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Who’s that Soldier?

Sapper Jennifer Labrador, a reservist with the Canadian Military Engineers in Calgary, places a Canadian flag on the grave of a fallen soldier at a military cemetery in Calgary in this 2008 photo. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press).

As the Last Post Fund unfurls our new banner, many will be curious about the identity of the kneeling soldier. She is MCpl Jenny Labrador, and here’s what she had to say about that eloquent moment, so poignantly captured in this photo:

Today, MCpl Jenny Labrador is a qualified Combat Engineer and holds the rank of Master Corporal, with aspirations to become Sergeant qualified. MCpl Labrador occupies the position of HR Supervisor at the 39 Canadian Brigade Group HQ in Vancouver. In her off-hours she also volunteers as a Troop Warrant Officer within 39 Combat Engineer Regiment in North Vancouver. Outside of the military, Jenny is an HR professional. In addition to her military and career obligations, she still finds time to sing, play the piano, and to play in an all-women’s competitive flag football league. She is truly a multi-talented woman and a shining example of the bright young soldiers in today’s Canadian Armed Forces.

Last Post Fund is grateful to MCpl Jenny Labrador and to photographer Jeff McIntosh for allowing the use of her image. This image will be displayed on the Last Post Fund banner and kiosks, which are used as an essential support for our counselors and representatives attending events, providing key information about our programs and services.

Recent statistics on diversity in the Canadian Armed Forces

Major-General Edward Fitch (Ret'd) appointed Honourary Lieutenant-Colonel, 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group

Last Post Fund extends sincere congratulations to Major-General Edward Fitch (Retired) on his recent appointment as Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (4CRPG), a significant volunteer assignment.

Among the numerous accomplishments that have distinguished his military career, HLCol Fitch was instrumental in extending the 4th Canadian Rangers Patrol Group from British Columbia into Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba in the late 1990s through the early 2000s while he was Commander of Land Forces Western Area (now the 3rd Canadian Division).

The Canadian Rangers are a part of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Reserves working in remote, isolated and coastal regions of Canada. They act as the eyes and ears of the remote areas they cover, and provide an essential support to CAF national security and public safety operations within Canada. Their motto is ‘Vigilans,’ meaning ‘The Watchers.’

Last Post Fund wishes HLCol Fitch all the best in his new role! 






HLCol Edward Fitch (left) cuts the cake with Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Russ Meades and Corporal Tammy Storseth of the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group on the occasion of the Group's 77th anniversary on March 3, 2019

International Women’s Day 2019

Military Womens Day
Photo Credit: Publicity shot CWAC member taken October 30, 1943.
Canada Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada (Photographer unknown)

“Getting overseas was the ultimate for everyone – to get closer to the action… just the idea of the excitement and adventure of it all.”

As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, Last Post Fund honours the pioneering women who served as members of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps. The CWAC was established during the Second World War as a non-combatant branch of the Canadian Armed Forces with the purpose of relieving servicemen needed to join Canada’s expanding combat effort. 

The CWAC drew from pre-existing women’s organizations such as the Women’s Volunteer Reserve Corps, and was women’s first official integration into the Canadian armed forces. Although most CWAC’s (as they were popularly referred to) were ultimately assigned to roles traditional for women at that time – as secretaries, clerks, telephone operators, cooks and the like – others were able to train in disciplines not otherwise available to women, such as vehicle maintenance, ciphering and decoding. As they filled these essential military support positions, their male counterparts were “freed” to join the combat effort on the European front. 

In August 1946, Canadian authorities deemed women’s services no longer necessary in peacetime and disbanded the Canadian Women’s Army Corps as well as the women’s services in the Air Force and Navy. During the 5 years of its operations, 21,624 Canadian women had served in the CWAC.

These trailblazers led the way for Canadian women to later serve at sea, in army service battalions, field ambulance units, and in air squadrons. Today, Canadian women serve in global operations ranging from peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance, to stability and security and peace-enforcement operations.

More broadly, CWAC’s paved the way for society’s changing view of women as primarily home-makers to one in which women played an increasingly active role in civic life, including military service. We owe the brave women of the CWAC a debt of gratitude for their patriotism, their service to their country and their role in changing gender stereotypes at home and abroad. 

To learn more about the CWAC, read the Canadian War Museum’s Dispatch, The Canadian Women’s Army Corps 1941-1946

For more information on the modern role of servicewomen from the Canadian Dept. of National Defence, visit Women in the Canadian Armed Forces

Toronto Garrison Officers’ Ball

Toronto Garrison Officers’ Ball
On Saturday February 23 Tara Muia and Kelly Martin represented Last Post Fund at the Garrison Officers’ Ball held at the Sheraton Center in Toronto. As guests arrived at the lavish event for the cocktail hour, Last Post Fund had a kiosk in place to inform officers and guests of the work of the fund and to provide visibility for our programs.

Over 800 guests from the Toronto Garrison and further afield were present at the ball, which was graciously hosted this year by the Royal Regiment of Canada. Commander Canadian Army, Lieutenant-General Jean-Marc Lanthier, attending with his wife Pamela, addressed the assembled guests as keynote speaker with a refreshing candour that immediately endeared him to all present.

In keeping with the theme of this year’s ball “Til the troops come home”, a special presentation was made to Lesley Barron-Kerr, great-grand-daughter of Colin Barron VC for her efforts to acquire and bring back to Canada her great-grandfather’s medal. Colin Barron was one of nine Canadians awarded the Victoria Cross for heroism at the Battle of Passchendaele. The Canadian War Museum successfully purchased the medal, which had been put up for auction, with help from Kerr, who donated an undisclosed amount of money to make sure it stayed in Canada. Thanks to her efforts, it is now safely part of the national collection at the Canadian War Museum.

