(from an interview by Larry Laidlaw)
Bob was born in
Toronto in 1942. Bob’s father was a medic in the British Army in WWII
from 1943 -1945.
Bob joined the
Canadian Army Signal Corps at 16 and attended training at Vimy Barracks,
Kingston, in 1958. He spent the next 12 years in different military
bases in Canada and overseas. Bob married Vicki in 1961 and their sons,
Larry & Steve, were raised in their early years in Germany where Bob was
in the NATO forces. In 1961 & 1962, Bob was part of the UN peacekeeping
in the Belgian Congo. There was a breakup of the government and they
were split into two factions where Bob was in the middle of it in a
radio relay site. This was a dangerous time and 11 of the Irish force
From 1965 - 1968,
Bob was attached to the British brigade with NATO in Germany. This was
during the Cold War and his unit policed a 17-mile corridor to keep the
Bob left the Army in
19Bob left the Army in 1970 as a Warrant Officer and immediately joined
the police force in Toronto as a Constable. He was in 18 different
policing areas including the old clothes unit & the drug squad and was
unit commander (riot squad) during the 1988 G8. He formed the first
ever riot squad in 1987 which is still in action today. In 1990, he was
in charge of the ETF (swat team). Bob retired after 30 years as Deputy
Chief of the Toronto Police. Bob’s sons have also had successful
careers in the Toronto Police Force. From 2000 - 2013, Bob was Director
of Security for Molson/ Coors.
In 2009, Bob & Vicki
moved into Sandycove at the urging of their good friends, Bill & Donna.
They love Sandycove and call it home even though they still spend their
winters in Florida.
Bob has received
many medals and commendations during his careers. Two of the most
prestigious were The Order of Saint John and The Queen’s Jubilee in 2012
for work in the visible minority community.
BARDENS (from an interview by Larry Laidlaw) Joyce
was born in Bolton, Lancashire, England, on January 31, 1924. Her
father, Arthur, in WWI served 4 years in the Royal Navy. Her uncle
Fred died serving in the Air Force. A younger uncle, Bobby, in WWII
took part in the evacuation at Dunkirk of over 300,000 troops. Her
family moved to Cheshire when she was 6 years old.
age of 17, Joyce volunteered for the WWAF. She had 4 weeks of basic
training at Bridgnorth. She next had 3 months of intensive training
at Cardington on barrage balloons. These balloons were like a blimp
of lighter-than-air gas flown at different heights attached to an
anchored steel cable. Their purpose was to deny low-level airspace
to enemy aircraft, forcing them to higher altitudes and decreasing
surprise and bombing accuracy. Joyce was assigned to one of these
balloon sites with 12 women, one corporal and one sergeant. Her
group was stationed in Coventry where there was a major ammunition
factory that the Germans were trying to bomb.
she was posted to Bristol and was on 24-hour guard duty where the
allies were assembling for the D-Day invasion.
war was ending, she was posted to the Ternhill airbase where she met
Norman. Norman had been in the Air Force for 6 years where he was
an engineer on the Wellington bombers. They married 3 months
later. Joyce was demobbed in 1945 as an LACW (Leading Aircraft
they came to Montreal with their 2 sons where Norman worked as a
structural steel draftsman and in 1963 moved on to Toronto. In
1974, they moved to Sandycove to 3 Hickory Court for 4 years, the
third family on the north side. They moved out to Barrie in 1978.
Norman died in 2008 after 61 years of marriage. Joyce moved back
into Sandycove in 2011 where she is enjoying her 5 grandchildren and
6 great grandchildren.
(from an interview by Larry Laidlaw) Cliff was born in
Toronto on January 21, 1930. Cliff’s father served in WWI with the 180th
Sportsmen Battalion Canadian Machine Gun Corps. He survived the war and
lived until age 91. Cliff’s wife is Diane; her grandfather was killed
at Vimy Ridge.
Cliff joined the Cadet Services of
Canada in 1942. In 1949, he left the 48th Highlanders Cadet
Corps with the rank of Bugle Major. Cliff joined the Reserves and
immediately enlisted with the 8th Signal Regiment and later
transferred to the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada. In 1951, he stayed on
strength until 1973 and then went on Supplementary Reserve until 1983.
Cliff did training with the Royal Green
Jackets and the Queen’s Regiment of the British Army. Cliff played the
Last Post in every WWII cemetery in Northwest Europe, D-Day landing
celebrations, Vimy Ridge and Menin Gate. One of Cliff’s biggest honours
was playing the Last Post at Canterbury Cathedral for their D-Day
service in May of 1974. Cliff was the band president from 1973 to 1990.
