On 11 November 2021, Lieutenant-Colonel Barry Pitcher and Second Lieutenant Jerome Downey retraced the footsteps of No 2 Construction Battalion and sappers of the Canadian Forestry Corps in the Jura region of France near the Swiss border. 2Lt Downey’s great-grandfather served in the battalion during the Great War and LCol Pitcher’s father served in the Canadian Forestry Corps during the Second World War. Both officers are part of the Canadian Army’s planning team for a planned No.2 perpetuation and apology event taking place in July of 2022.
The pair visited areas where Canadian sappers worked over a hundred years ago and attended a memorial service organized by the local residents where they laid a wreath on behalf of Canada. Following the ceremony, Second Lieutenant Downey was taken by a local historian to the exact place in the forest with the Battalion camped over a hundred years earlier. They remind us to never forget the service of these and all the Canadian men and women in uniform this 11 November. They also offered a special thank-you to the people of France for taking such good care of our sons and daughters resting forever in their soil.
Photo 1: Local memorial ceremony to forestry workers of the Great War led by Supt Mayor Evelyne Comte and attended by 2Lt Jerome Downey and LCol Barry Pitcher.
Photo 2: Laying a poppy on one of 29 Canadian graves in the Supt Cemetery.
Photo 3: 2Lt Downey in front of a picture in France of his great grandfather Spr George Downey
Photo 4: 2Lt Downey presenting a book on the No.2 Construction Battalion to a local historian.
Photo 5: Local memorial ceremony to forestry workers of the Great War led by Supt Mayor Evelyne Comte and attended by 2Lt Jerome Downey and LCol Barry Pitcher.