A final salute
Remembering the Manitobans who served during the Second World War whose lives ended this past year
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 09/11/2019 (1123 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Winnipeg Free Press is marking the passings of Second World War veterans from Manitoba for a fourth year.
More than one million Canadians and Newfoundlanders served in the military during the Second World War; more than 45,000 were killed and 55,000 others were wounded. As of March 2018, Veterans Affairs Canada estimated there were only 41,100 Second World War veterans remaining, with an average age of 93.
The following list, which covers deaths from November 2018 to November 2019, contains information that has been gleaned from obituaries listed in the newspaper during the past year, with some supplemented further — when available — with facts from other sources, including the Military Service Recognition Book compiled by the Royal Canadian Legion. In some cases, additional information was not available.
The list also provides information on veterans who served with other nations and, during the intervening years, moved to Winnipeg and Manitoba.
Nov. 3: Peter Baynton, 91, served in the Royal Air Force during the war and immigrated to Canada in 1952.
Nov. 3: Michael Kowalski, 96, enlisted with the Canadian Army in 1943 and served with the Victoria Rifles Unit in Italy, Germany and the liberation of Holland.
Nov. 7: Charles Boulet, 96.
Nov. 7: Jean Stewart, 95, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, working in the paymaster office.
Nov. 11: Jerry Poff, 99, joined the RCAF in 1939 and was trained as a wireless operator. He was sent to England and was assigned to the Ninth Bomber Squadron of the RAF.
Nov. 12: John Topp, 94.
Nov. 17: George Heggie, 92, served with the Royal Canadian Navy.
Nov. 20: Jack Cook, 94, enlisted in the Navy where he served as an Engine Room Artificer on HMCS Georgian.
Nov. 21: Charlie Riess, 93, served with the Navy.
Nov. 29: John Owczar, 96, joined the Army and spent almost two years in England and France. He was knighted by the president of France in 2016 and awarded the rank of the Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour for serving there during the war.
Dec. 4: Stan Carter, 98, joined the RAF when he was 17 in 1937, and after several years of aircraft maintenance he joined a Lancaster bombing crew and flew 33 sorties over German and France.
Dec. 10: Wilfred Dickey, 96, joined the 7th Reconnaissance Regiment with the 17th Duke of York’s Royal Canadian Hussars and trained in Montreal and Saskatchewan. He was chosen to be a motorcycle dispatch driver and was often the target of snipers from D-Day until the end of the war.
Dec. 11: Herb Jentsch, 95, served in the First Canadian Parachute Battalion.
Dec. 14: Alexander Kohut, 97, served three years with the Canadian Infantry.
Dec. 15: Allen Franks, 95, enlisted in the RCAF at 18 and flew with the RAF. He flew in a Lancaster bomber as a wireless operator and backup tail gunner.
Dec. 15: Gordon Maxwell, 94, joined the Navy and Merchant Marines as a ship’s gunner in the South Pacific Ocean even though he was under age at the time.
Dec. 27: Jack Brown, 96, joined the RCAF in 1942 serving as a bomb aimer flying officer in England.
Dec. 30: Al Christensen, 102, served as a gunner with the rank of Battery Sergeant Major with 6th Field Regiment, 13th Battery, Royal Canadian Army.
Jan. 5: John Skitcko, 94, had just turned 18, and without his parents knowing, joined the RCAF and served as a navigator for missions to Germany.
Jan. 8: Bill Gourluck, 102, served in the RCAF.
Jan. 14: Jack Calvert, 96, left high school under age to join the Navy. He served on a minesweeper through the Panama Canal.
Jan. 16: Isaac Sawatsky, 93, enlisted in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps and served in the Montreal Military Hospital until December 1945.
Jan. 19: Alex Ramsay, 98, served in the RCAF.
Jan. 21: Ed Leganchuk, 96, enlisted in the Army in 1944.
Jan. 22: Walter Smigel, 93, served in the Navy.
Jan. 30: Louis Kerouanton, 95, served in England.
Feb. 1: Jozef Ralcewicz, 94. He was born in Poland and enlisted in the Polish Armed Forces after being released from a labour camp in the Soviet Union in 1942. He saw action at the Battle for Monte Cassino and earned the Monte Cassino Cross and the Italy Star.
Feb. 4: Clifford Hagglund, 95, was a stoker first class for the Navy.