Cliff worked at A&P for 35 years and was
store manager for many of those. Cliff and Diane moved into Sandycove
in 1994 and are both still very active.
Diane was part of the Drama Club from
1997-2013 and a part of the variety show for several years. Cliff
joined the Vets Club in 1995 and was President for 7 years. He also
served on the Homeowners Association for 5 years. Cliff’s other passion
besides music is stamp collecting and he still works one day a week at
Northern Stamp & Coin. From 1983 to 2010, Cliff stayed on as a
volunteer until he retired as Band Sergeant. That is a total of 59
years of service to his country.
CORPORAL A. E. ATTWELLS
(from an interview by Larry Laidlaw)
born in Toronto in 1931. Military was a way of life for Albert from the
very beginning. His father served in the 48th Highlanders in
WWII and their unit helped liberate France, Holland and Belgium. His
five uncles also served in WWII and all of them survived. A younger
brother served in Korea. Albert’s son was in the army engineers for 25
years and Albert’s grandson is presently attending Royal Military
College in Kingston. Albert joined the army medical corps in February
1953. His training at Camp Borden was the 8-week basic followed by 8
more weeks of intensive training and then another 8 weeks of medical
training. He was sent to Korea in January 1954 after the truce was
declared as part of the Canadian Forces field ambulance unit.
After a short time, Albert was back in
Toronto working at the Sunnybrook Hospital looking after the Veterans.
From February 1956 to February 1958, he was in Germany as part of a NATO
Peacekeeping Force, again doing field ambulance work. During this time,
he was attached to 40 workshops and promoted to Corporal. Back in
Canada at Camp Petawawa he was attached to the First Canadian Guards.
He also spent some time in Cyprus in 1961 and eventually finished his
career in Downsview where he attended to the medical needs of the troops
and also doing minor surgeries. He retired in April 30, 1975 as a
Albert married Barb in 1951; they
divorced after 5 years. Fifteen years ago, Barb traced Albert on the
computer and discovered him in Alberta. After a short time Albert and
Barb got back together and moved into Sandycove. They did move to
Barrie, but eventually came back to Sandycove 5 years ago. They are
both avid dancers. Two years ago, Albert received some belated awards
from the Department of National Defence (SSM-NATO and CPSM) for 22 years
of service to his country.
EDWIN (TED) GEMMELL & LILLIAN GEMMELL
(from an interview by Larry Laidlaw)
Ted began his career in 1951 at the age
of 18 with Governor General’s Horse Guards at University Armouries in
Toronto. He trained on Sherman and Centurion tanks at Camps Borden,
Meaford and Petawawa. He was called out on duty in 1954 during Hurricane
Hazel in Toronto and later that year left due to employment
requirements. It was soon after this that his wife, Lillian, began her
military service with the 8th Signal Regiment at Spadina
Armouries. Her service also included Long Branch and Meaford where she
served in the CWAC for 2 years.
In 1955 Ted began working with Canadian
Pacific Railway. In 1961, while continuing with CPR, he joined the 2nd
Signal Regiment at Spadina Armouries in Toronto. He transferred to Fort
York Armouries with the 709 (Toronto) Communication Regiment in 1965
where he received training in communications and weapons. Taking summer
training in Niagara, Borden, Kingston and Petawawa he reached the rank
of Chief Warrant Officer in 1970 and was simultaneously promoted to
Regimental Sergeant-Major. He was awarded the Canadian Centennial Medal
in 1967 and the Canadian Forces Decoration in 1973. Following his
retirement as Regimental Sergeant-Major, Ted was commissioned as a
Lieutenant, later qualifying as Captain. Two of the cadets that Ted
trained eventually went on to become Regimental Sergeant-Majors as well.
Ted and his wife Lillian moved to
Montreal with Canadian Pacific in 1976 and Ted soon transferred to 712
(Montreal) Communication Squadron in Westmount. He was appointed
Training Officer and subsequently Deputy Commander. During this time he
trained at Farnham, Sherbrook and Quebec City. In 1977, he was awarded
the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal and also received the Commander’s
commendation presented in recognition of dedicated service. Ted was
promoted to rank of Major in 1981 and later appointed as Commanding
Officer of the Squadron. Ted
retired from the military in 1985 after 27 years of service. Ted was
Chief of Transportation with the railway when he left in 1993.
Lil moved to Sandycove in 1995. Lil was President of The Hub for 2
years and The Wheel for one year. She was in The Variety Club for 10
years. She is an avid bridge player and quilter. Ted has been a member
of The Veterans Club for many years and was President for three years.
