Mess Dinners; Advice for Subaltern Organizers of

We knew them, we'll remember them, and they will not be forgotten. To our fallen comrades!

Annex C

Toast to Fallen Comrades


This full toast to fallen comrades, including a separate place setting, is not a long standing Canadian Army tradition. It has come into wider use within the past decade but remains at the decision of the unit Commanding Officer (or the PMC) whether or not it will be included and in what form. In particular, consideration should be given regarding the use of the full explanatory introduction, which may be suited for a training Mess Dinner or one specifically held to commemorate sacrifices, but is not necessarily appropriate for all other Mess Dinners.

This place setting description and the long version of the toast that follows passed through many hands before coming to me, I cannot cite an original source or author at this time.

The Place Setting

The following may be used when appropriate to present the Toast to Fallen Comrades and to explain the significance of the dedicated place setting when it is used:

"You may have noticed the small table set for one that is off on its own - it is reserved to honour our fallen comrades in arms. This symbolizes that they are with us, here in spirit. We should never forget the brave men and women who answered our nation's call [to serve] and served the cause of freedom in a special way. We are ever mindful that the sweetness of enduring peace has always been tainted by the bitterness of personal sacrifice. We are compelled to never forget that while we enjoy our daily pleasures, there are others who have endured the agonies of pain, deprivation and death.

I would like to explain the meaning of the items on this special table.

Let us remember - and never forget their sacrifice.

May they and their families ever be watched over and protected."

The Table and Place Setting:

Proposing the Toast

The following passage is a suggested full Toast to Fallen Comrades that may be given when appropriate:

"Let us give thanks for the many blessings we have received. Let us give thanks for the security of Canada and for the freedoms we enjoy and experience every day. However, let us also remember the great price that has been paid for that freedom too many times.

We knew them. They lived, they felt, they were as vibrant, as energetic, as immortal as you and I. They were brave. They fell for peace and for freedom in the service of their country. Many may argue about the futility of death and of war, but one should never forget that they died, not in vain, but in honour.

Many times down through the years our country has called, and many men and women have answered the call. Let us not forget our fallen comrades, but remember them always, for they have earned our respect and admiration with their lives.

We knew them, we'll remember them, and they will not be forgotten.

To our fallen comrades!"

While the officer proposing the toast should be given some flexibility to prepare their own version, appropriate shorter toaster can be employed:

We knew them, we'll remember them, and they will not be forgotten.
To our fallen comrades!"

… or simply:

"To our fallen comrades!"