Feb. 5: Gene Milani, 95, joined the Army at 19 and served overseas as a gunner and communications specialist.
Feb. 6: Doug Skerritt, 97, joined the armed services in 1941 and served in England, Holland, Belgium and Germany with the 3rd Canadian Division and the 4th Canadian Armoured Division.
Feb. 6: John Stangroom, 93, enlisted in the Canadian Naval Cadets in 1944 and served aboard the British aircraft carrier, HMS Warrior.
Feb. 10: John Cloutier, 96, was stationed in Edmonton where he played trumpet for the Royal Canadian Air Force Band for three years. The war ended a week before he was scheduled to serve in Asia.
Feb. 11: Jack Blowers, 98, enlisted in the RCAF.
Feb. 11: Morris Silver, 93, joined the Canadian Armed Forces and served as a telegraph operator stationed in Dawson Creek, B.C.
Feb. 17: Walter Ritchie, 98, served with the Navy, including on the HMCS Waskesieu when it was sunk by German submarine U257.
Feb. 2: Ross McClelland, 96, enlisted in the Army in 1942 and served in the light infantry.
Feb. 21: Brian Taylor, 93, served on the minesweeper HMCS Clayoquot when it was hit by a German U-Boat on Christmas Eve 1944 just outside the Halifax harbour.
Feb. 24: Gordon Stewart, 94, enlisted with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles and served in the United Kingdom and central Mediterranean area.
Feb. 27: Helen Godkin, 96, joined the Womens’ Army Corps at 18 and worked in the motor pool until 1945.
Feb. 28: Percy Allan, 95, joined the service in 1941 and served in both the Second World War and the Korean War.
March 3: Michael Caligure, 94, served overseas in Belgium and Holland.
March 4: Bill Sharpe, 96, joined the RCAF in 1941.
March 8: Beatrice Stewart, 102, joined the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service and became a WREN supply assistant stationed in Halifax and Esquimalt, B.C.
March 10: Jean Williams, 95, worked for the Land Army in Britain.
March 13: Patrick Ramsey, 102, served as an aircraft mechanic with the RCAF in Portage la Prairie.
March 16: Seymour Blackadar, 93, served in the Navy and the Merchant Navy.
March 20: Cy Buckingham, 101, enlisted in the RCAF and served as a radar instructor in the United Kingdom from 1939 to 1945.
March 21: Ken Standing, 93, joined the Navy and was posted at the naval base at Shelburne, N.S.
March 25: Natalie Schaeffer served in the Women’s Army Corps.
March 28: David Cullen, 100, served with the RCAF.
March 30: Norman Stoddart, 94, was on active service with the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve.
March 31: Alice Mitchell, 98, joined the RCAF and served overseas from 1941 to 1945.
April 1: Joan Fuller, 96. Born in Wales, she volunteered with the Women’s Auxiliary Corps during the war.
April 2: Norman Nelson, 92, served in the Navy, seeing action on the Arnprior.
April 8: Laurie Mainster, 93, served with the RCAF as a wireless operator.
April 10: Orval Gower served in the Army for two years and later received a military citation for his voluntary participation in highly confidential experiments during that time.
April 19: Wilf Leverton.
April 20: Art George, 94, enlisted in the RCAF in 1942 and attained the rank of pilot officer as a navigator on a Lancaster Bomber.
April 21: Bill Little served with the Fort Garry Horse and was wounded on the beaches of Normandy.
April 22: John Isfeld, 92, volunteered for the military shortly before the end of the war.
May 9: Ted Ritchie, 93, joined the Navy.
May 11: Eugene Lavoie, 95, served five years overseas.
May 14: Gerald Strome, 95, enlisted in the Army in 1941 and served overseas.
May 15: John Lee, 96, enlisted in the RCAF. He was a bomber pilot, successfully completing 40 missions. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
May 17: Stan Riddell, 97, served five years in the Army, including as a lieutenant in northwest Europe with the South Alberta Regiment, 29th Armoured Reconnaissance.
May 19: Hal Heuchert, 94, volunteered with the RCAF, training as a pilot and ultimately became an instrument mechanic and instructor.
May 20: Thomas Rogers, 98, joined the RCAF in 1939.
May 20: Teddy Ziemski, 94, enlisted at 18 and served with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles.
