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1974 Valcartier Grenade Deaths (gov't action, memorial, etc.)

Thought this was the best place to post this. From CTV:

Military cadets still want apology 37 years after explosion

Dozens of military cadets injured at CFB Valcartier in 1974 are fighting for compension, and a formal apology, 37 years after a grenade went off in a classroom.

The blast killed six cadets and injured 54 others, and the survivors did not talk about the incident until a reunion two years ago.

That sparked a book by Gerry Fostaty and several others, and a movement for an official apology.

A horrible oversight

In July 1974 a room full of 14 and 15-year-old boys were attending a lecture on ammunition.

Eric Maura and John Hannon were in the classroom, and they were told the box of M-61 hand grenades at the front of the class was not live ammunition.

The difference was easy to spot.

"Dummies are supposed to be all blue," Hannon said. "A real ammunition, grenade or mortar live ammunition is green."

One of the grenades in the box was green.

"I clearly saw a live grenade," said Maura. "I didn't realize it was live at the time but it was different than the rest being pulled out."

Some cadets questioned how the green grenade got in the box but no one seemed worried, and one cadet asked how it worked.

Then he pulled the pin.

"He had it in between his legs and basically when the thing went off if he took a good impact himself," said Hannon. "I think Eric did save a few lives. God bless his soul."

More at link
Such an awfull mistake. I hope it's one that will never be made again.  If it don't look right, question it. If you don't like the answer, ask someone else.
just found an interesting link

I felt so bad when I found out about it and posted it on the Black Watch Guest Book. I was at Valcartier in 69 and learned how to tell a dummy from live.  It is so bad that so many mistakes had been made and some of them I'm sorry to say where preventable.
HFXCrow said:
just found an interesting link


I bought that book a couple of weeks ago.  Quite an interesting read.  I recommend it.
Another book "La Grenade Verte - Valcartier 1974: les oublies de la compagnie D" par Hugo Fontaine is also available for reading but obviously is EN FRANCAIS and is written by a journalist. Hugo Fontaine is passionate of military history and investigations/inquiries. This is his 1st book
(Les Editions La Presse) ISBN 9782923681818

Février        14, 2012

MEMBERS OF D COMPANY  TO BE LOCATED; for the July 2014, Reunion

MEMBRES DE LA COMPAGNIE D A LOCALISER;  pour la réunioon de Juillet, 2014

Ian Ross Anderson, Gilles Blanchette, Guy Bouthillier, Luc Bouchard, Randall (Randy) Brooks, Jacques Bérubé Robert Beaudin, Sylvain Benoit, Daniel Croisetière, Denis Carbonneau, Michel Cadieu, Alain Couture
Bernard D’Auteuil, Denis Déry, Jacques Demers, Patrick Duguay, Marc Deschenes, André Desjardins
Paul Doucet, Sven Engles, Fernand Gosslin, Michel Gaudreault, Vincent Gaiens, Jean Guy Hachey
Guy Hamel, Peter Edward Harper, Rollin Hughes, William Jeffrey Hunter, Jean Huot  Mario Loiselle
Pierre Loiselle, Benoit Langevin, André Latourelle, Jean Pierre Lebrasseur, Daniel Lapierre
René Légaré, Roger Morin, Guy Metcalf, Pierre Migneault, Alex Noreau, Michel Ouellet, Jacques Oliveau
Alain Ouelette, Michel Parizeau, Thiery Restonex, Jimmy Reggler, Daniel Rousselle, Harold (Foster) Scott
François Saumur, Philip Michele Shun, Pierre Trudel, Edward Vaille, Jean Pierre Verreault, Michael Wade
André Vaillancourt, Cpl Bahadur Bansal, Cpl Serge Plante, Sgt Daniel Seguin, Sgt Robert Gibeault
Raymond Perreault, Paul Charbonneau: TOTAL 61

SEND YOUR EMAIL TO:                        rcmpao@bell.net

see this link

saw the story on line and remembered reading the stories here, might be of some interest to those who were there or have memories of it

sorry for the bad typing one hand,  other hand in cast,  and cracked ribs......make for even less skilled typing than usual
Thanks for the link to the story (above). I wish I could be at the premiere of the film. I know other members of D Company 1974 would want to be there too. I only hope this documentary film gets a further reach in the next little while. 
Gerry Fostaty (Sgt)
10 Platoon, D Coy, CFB Valcartier 1974

Maybe that in english we can't find more informations about this drama, but in French it have more articles about, and maybe that you can translate it with google translate if you want... As the BFC Valcartier is in the Québec, I think that you have more chances to find if you search " explosion au camp des cadets de Valcartier"...

