Private Colin William Wilmot
1984 - 2008
July 7, 2008 at 2:30 AM EDT At approximately 12:50 a.m., Kandahar time, on July 5, a Canadian soldier suffered critical injuries and later died when an explosive device detonated near a dismounted security patrol in Panjwayi District.The fallen soldier is Private Colin William Wilmot, a medic serving with the Health Services Support Unit in Afghanistan attached to 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group. His home unit was 1 Field Ambulance, based in Edmonton, Alberta.First-aid was administered to Private Wilmot immediately following the explosion. He was evacuated by helicopter to the Multi-National Medical Facility at Kandahar Airfield. Sadly, Private Wilmot was pronounced dead upon arrival.The thoughts and prayers of every member of the Canadian Task Force are with Private Wilmot's family and friends during this very difficult time.
Our Canadian medic killed by a bomb at an undisclosed location on Sunday had eagerly volunteered for a spot in the Afghan mission, his commander says.
Private Colin William Wilmot was serving with a field ambulance unit in Edmonton and was not originally scheduled to deploy to the battlefield, but he lobbied for the job and eventually got attached to the Canadian battle group.
“He quickly marched in to see his Regimental Sergeant Major to indicate he was eager to serve in Afghanistan,” said Brigadier-General Denis Thompson, the top Canadian commander in Kandahar. “He was selected to fill a vacancy soon after, because he was motivated, he was skilled, and because he was eager to make a difference in the lives of ordinary Afghan people.”
Gen. Thompson said he has discontinued the practice of giving the location of soldiers' deaths, saying only that Private Wilmot was killed somewhere in Panjwai district, a vast expanse of farmland and desert southwest of Kandahar city.
Private Colin William Wilmot, a medic, died during a foot patrol in Panjwai district on Sunday.
The commander also gave few details about what the medic was doing at the time of his death.
“It was a foot patrol at night,” Gen. Thompson said. “We're trying to dominate the area and to do that we have to do foot patrols.”
The blast happened around 1 a.m. local time on Sunday and did not immediately kill the medic. He suffered critical injuries and his comrades gave him emergency first-aid, lifting him onto a stretcher and moving him in an armoured vehicle to the nearest Canadian outpost.
A helicopter later took him a military hospital at Kandahar Airfield but he was pronounced dead on arrival.
“Throughout the evacuation process, our soldiers and medical personnel fought hard, just as Private Wilmot often did, to save the life of their patient. Sadly, his injuries were too extensive to save him,” Gen. Thompson said.
Private Wilmot leaves behind a fiancée, Laura. He had recently returned to Afghanistan after a short vacation.
“I am told he had a permanent smile on his face, and would brag to anyone within earshot that he was now engaged,” Gen. Thompson said.
“He personally gave medical assistance to many soldiers,” the commander said. “He was also quick to help Afghan soldiers, members of the police, and local civilians who required emergency treatment.
“Colin took great pride in his role and abilities when providing needed medical support.”
He continued: “The Canadian Task Force routinely counts on our medics during life-and-death situations, and Private Wilmot was always ready to answer the call.”
Statement from the Family: It was with great sadness that our family received the devastating news of the loss of Private Colin William Wilmot. Colin took extreme pride in his service to his country and his fellow soldiers as a medic. He was a mature outgoing young man who was full of life and always had a positive outlook. It was no surprise to any of us that he chose a profession that allowed him to help others. Colin also leaves behind his fiancée Laura who brought great joy to his life and will miss him with all her heart and soul. We are extremely proud of Colin and what he accomplished in his lifetime. Our family is heartbroken by his loss. He will never be forgotten and his spirit will live forever within the hearts of all who knew him.We wish to thank all Canadians for their outpouring of support during this difficult time and would like to express our gratitude to the Canadian Forces the tremendous support they have provided to our entire family.
Obituary of Pte Colin William Wilmot 1984 - 2008
The passing of Pte Colin William Wilmot of CFB Edmonton, AB, occurred on
Saturday, July 5, 2008 at Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.
