Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

November 07, 2009 16:00 ET

Sappers Honoured With Rededication Ceremony

CHILLIWACK, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 7, 2009) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Member of Parliament Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, and Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada, and Major-General Daniel Benjamin, Canadian Forces Chief Military Engineer, today rededicated a memorial to all military engineers who have laid down their lives for their country.

The All Sappers Memorial recognizes the sacrifices of military engineers, known as sappers, in both peacetime and in war. There are four inscriptions on the memorial, including the one that conveys the essential spirit of all of them: "In Memory of All Sappers of the Empire who have given their lives in the Service of Their Country."

"Military engineers are present everywhere the Canadian Forces go; building defence infrastructure, roads and waterways, and disarming IEDs" said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway. "The All Sappers Memorial is a truly fitting memorial that recognized the work, dedication and sacrifices of Canada's military engineers."

"The work of Canada's military engineers in the spring flood of 1948 is the stuff of legend" said the Honourable Chuck Strahl. "It is only natural that our community would want to recognize their heroism and sacrifice by rededicating the All Sappers Memorial."

Lieutenant-Colonel Coulson Norman Mitchell, VC, MC, RCE, Commander of Camp Chilliwack at the time, oversaw the original design and the construction of the park. The monument, which was originally unveiled by the Governor General Sir Harold Alexander, Field Marshal the Earl Alexander of Tunis, on July 14, 1946, is made out of granite stone and weighs 42 tonnes. It was quarried by the Royal Canadian Engineers at nearby Harrison Lake, British Columbia, and transported to Chilliwack for cutting into the monument present today.

Canada Lands Company (CLC) Limited has been the custodian of the All Sappers Memorial since the closure of Canadian Forces Base Chilliwack in 1998. CLC has made a planned investment of close to $1-million to revitalize the memorial and enhance the surrounding grounds in preparation for the rededication. The site will be turned over to the City of Chilliwack to be maintained in perpetuity as the All Sappers Memorial Park.

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