A 19-year old reservist from the Lorne Scots Regiment based in Oakville, Ont. died last week after collapsing during a training exercise.
According to a posting on the regiment’s Facebook page, Pte. Connor James Beck had almost completed a rucksack march when he collapsed.
“He was rushed to Brampton Civic Hospital with members in his chain of command and his parents arrived shortly after,” said the posting by the regiment’s commanding officer, Lt.-Col. R. Fraser.
“Despite the incredible effort of the hospital staff administering lifesaving measures for nearly an hour, Private Beck passed away on 12 May 2022.”
The Department of National Defence has yet to release an official statement on the incident or indicate whether an investigation into Beck’s death is underway.
“While every death is equally tragic, we typically issue national-level statements when the death occurred during an operational employment, on a training exercise or when the circumstances are such where significant media attention is likely to exist,” a National Defence spokesperson told CBC News.
“Even though no national-level statement was issued for Pte. Connor James Beck, we nonetheless grieve his passing and offer our most heartfelt condolences to his family during this difficult time.”
The spokesperson also said that when a member of the Canadian Forces dies because of a medical condition, there are “Privacy Act considerations, which could require us to withhold the name of the deceased.”
The death came days before Defence Minister Anita Anand — who is the MP for Oakville — and Toronto-area Liberal MP Adam van Koeverden joined the Lorne Scots Regiment for their annual mess dinner in Oakville this past weekend.
Both Anand and van Koeverden tweeted out pictures of themselves at the event but neither of the postings mentioned Beck’s death.
A spokesperson for the minister said Anand was made aware of Beck’s death prior to the dinner and addressed the tragedy during her remarks at her dinner.
“This wonderful event takes place in the context of the recent and tragic loss of Pte. Connor James Beck, who I know we are all thinking about tonight. I extend my sincerest condolences to Pte. Beck’s family and friends, and I know that despite the tremendous sacrifices made by our servicepeople, saying goodbye to a friend never gets easier,” Anand said, according to her prepared remarks.
“The entire defence establishment joins you in your grief, and I hope we can take a moment tonight to share memories of Pte. Beck and celebrate his life and service.”
In addition to mentioning Pte. Beck in her remarks, Anand spoke with members of the regiment about Pte. Beck, his legacy and service, the spokesperson told CBC News.
The posting said that Beck had served with the Lorne Scots since 2020 but, because of the pandemic, was not yet fully trained.
“The unit is, understandably, in shock and struggling to understand what happened. This is true of his parents — only more so,” the posting said.
It was a sincere honour and privilege to join the Lorne Scots Regiment & Minister of Defence <a href=”https://twitter.com/AnitaAnandMP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@AnitaAnandMP</a> for their Officers’ Spring Mess Dinner. Thank you for the invitation, and for your countless contributions to our country and community since 1866. 🇨🇦<br>Air Son Ar Duthcais. <a href=”https://t.co/iVUXavEiGh”>pic.twitter.com/iVUXavEiGh</a>
The posting described Beck as “a good kid, a very good kid” remembered for being “committed to objectives, pure-hearted and having strong ethical standards.”
The funeral service will be held on May 26. An obituary posted on the funeral centre’s website said Beck “simply collapsed” during the hike and that the “cause of death is not known at this time.”
The obituary said that Beck graduated from Heart Lake Secondary School in 2020 and went on to Humber College, where he completed a Police Foundation Certification with plans to build a career as a police officer or border services officer.