Remembrance

Some came home
Our Veterans, Remembrance

Some came home

Fewer than 100 Canadians who died while serving in the world wars were repatriated for burial Until the horrific explosion and fire in HMCS Kootenay which caused nine sailors’ deaths in 1969, Canada’s policy was that all service personnel who died abroad were to be buried overseas. Despite this policy, though, the remains of several Canadian fatalities of the world wars were returned to Canada for burial.    Most Canadian personnel who went overseas during the wars served in Britain at one time or another. Although British officials disapproved of the return of remains from Britain and tried to stop it, Canadian authorities were less inclined to discourage attempts and occasionally bent the rules. Repatriation from elsewhere was strictly forbidden. The Commonwealth War Graves Commissi...
Online monument
Our Veterans, Remembrance

Online monument

The Faces to Graves project is collecting stories and photographs of nearly 6,000 Canadian soldiers buried in Dutch cemeteries For three quarters of a century, people lost in reflection passing through Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery could glean but the barest details of the life and death of Captain Thomas Edward Emmet Clarke. Few facts are inscribed on his headstone. He served with the Canadian Provost Corps and died on April 17, 1945, aged 29. Clarke lived an ordinary life and like so many other ordinary young men who died fighting for their countries throughout the ages, his story ordinarily would have been lost to history. But Clarke’s story, along with those of thousands of other young Canadians who died in the fight to liberate the Netherlands, is to be preserved for gener...
Pay Tribute boxes distribute poppies in a new age
News, Remembrance

Pay Tribute boxes distribute poppies in a new age

With your tap debit or credit card, you tap on the bright poppy image on the box and take a poppy. You have just made a $2 donation to the poppy fund. In 2020, The Royal Canadian Legion and HSBC Bank Canada formed a partnership to distribute poppies in special “Pay Tribute” tap-enabled donation boxes. Appealing to Canadians who no longer carry cash about them, HSBC Bank Canada worked with technology partners to ensure the program is in line with latest digital technology. The boxes work with tap-enabled debit and credit cards or mobile and wearable devices like Apple Pay by placing the tap card or pay technology device on the glowing poppy before removing a poppy from the box. “We put out 250 boxes as a pilot project,” said Special Projects Officer Freeman Chute at Legion National He...
A small sombre service
Remembrance

A small sombre service

Remembrance Day 2020 in Ottawa was different but no less poignant The wreaths were almost all placed beforehand, 379 of them neatly lined up in rows at the base of the National War Memorial in Ottawa, each bearing the words Lest We Forget/Nous Nous Souviendrons in gold on purple ribbons. Chairs were spaced several metres apart for a handful of guests and veterans expressly invited to attend the Remembrance Day 2020 ceremony. The usual crowds were not there; only a few of the faithful lingered on the margins. In fact, The Royal Canadian Legion, which produces the annual service, discouraged people from attending in the midst of the worst pandemic in a century. The new challenges wrought by COVID-19, so evident in the gaps surrounding the ceremony on Nov. 11, did not escape the ora...
Shipping out
Our Veterans, Remembrance

Shipping out

No matter what era, the moment when a soldier ships out is laden with bittersweet emotion—excitement, uncertainty, pride and trepidation For soldiers and those they leave behind, shipping out is all about goodbyes. Iconic photographs of wartime goodbyes the world over tend to focus on loved ones—family and friends massed dockside to bid farewell to waving soldiers swarming a ship’s deck; American soldiers and sailors, filled with bravado, kissing their girls on the steam-clouded platforms of New York’s Penn Station; troops milling about on a tarmac, waiting with stoicism to board a transport flight while family members wave from behind barriers. Mothers and fathers, wives and sweethearts, family and friends. Perhaps no goodbye is more wrenching than that of a son or daughter. Cana...
Service & Devotion
Remembrance

Service & Devotion

My father, Harry Culley, never talked much about the war, I think because he felt he got off easy compared to many others. He seemed to be embarrassed that he wasn’t a heroic pilot flying missions over enemy skies, or a gunner at the front facing the Germans. He served as a musician, occupying, in his opinion, a lower rung in the military hierarchy. Some of his fellow bandmates made self-deprecating comments about their status, such as Al Smith who said that he “fought Hitler with his French horn.” During the Depression years, Harry cobbled together part-time jobs to make a living. By day he was a bookkeeper at a smoke shop on Yonge Street in Toronto. By night he played saxophone and clarinet in downtown venues such as the Savarin Club and the Royal York Hotel. When the war started...

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