Cenotaph Dedication - Col.(ret) Walt Pirie Address

On behalf of the 427 Squadron Association, Col.(ret) Walt Pirie presented this tribute at the Cenotaph Dedication in Cobden, Ontario on October 15, 2017.

Thank you.

LCol Rook, members of 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron, LGen Smith, LGen McNaughton, BGen Dabros, Honourable Cheryl Gallant MP, Mayor Johnson, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.

As stated, my name is Walt Pirie. I am a member of the executive of the 427 Squadron Association. The Association is made up of former and current members of 427 Squadron of all ranks from WW11 to the present day. Among other activities we maintain a history of the Squadron and provide information about the Squadron through our website and our online magazine, ROAR. I flew the F86 Sabre on 427 Squadron during the Squadron's Sabre era of the 1950's and early 1960's. I am pleasd to be addressing you today on behalf of the 427 Squadron Association.

The 427 Association is the titular owner of this magnificent memorial you see before you. I say titular owner because the idea and impetus for this wonderful reminder of the sacrifices of previous members of the Squadron came from LCol Jeff Orr, the immediate past Commanding Officer of 427 Sqn, and that idea has been fully supported by the present CO, LCol Clay Rook. To bring the idea to fruition, the reins on the project were handed to the Sqn Honorary Colonel, Del Lippert, a resident by the way of Cobden. Del took those reins and galloped forth at a prodigious pace. Del has seen the project through from inception, through design, to contract letting, to manufacture, and installation. He was the primary fund raiser, with help from the RCAF Association and its Director, Dean Black, who, by the way is also a member of the 427 Squadron Association Executive. Over $200,000.00 has been raised. A list of donors will be inscribed on a plaque to the side of the Cenotaph. We on the 427 Squadron Association have been grateful that Del has sought our advice from the outset and kept us informed throughout the implementation of the project. The Association presented Del with its Lionheart award last night, but today we all owe Honourary Colonel Del Lippert a huge debt of gratitude.

Again, we of the 427 Sqn Association are proud to have played a small part in this endeavor and we pledge to take our responsibilities as owners of the Memorial seriously. With the willing help of the CO and members of 427 Sqn it will be maintained throughout the years in a manner befitting such a magnificent and touching Memorial.

Turning now to the Cenotaph itself. I know of no other in the world that would surpass this one in workmanship, appropriate design and intricate detail. The bronze Lion grabs ones attention immediately, and appropriately so. But, to see scale etchings of each of the aircraft flown by 427 Squadron from the Squadron's inception in 1942 through to the present, along with a listing of all those members who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country and in support of freedom for all, is truly awe inspiring.

I would like once again to thank the Squadron for allowing the 427 Association the privilege of ownership and care for this unique Memorial.

Thank you all for coming.

Thank you all for listening.

Ferte Manus Certas

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