He has been on the Homeowners Association since 2003 and was president
for 4 years. He has been in The Glee Club since 1996 where he has been
the main source of the music during this time. Many people have
volunteered for numerous committees and causes over the years, including
helped their neighbours, etc. Ted and Lil’s contributions especially in
Sandycove puts them at the top of the
(from an interview by Larry Laidlaw)
Don was born August 31,
1927, in Newfoundland. Don’s father, Frank, and his uncle Arthur both
volunteered for the army in WWI. Don volunteered for the army for WWII
but was refused because he was only 16.
At age 18, Don moved to
Toronto and soon found employment at Weston’s Bakery. In March of 1950,
at the University Armouries, he signed up for the RCASC (Royal Canadian
Army Service Corps). He had his basic recruit training for three months
there. Almost every summer for years after, Don was at Camp Borden for
further training where he rose to Sergeant by 1952. He also completed a
militia transport operator course. The purpose of the Service Corps was
to get supplies from the ships, etc. to the troops in the front lines.
Throughout his army and
civilian life, Don was always in a leadership position. He was a
platoon sergeant training 15 men with their six supply vehicles. He
later became a sergeant major and ran the whole company of 200 men.
Another important part of the training was setting up field kitchens for
the troops in the front lines. In 1954, when Hurricane Hazel hit, Don’s
unit was deeply involved in the rescue and recovery of people. He
retired from the Service Corps when he turned 50 after 27 years as
Master Warrant Officer CD.
Don joined the Post
Office in 1954 as a letter carrier and soon became a Supervisor. He was
instrumental in helping form a union to get better working conditions
and wages for everyone. He married his wife, Olive, in 1963 and they
had 2 girls and 1 boy. When Don retired from the Post Office in 1985,
Olive and Don spent the next 10 years wintering in Florida and summering
at the family cottage in Dorset.
Don and Olive moved to
Sandycove in 1996. Olive loved the Bingo and the crafts.
Unfortunately, Olive died in 2010. Don has been an active member of the
Vets Club for years. He has also been in the Glee Club for years as
well as enjoying golfing and darts. Don is presently in a Barbershop
quartet in Barrie.
HIMMELMAN (from an interview by Larry Laidlaw) Jerry
was born December 27, 1931, in Sandycove, Nova Scotia, a suburb of
Liverpool. Jerry had a difficult childhood as his parents separated
when he was 5. He was raised in many different foster homes and
eventually ended up with an older couple on a farm. He spent his early
teen years doing farm chores.
At 17, he was in Toronto
working at ES&A Robinson, a paper works company. It was here that he
met Joyce, his future wife. A man told Jerry that he should join the
army and on the way to work the next day, that is what Jerry did. He
was sent to Petawawa for his basic training. His outfit was sent by
train to Seattle, Washington. From there, they sailed to Korea. Jerry
and most of his fellow soldiers knew very little about Korea.
The Korean War arose from the
division of Korea at the end of WWII. The Soviet Union, by agreement
with the United States, occupied Korea north of the 38th parallel. U.S.
forces occupied the south. The war started on June 25, 1950, when North
Korea invaded South Korea. Twenty-one countries of the United Nations
contributed to the defence of South Korea.
The Canadian squadron
occupied Hill 355. From here, they could see the enemy. Almost every
night, there were bombs and bullets flying. Three times he was sent out
for the night in the neutral zone in a foxhole to report any activities
of the Communists. One night, the enemy attacked Hill 355 and they had
to retreat but by morning they had recaptured the Hill. Soldiers at
Hill 355 were among the 516 Canadians who died in service during the
After a year’s service in
Korea, Jerry was back in Canada on a month’s leave in Nova Scotia.
Missing Joyce, he went back to Toronto and proposed. They were married
two months later. Joyce had three uncles and one aunt who served in
WWII. Jerry got an honourable discharge on November 4, 1954. He
received two Korean medals and one UN medal. They raised their family
of 4 children in East York and then moved to Aurora. Jerry was a taxi
driver and eventually bought his own vehicle. He was very successful at
this as he paid off a 25-year mortgage in 5 years.
Joyce and Jerry have been in
Sandycove for 22 years. Jerry initially was very active as a handyman.
Joyce over the years has been involved with line dancing and playing
cards. She still runs the Bid Euchre. After 62 years of marriage, they
are enjoying their 3 grandchildren and 2 great with one on the way.
