William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD


Saanichton is a small village on the Saanich Peninsula. We are a bedroom community of Victoria, which is to the South, and we have North Saanich and Sidney by the Sea to our North. We have first Nation Indian Reserves beside us on both the East and West Shorelines of the Peninsula.

The cenotaph is well attended by the citizens of Central Saanich. The organizers of the November the 11th ceremony are all Peacekeeping Veterans. In charge of music and the placing of the wreaths were Fred Mercer and Mike Couvellier. Bobby Collins organized the wreath layer protocol.

This year a wreath was laid by Mrs. Dolly Desjarlais, in memory of her husband Len and for our First Nation Fallen, for the KVA, for the QOR of C, for the PPCLI, for the Cdn AIRBORNE Regiment, For CAVUNP and the CPVA, for our MP Elizabeth May, The Mayor, The Municipality of Central Saanich, Central Saanich Police and Fire, the Merchant Seamen, the RCN and the RCAF. The flyover of the RCAF took place above the cenotaph at 1055 hrs. 11 November 2012, and all heads were raised skyward just prior to the event commencement.

Approximately 400+ citizens braved the rain and the cold wind to honour our fallen. Mrs. Norma Sealey, Order of Canada Recipient, read names of the fallen. Padre Mark Cunningham said the prayers for the fallen, and Joel Mavretic read the poem “In Flanders Field”. Shaelyn Littlejohn read the peacekeeping poem, “Our Fallen”.

Rien Widenmaier placed a wreath in memory of the ANIMALS of Peace and War that help our troops. War dogs were most recently used in Afghanistan to sniff out IEDs. The Master of Ceremonies Ed Widenmaier stated that we lost 20 million horses in WW1 alone. We owe a lot to the animals that hauled our outpost resupplies. The recent movie, “Warhorse” comes to mind.

Immediately following the ceremony, Mrs Hazel Widenmaier and Mrs. Anne Marshall served hot coffee and biscuits in the Municipal Hall Foyer. The master of ceremonies Ed Widenmaier thanked all of those who attended and braved the weather on that cold and windy West Coast morning.

The Mark Isfeld Chapter of CAVUNP had representatives at all greater Victoria Area Cenotaphs. Our flag and Western Region Director of CAVUNP, Jim Sidel CD went to Oak Bay where this Chapter was instrumental in helping/updating that waterfront cenotaph. Major Murray Edwards CD, the BC Regional Director of CAVUNP, was the wreath laying representative/organizer of the QOR, CAVUNP, CPVA, PPLCI wreath laying ceremonies.

The local merchants and the veterans of Central Saanich again helped to make this ceremony the solemn service to the community that it has evolved into. Eight years ago six peacekeepers stood alone before the stone and laid a wreath of remembrance for our fallen comrades: this year, 400 hundred citizens stood with us.

Billy Willbond: Remembrance Day, 2012