Master Cpl. Colin Bason remembered by troops at New West Regiment





Lieut. Matthew Haussmann bows his head while sharing memories of Master Cpl. Colin Bason at the New Westminster Regiment yesterday. Bason, a regiment reservist, was killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday.

It had been 56 years since the Royal Westminster Regiment had lost a soldier at war.

Yesterday members of the reservist army unit gathered to remember a new fallen soldier, Master Cpl. Colin Bason, one of six Canadians killed this week in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan.

“(Bason) had wanted to be a soldier from a young age,” said Lieut. Matthew Haussmann, Commanding Officer of the New Westminster Regiment. “Soldiering was his life, his passion.”

Haussmann described how the 28-year-old reservist, who had a penchant for playing around, was torn between staying with the New Westminster regiment and joining the regular forces.

“There isn’t really a difference between (the regular army) and a reservist. When you put the uniform on you know things could happen. Everyone wears a Canadian flag on their shoulder.”

“To be a reservist, first and foremost you have to love your country. It’s a calling. You can make more money doing other things.”

Haussmann said despite the dread a soldier feels when being deployed, there is a sense of pride in being able to practise one’s craft.

“It’s a duty, it’s something you have to do.”

When hearing of Bason’s death Haussmann said the regiment was overcome with a mixture of sadness, anger and disbelief.

“Right now we’re in mourning. Part of our family has died.”

He said whenever a soldier is killed all members of the army feel a sense of loss. “Obviously when you know somebody personally it makes it worse ... I’ve been doing this for 20 years and soldiers are just selfless.”

Bason, who grew up in Abbotsford and had previously served in Kosovo, had been with the regiment for seven years. In February he and seven other volunteers were shipped out for Afghanistan.

He was killed just outside of Kandahar when the armoured vehicle in which he was travelling struck a roadside bomb.

Two memorials will be set up for Bason. Haussmann said the regiment will likely hold their own private memorial.

Bason leaves behind his five-month-old daughter, Vienna, and his partner, Katrina Blain.

His remains will likely be repatriated Monday.

In harm’s way

  • Haussmann said eight reservists from the New Westminster Regiment were sent to Afghanistan, making up part of the roughly 25 B.C. reservists in that country.

  • Capt. Matthew Dawe, Cpl. Cole Bartsch, Cpl. Jordan Anderson and Pte. Lane Watkins, all based in Edmonton were also killed in Wednesday’s bombing, as was Capt. Jefferson Francis, based in Shilo, Man. Their Afghani interpreter also died in the blast.

  • Twenty-two Canadian soldiers have now died this year, and 66 since the mission started in 2002.