Strathcona Support to Mary’s Wedding
By Sgt Jason Webb
When soldiers first join up and sign the dotted line they have to expect a job that is unique and ever changing; the chance to go to Victoria for a tasking that encompassed an Opera was probably not what they expected. For Tpr Mike Ebaghetti, Cpl John Nancarrow, MCpl Jesse Paterson, and Sgt Jason Webb it was an experience that they will soon not forget. In all honesty, when leaving chilly Edmonton for a much warmer, although wetter, Victoria the complete details and the extent of their involvement in the Opera itself were unknown and seemed to change day by day.
Mary’s Wedding is based around a fictional character named Charlie who was a member C Sqn throughout the First World War, including the battle of Moreuil Wood, when it was led by Lt Gordon Flowerdew. It accurately portrayed Strathcona’s involvement in the war from their time in the trenches as dismounted infantry to when they got their horses back and carried out the last great cavalry charges on 30 March 1918.
Mary’s Wedding was more then just a normal opera for the community and for everyone involved. It created Mary’s Wedding Memory Project, which is a forum that invites people to share their own stories and pictures about relatives who have served in WWI. Numerous times during the world premier of the Opera the four soldiers, dressed in period uniforms and scarlets, were approached by people who thanked them for their service or who shared their own stories about relatives that served in WWI.
The soldiers did a variety of different things in Victoria from having breakfast with MGen (Ret’d) Cam Ross, Colonel of the Regiment and other retired Strathconas at his house to getting an extremely detailed tour of the dockyard and a ship (thanks very much to the RCN) and being able to watch the world premier of the opera. It is hard to tell if they gained any culture while at the opera, but they definitely gained a better understanding of the Stratchcona’s involvement in WWI and the horrors and triumphs they faced.