On September 10, 2006, Canada Lands and Land Force Western Area  celebrated Edmonton's association with the Canadian Airborne Regiment and Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry with the unveiling of a plaza at the west end of Patricia Lake.  This plaza is located on the  grounds of the former CFB Griesbach.

The following is Bill Dickson's, president of the Edmonton Airborne Social Club, account of what took place at the dedication ceremony:

Like so many other times in our recent military history, a very significant event gets "born in a storm"; and so it was for the Griesbach Dedication Ceremony for the Airborne and PPCLI in September. After a classic week of beautiful weather, the dedication site was subject to a deluge of H2O that cancelled our outside participation plans. What a pity. With over a year's planning and preparation gone into this event; led by a team from Canada Lands Corporation, the Airborne Social Club was invited to participate in the very important task of recommending

names for the avenues, streets, and a park in the development of the Stage 7 Area of the Village at Griesbach. This we did and through our committee were successful in supporting the presentation to the City of Edmonton Names Committee by Canada Lands, where all submitted names were subsequently accepted.

 Later a collation of photographs, documents and reference material was amassed from various sources across the country. These were then passed to Canada Lands for IBI Group in Calgary to draft write-ups for the plaques, picture boards and street signs. To their credit, few revisions or corrections were required. With this now accomplished and after a year of meetings, planning sessions, site visits and program development invitations were sent out to the Airborne community at large. The response was gratifying and significant with the attendance of many veterans from out-of-town; members of 1 Canadian Parachute Bn and all the organizations followed up to ex-members of the Canadian Airborne Regiment. Of course many could be acknowledged here but these are a few that travelled from afar and deserve mention. MGen (Ret'd) Herb Pitts, Jan deVries, Bob Firlotte, Walt Romanow, Jim McGarry, Niel Gow, Ollie Oleksyn, Danny Sequin, Gus Thullier and a host of others.

With rain delays in effect, we went outside, inside, outside and finally held the ceremony in the "big tent". As luck would have it, once we were nestled inside, the sun came out and everything was dry by the time all the formalities were finished. Regardless, it was a nice event. Speeches were made, the unveilings took place; the band played and with Niel Gow and Spot Norris doing their thing; as only they can do it. After the formalities, the social part of the program began with the viewing of the actual picture boards and plaques positioned around the Canadian Airborne Regiment Plaza. It was a great time for photo-ops and many took advantage of just that. Canada Lands outdid themselves by providing a great spread. Once the Canada Lands social wound down and we had our fill, most of us headed to the Moose Lodge (the old Griesbach WO's and Sgt's Mess) and finished a great day with continued Airborne comradeship.

I know I've said it before, but the Airborne Social Club can be proud of its input to this event. The contribution to enshrine the "Airborne" side of the military heritage between the Griesbach years and the City of Edmonton is now a permanent part of the Village of Griesbach and will stand for all to see and read for generations to come. I want to thank all who contributed to and participated in this project; without your support, we might not have accomplished what we did. I also want to thank everyone who attended the Dedication Ceremony on the 10th September, members, veterans and wives. Aside from the significance of the event, your presence did help turn the event into a mini reunion! Well done everyone!

   

Col Rochester Street sign leads the way to the Airborne Plaza

MGen Pitts salutes during the opening ceremony

 

Ollie Oleksyn / Danny Sequin- the years have been kind

 

Old comrades enjoy a laugh together

 

Jan deVries gives a prayer during the ceremony

 

Ms Felesley, Mayor Mandel and MGen Pitts unveil the Airborne Regiment Board

 

Walt Romanow, Col Patch and Jan deVries unveil the 1 Can Para Board

 

1 Can Para members, Walt Romanow, Jan deVries, Jim McGarry and Bob Firlotte present Bill Dickson with the 1 Can Para plaque in recognition of his efforts in keeping the Airborne Brotherhood alive

 

 

Former 1 Cdo members who served together in Cyprus 1974 when Berger/Perron died, gather around the monument dedicated in their memory. L-R, Herbie Martineau, Marty Clavette, Rick Leduc, Yves Cormier and Jacques Carrier

 

 

Direction sign to the Ex Coelis Mountain at Siffleur Falls in Banff National park