Memorial for Canadians killed in Afghanistan mission to be unveiled Saturday

 

For a Victoria doctor assisting with the unveiling of a memorial for Canadians who served in Afghanistan, the honour will be bittersweet.

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Richard Nuttall’s son, Andrew, was killed in Afghanistan on Dec. 23, 2009, by an improvised explosive device. The 30-year-old was a lieutenant with Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

“It will be emotional and bring everything back,” Nuttall said. “But it will also be a real honour to see not only Andrew but all those others who served get recognized by the community.”

On Saturday, Nuttall will help Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon unveil the memorial honouring those who served in Afghanistan with or alongside the Canadian Armed Forces. The monument is to be set at the corner of Courtney and Quadra streets on the site of the new children’s park on the grounds of the Victoria courthouse.

The ceremony includes military bands, a parade and the bells and children’s choir of Christ Church Cathedral.

About 40,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces served in Afghanistan during the 12-year mission from 2002 to 2014. A total of 163 Canadians were killed, including five civilians.

All the names of the dead have been inscribed on the monument.

Of the 158 military personnel killed, three were from Vancouver Island: Andrew Nuttall, Bombardier Myles Mansell, and Cpl. Andrew (Boomer) Eykelenboom.

Mansell, 25, of Victoria, a reservist with the 5th (B.C.) Field Artillery Regiment, was killed on April 22, 2006, by a roadside bomb.

Eykelenboom, 23, of Comox, a medic with 1 Field Ambulance, was killed on Aug. 11, 2003, by a suicide bomber.

Richard Nuttall said the design and the inscription on the new monument set it apart from most military monuments.

There’s no brave soldier grimacing on his way into battle. Instead, there is an image of a Canadian soldier offering his hand to a child. The image is adapted from a photo taken in Afghanistan, and the soldier it features is expected at Saturday’s ceremony, flown in from New Brunswick.

“The whole point of the mission was to help the Afghan people,” Nuttall said.

rwatts@timescolonist.com

The schedule for Saturday’s ceremony

• 12:15 p.m. — Bells of Christ Church Cathedral ring.

• 1:15 p.m. — 5th (B.C.) Field Artillery Regimental band and Christ Church School Choir perform, and Memorial Cross families and dignitaries arrive.

• 1:45 p.m. — Military parade and special guests arrive.

• 2 p.m. — Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon arrives for commemoration and unveiling of the monument.

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