LESLIE (from an interview by Larry Laidlaw)
Alan Leslie was born May 26, 1950, in Toronto. He was raised with five
siblings. Alan’s grandfather served in the Canadian Army in WWI,
trenches in France, and in WWII the Forestry Corps. Alan’s father and 2
uncles served in the Army in WWII. One other uncle served in the RCNVR
on Corvettes in the battle of the Atlantic. His father, Jim, served in
France. While training in Scotland, Jim met Marry Anne (May). May was
in the WTA Women’s Territorial Army.
In High School, Alan was in
the Army Cadets. In 1968 he joined the Navy, taking his basic training
at CFB Cornwallis in Nova Scotia. His training continued at the Fleet
School in Halifax, where he learned seamanship and how to be a Radar
Plotter. He joined his first ship HMCS Skeena in 1969. Alan met and
married Coralee (THE BOSS) later that year. They raised two children, a
daughter still living in Nova Scotia and a son living in Ontario.
While sailing on Skeena in
1969, during the Cold War, they were sent to shadow a large Russian
exercise group. This group was made up of 18 surface ships, cruisers
and destroyers including 8 submarines.
After serving there and at
CFB Shearwater on an airbase and on HMCS Iroquois, he trained in
Electronics to become a Radar Technician. Al served on several more
ships and in training positions in the Halifax area. He retired after
21 years as a CP02 - Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class.
In 1989 Alan took a training
position with Litton Systems to modernize the 280 Class Destroyers. He
later went on to work for Honeywell and Foxboro, training industrial
automation computer systems. The last 12 years with Foxboro were in the
USA. He fully retired in 2012 and moved to Sandy Cove.
Alan and Coralee have 3
grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren living in NS. Alan has been
involved with bowling as part of the Veterans Social Club, (he claims
he’s not very good.) He is also an active member of the Legion; Alan’s
father and his uncle both served in the navy and both men were
presidents of the same Legion branch where Alan is a member.
GEORGE WEEKS (from
an interview by Larry Laidlaw)
was born in Hereford, England, on February 12, 1926. George and his
parents emigrated to Canada when he was 3 years old. George’s father
was in the First World War and was wounded during one of the gas
attacks. He was also in the Second World War in the 9th Army as an
explosive expert. They settled in Manitoba and eventually in Edmonton.
young teenager, George was involved in the Sea Cadets and Air Cadets.
He volunteered for the Navy in 1943. He had 6 months of training in
Cornwallis, Nova Scotia. He was assigned to one of the frigates that
went with the convoys escorting the supply ships back and forth across
the Atlantic. The frigates were the same size as the destroyers but
their main job was protecting the convoy from the U-boats with depth
charges. One of George’s jobs as an able-bodied seaman was to retrieve
the defective detonator when the depth charge failed to launch. One
Christmas, as part of the Navy’s tradition, as the youngest man on the
ship, George was made Captain for a day in a borrowed Officer’s
uniform. George was part of the last convoy in 1945 when the war ended.
transferred to Vancouver waiting to be deployed in the Japanese war.
During this time, he was Captain of a harbour craft in Cole Harbour
ferrying Officers across the harbour.
honourably discharged in January of 1946 and turned 21 the next month.
Back in Edmonton, he finished his high school, enrolled in the
University of Alberta and received a BN in Math & Science. George had
many senior positions in manufacturing companies over his career. He
took a year off and built houses in Brampton. He met his wife, Joyce,
in Manitoba and they had four children.
moved into Sandycove in 1995 and continued volunteering fulltime for the
CNIB until recently due to health issues. He received the Queen’s
Golden Jubilee award ten years ago for his 35 years of service.
CHUCK ATKINSON (from
an interview by Larry Laidlaw)
Atkinson was born in Parry Sound on Remembrance Day 1938. Military was
engrained in his family as his father, several cousins and uncles served
in WWII. In November of 1953, turning 19, Chuck joined the Canadian
Guards in Petawawa where he had basic training with the First Battalion
and was trained to be an anti-tank gunner.
his first assignments was in the summer of 1959 at Parliament Hill where
he was assigned to the newly-established changing of the guard with the
famous bearskin hats. This is very significant with the recent
terrorist attacks in Ottawa and Montreal.
August of 1960, his First Battalion was sent to Germany as part of the
occupied force during the Cold War. It was here he met his sweetheart,
Marg. They were married in November of 1962 and shortly thereafter he
was re-assigned back to Canada in Picton. They spent their honeymoon on
the boat in bunk beds. In Picton he was with the Regimental Police for
Chuck had injured his knee earlier, he trained over the next few years
to be a cook where he rose to the rank of Corporal. He was posted to
many areas during his almost 25 years. He was at the Kingston
Penetentiary riots in 1969 where four prisoners were killed. Chuck was
sent in 1970 to Montreal when the FLQ crisis was happening and the war
measures act was put in place. One of the highlights of Chuck’s career
was working for six months in Alert, NWT which is now known as Nunavit.
