New Brunswick

Mourners crowd into chapel to remember fallen medic

More than 300 people crowded inside a chapel at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick on Wednesday to pay their final respects to a Canadian medic who was killed in Afghanistan.

More than 300 people crowded inside a chapel at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick on Wednesday to pay their final respects to a Canadian medic who was killed in Afghanistan.

In front of the small St. Luke Chapel, soldiers in dark-green dress uniforms stood at attention as the flag-draped coffin of Pte. Colin Wilmot was carried inside. The pallbearers and colour guard were members of Wilmot's 1st Field Ambulance unit from Edmonton.

Wilmot, 24, died from his injuries on July 5 after an explosive device detonated while he was on night patrol in the troubled Panjwaii district near the city of Kandahar.

The Edmonton-based soldier was attached to the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, but Wilmot was raised in Fredericton and graduated from Fredericton High School in 2002.

He was the 87th Canadian soldier to die during the Afghanistan mission.

Maj. John Crook, the acting commander of 1st Field Ambulance, told the congregation Wilmot was a dedicated soldier.

"Colin served his unit with honour and dignity. He was a shining example of what Canada has to offer," Crook said.

Wilmot's family has a long history of military service.

Among the mourners was Wilmot's stepfather, Warrant Officer Eric Craig, who was recently transferred from CFB Gagetown to CFB Petawawa in eastern Ontario.

Kathy Jones Kingston, Wilmot's sister, gave the eulogy at the funeral. Wilmot was smart and mischievous as a child, she said, recalling how her brother would often steal the shoes of family and company as a child in an effort to keep them from leaving.

Wilmot also enjoyed playing with GI Joe figures as a boy, Jones Kingston said.

Other family members have said Wilmot was inspired to become a medic by the television show MASH, but he did his medical work in the field during combat operations, not in a hospital behind the front lines.

Wilmot, who had been with the military for three years, was not originally scheduled to join the current rotation in Afghanistan but demanded to be sent.

"Colin cared about everyone, usually more than himself," Jones Kingston said. "What we'll miss most about Colin is his smile and his laugh. We're going to miss you, Colin. Thanks for all the memories."

Family, friends and colleagues remember Wilmot as a top student in his basic medical course and a young man with a perpetual smile and positive attitude.

A private burial at Fredericton's Forest Hill Cemetery will take place later in the day.

With files from the Canadian Press

now