Remembrance Day comes early with mural of the fallen

Twelve-metre-long mural of soldiers killed in Afghanistan visits Victoria

Lindsay Sullivan

Lindsay Sullivan

It’s been five years since her fiancé, Bombardier Myles Mansell, was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

Thanks to a painted mural depicting the faces of Canadian military personnel killed in the war-torn nation since 2002, Lindsay Sullivan says her fiancé’s memory will live on.

“I’m always so grateful when I know that other people remember him, too,” said the Saanich resident. “The country remembers, not just me or his family.”

The face of the artillery reservist, who served with 5th Field Artillery Regiment at the Bay Street Armoury, is one of 155 painted on a 12-metre-long tribute. Ontario artist Dave Sopha is in the process of adding two more faces to his Portraits of Honour, which is travelling by tractor-trailer truck to the hometowns of the fallen.

The tribute was unveiled following an emotional ceremony at the cenotaph on the legislative lawns in Victoria Monday afternoon – two weeks after Canada’s combat operation in Afghanistan changed to a training mission.

Saanich residents Jane and Richard Nuttall also lingered over the painted face of their son, Lieut. Andrew Nuttall, killed in 2009.

“As time passes, it is important that we do not forget that all we have achieved has come at a price,” said navy Capt. Craig Baines, commander of CFB Esquimalt. “It is important that we do not forget their names and what they have done for us.”

The army, navy and air force personnel killed in action, helped make a difference in the lives of the Afghanistan people, said Gene Clutchey, president of the Kinsmen Club of Victoria.

Sponsored largely by Kin Canada, the mural tour began in Ontario in May and will return in December. In addition to honouring those who died, the initiative is helping the club achieve its $1.2-million goal to support a special military families fund.

“It’s important that (the fallen) are recognized and remembered and not just lost as a page in history,” Clutchey said.