Master Cpl. Timothy Wilson (March 5, 2006)
Afghan accident victim buried in Manitoba
Mar. 14, 2006. 01:00 AM
BRANDON, Man.—A Canadian soldier who died in a road accident in Afghanistan was honoured with a 21-gun salute as he was buried yesterday after a private service at Canadian Forces Base Shilo. Grim-faced mourners made their way to the grave of Master Cpl. Tim Wilson, 30, to pay their last respects, while pallbearers in full military dress draped the Canadian flag on his casket and carried the fallen soldier to his final resting place.
Among the mourners were Wilson's widow Daphne, daughter Sheralynn, 13, and son, Jesse, 9. Wilson, with the Second Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry based in Shilo, was critically injured March 2 when the light armoured vehicle he was in was hit by a taxi and flipped over.
MCpl. Wilson's letter told his family in Wawanesa, 50 kilometres southeast of Brandon, about the suffering and privation of Afghans. "He talked about the children in Afghanistan and how they had nothing," said his uncle, Kerry Arksey.
Mr. Arksey and his wife, Sharron, said the love and compassion their nephew had for family and others also extended to animals, a preoccupation he shared with his wife, who is involved in providing a haven for broken-down horses.
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Today, MCpl. Wilson, 30, is being laid to rest at a military cemetery at CFB Shilo, just north of Wawanesa, where he served with Bravo Company of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.
As a youth, MCpl. Wilson, who was born in Grand Prairie, Alta., and later moved to Manitoba, used to help out on his uncle's Langruth cattle ranch northwest of Winnipeg.
"He did chores for me. If you ever needed an extra hand, he was always there to do that," Mr. Arksey said. "He always had a willingness to work. He was like most kids in the country, he wanted to have a car of his own and he worked toward getting that."
One day, a farm cat got drenched in paint that had spilled.
"It was absolutely covered in paint. Tim spent hours cleaning it up because he was concerned it was going to die," Mr. Arksey recalled. "When I got home -- I had been out haying -- you couldn't tell it had been in the paint."
MCpl. Wilson's concern for others was demonstrated in another way with his mother Jane's revelation that he had donated his organs to an international organ program.
"Although his death is a terrible tragedy, I hope that his tremendous gift will provide a better life for the many recipients who will benefit from this," Mrs. Wilson said in a statement issued by the Canadian Forces on her and her husband Dale's behalf.
"We have always supported Tim's military career. Although he has died, he did so doing something he loved and deeply believed in -- both in life and in death."
Mr. Wilson, a retired Royal Canadian Military Police officer, and Mrs. Wilson live in Kenora, Ont. Their other two sons are also soldiers. Ben is in the navy and Chris is in the air force.
MCpl. Wilson had been in the military for about eight years. When he was injured March 2 in Kandahar, he was on his second Afghan tour and had also served in Bosnia. He died a few days later while being treated for head injuries in Landstuhl, Germany.
Mr. Arksey said his nephew always had an interest in the military and that may have been natural given his father was an RCMP officer and his grandfather had served during the Second World War.
Ms. Arksey said her nephew loved to spend time at his parents' summer cabin near Kenora.
"He didn't like fishing, but he did enjoy hunting," she said.
The bodies of Master Corporal Timothy Wilson and Corporal Paul Davis, who died as a result of the same accident in Afghanistan, returned to Canada together.
The caskets of the fallen soldiers were solemnly greeted Sunday by Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor, Gen. Rick Hillier, chief of the defence staff, and Governor General Michaelle Jean.
Daphne and Jane Wilson -- the wife and mother of Timothy Wilson -- accompanied his body on the flight from Landstuhl, Germany to CFB Trenton in eastern Ontario.
The families of Wilson and Davis watched with the dignitaries while the two caskets -- first Wilson, then Dabis, both draped in Canadian flags -- were gently lowered to the ground from the plane one by one by a mechanical lift.
Accompanied by a priest dressed in white, soldiers then carried the caskets to waiting hearses, while a single bagpiper played and rows of troops stood at attention.
The hearses carrying each coffin had a soldier in desert fatigues sitting in their passenger seat.
"It was a very sad but very dignified and respectful tribute to these soldiers who gave their lives in Afghanistan," said CTV's Roger Smith.
Wilson and Davis were riding in an armoured vehicle when it struck a taxi Thursday near Kandahar.
Davis, from Bridgewater, N.S., was killed immediately. Wilson clung to life in a U.S.-run German hospital, but succumbed to his injuries early Sunday.
Wilson, from Grande Prairie, Alta., was positioned in one of the vehicle's gun turrets when the top-heavy vehicle flipped over.
He suffered major head injuries. Doctors at the Landstuhl, Germany hospital feared the worst for him.
"It was immediately evident that Wilson sustained an incredible head injury and it did not appear that he was going to survive that injury," said Maj. Nick Withers, the senior Canadian medical physician there.
Wilson's family was by his side when he passed away.