On November 6th, 2015 the Officers and Senior NCOs of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, along with guests and spouses assembled to celebrate the 115th anniversary of the Regiment’s actions at Leliefontein. This event not only provided the Regiment with an occasion to celebrate its history, but also allowed members of the Regiment and their families to re-establish ties in a fine dining atmosphere. This also marked the first time since 2011, that the Senior NCOs and Officers celebrated the event as a collective.
Due to the size of the event, Building Y-101 (1 RCR) drill hall was used as the venue. In order to transform the space into a formal dining hall, set-up commenced on November 4th and continued until just hours prior to the dinner. Mrs. Sarah Robertson and her team from Prior Engagements did an outstanding job decorating the hall, which resulted in several complements from those in attendance. Adding to the décor provided by Prior Engagements was the presence of a Staghound, a Ferret and the Leliefontein Gun within the hall itself. A LAV 6.0 and Leopard 2 A6 were also parked outside of the building to line the entrance and highlighted some of the capabilities held by C Squadron in Gagetown.
Prior to the Dining-In, several retiring Officers and Senior NCOs were honored. The Senior NCOs gathered in the Holland Room to recognize CWO Tony Slack, CWO Marc Girard, MWO Dan Haverson and WO Rob Kennedy. The Officers acknowledged the careers of LCol Perry Wells and Maj Mike Wionzek in Building Y-101. Immediately following the mug-outs, the Senior NCOs assembled with the officers in building Y-101, where several presentations were made by the Commanding Officer of The Royal Canadian Dragoons, LCol Steve Graham. The first was to recognize Mr. Don White and his consistent support to the Dragoons and his involvement in the advance to Leeuwarden in 1945. The second was to recognize the presence of the Commanding Officer and Regimental Sergeant Major of 2 RCHA and their unit’s actions at Leliefontein in 1900. Finally, the Colonel of the Regiment, MGen Macdonald delivered a speech focusing on the significance the event and importance of recognizing the Regiment’s actions.
After opening speeches, approximately 280 Officers, Senior NCOs and their guests sat down to an outstanding meal catered by Mrs. Marion Ullrich. Entertainment was provided by Sgt Annie Bilodeau and the Central Band of the CAF from Ottawa, who added to the extraordinary atmosphere throughout the night. As well, the Guidon Party led by the TQMS, MWO Jeremy Leamon, marched the fourth Guidon into Y-101 prior to the start of the dinner. The Guidon remained on display for the duration of the dinner and highlighted the prestige associated with the actions celebrated by the Regiment.
The 2015 Lelifontein Officers’ and Senior NCOs’ Dining-In was a terrific success that added to the tremendous festivities that took place throughout the week. However, the success of this event would not have been possible without the support from numerous personnel from around Garrison Petawawa and the Ottawa Valley. Many thanks to all those who attended and those who played assisted in organizing such a superb event.