In the Service of Peace

Sergeant Edward William Ferguson of the Royal Canadian Postal Corps, Congo Christmas rush 1960. (Ferguson Family)

Sergeant Edward William Ferguson of the Royal Canadian Postal Corps, Congo Christmas rush 1960.
(Ferguson Family)

Canadian Armed Forces Away at Christmas

Sergeant Edward William Ferguson was a career soldier and during his 21 year army career served on several United Nations peace-keeping missions across the globe. Korea, Egypt, the Belgian Congo, Cyprus. His journeys took him to many other places fulfilling a childhood vision to see the world, sometimes not always at its best. He was an amazing photographer.

Ed Ferguson frequented many places that continue to remain common discussion for his generation and those a bit younger. Recently I watched four men, of an age, sitting over breakfast sharing stories. Were they speaking of Naden, Stadacona, Work Point, Cold Lake, Soest, Verl, Metz, Marville, Grostequin, Baden-Baden, Rabat, Zweibrücken, Decimomannu or one of a thousand plus other places that our armed forces have been?

Often our nation calls and they go. Separation from family can occur at any time. Ed Ferguson was in the Belgian Congo attached to 57 Signals Unit, Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, for Christmas 1960. On his return he spoke frequently of his time there, playing chess with the father of actor Michael J. Fox, of the rebellion, Tshombe and Leopoldville. The last Christmas I recall him away was 1970 when on attachment to the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Cyprus. Some may recall their postie, the man in the red jogging suit who came back to Canada a trim and fit 180 lb. soldier. He ran everywhere, probably every day when not on duty. Running was part of his youth, regained in 1970 and how he missed it when age took fleet of foot away from him.

The Congo image of Sergeant E.W. Ferguson was published in Canadian newspapers that appeared across the country. I always liked it…surrounded by the mail…parcels at Christmas. Its quite a reminder of days gone by…of a career soldier…and Dad. Miss you forever…and in tribute to your attempts to play an alto sax…a little Christmas music….sounds just like him!!!!

About The Author

Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and in Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was further amazed by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and with time he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he learned Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.


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