Kelowna Museums celebrates BC Dragoons with new book

Kelowna Museums has released a new book that documents the 102 year history of the BC Dragoons with an extensive collection of photographs.

Lt.-Col. Nigel Whittacker

The story of the BC Dragoons is one that spans over 100 years and includes international and domestic operations from reconnaissance to assistance during natural disasters.

Kelowna Museums has attempted to document that history through its new book, Always First: A Pictorial History of the BC Dragoons.

Author Keith Boehmer, who is also a curatorial assistant for the Okanagan Military Museum, was on-hand to sign copies of the new book Saturday at the museum.

According to Boehmer, Always First: A Pictorial History of the BC Dragoons started out as a Kelowna Museums project to use an extensive collection of images as a way of leading the reader through the 102 year history of the BC Dragoons—from horse-mounted infantry to service in Afghanistan.

“Our primary audience we identified is people in the unit today and their associated family, as well as the veterans and their associated families,” said Boehmer.

The author said he built upon at least 10 different previously written narratives regarding the BC Dragoons to compile the new book.

Although other books have attempted to describe the history of the BC Dragoons, there were few published illustrations of the regiment.

“Sinews of Steel was published in 1965. It’s a very involved text describing day-to-day operations in the wartime and so on. It’s very limited on photographs.”

“This one picks up that narrative photographically.”

He said several “enthusiastic purchasers” visited him Saturday to buy a copy of the book and have it signed.

“It was a very rewarding sort of project to be able to study the photographs, listen to people’s stories, read up on the background (of) events and then try to interpret it, describe it and organize it.

“It feels good to be able to have the project completed. People are accepting it and the regimental family is proud of it.”

According to Lt.-Col. Nigel Whittacker, commanding officer of the BC Dragoons, there are currently 110 active members.

Those interested in purchasing a copy of Always First: A Pictorial History of the BC Dragoons, can pick up a copy at the Okanagan Military Museum on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays for $25 (cash or cheque).

Copies will also be available for purchase at the BC Wine Museum and VQA Wine Shop (1304 Ellis St.).

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com