Canadian Peacekeepers

Canada’s longest peacekeeping mission began a few years after the Suez Crisis. In 1959, Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean, gained its independence from Great Britain. Greek and Turkish communities on the island, however, could not coexist peacefully. By 1963, fighting had broken out between the two groups. When both Greece and Turkey threatened to intervene, the conflict was poised to become an international crisis. Britain hoped to restore peace through the intervention of the UN. Subsequently, UN troops, including a Canadian contingent, were stationed in Cyprus to keep the peace. 

Norman Woodland
Norman Woodland is a member of the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans of Canada. He served with the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces in Cyprus in 1965. He wrote the following:

I was 17 on March 4th and joined March 19th in St. John’s. Within a couple of weeks I was on my way to Camp Gagetown in New Brunswick, by train to Port aux Basque to meet the ferry, and then from North Sydney to Fredericton, where a military vehicle was there to take me to Camp Gagetown. After six months of brutal training, where 14 out of 54 recruits survived to become members of the famed “Black Watch”…”Ladies from Hell” as the Germans called them during World War II. (The Black Watch wore their kilts in battle.) As a 17 year old soldier, to be told after training, ” You are now a professional killer”, took some getting used to.

After special training I was ready to enter active service, and became a member of the 4th contingent out of 54 to serve in the UNICYP theater of service. I served in Cyprus for six months.

In 1988 the Nobel Peace Prize went to UN Peacekeepers. All Peacekeepers prior to that date are illegible to apply, of course there has to be proof of participation. I wasn’t aware of this until I became a member of VOC (Veterans of Canada), and Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans of Canada.

As a young 18 year old soldier, little did I know that what I was doing would play such a big part in maintaining peace in our world, scary at times, of course, but as all soldiers we were given a job to do, and we did it to the best of our ability. My theater of service was Cyprus (UNICYP)

To be recognized by the Nobel Committee, is something I never dreamed of. To realize I am a Nobel Laureate has been an emotional event to say the least!!

Needless to say, my decision to join The RHR (Black Watch of Canada) in 1965 was one of the best decisions of my life!! I would like to add, The Black Watch took part in training The Green Berets, when they were formed as a fighting force, in the USA. The following Background and Significance article is a quote.

Background: Almost thirty years ago, on the 10th of December 1988, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 1988 to the United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces for their devotion and sacrifice in the service of peace since 1956. The award was accepted by the then United Nations Secretary- General Perez De Cuelliar, on behalf of the “Blue Helmets” Peacekeepers. It thus came about that all those Canadians who served on at least one United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission beginning with the Suez Crisis in 1956 with the first UNEF, to the date of the award in 1988, became Nobel Laureates. They are known as the “First Generation” of Peacekeepers who served from 1956 to 1989 and may also be referred to as the “Cold War” Peacekeepers. In French, they are more often called “Casques Bleus”. So, if you meet a UN “First Generation Blue Beret” Veteran, please congratulate our Nobel Laureate.

This is to certify that
Sgt Norman Woodland served as a member of the “UnitedNations Peace-Keeping Forces, prior to the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the “United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces, on the 10th Flay of (December 1988. he Black Watch: Royal Highland Regiment of Canada
The Black Watch is the oldest highland regiment in Canada.

Volunteers have served since the regiment’s inception in Montreal on January 31st, 1862 as the 5th Battalion, Volunteer Militia Rifles of Canada. The rise of American military strength during the Civil War concerned Canada. The government authorized formation of militia regiments. Each of six Montreal Scottish chieftains responded by raising an infantry company for the 5th Battalion. Eventually, eight companies were raised for border service. Since then, thousands of Canadian citizens have served in the Black Watch. In addition to Canadian border security, they have fought in the Boer War, WW1, WW2, Korean War; bolstered NATO operations in Europe and UN peacekeeping worldwide; and provided aid-to-the-civil-power, most recently during the Quebec and Eastern Ontario ice storm disaster.


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