Bodies of two Quebec-based soldiers killed in Afghanistan return to Canada

CFB TRENTON, Ont. - The mournful strains of "Amazing Grace" mingled with traffic noise at a sombre repatriation ceremony Tuesday to honour the latest victims of Canada's military effort to bring order to Afghanistan.

Military pallbearers carry the caskets of Cpl. Nicolas Beauchamps and Pte. Michel Levesque Jr., who were killed in Afghanistan on Saturday, to waiting hearses during a  repatriation ceremony at Canadian Forces base Trenton, Tuesday November 20, 2007.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred ChartrandWith dignitaries and family on hand, the flag-draped coffins of Quebec-based Cpl. Nicolas Beauchamp, 28, and Pte. Michel Levesque, 25, were lowered from a military transport to waiting hearses. Beauchamp, of the 5th Field Ambulance and Levesque, of the Royal 22nd Regiment, also known as the Van Doos, were killed Saturday in a roadside bomb blast, becoming the 72 and 73rd soldiers to die in Afghanistan since 2002.

Beauchamp's spouse, Cpl. Dolores Crampton, a medical technician based with the same unit, accompanied his body back to Canada.

Crampton laid flowers on his coffin before returning to stand with Defence Minister Peter McKay and Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier on the windswept runway. Also on hand was Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean and about 100 members of the public, who pressed against the fence that circles the base to watch the ceremony. "I feel they need some respect," said Florence Whiten, of nearby Trenton, Ont., whose husband was a veteran of the Second World War. "I don't really support the mission, but I support the troops."

An Afghan interpreter was also killed in the blast, which struck their light armoured vehicle about 40 kilometres west of Kandahar City, near the forward operating base known as Ma'sum Ghar. Three other soldiers based out of CFB Valcartier, Que., were also injured. "We just like to give our support to the families - let them know that we care," said Joan Ruttan, of nearby Belleville, Ont.

Beauchamp and Levesque were both based out of Valcartier. As the CC-150 Polaris carrying the bodies arrived at this eastern Ontario base, Anne Marie Roberto said she and her daughter were on hand because her soldier husband and Beauchamp had become friends at Valcartier.

"It's just a respect to come out for him and his family - what they're going to go through - they need a lot of courage," Roberto said, adding she wanted to thank Beauchamp "for what he did." Roberto's daughter Alexandra, 7, said she, too, thought it important to be there for the ceremony. "It is important," Alexandra said. "One of my dad's friends is dead."

In a statement, Beauchamp's family remembered him as a soldier dedicated to making a difference. "Nicolas was strong, generous, proud and convinced that he could make a difference in this world," the family said. Levesque had returned to Afghanistan from leave just a week ago after he got engaged to his 18-year-old girlfriend, who is pregnant. His family said the native of Riviere-Rouge, Que., a small village in the Laurentians, was proud to serve in Afghanistan. "He will never cease to live among us and in our hearts," Levesque's family said in a separate statement.

"He will always be a hero to us."


News Release

Two Canadian soldiers and an Afghan Interpreter killed in Afghanistan

CEFCOM / COMFEC NR–07.044 - November 17, 2007

OTTAWA – Two Canadian soldiers, and one Afghan interpreter were killed at approximately 12:00 a.m. Kandahar time on 17 November, 2007 when their Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV III) struck a suspected Improvised Explosive Device approximately 40 km West of Kandahar city in the vicinity of Ma’sum Ghar.

Three Canadian soldiers were also injured in the explosion and immediately evacuated from the scene by helicopter to the Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield where they are receiving medical care and have informed their families.

The identities of the fallen are as follows:

Corporal Nicolas Raymond Beauchamp, age 28, 5e Ambulance de campagne, based out of Valcartier, Quebec.

Private Michel Jr. Lévesque, age 25, 3e Bataillon, Royal 22e Régiment, based out of Valcartier, Quebec.

November 17, 2007

Bomb kills 2 Canadians in Afghanistan


Last Updated: Saturday, November 17, 2007 | 9:31 AM ET

Two Canadian soldiers and an Afghan interpreter were killed Saturday after the vehicle they were travelling in struck a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan, military officials said.

Three other Canadians were wounded in the blast in Zahri district, about 40 kilometres west of Kandahar City.

The Canadians who died were identified as Cpl. Nicolas Raymond Beauchamp of the 5th Field Ambulance in Valcartier, Que., and Pte. Michel Levesque of Quebec's Royal 22nd Regiment, also known as the Van Doos.

They were riding in a Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) that hit an IED (improvised explosive device) on a road north of a Canadian forward operating base near Bazar-e Panjwaii.

The injured were transported to hospital at Kandahar Air Field with non-life threatening injuries, said Col. Christian Juneau.

Juneau called this a "difficult and emotional time" for family, friends and colleagues of the soldiers involved.

The two latest casualties bring the number of Canadians killed in Afghanistan to 73 soldiers and one diplomat since the mission began in 2002.


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