Author Topic: REMEMBRANCE DAY EXPERIENCES  (Read 8170 times)

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Offline Gunner

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REMEMBRANCE DAY EXPERIENCES
« on: November 03, 2001, 22:34:00 »
Last year I was in Bosnia for Remembrance Day.  In Velika Kladusa (Camp Black Bear) we held a ceremony by the black granite markers that are inscribed with the names of those who were killed during UNPROFOR, IFOR, SFOR and KFOR.  

It meant more to me last year.  First, to honour those who had come before me (both from a historical sense and recent) and secondly, as an acquaintance was one of those who had been killed while serving.

Sapper Chris Holopina (Coralici was named after him) died in a vehicle accidnet (Bison roled over) in Bosnia during IFOR.  I believe they had been responding to a possible mine incident that turned out to be false.  Not a "heroic" way to dieing but it has happened to many Canadian soldiers serving in the Balkans.

Sapper Chris Holopina was originally a gunner, prior to joining the Regular Force, out of the 13 Fd Bty, 26 RCA in Portage La Prairie.  I remember as a big kid as he was probably only 17 or 18 when I put him through QL2.  I seem to recall he was a good worker and well regarded by most of us.  He stayed with the unit for a couple of years and served in Cyprus with 1 RCHA in 1992/93.  He must have joined the Regular Force in 1995 or so.

Anyway, everytime I went past his memorial on route Bluebird I always thought of him 10 or 11 years previously.  Happy and young with his whole life in front of him.  It came to an end in a country a kid from a small town in Manitoba had probably never heard of before.

Lest we forget the sacrifices of our fathers and friends.


   :cdn:
Had a wonderful ~26 years in the military and still miss it.

Alfreda

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Re: REMEMBRANCE DAY EXPERIENCES
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2001, 08:14:00 »
I think the first thing I remember is my father crying.  It broke my heart.  I wanted to ask him questions afterwards, but my mother told me to keep quiet.  Now as an adult, I understand my father.  We children can never comprehend.  We can only have empathy for those who have suffered.
Cheers
Freda  :cdn:

Offline armybuck041

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Re: REMEMBRANCE DAY EXPERIENCES
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2001, 00:12:00 »
I was a good friend of Chris‘. I completed my QL-3 with him and we were subsequently posted to 2 CER together. Trust me in saying that he is not forgotten. That tragedy hit us all very hard. Not only in his death, but the tragic injuries sustained by others who are no longer in the military due to their injuries. I was proud to be a pall bearer at his funeral and intend to go back to visit his grave someday soon. I would like to take the time to also mention Gilles Desmarais, another soldier on my QL-3 who was killed in Bosnia a little while later. Never underestimate the dangers we are placed in "after the guns stop firing". This sunday I will take take the time to remember.......
Gone but never forgotten: Sgt Shane Stachnik, Killed in Action on 3 Sept 2006, Panjwaii Afghanistan

Offline Reserve Blair

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Re: REMEMBRANCE DAY EXPERIENCES
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2004, 00:50:50 »
Chris is my good friend's brother. She has a picture of him on her night stand. I've also been to her mother's house which holds a shadow box (very Sharpe) with a white belt and collar dogs and a bayonet in the middle. Gloria (Chris's mother) told me once that she likes to look at and think of him and his friends. I never had the opportunity to meet him before he died but from what I have heard about him, I bet I could give a good roast at a wedding or other event! This is the fondness that Chris's name is met with and the memories that come up of a caring big brother or a goofy friend.

One story Gloria told me, was one where ,after he passed away, I believe it was four men came out to visit because they missed his funeral. They talked for quite a while then asked where he was buried. She told them naturally and then they asked her if they could have one last drink with him. They ended up going their with a bottle. They each had one or two drinks of it and then pored the rest over the grave site in honour of their friend.

This is why the Canadian Forces appealed to me. I'm not a number here I am a person with a name and a family that is accepted for who I am and the beliefs I hold. Even today Gloria still gets updates from the guys that knew him and she loves that the most of all.

thanks to those guys
It really made both Gloria and Ashley feel a lot better, you guys being there for them.

