On our first evening in Lille, as the empty box lunch boxes were being unloaded from the bus to the hotel, I gazed upon them wistfully, hoping, perhaps, one day to be invited to partake in this ritual of military life; it is the stuff of romance. Then, on April 6th, the convoy of buses pulled over to the side of the road for the midday break and the coveted box lunches were distributed. From the midst of the 300 or more troops, there came but one squeal of delight. To paraphrase Truman Capote, "I fell upon it like an abused orphan.". The contents were then unsentimentally dumped into my handbag and the box was passed around for the troops to autograph. Of course, the second box lunch was greeted with less enthusiasm. "Not this again. Not another grated-carrot sandwich." Ever notice how quickly fun turns to tragedy?

It now holds treasure from the trip and what lovely keepsakes they are.


Kevin, beloved bodyguard, presented two of his Electrical Mechanical Engineers buttons. Kevin is a perfect gentleman, although how on earth I ended up in a tattoo parlour in Lille. . . . . . . don't ask.

"EME rules!"

This Loyal Edmontion Regiment shoulder title was kindly gifted from talented flautist , Amity 'I respect a gun with a kick' Mitchell.


This is from Pete, a Newfoundlander, who was able to take a harrowing story about being stuck, through no fault of his own, in the middle of a minefield in Afghanistan, and spin it into raucous hilarity. Honest to God, if you knew Pete you'd have wished you had been there, too.

From Cpl Rob McCallum, Cameron. If it had been 90 years ago, he is the sort of fellow who would get you to safety. Or die trying. He's got a set.

From the regiments.

Marielle, a total sweetheart, saved the wax from the box lunch cheese-balls to sculpt this horse's head.

Kyle, barely stopping while careering back for the interview, found this vial in a farmer's field at the base of Vimy Ridge.

From Mike Emberson, chalk, like that which was excavated from a tunnel, and a length of German barbed wire, "As big around as a man's thumb, with sixteen barbs to the foot".

Paul Elliott went on a personal pilgimage to Juno Beach and this is the cap he wore; it is stained with his own sweat and replete with the original Canadian flag pin.

This is the official commemorative CD which MWO Andrew Barrett, Air Command Band, passed through the bus for the musicians to autograph.

Scott Poll's excellent swing CD. Copies available! (pollcats@rogers.com)

Bart wanted me to have a complete set of Air Command Band post cards, the images date back to the 1940s.

. . . up until 2005.

March card backing bearing the Canadian Forces crest.

Air Command Band crest.

. . . for he was the date who brung me.

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