Remembrance Day is tomorrow, a day when we reflect on the sacrifices made by everyone during conflict, peacekeeping and war.  Everyday men and women, taking up the call to arms, and sacrificing so much for their service.  Not all service personnel see combat, but they serve and are affected just the same, and for this I thank them.

My family has a long line of military history, service and sacrifice.  I would like to take this moment to remember and honour them, some making the ultimate sacrifice.


Most recently my cousin Cort Barker, served with the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), where he did two rotations peacekeeping in Bosnia and a tour in Afghanistan.  If you see him about, thank him for his service.

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Cort Barker – Bosnia
Cpl. C.C. Barker Afghanistan.jpg
Cort Barker – Afghanistan

My cousin Micheal McKoy British Army, serving and toured in Afghanistan

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Micheal McKoy – British Army

My Uncle Robert Clements served with the Royal Medical Corps, 19 Field Ambulance in the 70’s.

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Robert Clements  – Royal Medical Corps 1970

Both my Grandfather’s served in WWII.remembrance_day_header.jpg

My maternal Grandfather George R. Hartley (Sgt.) was the 3rd man in Saskatchewan to volunteer for war duty in 1939.  He signed up 3 days before Canada even declared war on Germany.  He served with the Saskatoon Light Infantry (M.G) from 1939 until disbandment near the end of 1945.Crest.jpg

Upon arriving in England, his regiment spent 1939-1941 on training and home defense, traveling up and down the British coast in defence of German attacks.  From 1941 – 43 they began and endured the Italian campaign, seeing action in Pachino, Sicily, Monte Cassino, Ortona, Hitler Line, Gothic Lien and Liri Valley to name a few. From the end of 1943 to 1945, they worked their way bach up north and into Norther France, and ultimately into Holland.  The SLI had a huge hand in liberating Rotterdam.  Finally then returning home to Canada in 1945. He spent s continuous years in war.

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Sgt. George R. Hartley 1943 – Italy
Pvt. George R. Hartley – 1941 England

My paternal Grandfather, David Clements served with the Suffolk Regiment in Ipswich, England.  Granddad Clements did not see combat action, but would have dealt with the fallout from the blitz and bombing of London.wlogosuf.jpg


David Clements – England

Many of my Great Uncles served in WWII as well.

James Andrew McWhirter 1943

Andy McWhirter with the Canadian Signal Corpse – D-Day Landing and France.

PFC Reginald Gustafson 1944

Private First Class Reginald Gustafson US Army – Battle of the Bulge – Purple Heart recipient.

Sgt. Jim Hannan – RCAF

Sgt. James (Jim) Hannan – Royal Canadian Air Force

PFC Floyd. R Chamney USMC – KIA Iwo Jima 1945

( Cousin) PFC Floyd R. Chamney,  born in Estevan, Saskatchewan Canada moved with his parents to Iowa, USA in the 1930’s. Floyd enlisted into the United States Marine Corps where he was killed in action 15 March 1945 on Iwo Jima.

My family in WWI.


My paternal Great-Grandfather LCpl. Syer John Ratcliffe of the Suffolk Regiment, went missing on the battlefield in Northern France. He spent 18 months as a Prisoner of War (1917-18) in Limburg POW Camp in Germany. His POW List Number was Y39034.

POW’s at Limburg Prison, Germany WWI

My Gr-Great Uncle Rifleman Tom Hartley of the King’s Own Liverpool Regiment, was killed in action 30th November 1917 at the Battle of Cambrai, in France.  This was a significant battle as it was the first time tanks had ever been used in war.  He is buried in France and in 2010 I had the honour of travelling to his place of burial.

Rifleman Tom Hartley – KIA Nov. 30, 1917 – Cambrai France
Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France.
Tom Hartley’s name inscription
Myself standing under Tom’s name.

There are numerous Chamney cousins that fought in WWI, I know one was gassed and killed at the 2nd Battle of Ypres, and another at Paschendale.

Some Chamney’s fought in the US Civil War, and the American Revolution (For The Crown).

I have traced some of my ancestors back to the 100 years war between England and France.

It is with humble fingers that I type up this small list of Remembrance and thanks for my family.  For their service and their sacrifice.

“In Flanders Fields” is a war poem in the form of a rondeau, written during the First World War by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. maxresdefault.jpg





Bringing a piece of history home to Estevan – 75 years in the making.

In 2016, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is commemorating Canada’s greatest contribution to the victory of Allied forces during the Second World War – the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) – which ran from 1939 to 1945.

2016 was selected to celebrate the five-year-long effort because the first Canadian squadrons that were established as a result of the Plan were formed in 1941 – 75 years ago.

These “400-series” squadrons continue to form the Royal Canadian Air Force of today; in essence, the RCAF as we know it came into existence 75 years ago as a direct result of the air training plan.

