Canada fought in defence of democratic principles

Retired veteran takes exception with comments made by previous letter writer

I refer to the letter published June 8 from Paul Demetrick castigating Mr. Slump and intimating he should read more and get educated, supposedly like himself, then uses a $10 word (Satrap) in a $5 conversation, incorrectly in relation to Canadian troops in the Boer War.

Canada was not a possession of Britain, and Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier declined to commit troops but later agreed to pay for transportation of volunteers, of which there were some 7,400 including Nursing Sisters. The main body was the Lord Strathcona Horse Regiment of cavalry raised and paid by Lord Strathcona, which is still part of our regular force today as an armoured regiment.

Britain did not invade southern Africa, the troops there were at the invitation of the Chief of Becuanaland to the Queen to make it a protectorate and supply troops to stop the South African states (Transvaal and Orange Free State) moving north and taking its land, so there was no invasion. This country is now Botswana. The troops eventually were used in the two Boer Wars.

He is also very wrong and denigrates Canada’s reputation by suggesting we murdered POWs in the Korean War. We did not hold POWs, but turned them over to U.S. and South Korean units. Despite his opinion, Canada fought these wars in defence of the democratic principles from which the freedoms we enjoy have evolved, though it took many years to get them into a charter, unfortunately without a charter of responsibilities.

Mr. Demetrick claims to be a retired reserve army member, and if so he should know better, though rumour has it he did serve in the B.C. Dragoons but was released, which is entirely different.

I make my remarks based on 38 years of service in the Canadian Forces that include the Second World War, Korean War and peacekeeping plus five-and-a-half years in Botswana seconded to CIDA where I had time to visit some Boer War sites and was able to look for artifacts on the ground occupied by Lord Baden Powell (Boy Scout founder) who commanded the siege of Mafeking.

It is unfortunate that a person claiming military service makes unfounded remarks that denigrate the Canadian Forces’ reputation.

Jas. W. Duncan Lt.-Col. (Retd.)