Born on May 12, 1984 in Fredericton, NB, he was the son of Warrant OfficerEric P. Craig of Petawawa, ON and the late Shirley Lorraine (Mann) Craig.Pte Colin Wilmot was a medic with 1 Field Ambulance serving in Afghanistan.He was a very athletic young man, who was proud to serve his country.In addition to his step-father, Colin is survived by his birth father, Colin Bernard Wilmot of Fredericton, NB; sister, Kathleen Jones Kingston of Fredericton, NBand fiancée, Laura English of Moncton, NB.Besides his mother, he was predeceased by his brother-in-law, David Trevis Kingston.Visitation will take place at York Funeral Home, 302 Brookside Dr. Fredericton North on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 from 2-4, 7-9. Royal Canadian Legion Branch #4, Fredericton will conduct a Tribute Service Tuesday evening at 6:45 pm at the funeral home. A Funeral Service will take place at St. Luke’s Protestant Chapel CFB Gagetown on Wednesday, July 16th at 10AM with Padre Darryl Levy and Padre Ian Easter officiating.Reception to follow at the Carleton Barracks Officers Mess, CFB Gagetown.Interment will take place at the Forest Hill Cemetery, Fredericton.For those who wish, in lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Autism Society.Personal condolences may be offered through http://www.yorkfh.com/.
He's Coming Home - Ramp Ceremony - Kandahar, Afghanistan
While the lone piper plays behind, Pte. Colin William Wilmot's comrades load his flag-draped coffin into an aircraft after a solemn ramp ceremony at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan on Monday, July 7th, 2008.
Comrades Remember- The medic was remembered by comrades as the top student in his basic medical course and a young man with a perpetually sunny disposition. They said Wilmot, who had been with the military for three years, was not originally scheduled to join the current rotation in Afghanistan, but demanded to be sent.
"He quickly marched in to see his regiment sergeant major to indicate he was eager to serve," said Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson, Canada's top soldier in Afghanistan.
"Colin wanted it known that should a spot become available on the mission, he wanted in.
His peers say the Canadian military medic who died Sunday, Pte. Colin William Wilmot, had a quick smile, sharp intellect, and generous heart. "He was selected to fill a vacancy soon after, because he was motivated, he was skilled, and because he was eager to make a difference in the lives of ordinary Afghans."
'We are a family,' commanding officer says
Back at Edmonton Garrison, where Wilmot was based before deploying for Afghanistan, his commanding officer, Lt. Col. Christopher Linford, said the incident underlined the risks faced by Canada's combat medics in Afghanistan.
"We are a family and this is like losing a family member," he said.
"I don't think there's any doubt that all medics that go over to do this job are extremely aware of the dangers they face," said Linford, commander of 1Field Ambulance in Edmonton. "Frankly, I'm extremely impressed by their level of courage and commitment to do that," said Linford, commander of 1Field Ambulance in Edmonton."
Along the Highway of Heroes and Repatriation Announcement:
Our fallen soldier, Private Colin William Wilmot, 24, of 1 Field Ambulance, based out of Edmonton, Alberta is scheduled to return home to Canada Wednesday.
Where: 8 Wing Trenton, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.
When: Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 2:00 p.m.
Present to pay their respects at the repatriation ceremony will be the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and other dignitaries.
After the repatriation ceremonies, the cortege will travel from Trenton to Toronto along the 401 W - The Highway of Heroes. Join others along the overpasses and highway and salute our fallen soldier - honour him and his family. Wear red and wave a flag proudly. (wish I was able to be by your side today J. - my heart is there.)
They stood on the bridge over the 401 at Victoria Park Road in Toronto as the strong winds blew, awaiting the cortège enroute from Trenton. Someone was in touch with the progress of the cortège and received updates as to what point the family had just passed. With heavy hearts 20 people stood braving the traffic and winds on the bridge. One couple brought a flag and fastened it to the handrail so that it over hung the edge of the bridge, occassionally blowing upwards with each gust while other people had flags waving in the stiff breeze. As the cars and trucks passed underneath, the drivers honked and they waved in return.
There were two young men who were from Afghanistan, a WWII vet, a current CER who is posted to Edmonton Aug 1 and his family, a man and his 2 children who will be going to Petawawa in a couple of weeks to see a relative off to Afghanistan, a woman with a very strong French accent who doesn't agree with the war but just had to pay her respect to someone who gave his life in service of our country, a Dad whose son goes on the next rotation, a Dad whose son is a reservist has done one rotation and has just finished his first year in law. The remainder were people who wanted to be there to honour a soldier whose life has ended so soon.
Privat Colin Wilmot's loved ones stood beside the chapel at CFB Gagetown, anguish etched on their faces, their hearts as empty as the cloudless blue sky. They clasped hands and choked back tears as a piper interrupted the uneasy silence of a lazy summer morning, and the long goodbye began.
Heels clicking against the pavement, eight sombre soldiers slowly carried the casket bearing the 24-year-old private into a church where mourners were waiting. The mission grinds on, but for friends and family, time stood still on Wednesday.His funeral was the first at the New Brunswick base in more than a year, and his casket lay at the front of the chapel near a painting dedicated recently to other soldiers who have died during the Afghan war.