Chuck retired as a Sergeant.
raised 3 adopted children and now have 7 grandchildren and 1 great
grandchild. Chuck and Marg remained in Borden for 11 years where he
worked as a civilian cook. They have lived in Sandycove for 19 years
and are still very active after 52 years of marriage.
an interview by Larry Laidlaw)
born in Saint John, NB, October 17, 1936. His father was in the
Merchant Marine and two brothers served in WWII in the Air Force. In
1951, Murray joined the Air Cadets and on September 27, 1956, officially
joined the Air Force. His basic training was in St.-Jean, Quebec.
Murray already had his civilian pilot's license from a year earlier but
the Air Force deemed his sight not good enough. He stayed on for a few
years as an instructor in St.-Jean.
transferred to Aylmer where he was instructing at the Technical Trades
School. During this time, Murray met Air Woman Faye and they were
married in 1960 after she decided to leave the Air Force and they have
raised two boys. Transferred back in 1963 to St.-Jean, Quebec, he was
now promoted to Sergeant. In 1965, he was sent to the Middle East as
part of a peacekeeping force in the 116 air transport unit. Hostilities
were building between Egypt and Israel leading up to the 6-day war in
1967. The Sinai Desert was the neutral zone between the two sides.
Murray was on many supply and reconnaissance missions along the DMZ.
Murray was transferred back to St.-Jean and upon integration of the CF,
he was transferred to the Navy base Cornwallis in 1969. Murray
remustered to an Air Defense Tech in 1970 and was stationed on Pine Tree
radar sites until 1973. That year Murray was commissioned as a
Lieutenant and relocated to North Bay as an Air Weapons Controller at
the 22nd NORAD Region Control Centre. Promoted to Captain in
1975, Murray was subsequently transferred to Trenton in 1976 in command
of a Nuclear Accident Response Team.
Back to North
Bay in 1979 as Weapons Operations Officer at the Control Centre. 1982
saw a posting to the newly-formed NATO Airborne Early Warning Force HQ
at SHAPE HQ, Mons, Belgium as staff officer training and intelligence.
Promoted to Major in 1984, he was transferred to the Fighter Group/NORAD
Region HQ in North Bay as head planner. Just like in today’s times, the
Russians were flying planes close to our borders. The CF 18’s were
introduced at this time to keep an eye on the Russian activities. One
of the pilots was Captain Chris Hadfield. Murray was posted to the
NORAD Control Centre as wing operational training officer in 1989 from
where he retired in 1992. Among the many awards he received was the
Faye pursued another passion, sailing. They spent the next few winters
sailing along the East Coast of the USA, Florida Keys, Bahamas, etc.
They moved to Barrie in 1994 and have been in Sandycove for 8 years.
Murray is still flying these days at a small airport near Edenvale where
there is a flying museum. They have 4 vintage planes that they use.
One of his flying buddies he lost last year was Bob McIntyre. Murray is
still volunteering at the Air Force Club and the Barrie Veterans Club.
an interview by Larry Laidlaw)
Administration Clerk March 1963-May 1987
born in Barrie on July 22, 1942. He was raised on a farm in the village
of Minesing. Frank had an uncle who survived WWI and a cousin who
served in WWII and is buried in Holland. After graduating from High
School, he worked for a moving company for a couple of years.
In March of
1963, Frank enrolled in the RCAF. Basic training was in St-Jean,
Quebec. He completed his administration clerk training at Camp Borden.
His first posting was at the RCAF station in Cold Lake, Alberta. Frank
was promoted to Corporal while at his second posting at a radar station
in Alsask, SK. In 1967 he was promoted to the Air Defence Command
headquarters in Montreal. From 1969 to 1973, with the Command Post
headquarters now in North Bay, some of Frank's many duties were with a
planning group for the future of air defense command in conjunction with
NORAD and the U.S. air defense.
1974-August 1974, Frank was selected for the United Nations Peacekeeping
Force in the Middle East. In Cairo, he was housed in Tent City. This
was made up of Marquis Tents housing up to 8 personnel. The
temperatures in February dipped below freezing and in the heat of the
day over 35 C. The base camp Shams was located outside the
International Airport at a horse racetrack. In July Frank and his group
were watching a movie at the racetrack. At the same time, a Russian
T154 passenger plane was performing touch and go training flights. On
the third pass, the plane touched down, climbed to 1000 feet and then
crashed at the end of the runway. Just before Frank came back to
Canada, a Syrian jet shot down a Canadian plane full of Canadian
peacekeepers, killing all on board. Two of the men were from Base
Borden. Many Sandycovers for years have gone to Angus on August 9th to
honour their memory.
