John-Ward Leighton


Queens Own Rifles of Canada - Battle Honours
Queens Own Rifles of Canada - Battle Honours
It’s been a roller coaster day, with the news that we have lost a couple of stalwart comrades and friends to the ravages of our advancing ages. Two of my friends of some fifty four years have passed away this past week. When I recovered from the initial shock I have spent the day remembering the times we had when we served Queen and country together.

Jim Carroll and I joined the service the same week at 10 PD Jerrico Beach in August of 1955 we caught the train from the old Vancouver CPR station and travelled the CPR line to Calgary where we were met by a vehicle from the Regimental Depot and taken to Currie Barracks. Jim went to a QOR of C platoon and I went to a PPCLI platoon and we didn’t get together again until January 1959 when we met up in Currie Barracks when I joined the Queens Own.

Garth Pinkerton, his friends called him “Garth” but the nick name “Pinkie” stuck for every one else and I first met him n the Corporals mess before my bride got to Germany in December of 1960. Garth was busy romancing Krista, the NAFFI barmaid, whom he subsequently married. We became solid friends when we spent six weeks training for the Nijmegan marches in July of 1961.

The platoon was made up with representatives of all the rifle companies with a strong representation from Support Company. We trained hard and capped it off by six days of thirty mile route marches in the week preceding the actual march.

On the first day of the march we surprised our Dutch hosts by arriving an hour before they thought we should. We had covered the twenty five (forty km.) mile route in six hours. At first they accused us of running but could find no one who had seen it. They had started us first on that first day and we had literally marched away from the rest.

On the second day we were started about tenth and still managed to arrive first passing the nine groups in front of us. Then on the third day they started us about thirtieth and banned us from passing anyone in front of us. For us Rifleman used to a Rifleman’s pace 140 paces to the minute being slowed down to 105 paces to the minute was like a walk in the park. I have to admit though, that the last two weeks and change of our Nijmegan march training and the march itself was one of the most challenging physical things I have ever done.

So Goodbye, Jimmy and Garth, our world is a poorer place without your presence. Both of you will live forever young in my memory.