SANDYCOVE VETERANS' SOCIAL CLUB

 


 

CANADA CELEBRATES

The Vet's Club recognizes the following Sandycove residents who have served Canada in the military service.

(arranged  alphabetically - click on the following to view)

BILL APlIN

CLIFF ASHDOWN

CHUCK ATKINSON

KEN ATKINSON

ALBERT ATTWELLS

JOYCE BARDENS

BORIS CHARYK

MURRAY CONLEY

FRANK FRALICK - deceased

TED GEMMELL

LILLIAN GEMMELL - deceased

JOHN HUGHES

JERRY HIMMELMAN 

DON JANES

ALAN LESLIE

BETTY ann & DOUG LEWIS

MAC MAKARCHUCK

ROBERT MOLYNEAUX

GEORGE WEEKS

VICKI URWIN

 

These stories are taken, in part, from “Veterans of Innisfil”, a local history book which was been released for sale November 11, 2013.  Stories are edited, compiled and written by  Larry Laidlaw of the Sandycove Veteran's Club

Bill Aplin - Bill was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and, in 1937, his family moved back to England.  Bill, not quite seventeen years of age, was passing by a recruitment office in London and decided to join up with the Royal Air Force.  He was readily accepted without any questions about his age.

 Based in England, Bill served with the 297th Squadron, flying primarily in Albemarle and Halifax aircraft.  He trained as a wireless operator and air gunner, and, after months of intensive training, he became part of the tactical division of the RAF.  Bill was involved in dangerous, low-flying runs into occupied France, sometimes dropping needed supplies for members of the Resistance movement; other times dropping British agents or commando groups under cover of darkness to carry out their missions.

 At the end of hostilities, Bill’s crew was assigned the huge responsibility of returning displaced persons in Europe to their home countries.  On such a flight into Norway, just outside Oslo, the airport was still in the hands of the German SS.  Bill’s chief pilot had to take landing instructions from the German-controlled tower.  The plane landed safely but, after setting foot on the tarmac, it was very unnerving to see the long line of black-shirted German SS officers still fully armed.

Bill was discharged from the air force in 1946 and he returned to Canada where he soon found employment in the linotype industry, a job which took him to the Winnipeg Free Press, the Regina Post and eventually to a position as Western Canada field representative for a major linotype manufacturer.  Upon retiring from the workforce, he came to Sandy Cove to spend his retirement years.

 

Ken Atkinson, C.D. (from an interview by Larry Laidlaw)     In the early phase of WWII, at the age of 15, Ken enlisted in the National Defence  preparing for possible German invasion.  He remembers that every 5th man was issued a WWI rifle with 5 rounds of ammunition.  Ken also assisted in the construction of fake coastal guns and aircraft to deceive German observation aircraft as to the actual defences.

 

In Ken’s home town of Sunderland, he also served as a Fire Watcher during the ‘Blitz’.  In January of ’43, Ken enlisted in the Royal Air force as a member of bomber command flying Wellington and B24 Liberator aircraft as an air gunner.  Ken was on many flights over the North Sea looking for German submarines and surface vessels.  Ken was loaned out to the Americans where he trained in B17 turrets.  His crew participated in daylight bombing runs over strategic targets in France and Germany.  Ken’s crew escaped harm on these raids but 1 in 10 of the bombers were shot down. He was transferred to a heavy conversion unit in Canada awaiting crewing for the Far East.  It was here that he was involved in an operation against Japanese explosive balloons designed to lower civilian morale on the west coast of Canada and the USA.

 

After the war, Ken continued his military service during the Cold War in the R.C.A.F. with NATO in Metz, France.  At the time of his release, he had the rank of Flight Sergeant.  In civilian life, he assumed the position of fire chief in the crash fire rescue service at the Toronto International Airport and was directly involved in the mass evacuation of 200,000 Mississauga residents in 1979.

 

Ken finally retired after 46 years of public service and was awarded a “Certificate of Service” by Prime Minister Jean Chretien.  In 1994, he took up residence in Sandycove with his wife, Grace, and was involved in variety shows until 2008.  Ken joined the Veteran’s Club 18 years ago and is still very active where he recently coordinated the unveiling of the new cenotaph.

 

VICKI URWIN (from an interview by Larry Laidlaw)      Vicki’s father was in the First World War in the Army in the trenches and in the Second World War as a butcher. Vicki and her identical twin sister were born in Toronto at home.  Mabel was born first at 6 lbs.  The doctor was called in when there was trouble and Vicki was born at 1-1/2 lbs.  The doctor said she probably wouldn’t survive.   

In 1942, when Vicki and Mabel were only 16, they fudged their baptismal certificates to age 19 and volunteered for the Canadian Women’s Army Corps in Toronto.  They took a 3-month junior NCO course and Vicki was transferred to Montreal where she spent the duration of her time as a cook.  In 1946, she was a Lance Corporal and was discharged.  Back in Toronto after a short time, she volunteered again for the Militia in the Irish Regiment.  After transferring to the 8th Signals Regiment, she rose to the rank of Sergeant and became a drill sergeant and drilled the new recruits at summer camp.  One of these new recruits was Lil Gemmell.  Vicki retired after 16 years as a Staff Sergeant and received the Canadian Forces decoration medal.

Vicki has survived two husbands.  She moved into Sandycove with her second husband, Ross, 18 years ago and they immediately joined the Veterans Club where she is still very active to this day.  Vicki does other volunteer work in Sandycove and is currently enjoying singing with the Covettes.  She marches and carries the flag for all the Veterans ceremonies and is the only active woman from the Second World War in Innisfil.

 

ROBERT MOLYNEAUX (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 were killed.

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 Russians out.

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.

 

JOYCE 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.

At the 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.

Later she was posted to Bristol and was on 24-hour guard duty where the allies were assembling for the D-Day invasion. 

When the 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 Woman).

In 1952, 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.

 

 

CLIFF ASHDOWN (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.

 

MASTER CORPORAL A. E. ATTWELLS  (from an interview by Larry Laidlaw)     Albert was 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 Master Corporal.

 

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.

 

MAJOR 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.

Ted and 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 class.

 

DON JANES  (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.

 

JERRY 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 Korean War.

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.

 

ALAN 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)

George 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.

As a 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.

He 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.

He was 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.

George 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)

Chuck 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.

One of 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.

In 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 one year.

Because 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.

They 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.

 

MURRAY CONLEY (from an interview by Larry Laidlaw)

Murray was 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.

He was 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.

In 1966 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 Commanders Commendation.

Murray and 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.

 

FRANK FRALICK (from an interview by Larry Laidlaw)

RCAF/CAF Administration Clerk March 1963-May 1987

Frank was 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.

From February 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.

Back in 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.

In 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 billiards.                                

 

 

MAC  MAKARCHUK (from an interview by Larry Laidlaw)

Mac was 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.

When 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 Channel.

Mac was 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.

Mac, 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.

Mac now 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.

Mac 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 our country.

 

MAJORS BETTY ANN LEWIS AND DOUG LEWIS (interviewed by Larry Laidlaw)

Doug 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.

Their 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 programming.

From 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 and overseas.

Their 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.

After 3 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 this time.

 In 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.

 

BORIS CHARYK (from 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 Russian officers. 

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 – faithful forever”.

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.                              

 

JOHN HUGHES (from 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.

After 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 friends.

Upon 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.

Once again 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.

After 3 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.

Between 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 Downsview.

John and 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.

John 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.

 

For more details on the events shown or to obtain information from the VETS' Club please contact one of the Committee shown - phone numbers are in the Sandycove directory.

 

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