Veteran Stories:
Ian Wilson

Army

  • Military Police armband worn while in combat uniform. It is presented on parade to all graduating MPs.

    Ian Wilson
  • Canadian Forces flag badges. The green flag is used for tactical operations, and the borders and maple leaf show as red under a military flashlight red lens.

    Ian Wilson
  • Left to Right: Brass SECURITAS ("to Protect"), worn on forage cap; OSON ("We Dare"), given to the Special Service Force as a battle honour by the British, worn on the arm of best uniform; Multinational Forces for Kosovo (KFOR) military police badge.

    Ian Wilson
  • Ian Wilson is also involved in community outreach, pioneering such programs as an internationally acclaimed scout troup in Kosovo, with the motto "Letting Kids Be Kids Again".

    Ian Wilson
  • A memorial to the Canadian soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan, Remembered with Honour.

    Ian Wilson
  • Canadian Peacekeeper Ian Wilson.

    Ian Wilson.
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Transcript

Master Corporal Wilson, first name's Ian. I'm a military police officer with the Armed Forces, presently serving. Right now I work at the Military Police Academy in Borden, Ontario. Lahr - beautiful place. Spent four years there with the artillery. I served on the artillery guns, then 109 Howitzers. Then moved on to being a ballistic tech. Worked in the Command Post for several years. And then returned back to Canada, where I took an operational transfer to the Military Police branch in 1992.

The Canadian Forces Base in Lahr, Germany was part of CFE - Canadian Forces Europe. Part of the NATO commitment at that time; '86 to '88 I was in part of the SSF - Special Service Force in Petawawa. And I was part of ACE Mobile Force - Allied Command Europe Mobile Force Land. Basically we're an air-portable artillery unit. We have 105 Howitzers with the shields removed to lower the weight restriction down. And we would deploy. We did exercises in Norway, Belgium, England, the United States. In 1995 I was deployed, part of the United Nations Mission in Haiti. There was 29 military police officers sent down there. I had the distinction of being (laughter) one of the first Canadians into most of the warmer zones that we send to. I have some specialty training that allows me to be sent in. In Haiti in 1995, we went in there. The government was being removed. The United Nations couldn't allow that, so they sent down troops. The military and the government and the police force, which were causing most of the murders and that, we're disbanded. And we were placed in as an intermediate police force. We did everything from policing the area, investigations of crimes. I was one of the military police officers that did the investigation. It was basically called the "bone yard" and basically it was a large field where the population, due to the fact they were starving, didn't have the energy to bury their dead. This is a field they just left their deceased relatives.

I was also the military police officer that attended the prison riot. It was a thousand prisoners rioting. We basically quelled the riot. Luckily there was minimal injuries. No Canadians. We then brought engineers in and they put a proper roofing for them. They were basically rioting over the fact they had no proper shelter or food. So we supplied them all that and we then found out that a large majority of them had never been convicted of anything. So then we arranged for trials to be held and ... to be let go if required.

Haiti was in such bad shape that our sergeant-major, when he did a reconnaissance of the area, had to walk back because the vehicle did not survive the trip down the roads. People were starving to death. We had one gentleman that died right by our front gate. I assumed by his appearance he was 85 years old, but when we found his family and spoke to them, he was only 35. The country was in very bad shape. Our engineer branch did an excellent job of clearing roads of burnt cars, built roads. The military police in their spare time, took all the packing crates and we built a shelter for an orphanage so they could have a school. The military police try to do something nice other than just our mission, everywhere we go. We assisted the population in getting basically back on their feet and the country actually, by the time we left, was considerably better. When we first arrived, we weren't sure if we could help at all.

Off to Kosovo. The mission was a NATO mission in Kosovo in 1999. We deployed 42 military police officers with a large contingent of helicopters and other soldiers. Our main job, as we were the first in again, was to take over the policing from the Serbian military and put stability into the population. We arranged for police stations to be opened. We did policing for the area. We handled disputes, registrations of death, due to the fact that there was a large population where family members had died but there was no legal record, so they couldn't declare them dead. Quelled several riots. We placed troops and ourselves between warring factions.

One day we were in... myself and another military police officer were on a stationary post, doing security. And we noticed there's a large majority of kids. So we spoke to one of them that spoke English and he mentioned the fact that they had nothing to do. And so I asked him, you know, "Do you go to school?" He said, "No, they burnt it." So said, "Well, is the teacher going to hold it somewhere else?" They said, "No, he shot him." So we decided not to ask them any more about their family or anything because it was getting a little too depressing. And we... the other gentleman with me which is a Corporal Johnson, he was a Scout leader. So we got talking - and I'm ex-Scout leader as well - and we decided that maybe we should approach the chain of command and see if we could start a Scout troop. So basically we started a small Scout troop.

We put out flyers explaining what scouting was 'cause the Albanians in the area obviously didn't understand what it was. It hadn't been in the area since 1939. We explained what scouting was and put out a list saying, "Come to this location and we'll sign up the children." Well, the chain of command loved it. We got the flyers translated. We had them all put out on the Saturday. By Saturday that lunch hour, we had well over 200 kids sign up. Well, unfortunately we don't have supplies to handle that many children. So the end result, we had 21 children, one of which was one of the first one I spoke to 'cause he spoke English and Albanian and he was perfect. We basically started the first Kosovo Scout troop. The whole idea of it was, allowing kids to be kids again. They'd seen too much. And you could see it in their faces. And that Scout troop is still going.

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