“Til the troops come home” was a celebration of returning soldiers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force at the end of the First World War just over one hundred years ago, while pausing to honour and remember those who didn’t make it home. The theme also paid tribute to the Canadian military efforts during the Second World War, the Korean War, and modern operations – in which many attendees have participated as soldiers or as invaluable supporting family members.

History of the Garrison Officers' Ball

Historically, military garrisons across the British Empire held balls to celebrate significant events such as the birthday of a King or Queen. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries a January ball would be held at Fort York (Toronto) to celebrate Queen Charlotte’s (wife of King George III) birthday.

The January ball was perhaps in honour of Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales rather than of Queen Charlotte (as is commonly reported) given that Queen Charlotte’s birthday was May 19th and Princess Charlotte’s was January 7th (although, according to Wikipedia, the Queen's or the King's Official Birthday is the selected day in some Commonwealth realms on which the birthday of the monarch is officially celebrated in those countries and does not necessarily correspond to the date of the monarch's actual birth!)

In its current incarnation, the Garrison Officers’ Ball provides an elegant evening of dinner and entertainment for officers from all the units of the Garrison to mingle socially as well as being an opportunity to acknowledge the sacrifices made by their significant others in allowing the officers to serve. 

In recent years, the Ball has been opened to leading members of the business community. In doing so, the event serves to further strengthen the connection between the military and business communities in Canada’s financial capital.

Historical Capsule (Wikipedia)

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (19 May 1744 – 17 November 1818) was the wife of King George III. She served as Queen of Great Britain and Queen of Ireland from her wedding in 1761 until the union of the two kingdoms in 1801, after which she was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1818. She was also the Electress of Hanover in the Holy Roman Empire until the promotion of her husband to King of Hanover on 12 October 1814, after which she was also queen consort of Hanover.

Charlotte was a patron of the arts and an amateur botanist who helped expand Kew Gardens. She was distressed by her husband's bouts of physical and mental illness, which became permanent in later life and resulted in their eldest son's appointment as Prince Regent in 1811. George III and Charlotte had 15 children in total, 13 of whom survived to adulthood. She was the mother of two future British monarchs, George IV and William IV. Her other children included Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover, and Charlotte, Queen of Württemberg.

Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales (7 January 1796 – 6 November 1817) was the only child of the British king George IV, who was still Prince of Wales during her lifetime, and his wife Caroline of Brunswick. If she had outlived both her grandfather King George III and her father, she would have become Queen of the United Kingdom, but she died following childbirth at the age of 21, predeceasing them both. Charlotte's death set off tremendous mourning among the British, who had seen her as a sign of hope and a contrast both to her unpopular father and to her grandfather, whom they deemed mad. She had been King George III's only legitimate grandchild.


Bells of Peace November 11, 2018: 100 years since the end of the First World War

The Last Post Fund was honoured to participate in the Bells of Peace initiative. On November 11, at the going down of the sun, communities across Canada marked the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War with the ringing of 100 bells. The ringing of bells emulates the moment in 1918 when church bells across Europe tolled as four years of war had come to an end. Legion Branches and communities held commemorative ceremonies and special activities to help Canada Remember. At sunset on November 11, the bells rang at Parliament Hill, city halls, places of worship, military bases, Naval vessels and at ceremonies across the country to honour Canada's Veterans and commemorate the end of the First World War.

For more Last Post Fund news go to our news page......

Veterans Affairs Canada Funeral and Burial Program: Randy Brooks and Brad Hrycyna of the Last Post Fund Saskatchewan Branch back on CTV Regina Morning Live

The Last Post Fund’s mission is to ensure that no Veteran is denied a dignified funeral and burial, as well as a military gravestone, due to insufficient funds at time of death.

For more Last Post Fund news go to our news page......

Video: 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

April 9, 1917 … almost 100 years ago. All four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought side-by-side for the first time as one formation at Vimy Ridge. After four days of intense battle, nearly 3,600 of our soldiers’ lives lost, over 7,000 more wounded and countless displays of extraordinary courage. The capture of Vimy Ridge was truly an incredible military victory. On April 9, 2017… one hundred years later, Canada will honour this battle in France and in communities across Canada. 2017 promises to be a monumental year for our nation—the 150th anniversary of Confederation and the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. We are proud and will never forget those who served in this great battle.

The Last Post Fund Now

The Veterans Affairs Canada Funeral and Burial Program ensures that eligible Veterans receive dignified funeral and burial services. The Program is administered by the Last Post Fund, a non-profit organization that has served Veterans since 1909. The Last Post Fund’s operations are based in three cities: Halifax, Montreal and Toronto. The National office is located in Montreal. The Last Post Fund is supported financially by Veterans Affairs Canada and by private donations.

The Last Post Fund Then

The Last Post Fund has been helping Veterans since 1909. Arthur Douglas Hair was founder of the Last Post Fund in 1909. One of Hair's military brothers, James Daly, died without family or the means to have a proper funeral. Hair was "outraged by the callous disregard for the deceased man's past military service". Hair wrote a letter to The Montreal Gazette and went on a mission to ensure that the military dead "no matter what their lot in life, were worthy of more reverential treatment".

Funeral and Burial Program, the Last Post Fund

Funeral and Burial Program, the Last Post Fund

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