Project Update

In case you’ve forgotten how this project came to be, here’s a little background. From early in 2010 til March of 2014 volunteers across Canada collected stories and photos from the men and women who served Canada in Afghanistan. The result is the remarkable commemorative book, “Afghanistan: A Canadian Story” that tells some of the very human Canadian stories of the boots on the ground experience of that mission.

The book was completed by August of 2014 and enjoyed a well attended launch at the Cartier Square Drill Hall on November 3rd 2014.

Net proceeds from book sales went to the Edmonton Military Family Resources Centre from launch to September 2017, and were shared with military support services such as the Boomers Legacy Foundation, the Military Families Fund, the Soldier On Fund and Operation Dignity St Anne de Bellevue Veterans Hospital Foundation. October commences a change in that the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Guild (RCEME Guild) is now the keeper of the book as it were.

The E-version of “Afghanistan: A Canadian Story” was published in late 2015 but was badly formatted and has recently been taken down. Apologies to any folks who have this copy. A revised e-version of “Afghanistan: A Canadian Story” will, all going well, be available by November 11, 2017. More to follow on that.

2014 November launch Photos can be found HERE


“Afghanistan: A Canadian Story” – Book Launch November 3rd Ottawa

Join us November 3rd, 2014, at 7 pm in the Cartier Square Drill Hall in Ottawa for the launch of “Afghanistan: A Canadian Story” – a remarkable collection of the stories and photos of almost 150 men and women who served Canada in Afghanistan, on land, in the air and on the sea, between 2001 and 2014.

Books will be in Chapters Indigo by mid-October but can now be pre-ordered.

Front Cover

Afghanistan A Canadian Story Draft 3 13  2014


Back Cover

Afghan Book Project Back Cover 2014


canadian_flag Well, it’s been four years of hard slogging on the part of a growing handful of volunteers. Thank you all so very much. You know who you are.

We had to extend the cut off for submissions to 15 May (thanks to a few Ottawa brass) and now find ourselves overwhelmed with content. Wonderful! So we will make the book a little bigger. 304 pages to be specific. A big jump from the 208 pages we thought we might be able to fill!

We have contributions from almost 150 people and the book looks to be the first of its kind. Reading through the draft as we edit I am moved, fascinated, haunted, saddened and amused by the stories and photos folks have chosen to share. “Afghanistan: A Canadian Story” provides a worthwhile and very human insight into the more than 12 years Canadians served in Afghanistan and the maritime approaches to that part of the world.

For those of you who contributed, be proud of your contribution and know that you have a place in a rather fascinating and significant historical legacy unlike any that has come before. For those of you who never quite got around to it, too late.

The book is now with the copy editor and will be launched, in Ottawa, November 2014, probably as a part of Veterans Week. You should be able to order it through Chapters Indigo around the time of the launch or shortly thereafter.

All proceeds will go to the Edmonton MFRC for distribution to Boomers Legacy Foundation, the Military Families Fund and the Soldier On Fund.

Rough Draft finally completed

It is done. Almost four years since we started it. The rough draft of the book, all 307 pages of it, has gone to the volunteer copy editor, Capt Susan Magill, my PAO partner in creative mayhem and machinations. The door is closed on all but those few submissions we have already been apprised of.

Now, how to fit 307 pages in to the cap of 240 pages. Folks who have submitted more than one story, you will be reduced to your best of. Folks who have gone on and on and on and on – and you know who you are – you will be abbreviated. Submission instructions at the web site were pretty clear.

And for those of you who sent me teeny tiny photos without captions, you have no idea how much work you created. All too often, a photo just could not be included. Again, the instructions at the web site were pretty clear. Interesting to note that the most frequent offenders in this last sin were senior (as in brass) peeps. Ludites of the world seem to have gravitated to the CAF/DND.

There will be an e-version in the New Year in which we hope to include everything as well as a gallery of unassigned (no accompanying story) photos. For those of you who never got around to sharing your story, too bad, so sad, too late. Interesting to note that none of the folks I served with bothered to submit a story or a photo. Thanks.

In any event, it will be wonderful to finally enjoy retirement life a little (not really – still a lot to do). And to all who helped get us this far, you have been and no doubt will continue to be wonderful. Demigods and goddesses all.

Uploading New Content – Where’s Yours?

I am up to 2008 in terms of removing material borrowed from Combat Camera and uploading new submissions. As you visit each year you can check out your own submission (that’s if you sent something in) and see where we are short material. Also gives you an opportunity to get a sense of what others are writing. Might inspire those of you who served but have been silent so far to send something in. If you DID send something in and it’s not there (remember I am only up to 2008) feel free to nag me or resend your material. And remember, images have to be high resolution.