At each year in the Valcartier Cadets Camp, we have a remember parade, and we take one minute of silence for this cadets who are died in this circumstances. The commemorative plate on the parade square is always there, same that the rock near that D and B Coy.

We always remember...  :cdn:

( An article said that in 2009, Mr. Gutta managed to trace fifty former cadets, a total of 131)
More media coverage, maybe leading up to the memorial/reunion.

Note to all of you. Watch your e-mail for a scam. This person says they have a donation for us and looking for banking info to deposit it. They give the dates of the blast and the location. Don't give the person any info.
Here is another article about it.

This from the Ombudsman:
The Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces (DND/CF), Mr. Gary Walbourne, released his report today into the treatment of Army Cadets affected by a deadly grenade explosion which occurred at a Canadian Forces Base Valcartier (Quebec) cadet summer camp on 30 July 1974.

The incident claimed the lives of six cadets aged between 14 and 15 and injured dozens more.


The Ombudsman’s Office found that of the cadets who survived the explosion, many sustained – and continue to suffer from – physical or/and psychological injuries; however, the cadets did not receive assistance on par with what was offered to the military members who were also impacted by the incident.

The report concludes that it goes against the principle of fairness to provide assistance, compensation and benefits to one group of individuals and to ignore the other, and states that the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence should have done more to assist the young boys who were under their care.

The Ombudsman therefore recommends that:

    Under the authority of the Minister of National Defence, the Department of National Defence immediately offer assessments to all those who claim to have been adversely or permanently affected by this incident to determine the physical and psychological care required and, based on these assessments, fund a reasonable care plan; and
    Following the full assessment and definition of the long-term needs of the affected individuals, and in order to ensure that they are treated in a way that reflects Canadian values, it is recommended that the Department of National Defence, under the direction of the Minister, award them an immediate and reasonable financial compensation in line with jurisprudence in similar situations ....

This from the Defence Minister:
“The accidental explosion of a grenade at the Cadet Training Centre in CFB Valcartier in 1974 was a tragedy that hurt both victims and their families. This matter is important to the Government of Canada, which is why my predecessor, The Honourable Rob Nicholson, authorized an investigation into this incident by the Ombudsman.

    “On behalf of the Government of Canada, I regret the effect this event has had on the victims and their families. The review by the Ombudsman confirms that more could have been done and I have accepted the Ombudsman’s recommendations.

    “I recognize that those who directly witnessed or were injured in this accident may still be suffering and I am committed to ensuring that they get the help they need. I have therefore directed the Department of National Defence, in line with the Ombudsman’s recommendations, to offer assessments to all those who have been affected by this incident to determine the physical and psychological care they require. Based on these assessments, we will ensure that the affected individuals have access to health care and compensation, where appropriate.

    “I thank the Ombudsman for reviewing this matter in greater detail and for recommending how we can better assist those affected by this incident. I regret that it took 41 years to formally recognize and fully address this tragedy and I hope that the action we are taking in response to the Ombudsman’s recommendations will give the victims and their families some measure of comfort.”

This from the VCDS:
“Forty one years ago, an accidental grenade explosion at the Cadet Training Centre in CFB Valcartier killed six cadets and wounded dozens more while they were gathered for a lecture in one of the barracks. The effects of this tragedy forever changed the lives of the cadets and instructors present at the time, as well as the families of the fallen and injured. It resulted in significant changes in the way we deliver the Cadet Program.

    “Today, following direction from the Minister of National Defence, we are taking immediate action on the Ombudsman’s recommendations to ensure that victims get the care they deserve. The Canadian Armed Forces is fully committed to supporting this effort through the development and implementation of a framework for assessment and care and immediately reaching out to those who have been affected by this incident. In addition to our efforts to make contact and provide information, through social media and other means, we encourage all those who believe they have been affected by this incident to contact us at 1-844-800-8566 or 1974@forces.gc.ca.

    “Today's cadets participate in a wide range of citizenship, leadership, and physical fitness activities in a safe and supervised environment. Their welfare is our first priority. A far greater network of support and resources is now available to cadets, their instructors, and families in the case of traumatic events or an accident.

    “We take the responsibility to protect the young people in our care very seriously—this is paramount in any cadet activity. We deeply regret and will never forget the tragic event in Valcartier. We will remember those we lost, and care for the survivors and those who continue to suffer.”
Some of the latest:
For Charles Gutta, Tuesday’s release of the military ombudsman’s report into the fatal accident at CFB Valcartier’s cadet summer camp 41 years ago marked the end of a long, personal mission.

The sergeant in the regular army was in overall charge of the camp on July 30, 1974, and had left the 156 cadets in the care of munitions specialists, who were teaching the teenage boys how to identify various explosives.