The 400-series squadrons were established because of a brief clause in the BCATP agreement known as “Article XV”: two vaguely worded but pivotal sentences in the history of the RCAF:

“The United Kingdom Government undertakes that pupils of Canada, Australia and New Zealand shall, after training is completed, be identified with their respective Dominions, either by the method of organizing Dominion units and formations or in some other way, such methods to be agreed upon with the respective Dominion Governments concerned. The United Kingdom Government will initiate inter-governmental discussions to this end.”

The agreement was signed on December 17, 1939, and training began in April 1940. Meanwhile, Canada and Great Britain entered negotiations to create at least 25 RCAF squadrons overseas, in addition to the three that had already been deployed. On January 7, 1941, representatives of the two nations signed a supplementary agreement governing the formation of the squadrons, which began coming into existence on March 1, 1941.

During the First World War, Canadians had flown as individual members of the British forces; a Canadian Air Force did not exist. This time, however, as a result of Article XV and the 1941 sub-agreement, Canadian aircrew overseas would fly in Canadian squadrons, under Canadian command.

The new squadrons were numbered from 400 to 4491. On March 1, 1941, the squadrons that were already overseas – 1, 110 and 112 – were renumbered as 401, 400 and 402 Squadrons, respectively. The first new squadron – 403 Squadron – was formed on March 1 and others soon began making their appearance.

Many of those squadrons, which began their service 75 years ago as a result of the BCATP, continue to fly – serving Canada and Canadians – to this day.

Source :Royal Canadian Air Force

One of these Service Training Flying Schools was located right here in Estevan, Saskatchewan.Estevan BCATP Aerial 8x10.jpg

Opened on 1 April 1942 near the city of Estevan by the Royal Air Force as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Relief landing fields were constructed near Shand, Outram and Chandler. The school closed 14 January 1944 due to the reduced need for pilots overseas.


SFTS Estevan No.38 served as a R.A.F. bomber trainer where they were trained on the AVRO ANSON Bombers.


Plans were made to convert the aerodrome into a RCAF Air Navigation School, but this never came to be. Instead No.201 Holding Unit was established at the aerodrome, later changed to No.204 Equipment Holding Unit. No.204 EHU closed on 30 November 1944.

The final chapter in the military history of the airport came with the founding of No. 4 Surplus Equipment Holding Unit on 1 April 1945, for the purpose of disposing of surplus RCAF war equipment. The unit closed on 1 December 1945 and the aerodrome was turned over to the City of Estevan for use as a municipal airport. The Estevan Flying Club was also formed at the airport.

In 1989, the former No. 38 SFTS aerodrome closed and the property was sold to the Saskatchewan Power Corporation for a coal mine. A new airport was built north of Estevan. Nothing remains of the aerodrome today.

As for the relief fields, the faint outline of the airfield at the former RCAF Detachment Outram is all that remains, you can see it on google maps.

As many of you who know me, know I am kind of a military buff, and operate and maintain a non-profit website dedicated to my Grandfather’s WWII regiment, The Saskatoon Light Infantry (M.G).

It has been about 10 years that I created the site, and as I have researched and learned more, I have shared my findings in hopes to keep a record of the regiment and those who belonged to it, and also create a place for family members to go and understand the part that their family member played in the war with the SLI.

About 8 years or so ago, I was searching EBay for Saskatoon Light Infantry related items, and military goodies in general, when I came across an auction from England for a WWII pendant from the RAF that said ESTEVAN.

Immediately knowing what it was, I put in my bid and waited for the auction to close.  I knew this was a piece of local history, and I felt compelled to bring it home.  I won the auction at 35 British Pounds (roughly $60.00 CAD at the time), and waited for my item to be shipped.

My pendant arrived, and I kept it with my other treasures wondering what I should do with it.  Long story short, I completely forgot I had it until just this summer, when The Canadian Forces Snowbirds came to the Estevan airport for an airshow, and in their brochure, I noticed that they had mentioned that this was the 75th anniversary of the BCATP, and suddenly I knew what to do with it.

After some research, most of which is featured above, I created a background poster and framed the RAF ESTEVAN pendant and donated it to the care of The Royal Canadian Legion Branch #60 here in Estevan.  It is on display in the lobby if you would like to get a better look at it.


This is a photo I found on-line from 1943 and it’s the Officer’s Mess at No. 38 SFTS, Estevan.  Here you can see plainly, two of the pendant’s hanging proudly on the wall.


This is the pendant pinned to the poster I created.  As you can see, it is the same pendant in the Mess Hall photo, and it is in excellent shape for being 75 years old.

I believe the pendant would have belonged and taken back to England with an RAF pilot who trained here as a souvenir.

I am very proud and honoured to be able to bring this historic, museum quality pendant back home to Estevan, and am awed a bit by how fate had me find it, bring it home and keep it safe so it could be displayed on it’s 75th anniversary. 20160909_120505_resized.jpg


Weekly Photo Challenge: LOOK UP

This week is all about taking a moment to check out what’s going on above you.


This is looking up at the Skydeck on the Willis Tower in Chicago, Illinois USA, where at the 103rd floor (or 1353 feet up) you can step out onto a sheet of glass and get an amazing view of the city.


