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Three Generations of Service in the 44th

Shown left to right: Chief Warrant Officer Sharman Thomas, Private Sharman Thomas Junior, Major Nils French, and Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel (Retired) Sharman Thomas Senior.

In a historic moment, 44th Engineer Squadron enrolled a new member on Thursday May 13th. The new member was Sharman Thomas Junior, now a third generation member of the squadron, marking a first in the unit’s almost 75-year history. 

For the occasion he was joined by his grandfather, Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel (Retired) Sharman Thomas Senior, who served as Commanding Officer of the 44th in the early 1970s in the rank of Major, and by his father, Chief Warrant Officer Sharman Thomas, who spent three decades with the unit, becoming Regimental Sergeant Major before transitioning to a role with the Canadian Cadet Program.

Major Nils French, the current commander of the 44th, conducted the enrolment at the Kemball Armoury in Trail on Thursday afternoon. French noted that it is common to have multiple members of the same family serving in the unit, pointing out that three brothers from Fruitvale were all members at the same time. “Two generations has been common in the history of the 44th - but this is the first we’ve seen three generations” he said. French, whose father served in the Army Reserves in Ontario, explained that military members know better than anyone else the many opportunities the Canadian Armed Forces offer and they often pass this on to their family members. 

Sharman Thomas, Sharman Junior’s father, described the enrolment as a proud moment for the family and was happy that all three generations were able to attend. Sharman Junior, now officially Private Thomas, excelled in the Canadian Cadet Program in his youth and is excited to now be in the reserves. He looks forward to a rewarding career with the Forces in the years to come. 

The 44th Engineer Squadron, which is part of BC's 39 Combat Engineer Regiment, has armouries in Trail and Cranbrook .  They are currently accepting applications for part-time positions (one evening per week, one weekend per month) with guaranteed full-time summer employment for the first four years. More information is available at www.forces.ca or by calling the Squadron directly at 250-368-2129.