Canada, from 1974 to 1977, Frank now in Windsor was posted to the
Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre. In 1977 he was sent to Washington to
the Canadian Embassy. After a year, he was transferred to the Pentagon
where he was involved in administration support to senior Officers
including the Canadian Armed Forces, New Zealand, Australia, The U.S.
Air Force and U.S. Navy.
Frank met his
wife Jean in Washington, an employee of the Department of National
Defence. She had served in the Korean War. They were married in
November 1984. His final posting from 1981 to 1987 was in Trenton, ON
where he was involved in the Aerospace Maintenance Development Unit
(6RD). His duties at AMDU involved the co-ordination and reports for a
monthly average of 330 projects.
retirement, Frank and Jean moved to Orlando, Florida. When Jean retired
later, they purchased a motor home and travelled throughout the U.S. and
Canada for the next 9 years. After Jean died, Frank moved back to
Barrie in 2014 and settled in Sandycove. Frank is still very active in
the Sandycove Veterans Social Club, golf, darts, shuffleboard and
(from an interview by Larry Laidlaw)
born November 1, 1929, in Stenen, SK near Yorkton. His parents had
emigrated from Ukraine. They were peasant farmers and when the
depression in the 30’s took hold they were transferred near the Manitoba
border in a grainary bin along with his neighbours. This was run by the
Doukhboers. Mac calls this the first condo development in Canada.
only 17, Mac decided to join the Navy. His basic training was in
Nanaimo, BC where he learned all about submarine and anti submarine
tactics. He was sent to Halifax and was going over to England for
further training. When that was cancelled, Mac was put on KP duty. Not
happy with this, he decided to transfer to the Air Force. Basic
training was in Trenton and the next year he spent in Clinton going to
school learning all about radar and radios. Back in Halifax, Mac was
assigned to UNIACK. This was the backup communications for the East
Coast of Canada. It was situated 20 miles from Halifax in a swamp. Mac
was in charge of this unit for 6 months. He communicated during this
time with the first successful Canadian ship to navigate the Northwest
transferred next to Summerside PEI where he had more training on
aircraft radios. He now joined an air crew and had more training. Back
to Clinton for more officer training and over to Trenton for
anti-machine gun training. With all this knowledge, he was posted next
to Rivers MB where he was a dispatcher on the planes for the
paratroopers. After a short while, Mac took the paratrooper’s course
and on his 6th jump injured his right leg. Mac spent a short
time doing air photo interpretation. He was identifying gun placements,
etc. of photos taken high above countries like Germany. Mac’s next
adventure was in Northern Canada, including Alaska, looking for downed
planes. Some of the planes he flew were the Chipmunk, Beaver, Dakotas
and Harvards. They were successful in finding a few survivors.
now a pilot officer (flight lieutenant), helped in the Korean war flying
the Northstar moving troops and supplies up the BC coast to Alaska and
over to Japan. During this time, he was posted to the air base in Japan
as Detachment Commander where they serviced the planes coming in and
looking after the crew, etc. One night, one of the American planes had
an emergency landing because of the loss of an engine. The plane was
full of celebrities heading to entertain the troops. That night, Mac’s
base had a big party with Bob Hope as the MC. Back in Canada, Mac’s
5-year term was up and he got an honourable discharge.
a civilian was in Sudbury where he had the franchise for Hertz, Tilden
and Avis. The Elliot Lake mines were just starting up and he had lots
of business renting cars. Mac decided to go back to school and he
enrolled at the University of Toronto where he took a 2-year political
science course. On a vacation in the Laurentians, he met his future
wife, Carolyn, where she was interning as a medical doctor. They were
married in 1966. Mac from 1967 to 1981 was an NDP MPP in Brantford. He
also spent several years on the Brantford council. For a time he was a
reporter for the Brampton Conservator and later the Brantford Expositor.