Willis Tower is the premier corporate office building in Chicago, home to more than 100 companies including prominent law, insurance, transportation and financial services. The iconic building is the tallest in the Western Hemisphere, encompassing more than 4.5 million square feet, including its Skydeck and 103rd floor glass viewing platform.



Yes I did go out onto the Skydeck (in 2014), it was a little unnerving when there are 20 people on it, some jumping up and down…like who does that?  We are already tempting fate, why kick her in the teeth at the same time?

Anyways, if you like “LOOKING UP”, Chicago is a great city to do that in. Beautiful buildings and such a vast variety of architecture…loved every minute of it!

The Daily Post Photo Challenge – LOOK UP

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s theme : Partners

These two are Partners in all aspects.  

They are partners in crime, they bathe each other, they snuggle with each other, they “sing” (yowl and howl) together, they travel together, they comfort each other, they play with each other, they cower from the thunder together, and they protect each other.

 Oliver (in the wagon) is a 3-1/2 year old long haired Chihuahua (although he is sporting his summer doo), and Katie is an 8 year old, 90% American Miniature Eskimo, 10% Yorkshire Terrier (also in her summer doo).  Oliver joined the family when he was 18 months old, and they have been inseparable ever since.



The Daily Post Photo Challenge

My Blue Jay’s Long Weekend

Well it’s been a while since I slapped something up on “Ye Ole Blog”, so let’s put up some pics and fun from a train trip down to Minneapolis to watch some baseball.  The Blue jay’s took on the Twins for four consecutive games, of which I attended three.  The Jay’s ended up winning 3 of the 4 games.  The weather was perfect, the company was fab, the beer (and whiskey) was cold, the city friendly…couldn’t have had a better long weekend!

Game 1
We also did some exploration of Minneapolis itself, taking in some parks and the Stone Arch Bridge.

Merry Christmas!

Xmas 20152015 was a tough year, working in the Oil and Gas industry, but we made it!

My 2015 started with me turning the BIG 40 in February, where I promptly threw myself a kick ass party (well I hope it was, cause I sure don’t remember much of it!)

PicMonkey Collage

As always, I make my yearly trip to Calgary in April for the Calgary Expo – Comic and Entertainment Expo in which Friends and newlyweds Rob and Linda Beam came with me.  We hit the con, and also took a spin up to Banff and played in the mountains for a day.


Of course at the Expo I got my nerdle on an fangirled over cast members of The Walking Dead, Game Of Thrones, True Blood and Arrow.  Linda was loving on the boys from Beverly Hills 90210 and Rob was enjoying Neil Patrick Harris.  It was a fab weekend!

June saw me taking a trip to see one of my besties is Los Angeles.  I hadn’t seen Lara since she moved down there over 3 years ago.  I spent a week with her, where we stayed overnight on the Majestic Queen Mary in Long Beach, California….meeting up with a friend of Lara’s that I had befriended on Facebook Tanya, for some drinks (Nice to talk to you in person Tanya!).  We did some ship tours and an evening ghost walk which was totally awesome, except Lara T. got me drunk!  Bah!!

We went to Universal Studios, toured Hollywood, even saw the cast members of Magic Mike XXL as they were having their movie premier.  Had drinks in the historic Roosevelt Hotel and saw the room where the first ever Oscars were held back in 1921.  Went out to Santa Monica and Venice Beaches as well.  Had Cactus salad made by Seniora Pasada, Lara’s landlady from the cactus in her yard.

I did some wedding Djing over the summer, and was happy to Dj for three coworkers weddings.  The first wedding was for Jon Lewis and DeLee Lischka, that was out at their family farm, and was a fantastic time!

Second wedding was Kayla Malaryk and Brandon Frank.  Again another beautiful day…HOT day, but such a good time.



Concerts attended this year:  Bryan Adams, AC/DC, Ed Sheeran and Madonna!

Still being relegated to the “Kid’s table”!


Football games with friends!


Riding motorcycle with Oliver! (PS, He effing LOVES it!)


Halloween with Gnomes!


And finally just this December, Mexico for Doug and Tara’s wedding!  Spent a fun 5 days in the sun, booze, water and great company of friends, and shirt-tail relations…you know who you are!  Had supper on a pirate ship, swam with dolphins, lost my voice, went to the Coco Bongo night club, where I got to dance on stage (YIKES) and had an all around awesome time!

So this year of turning 40, I must say was awesome!

Merry  Christmas to you all!  Love and Peace to all my friends and family here in Canada, The United States, England, Northern Ireland, New Zealand and the UAE!  Thank you to all our service men and women, past and present who have to be away from their loved ones during the holidays.  Be safe, have fun and as always Don’t Drink And Drive!

Cheers to 2016!  Let’s hope it is a less turbulent year, a more prosperous, more tolerant year.

The light of the Christmas star to you

The warmth of a home and hearth to you

The cheer and good will of friends to you

The hope of a childlike heart to you

The joy of a thousand angels to you

The love of the Son and

God’s peace to you

– An old Irish blessing

Everything and anything