Chris had a camp in Bosnia named after him.
The camp was closed and the flag will be presented to Gloria at a ceremony in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba in mid January.
If anyone would like more information you may contact me @ blair.jd@forces.gc.ca

thanks again guys

Offline CFN. Orange

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Re: REMEMBRANCE DAY EXPERIENCES
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2004, 00:59:04 »
god bless their contributions :salute: :cdn:
Proud to drink and be Canadian.
True Blue Leafs Fan.
ARTE ET MARTE


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Offline Spr.Earl

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Re: REMEMBRANCE DAY EXPERIENCES
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2004, 04:32:10 »
Last year I was in Bosnia for Remembrance Day.   In Velika Kladusa (Camp Black Bear) we held a ceremony by the black granite markers that are inscribed with the names of those who were killed during UNPROFOR, IFOR, SFOR and KFOR.   

It meant more to me last year.   First, to honour those who had come before me (both from a historical sense and recent) and secondly, as an acquaintance was one of those who had been killed while serving.

Sapper Chris Holopina (Coralici was named after him) died in a vehicle accidnet (Bison roled over) in Bosnia during IFOR.   I believe they had been responding to a possible mine incident that turned out to be false.   Not a "heroic" way to dieing but it has happened to many Canadian soldiers serving in the Balkans.

Sapper Chris Holopina was originally a gunner, prior to joining the Regular Force, out of the 13 Fd Bty, 26 RCA in Portage La Prairie.   I remember as a big kid as he was probably only 17 or 18 when I put him through QL2.   I seem to recall he was a good worker and well regarded by most of us.   He stayed with the unit for a couple of years and served in Cyprus with 1 RCHA in 1992/93.   He must have joined the Regular Force in 1995 or so.

Anyway, everytime I went past his memorial on route Bluebird I always thought of him 10 or 11 years previously.   Happy and young with his whole life in front of him.   It came to an end in a country a kid from a small town in Manitoba had probably never heard of before.

Lest we forget the sacrifices of our fathers and friends.


    :cdn:

I was in Corolici in 97 when we renamed the camp from Camp Corolici to Camp Holopina in his Honour.
I drove by his Marker at the top on that shitty bend nearly every week.

Thank you Gunner,CFN. Orange,armybuck041 and Reserve Blair for you sharing part of your life with Chris with us. :cdn: :salute:

« Last Edit: December 17, 2004, 04:47:09 by Spr.Earl »
THE PRECEDING POST AND OTHERS MADE BY MYSELF ARE MY PERSONAL VIEWS, NOT FOR REPRODUCTION, NOT FOR CUT AND PASTE OF ANY PORTION THEREOF, NO QUOTES ARE PERMITTED ELSEWHERE,ANYWHERE OTHER THAN EXCLUSIVELY IN THIS WEB FORUM.




UBIQUE
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Offline Spr.Earl

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Re: REMEMBRANCE DAY EXPERIENCES
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2004, 04:56:40 »


Chris had a camp in Bosnia named after him.
The camp was closed and the flag will be presented to Gloria at a ceremony in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba in mid January.
If anyone would like more information you may contact me @ blair.jd@forces.gc.ca

thanks again guys


Blair,please  post the photos here .
As many of us served there and many have not but too all, it still means something with in our Military Family. :cdn: :salute:
THE PRECEDING POST AND OTHERS MADE BY MYSELF ARE MY PERSONAL VIEWS, NOT FOR REPRODUCTION, NOT FOR CUT AND PASTE OF ANY PORTION THEREOF, NO QUOTES ARE PERMITTED ELSEWHERE,ANYWHERE OTHER THAN EXCLUSIVELY IN THIS WEB FORUM.




UBIQUE
Be Safe

Offline Gunner

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Re: REMEMBRANCE DAY EXPERIENCES
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2004, 10:14:14 »
Quote
Chris is my good friend's brother. She has a picture of him on her night stand. I've also been to her mother's house which holds a shadow box (very Sharpe) with a white belt and collar dogs and a bayonet in the middle. Gloria (Chris's mother) told me once that she likes to look at and think of him and his friends. I never had the opportunity to meet him before he died but from what I have heard about him, I bet I could give a good roast at a wedding or other event! This is the fondness that Chris's name is met with and the memories that come up of a caring big brother or a goofy friend.

One story Gloria told me, was one where ,after he passed away, I believe it was four men came out to visit because they missed his funeral. They talked for quite a while then asked where he was buried. She told them naturally and then they asked her if they could have one last drink with him. They ended up going their with a bottle. They each had one or two drinks of it and then pored the rest over the grave site in honour of their friend.

Thanks for sharing the memories of Chris with us Reserve Blair.  I served with 26 RCA a number of years ago and it is good to see someone from the unit on the board.

Cheers,
Had a wonderful ~26 years in the military and still miss it.