More than 300 people crowded inside the chapel at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick on Wednesday to pay their final respects to a Canadian medic who was killed in Afghanistan.
In front of the small St. Luke Chapel, soldiers in dark-green dress uniforms stood at attention as the flag-draped coffin of Pte. Colin Wilmot was carried inside. The pallbearers and colour guard were members of Wilmot's 1st Field Ambulance - his own unit from Edmonton and and soldiers from Petawawa.
The Edmonton-based soldier was attached to the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, but Wilmot was raised in Fredericton and graduated from Fredericton High School in 2002 and remembered as a cheerful person from the convenience store
Maj. John Crook, the acting commander of 1st Field Ambulance, told the congregation Wilmot was a dedicated soldier.
"Colin served his unit with honour and dignity. He was a shining example of what Canada has to offer," Crook said.
Wilmot's family has a long history of military service.
Among the mourners was Wilmot's stepfather, Warrant Officer Eric Craig, who was recently transferred from CFB Gagetown to CFB Petawawa in eastern Ontario, and Oromocto Mayor Fay Tidd, and Frank Dunn, the mayor of New Maryland.
Kathy Jones Kingston, Wilmot's sister, gave the eulogy at the funeral. Wilmot was smart and mischievous as a child, she said, recalling how her brother would often steal the shoes of family and company as a child in an effort to keep them from leaving.
Wilmot also enjoyed playing with GI Joe figures as a boy, Jones Kingston said. "Colin cared about everyone, usually more than himself,'' his sister, Kathy Kingston, said in eulogizing him. "What we'll miss most is his smile and his laugh."We're going to miss you, Colin. Thanks for all the memories."
Other family members have said Wilmot was inspired to become a medic by the television show MASH, but he did his medical work in the field during combat operations, not in a hospital behind the front lines.
Wilmot, who had been with the military for three years, was not originally scheduled to join the current rotation in Afghanistan but demanded to be sent.
"Colin cared about everyone, usually more than himself," Jones Kingston said. "What we'll miss most about Colin is his smile and his laugh. We're going to miss you, Colin. Thanks for all the memories."
Family, friends and colleagues remember Wilmot as a top student in his basic medical course and a young man with a perpetual smile and positive attitude.
Pallbears from the 1st Field Ambulance of the 2nd Battalion of Princess Patricia's Candian Light Infantry Battle Group, carry Private Colin Wilmot's coffin during his funeral at St. Luke's Chapel at CFB Gagetown
A silver-and-black hearse carried Wilmot's body in a deliberate procession that was greeted by an honour guard. Freshly-scrubbed members of his light infantry unit, none looking any older than him, served as the pallbearers, carefully carrying his casket, draped in a flag, up, then down the chapel's stairs. A step behind them, holding Wilmot's head dress, walked the grim-faced Cpl. Alicia Garbe, a member of the Edmonton-based Princess Patricias who escorted his remains back from Afghanistan.
Mourners spilled quietly from the church following the ceremony, some with their eyes red from crying, many with yellow ribbons pinned to their lapels. His loved ones waited, silent and heartbroken, for his casket to be lifted back into a limousine and taken to a cemetery in Fredericton.Soldiers saluted as the hearse left Gagetown, and mourners headed for their cars, clutching programs with his picture, smiling and handsome, on the front. On the back was a poem that was read during the service."A Canadian soldier goes home today, his duty all but done,'' it reads at the start. "His friends gather to see him off, and salute him one by one."
A private burial at Fredericton's Forest Hill Cemetery took place later in the day.
A Canadian Soldier Goes Home Today
A Canadian soldier goes home today
His duty all but done
His friends gather round to see him off
And salute him one by one
To keep the peace he's done his best
And kept the foe at bay
And gave the children in a foreign land
A chance to run and play
They may never know this soldier's name
Nor the sacrifice he made
To leave his own fond loved ones
At home they wish he stayed
But the work of keeping a fragile peace
Is a long and arduous one
Most times accomplished with an open hand
But sometimes with a gun
He is not the first to go this way
But we pray he is the last
With a few shed tears we say goodbye
And then from sight he's passed
Yes, a Canadian soldier goes home today
Draped in our National Flag
His duty for his country is done
Rest well my fallen comrade
BY: Roland MacKinnon Stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan
Our prayers are with your family and friends both here and in Afghanistan as you travel your new journey. Bless you Private Wilmot. Thank you for serving our country. You will always be remembered.