At 10:58 a.m. on November 11, 1918, Moose Jaw’s George Laurence Price died on a bloodstained battlefield in Belgium, killed by a sniper’s bullet.
He was 25 years old.
Price was a member of the 28th North-West Battalion, the unit that would eventually become known as the Royal Regina Rifles.
He was the last British Empire soldier killed in the First World War.
Just two minutes later, the fighting stopped.
“Did any of you know the name before today?” asks Lt. Col Stacy Grubb, commanding officer of the Royal Regina Rifles.
Grubb finds it surprising that there isn’t some sort of monument in Saskatchewan to commemorate George Price.
Grubb says Saskatchewan has a proud military history. And he’d like more people to know it.
He’d also like to breathe new life into the relationship between the people of Saskatchewan and their military.
“The Armoury was once the centre of the city,” he says of the building the Regina Rifles call home.
He likes the neighbourhood.
Just south is Mosaic Stadium, home of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Right next to that is the Brandt Centre, home of the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats.
“It’s the soul of the province,” says Grubb.
The Pats are named after the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. It’s the only major junior team with such a close connection to the Canadian Forces.
Grubb says it fills him with pride to see the way the team honours that unique relationship. He says there are parallels between good hockey players and good soldiers.
“The same qualities you need to succeed on the ice are qualities you need in the battlefield.”
The Royal Regina Rifles have a proud history. They’ve served with distinction in both World Wars, plus Korea, Cyprus, Bosnia and Afghanistan.
The Rifles serve a unique military role. They find the enemy and draw their fire, showing the way for the larger infantry units that follow.
Brave soldiers from the Rifles led the charge during the D-Day Invasion on June 6, 1944.
“They were on Juno Beach in the first wave,” says Grubb.
Allied forces gained a toehold on the beaches of Normandy that day. And because of that, they eventually liberated Holland and France, and defeated Hitler.
But it came at a terrible cost. 356 members of the Regina Rifles made the ultimate sacrifice. Many more dealt with physical and mental injuries for the rest of their lives.
Today, Grubb says, his mission is to generate trained and ready soldiers to keep Canada safe, and carry out its commitments on the world stage.
He’s done three tours in Afghanistan, and he says the men and women from this province punch above their weight during those missions.
“I’ve never seen such pride as the guys from Saskatchewan.”
He says Canadian soldiers will continue to protect and defend Canada’s interests around the globe and at home.