After assurances one grenade was harmless, a cadet pulled the pin. Six died and 65 others were injured, many permanently. A few fought for, and got, limited compensation, but most didn’t.

“I was always told, from the time I was a trooper until the rank of sergeant, that if anything happens to you, the army will take care of you,” Gutta, 76, told the Ottawa Citizen soon after reading the report of Gary Walbourne, the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces ombudsman.

“When this tragedy happened,” he added, “I thought ‘I’m not worried, I will be cared for and the cadets will be cared for and life carries on.’ But 34 years later, in 2008, I discovered that nothing had been done for these kids.

“So I started listening to their stories on social media and that’s what got me going. I thought, ‘I have to do something about this.’ ”

“Inexcusable” is how Walbourne described the Canadian Forces’ treatment of the injured cadets and their families.

In his report released Tuesday, he urged National Defence to correct the injustice and give survivors the medical and financial care they deserve but have been denied for four decades.

Defence Minister Jason Kenney issued a statement soon afterward agreeing to all Walbourne’s recommendations, and offering psychological and physical assessments for all those affected.

“Based on these assessments, we will ensure that the affected individuals have access to health care and compensation, where appropriate,” he said.

“I regret that it took 41 years to formally recognize and fully address this tragedy.” ....
The Green Grenade

The National | Jul 15, 2015 | 19:06

Seeking justice for deadly 1974 Valcartier explosion

In 1974, a live grenade killed six young cadets at a summer camp. Decades later, families and survivors are still searching for justice.


An update from the office of the CF Ombudsman:
On July 28, 2015 I released a report into the treatment of Army Cadets affected by a deadly grenade explosion which occurred at a Cadet Summer Camp on Canadian Armed Forces Base Valcartier, Quebec in July 1974.

The report focussed on the treatment of those cadets affected by the deadly explosion which killed six and injured dozens.

I made two recommendations to the Minister of National Defence and Department of National Defence. Both were accepted.

Tangible steps which have been taken since my report was released include the following:
  • Two of the key individuals involved in bringing the impact of the incident to the attention of my office were briefed by senior members of the Canadian Armed Forces on the practical measures to be immediately undertaken to help affected cadets. This was done the morning of my report’s release.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces has developed a screening tool that can be used by family physicians to determine the medical needs of those impacted.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces has appointed a Case Manager, who will now be responsible for managing medical assessments and the way forward in assisting the impacted individuals.
I am pleased to report that the Canadian Armed Forces has made good progress on connecting with former cadets and Canadian Armed Forces members who may have been impacted by the incident. 

On the day of the incident, D Company had 155 members: 135 cadets and 20 staff cadets and officers.  To date, the Canadian Armed Forces and former cadets themselves have been unable to locate an additional 25 former cadets who were likely impacted by the incident.

If you are a survivor of the 1974 incident, or know someone who may have been affected, please call the Canadian Armed Forces help line at 1-844-800 8566 or email 1974@forces.gc.ca ...
Bumped with the latest from VCDS, just out yesterday - highlights mine:
“On July 30, 1974, tragedy struck at the CFB Valcartier cadet training centre when a live grenade found its way into a bin of inert training grenades. The live grenade exploded, causing the deaths of six cadets and injuring dozens more.

“The Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) recognize that those affected by this horrific tragedy have struggled with the long-term effects of the trauma they experienced and regret that it took this long to formally recognize and address this tragedy.

“In public statements issued on July 28, 2015 we indicated that we would be taking action further to the DND/CAF Ombudsman's investigative report into the incident.

“Since that time and over a number of months now, DND and the CAF have been in contact and in discussions with victims of this tragic event and their representatives regarding their health care needs and expectations with respect to financial recognition. Significant progress has been made in addressing the Ombudsman's recommendations.

“As a first step, we immediately began efforts to make contact with all those affected. Medical needs assessments were offered to all affected individuals that had been located to identify their health care needs, both physical and psychological, that are connected to this tragedy, and we continue to receive responses.

“Based on these assessments, the next step will be to develop individualized treatment plans to identify areas of their care where more support is needed — and some of this work is already underway.

“Concurrently, DND has also been engaged in determining suitable financial recognition. This has included a review of compensation in line with jurisprudence in similar situations, as recommended by the Ombudsman in his 2015 report.

“Our work is ongoing and is being done in collaboration with the victims of this terrible tragedy and their representatives. The Minister of National Defence has met with them to discuss our collective progress. We remain focused on ensuring that the health care needs of victims are met, and that they receive the recognition they deserve for their pain and suffering.

“We continue to urge all those who believe they have been affected by this incident to contact us at 1-844-800-8566 or 1974@forces.gc.ca.”