Offline dglad

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Re: REMEMBRANCE DAY EXPERIENCES
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2004, 08:09:43 »
I would note that the monuments at Velika Kladusa were, indeed, repatriated following a final Remembrance Day ceremony by OP PALLADIUM ROTO 15.  They belong to the Canadian War Museum, so will end up being displayed in some fashion, in Canada, by that institution.

Incidentally, there are number of other monuments to fallen Canadians located at various points throughout Bosnia and Croatia.  Members of OP BRONZE ROTO 0 visited each of these on Remembrance Day, cleaning and repairing them as necessary, laying wreaths and photographing them.  Copies of the photographs are being sent back to the home units of these individuals and, from there, our intent is that families get copies as well.

For my part, my wife and I spent Remembrance Day at Vimy Ridge.  It was a remarkable, moving experience.  Unfortunately, the major ceremony there had been held the previous Sunday.  However, about 100 people--including many Canadians--gathered on the north side of the monument, below the statue "Canada Remembers", for a very simple, very moving ceremony conducted by the young Parks Canada tour guides.  My wife had brought some of the special quarters produced, as I understand it, by Tim Hortons in conjunction with the Mint i.e. the ones with the red poppy on one side.  We gave these out to some of the children at the monument.  I also found a relative listed on the monument, an individual who had died in the battle about whose existence I'd been completely unaware.  A memorable day, all around.
Whatever interests the Commander should fascinate his subordinates.

Offline Welldai

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Re: REMEMBRANCE DAY EXPERIENCES
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2014, 09:05:37 »
I have read this topic many times, however as I come to the end of my career and enter a period of reflection, I feel the time is right to respond.

First of all, my thoughts are with Chris Holopina's family and have been since 5 July 1996. Why the 5th and not the 4th? I was a British soldier stranded in a mine field that Chris and his crew were en route to, when they had their accident and did not learn of his death until the next day.

The mine strike was very real, and not false as previously muted. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured in the actual mine strike, but the Crew of the Canadian Bison were not to now that. Communications were particularly poor that day. Indeed the reason we were in the area patrolling at the time was to recce future rebroadcasting sites. The area we were in had been previously cleared by the Royal Engineers and to this day think we were unfortunate to hit the one mine they had not cleared. drills were good that day and we stuck to previously cleared tracks. Following the strike at approx 1105 hrs, it took us over an hour to re-establish comms long enough to report the strike and give a grid reference, before comms were lost again. It was unknown by us at the time if the message had got through or not, but speaking to colleagues later, they stated they received the message, but were unsure of casualties.

I can only assume that this lack of knowledge of any casualties made the brave Canadian Engineers to make best speed to our stricken vehicle.

I am very grateful to the effort put in by Chris and the crew to get to us. In their minds, I have no doubt that there was the real possibility of casualties from fellow brothers in arms. Although no blame can be apportioned to what triggered the chain of events that day, I carry the great burden of knowing that a fellow soldier had died attempting to rescue me and my colleagues. I never had the fortune to meet Chris, but I often think of him and his sacrifice. 

I apologise in advance if I have offended anyone. Please feel free to email me on bodyguard634@hotmail.com

God speed

Welldai
Ex 1st The Queens Dragoon Guards and Royal Military Police. Now an Executive Protection Officer in the Middle East.

Offline George Wallace

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Re: REMEMBRANCE DAY EXPERIENCES
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2014, 09:40:35 »
Thank you very much Welldai for adding another aspect to this story.  It may add new significance to the event that friends and family were unaware of.

Again; thank you for your post.

 
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Offline MichaelKashmark

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Re: REMEMBRANCE DAY EXPERIENCES
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2020, 20:59:05 »
I was posted to 2CER in 95 and went to Bosnia with 23 FD Sqn. As a Vehicle Tech posted with them I got to know Chris very well. We shared a lot in common and talked frequently over the time we were there. I still remember when we got the news of the mine strike. Details were vague at best, I asked to accompany them with the wrecker but was denied. Less then an hour later we got the news of the accident and my partner and I immediately departed not knowing what we were going to face. I was the Recovery Commander at the scene and tasked with pulling the vehicle off of Chris. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my military career. I still think of him often. He was a great guy. Gone way to soon.

Offline Gunner

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Re: REMEMBRANCE DAY EXPERIENCES
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2020, 23:35:01 »
Thanks for sharing.
Had a wonderful ~26 years in the military and still miss it.