Nine banners unveiled at special ceremony

Nine new banners in Swift Current’s Honour Our Veterans Banner Program were unveiled on October 25.

An additional nine individuals have been saluted through Swift Current’s Honour Our Veterans Banner Program which recognizes military personnel who responded to the call of arms during either World War I or World War II.

The nine new banners join the inaugural seven individuals who were saluted during the first year of the banner program in 2016. All 16 banners are now displayed on light standards in Memorial Park, and they will remain in place until after Remembrance Day.

The Swift Current recognition is part of the national Veterans Banner Program which is designed to remember local veterans.

“You folks by sponsoring them have recognized Swift Current soldiers, sailors and air crew who served our nation’s needs, whether in battle or in preparation for,” explained Lloyd Begley, Director of the Swift Current Museum said during a banner unveiling on October 25.

With the first 16 banners now in place, Begley hopes the program continues to grow.

“The plan is to fill up the park and honour those soldiers from Swift Current who unselfishly did what they did for their country.”

Ironically, the struggle is finding photographs of those individuals from a century ago. He has the names of 30 Swift Current soldiers who died at Vimy Ridge in 1917, and he would make those banners if photographs of those soldiers can be found. Begley would appreciate receiving any older images plus the names of others who are veterans of Afghanistan, Korea and other conflicts who would also be eligible for recognition through the banner program.

Gordon Hartley was pleased to unveil a pair of new banners recognizing his father and his brothers during last Wednesday’s banner announcement ceremony.

Gordon Hartley was recognized during the first year of the banner program in 2016, so he was happy to honour the memory of two more family members.

“It’s important to us,” he admitted. “We have a lot of good memories of the two of them.”

His father served in World War I, and both he and his brother served during World War II.
He recalled that because of unusual circumstances, they never saw each other during their time overseas.

“Neither of us saw each other during the war. He was home once, and I was on my way to see him, but he got recalled back to his ship, so we passed,” he said of his older brother.

“I was on leave in England. He was in London. I got a telegram that he was there. By the time I got to London, he was back on his ship. So we never saw each other during the war.”

“I think it’s wonderful,” he said of the banner program. “I’m very proud.”

A list of veterans honoured with banners are:

Harry Hartley – World War II veteran who served in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve.

Henry Hartley – Served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 209th Battalion during World War I.

Andrew Hay – During World War I he served with the Army Infantry (49th Battalion) which shipped with the 209th Battalion.

Maurice Leavesley – He fought during the Second Boer War which raged from 1899 to 1902. He was killed in France in November 1914 during World War I, fighting with the First Battalion, Rifle Brigade of the British Army.

Peter Mather – He served with the D Company, South Saskatchewan Regiment during World War II.

Richard McCarthy – He fought in the army during the Second World War.

Norman McConnachie – He flew over 86 sorties with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. He was trained as a Wireless Operator and was first posted to RAF 70 Squadron based on the Suez Canal. He also served with three other squadrons and rose to the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

William Wiskar – He fought at Vimy Ridge during World War I and served as an Air Force mechanic during World War II.