decided it was safer on the water than in the air so he decided to build
boats in Port Dover. They were actually yachts and The Stella Borealis,
a 136-foot beauty, and its sister Aurora Borealis were used out of
Toronto as party boats for weddings and other celebrations. Mac still
owns one of these boats. In July of this year, Mac decided it was time
to slow down and he moved to Sandycove. Now a member of the Veterans
Club, we are getting to know him and appreciate all that he has done for
BETTY ANN LEWIS AND DOUG LEWIS (interviewed by Larry
was born and raised in the east end of Toronto. His father who is still
alive at 99 joined the 48th Highlanders. He was refused entry into the
Army because of a medical problem. Doug took a 4-year accounting course
from McMaster University. He was working at his new profession when
things changed. He met his future wife Betty Ann who was born into the
home of Salvation Army Officers (Pastors). She learned from an early
age that people mattered and would often give to those who came to their
home asking for help whatever was in their refrigerator. They were
married in 1966 and in 1971 they spent the next two years in Toronto at
the seminary raising their young family. They were both ordained on
June 23, 1973.
first postings were in Gananoque and Bowmanville. During this time they
were chaplains for the local Legions. From 1980 to 1982,they were
brought back to the finance department of the national headquarters in
Toronto. Betty Ann started an outreach Sunday School and did services
and visitations with seniors, etc. From 1982 to 1986, they were posted
to The Maritimes. Doug was a member of the Canadian staff band playing
the tuba. Betty Ann was responsible for the Girl Guide programs. She
achieved a Residential and Camping Licence which allowed her to run
Guide and Brownie camps. From 1986-1990, they were in southern Ontario
posted in Hamilton where they were responsible for all the youth/camp
1990 to 1993, they were sent to the Canadian Forces Base in Baden,
Germany, where they were part of the support services. This was during
the time of the first Gulf War. They were a support for the families
and soldiers. They ran a full restaurant and gift shop open to the
workers in the military and families. Security was very tight and
vehicles were checked for bombs underneath and any suspicious parcels
left behind were also checked. The troops were on many training
missions. Doug and Betty Ann had a canteen truck that they took out to
these secret locations. They were appointed back to Canada when the
base closed and the troops were brought back to Canada. Doug was now
the assistant business administrator for Canada. Betty Ann was
responsible for the medical fellowship in their hospitals both in Canada
next adventure was in The Bahamas. This was not a luxury appointment.
The Bahamas had the second highest drug trade. They were working with
the homeless, young teen unwed mothers and many folks with AIDS. Many
refugees were escaping from Haiti and Cuba. When they were in Bahamas’
waters, they were picked up by the authorities. Doug was an honourary
liaison to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. When they
applied for asylum, Doug helped determine if they qualified.
years, they came to London, Ontario, where they were at the Divisional
Headquarters. The next 3 years they were sent out to British Columbia
where they were responsible for all programming for the province. Some
of the activities they participated in were emergencies, such as
suicides and forest fires, etc. From 2006 to 2010, they were in Bermuda
where they were responsible for all the Salvation Army work. Back in
the National Headquarters from 2010 to 2012, Doug was responsible for
all Salvation Army property in Canada. They were both on many boards at
2012, they retired and moved to Sandycove. Doug has participated as
chaplain for our Remembrance Day services twice and has officiated at
the dedication of the veterans’ new cenotaph. Retirement didn’t last
long for the Lewises. Doug is the Executive Director at the Barrie
Bayside Mission Centre and is seen quite often on the Barrie news asking
for help for the Mission. Betty Ann is actively involved in her church
and on many committees including the palliative care team at Victoria
Village and chaplaincy team at RVH. They recently celebrated 50 years
of marriage with their 4 sons, 7 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.
The Salvation Army is one of the most respected charities in the world
and with people like Betty Ann and Doug it is easy to see why.
an interview by Larry Laidlaw)
Boris was born in Toronto in
January 1931. He was raised there along with his two sisters and one
brother. In WWII, Boris’ brother-in-law served in the Royal Canadian
Engineers. When the war ended, he stayed in the army in Chilliwack,
BC. Boris’ mother took the family to BC as well since his father died
in 1943. At the age of 14, Boris joined the Westminster Cadet Corps as
a drummer. Back in Toronto, at age 17, he joined the army reserve. For
the next 2 summers, he worked full-time in Petawawa and Ipperwash
learning all about army life.
At 19, he volunteered
full-time in the 48th Highlanders which is an infantry regiment in
Toronto. Its soldiers are capable of operating anywhere in the world,
in any environment. After a short time, Boris’ unit was transferred to
Hanover, Germany, outside of Berlin.
He was part of the advance
party setting up for eventually 6,500 NATO troops.