Some of you sent in very long pieces and numerous photos. We have a new cap of 240 pages and don’t want to leave anyone out so some of the longer submissions will be edited to a shorter version for the hard copy of the book while the e-version will have the full version. Same goes for photos. The hard cover will have at least one of the photos you’ve sent in while the e-version will have them all (except out of focus, or unidentifiable photos)

Afghan Legacy Album

AfghanistanCanadianStoryThe final cover is decided and formatting of much of the first and last section of the book is complete. Now comes the daunting task of editing, ordering and formatting all the submissions, the real content. A frustrating part of this is a requirement to resize many photos. Fortunately the publisher put me on to a good software program that does this surprisingly well.

The book has full funding thanks to the Power Workers Union and will be published November 2014. If you deployed, Military, RCMP, Corrections, Media, Civilian, it would be a shame to have the book come out and your friends and family ask why it doesn’t have your story. For those of you who are at a loss as to what you should write, have a look at what others have sent in. Content accumulation as of July 2013 can be found at /

Over 100 people have already contributed with the promise of many more. Very few Air Force and no RCMP yet. Discussion is under way to expand the number of pages in the book and there will be an e-version of the book.

Remember submission cut-off is May 1 2014. 200 to 600 words for articles (more for exceptional stories). Identify who you are and when you deployed. Photos have to be at least 300 dpi or 1 megabyte and need to include who took the photo, who’s in it, and when it was taken. Submissions can be emailed to

If you don’t get your story in before May 1st there will be no additional opportunities to sneak a submission in later. That will be it. When the book comes out and friends and family flip to the year or years you deployed, they won’t find you. Everything goes to the publisher by mid-May and before that Capt. Susan Magill has to copy edit the whole thing! And she has at least two day jobs with the CAF. So no exceptions for late submissions.

Film Tour moves through Southern Alberta and heads to Moose Jaw for 3 September

30 August 30, 2013

Trip pics can be found at

(Video blogs are in the list of YouTube videos at the welcome page – I promise I will get better at these)

I am comfortably ensconced in the Travelodge Lethbridge, Alberta. The film tour launch on the 23rd at the Edmonton MFRC, though under-attended (almost 30) was what I would call a success. Folks who came didn’t leave until the last film had run to credits and when we were done, stood to applaud. And three folks (in uniform) were making inquiries as to how to get the films in to places like RMC in Kingston and their own home units. We had two good local articles too (attached) with some inaccuracies (like John picking up the tab for publication and leaving out the part Susan Magill played in coming up with the project concept).

Of greater significance, however, was the meeting today with The Military Museums in Calgary. They want to have a two day finale at the museum 15, 16 November and are very interested in a transfer of the web site to the museum, following publication of the book, and a morphing of the site into a “Canadian Soldier’s Stories” to gather the boots on the ground stories from the Boer War forward into future engagements. They have an interactive display that would be perfect for this. Quite exciting! Awaiting confirmation following their meeting next Wednesday. Should make it easier to sell the Canadian War Museum on the idea of an annual Canadian Military Film Festival.

I have permissions on all films now (CBC is charging me $150 for “Life and Death in Kandahar” and the offer of an eleventh film. Next stop Moose Jaw on the 3rd, Regina on the 5th and Shilo on the 9th.

I am hoping to roll into Ottawa on the eastbound journey around 6 October, I have a showing confirmed for North Bay and interest from London Ontario, Toronto, and Kingston. So far nothing for Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, or PEI, but I now have three films viewable in French and could probably stumble awkwardly through a preamble in French. Folks in parts east take note!

I have enjoyed the camping but periodically take a break in a cheap motel (by then the grubby bathrooms are nothing compared to the luxury of a hot shower!) The Shushwap was beautiful and I enjoyed the road side fruit stands through the BC interior. Some days I think I am out of my mind to take on this journey and I get terribly anxious, especially about expenses. Then I have a great day like today and can’t imagine doing anything else! Two and a half months to go. But who’s counting?

Subscriber Registration Guidelines

Site Subscribers

A quick note to site visitors, there have recently been many attempts to register as a subscriber from folks who have nothing to do with Canada, the Canadian Forces, or our involvement in Afghanistan. While the interest is appreciated, only registrations from folks with a direct interest in the project, who are prepared to reflect this in the section where we ask for a brief bio, will be validated as subscribers to the site. This is a volunteer project with little time or opportunity to accommodate idle or abstract curiosity, let alone suspiciously spam like attempts at involvement with the site. Many thanks for your understanding. Melanie – project coordinator