Management e-mail addresses -
Manager Ann DeWolfe - firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary Bill Beswetherick - email@example.com
President Ray Foster- rcl92President@gmail.com
Membership - Anne Parker
The Cost of Freedom
From little towns, in a far land, we came,
To save our honour and a world aflame;
By little towns, in a far land, we sleep,
And trust those things we won
To you to keep.
This poem by British writer Rudyard Kipling, the 1905 Nobel Prize in Literature, is engraved on the war memorial in Sault St. Marie, northern Ontario. His words honour the more than 60,000 Canadian soldiers from small towns who lost their lives in the First World War and lie in military cemeteries scattered throughout France and Belgium. Thousands of the dead have no known graves and are commemorated on memorials to the missing.
Gananoque, on the St. Lawrence River in the heart of the Thousand Islands, is an example of how wars have affected small communities. At the start of WW1 it had a population of less than five thousand and a century later is still only about five thousand. More than one thousand area men and women served in the world wars. All were volunteers. They put at risk their lives and the futures of their families for what they believed was a greater good.
The 58 First World War dead include brothers William and Vernor Street killed on the same day, Russel Britton the wealthiest man in town, Harry Brown who was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross, and 15 year-old William Dailey. WW2 claimed 25 men and Randy Payne was killed in Afghanistan.
Of the 22 area men who lost their lives in WW2 enlisted before the end of 1942. It took much faith in the cause of freedom when there were few prospects of victory following the French surrender in June 1940 which left Britain and her Commonwealth alone against a Germany whose armies occupied much of Europe. Among the first area men to enlist was Lloyd Bishop who joined the British Royal Air Force soon after attending Queen's University. He was killed in 1940 at age 22.
One would get the impression from movies such as The Longest Day or from Saving Private that Canada played a minor role in the Second World War. That is wrong. Out of a population about eleven million over one million men and women enlisted. Virtually all were volunteers. Canada entered the war in September 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. The United States would remain neutral until December 1941 when Japan attacked her navy at Pearl Harbour. Canadians pilots were fighting in the skies over Europe for well over two years before the first American pilots flew in combat there.
Of the 20,000 Canadians who flew in Britain's Bomber Command 10,000 were killed including Kenneth MacDonald, Douglas Petch, and William MacMillan who enlisted soon after graduating from the Gananoque high school. The oldest of them to be killed was age 22.
15,000 Canadians landed on the beaches of France on D Day, 6 June 1944. Nine area men were among the more than 5,000 Canadians killed during the seven month-long battle including Archibald Archibald and his brother-in-law Blake Keyes. They never saw their children who were born soon after they left for Europe.
Although Germany faced certain defeat in the final months of the war, the fighting was particularly costly. Canadians were given the task of clearing Germans from the Netherlands. Among the last Canadian soldiers killed were area men Paul Sampson and Bernard Sanders, a father of three. They are among more than 7,600 Canadians who lie in military cemeteries in the Netherlands. The Dutch still remember the sacrifices Canadians made to liberate their country. Every Christmas Eve Dutch families go to Canadian cemeteries to light candles on each of the graves.
The liberation of Europe came at the cost of the lives of hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers. Their sacrifices were necessary to end five years of brutal German occupation. Canada has shown by recent discoveries at residential schools that it is an imperfect society. Remembrance Day allows us to remembers the sacrifices made by Canadians who served in wars to make this a better world.
Not too many Veterans can say they have been a Legionnaire for 75 years.
Veteran Tom Tindal is being congratulated by President Ray Foster at Carveth on 14 October on the occasion of Tom's 75 years with the Royal Canadian Legion branch 92 in Gananoque. Ray presented Tom with a congratulatory certificate from Michael Barrett, MP, and also one from Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds, Grenville and the 1000 islands. Tom also received his 75 year pin and 75 year bar which was put on a shadow box so that Tom can hang it in his room at Carveth.
Tom's two daughter's Deborah and Susan, were pleased to attend the Oct. 14th, Legion presentation, at Carveth.
A bit about Tom's life: Residing at Carveth Care Centre is Tom Tindal, age 95. He was such an outstanding junior hockey player he was invited to a Montreal Canadiens training camp. Instead of pursuing a hockey career, Tom followed two brothers and enlisted in the army just after turning age 18. He fought in the Netherlands where his brother Arthur was killed just weeks before the end of the war. In 1992 Tom and his son Michael visited his brother's grave. (thank you Bill Beswetherick for this note about Tom)
I was happy to see Tom who seemed very happy to see us with our uniforms on.
Tom will be turning 96 on 12 January 2022.