This was before the Berlin
Wall and many times the Russian soldiers were following the Canadians in
town. Boris found this very frustrating as he had to salute some of the
There were many training
exercises during this time. On one of them, crossing the Rhine River,
Boris almost drowned and, on another, a WWII bomb left over detonated
killing one of Boris’ buddies. A Major, Robert Noble, asked Boris to be
his aide. He served many dignitaries during this time and, on one
afternoon, he served tea to Prince Philip.
Back in Canada, he married
his sweetheart, Jane, and they raised their family of 4 children. Boris
had many different jobs during his lifetime. He worked for Packwood
Furniture for 8 years as a furniture finisher. He ran his own furniture
finishing shop called Lascky Emporium. He was very successful buying
furniture antiques in the USA and selling them through his business.
Jane and Boris also ran a Bed & Breakfast in Beaver Valley. In 1990,
Boris joined the ex-army Corps of Commissionaires. In 1995, he joined
the Corporal Detachment of Commanders.
In 2007, Jane and Boris moved
to Sandycove. Unfortunately, Jane died in 2008. Boris has been most
active in all of the Veterans’ activities. He is currently a member of
the Lefroy Legion.
He meets once a year with the
48th Highlanders Old Comrades Association where Boris is a life-time
member. The 48th Highlanders badge and motto is “Dileas gu brath –
Boris is still active in
Sandycove with his new partner, Tommie. They go to many dances and
Boris is still in the Men’s Glee Club.
an interview by Larry Laidlaw)
John was born in Ealing, a
suburb of London, England, on February 27, 1933. On that same day the
Nazis burned down the Reichstag in Berlin (the German Parliament). For
three years of his early life, he spent most nights sleeping in an air
raid shelter in his backyard with his family. This was during the
London blitz where each family in the suburbs was provided with an
Anderson Shelter. He experienced the bombers, the V1 pilotless aircraft
and V2 rockets. Luckily, his immediate family was unharmed. He
remembers going to the bakery the next morning and several houses in the
neighbourhood would be missing. During the war years, his father worked
at Chrysler/Dodge assembling Halifax bombers and his mother worked at
another factory making munitions.
completion of secondary school and some minor jobs, he was conscripted
into the RAF for 2 years of “national service” from 1951 to 1953. After
basic and trade training, he was posted to RAF Station Habbaniya in Iraq
as a Wireless Operator. Habbaniya was the headquarters for MEAF (Middle
East Air Force) and, in the early fifties, an important element of
western defense during the cold war. Their role was the monitoring of
potential enemy communications activities. In those days, the potential
enemy was the USSR and they listened to and identified Russian positions
with the aid of direction-finding equipment. All traffic logged was
passed on to code breakers and analysts so they, insignificant
listeners, had no idea whether their efforts produced meaningful
intelligence or not. All of this, of course, was extremely “hush-hush”
and covered by the Official Secrets Act. It was not until the 1970’s
that some revelations were made, resulting in some relaxation of the
secrecy surrounding these intelligence gathering activities. Before
that, no one discussed what they did even with their family and closest
demobilization as an LAC, he joined the Air Ministry and received more
training at Bletchley Park, where 10 years earlier in WWII, the Enigma
code breakers were famously employed. He was then assigned to an Air
Ministry establishment in Cheadle, Staffordshire in the English
midlands. After 2 years of shiftwork and boarding house living, he
resigned from the Air Ministry and returned to London.
living with his parents, he commenced work as an accountant in the
City. In 1956, he met his future wife, Micki and they married in July
1957 and emigrated to Canada.
years in Fredericton, New Brunswick, they moved to Toronto where John
worked as an accountant for American Home Products, General Electric and
BTR Industries before joining Wheel & Rim Company as Controller in
1974. He retired in 1995 as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
1958 and 1985 he had a parallel career in the Canadian Military. He
joined the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals reserve in Fredericton and
transferred to 2nd Signals Regiment in 1960 when the family
moved to Toronto. From 1975 to 1979, John was the commanding officer of
the 709 Communication Regiment. They would meet usually twice a week
and two weekends a month they would be on maneuvers somewhere. One of
the officers he worked with during this time was Ted Gemmell. He
finished his career in 1985 as Senior Staff Officer – Signals at Area HQ
Micki had two sons, two grandsons and one great grandson over 59 years
of marriage. Sadly, Micki passed away in 2016. John, after 50 years in
Brampton (22 as a member of the Brampton Probus Club), sold his house
and moved to Sandycove Acres.
immediately got involved with the Veterans Social Club and the Men’s
Glee Club. In April of this year, he joined the executive of the Vets
Social Club where he met Linda Forbes, a long time member of the Vets
Social Club. They are now engaged and have recently moved into a home
together here in Sandycove.