New monument in London commemorates Canadian soldiers

London's Royal Canadian Regiment Museum unveiled a new LAV III monument Friday morning.

The installation is one of 33 LAV III monuments being erected across the nation

The new LAV III monument honours Canadians who fought in the Afghanistan War. (Megan Kwan/CBC)

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum unveiled a new commemorative monument Friday morning ahead of Remembrance Day.

A demilitarized third-generation light armoured vehicle (LAV III) was installed outside of the museum to honour the 40,000 Canadian soldiers who served in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2014, including the 162 who died. 

The family of London Trooper Mark Wilson, who was killed in 2006 on a peacekeeping mission in Kandahar, attended the dedication ceremony. Wilson remains the first and only London native to have died in war efforts since World War II.

Mark's brother, Sean, said the monument means a great deal to his family.

"We didn't expect it. We didn't ask for it, but it is nice that Mark is being recognized." said Wilson. "It means the world to us."

Sean Wilson, brother of fallen Londoner Trooper Mark Wilson, says the monument means a lot to him and his family. (Megan Kwan/CBC)

The London monument is the latest to be erected as part of a national LAV III Project to commemorate those who served. Another 32 monuments have been approved across the country.

But to London, the LAV III is of special significance; local company General Dynamics Land Systems builds the vehicle for the Canadian Armed Forces. Students from Fanshawe College also played a role in welding the monument vehicle.

Special guest Brigadier-General Jocelyn Paul, Commander of the 4th Canadian Division, thanked Londoners for their exceptional work, calling the LAV III a home away from home for him and his soldiers.

"I mean we were living in these great platforms for days and days out there," he said, adding that he was touched by the men and women he saw at work while touring the GDLS facilities.

"In my mind, this monument is also a tribute to the people of London who have built these vehicles so well."