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Wednesday, 31 October 2012 15:34

Dedication ceremony honours Swift Current citizen

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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For a long time a World War Two era military tank outside the Swift Current recreation centre was the only reminder of the building’s history, but this has now changed after its official renaming to the Lt.-Col. Iver Clifton Centre.


The dedication ceremony for the building took place Oct. 26 with Lt.-Col. Iver Clifton and his wife Glennis in attendance along with many of their family and friends.
While the building has been a recreation centre for more than 40 years, it served as the Swift Current armouries and headquarters of the 14th Canadian Hussars when it first opened in 1954. Clifton was the last commanding officer of this regiment when it disbanded in 1968.
The guest speakers at the dedication ceremony included Lt.-Col. Gerry Carline, who has known Clifton for more than 50 years. They met for the first time when the 14th Canadian Hussars participated in annual military training exercises at the Dundurn military base.
Carline was then a lieutenant in the Saskatchewan Dragoons. His commanding officer, Lt.-Col. Harvey Ross, introduced him to Clifton. Ross also attended the dedication ceremony.
“It was wonderful to meet him and to know him for all of these years,” Carline said. “He’s really a fine fellow.”
He described Clifton as an outstanding officer who provided effective leadership and who ensured the soldiers under his command were well trained and prepared for their duties.
Carline made three formal presentations to Clifton during the dedication ceremony. The first one was a  framed statement with photos of Clifton, the 14th Hussars’ hat badge and a statement to honour Clifton. His second presentation was a photo of a 14th Hussar plaque that Clifton presented to the last commanding officer of the Saskatchewan Dragoons when it was a regiment and his third presentation was a historic lineage of the 14th Hussars.
Carline was impressed with the decision by the City of Swift Current to rename the recreation centre to recognize Clifton’s contribution to the community.
“It was a really positive statement for the City of Swift Current that they have finally recognized his service to the entire country and to the community and to honour him at this point in his life,” he said. “It’s a good indication to me that there’s some positive leadership in the community.”
Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer officially unveiled the dedication plaque. He highlighted Clifton’s contribution to the community.
“Today, we’re honouring an exemplary Swift Current resident who has contributed greatly to our country,” he said.
In addition to his duties as the commanding officer of a regiment, the 82-year-old Clifton has been a dedicated community volunteer. He had a long involvement with the National Army League of Canada and he served as the president of the Swift Current Chamber of Commerce and the Swift Current Legion Branch No. 156.
“He was instrument in implementing the chain of office for the City of Swift Current, something we didn’t have until his efforts made it so,” Schafer said.
Clifton is a member of the Swift Current Shrine Club and the Swift Current Masonic Lodge. He is a life member of the Royal Arch Masons, the Damascus Preceptory and the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps.
He is a member and organizer of the St. John’s Ambulance and a founding member of the Swift Current Emergency Measures Organization. He served as aide-de-camp for three Lieutenant-Governors of Saskatchewan.
Clifton’s wife Glennis spoke to the Prairie Post on behalf of the family. She said the dedication of the building has been a great honour for her and her husband.
“It’s been very overwhelming for him and for myself but it certainly is a tremendous honour for him,” she mentioned. “To think that name will be on that building forever, so it’s been tremendous.”
They have many happy memories of the time when he was the commanding officer of the 14th Canadian Hussars in the building.
“It was a very busy time for him because he did look after a lot of things in town as well as the army cadets,” she recalled. “He was the last commanding officer, which involved a lot of work.”
Their wedding reception took place in the building and she got quite a surprise when she was taken outside.
“They took me on the tank in my wedding gown and drove me up 4th Avenue on the tank,” she laughed. “Iver got up on the tank and took a salute with his sword, so it was very exciting.”
Through her husband’s position with the regiment, she made many friends in the community.
“I’m from England, so when I came over here I didn’t know anyone,” she said. “So all my friends have been because of Iver and we met some tremendous people.”
It was a sad time for both of them when the regiment was disbanded and the building’s use as an armoury came to an end.
“He put the lock on the door,” she recalled. “I have a picture of him turning the lock on the door to say it is now closed and officially over. That was very hard on him and me too.”

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