May 21: Richard Taylor, 96, joined the RAF when he was 17 and was commissioned to be an officer. He spent two of his four years in the RAF training pilots in Canada.
May 24: Piotr Burczynski, 98, joined the Polish Army after the invasion of Poland. He fought in the Middle East, North Africa and Italy, including the Battle of Monte Cassino.
May 24: Arthur Dytnerski, 100, escaped from Poland to join the Allies, fighting in the Battle of Tobruk in the Middle East and rising to become a lieutenant in the Polish branch of the Royal Navy. He was awarded a medal for sinking a German submarine.
May 27: Edwin Bass, 96, volunteered at 19 for the RCAF and was deployed to France with the Second Tactical Air Force, 226 Squadron. He flew over Juno Beach on D-Day, giving the troops air cover.
May 28: Cam McCallum, 96, enlisted into the Navy and served as a petty officer on the HMCS Ottawa.
May 31: Saul Scott, 95, served in the U.S. Army as a navigation instructor.
June 1: George Mitchell, 95.
June 1: Stanislaw Walichnowski, 91, was in Poland when he was taken by the Nazis for forced labour. He escaped and joined the Polish Army Second Corps.
June 5: Ernest Walley, 93, joined the RCAF when he turned 18 and was posted to Summerside, P.E.I., after getting his wings as a bomber pilot.
June 17: Nicholas Rudrick, 94, was an officer in the RCAF.
June 19: Tom Harrison, 98, served four years with the RCAF, including two years in England.
June 20: Gregory Liusz, 98, joined the Polish Second Corps in North Africa and fought as a sapper in the Italian campaign. He was in the Battle of Monte Cassino, receiving a wound in the chest from cannon fire, losing part of his lung and having a piece of shrapnel permanently lodged next to his heart.
June 25: Gordon Keatch, 95, joined the Australian Air Force at 18 and trained in Winnipeg as a wireless operator.
June 29: John Hansell, 104, served in the RCAF.
July 2: Joseph Karpyza, 94, enlisted at the age of 17 in the Polish unit of the British army.
July 2: Bill Lennox, 96.
July 8: Connie Polakoff, 97, served with the Navy as a WREN mostly in Halifax.
July 9: Clifford Moxley, 101, joined the Army for 30 days in 1941, and then the Navy for 30 days, but then stayed with the RCAF to be trained as an air gunner and then a pilot. He flew in a Spitfire Squadron and became a flying officer.
July 10: Alan Finnbogason, 97, joined the RCAF and served overseas with the RAF as a flying officer.
July 10: Albert Rosenberg, 100, enlisted in the RCAF when war broke out and trained as an aircraft mechanic.
July 16: Nellie Kokran, 103, served in the RCAF.
July 18: Don Ramage, 93, enlisted in the RCAF when he was underage and, after being discovered, later joined the Army.
July 20: Jack Gardiner, 94, joined the Armed Forces and served with the 4th Armoured Division, South Alberta Regiment. While entering the Hochwald Gap in Germany, his tank was demolished and he and his crew were taken as prisoners and incarcerated at Stalag X1B until the end of the war.
July 23: Sheila Bemister, 95, served in the RAF in Great Britain.
July 23: Les Girling, 96, was a navigator in the RAF, flying missions in North Africa and Asia in a Catalina aircraft.
July 25: Jarvis Kadyniuk, 95, joined the RCAF and was a tail gunner with the Burma Bombers, Squadron 358, stationed in India and flying behind enemy lines in the fight with Japan to assist American, British and French intelligence agencies and special forces.
July 26: Roy Solinger, 98, served overseas during the war and continued serving with the military for 30 years.
July 30: Margaret Colwill, 98, volunteered with the Canadian Red Cross Corps overseas.
July 31: Fred Boutilier, 94, joined the RCAF when he was only 17, and stayed with the air force after the war.
Aug. 8: George Currie, 94, was called up for service in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1943.
Aug. 8: Glen Kirton, 95, served in the RCAF from 1942 to 1945.
Aug. 8: Eleanore Parr, 98, enlisted in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps and was assigned to one of the teletype departments in Eastern Canada where she received and sent Morse code messages.
Aug. 9: Ernest Montsion, 96, said he would have been killed if not for his commanding officer switching soldiers in front of him before they ran into battle; that soldier was killed on April 19, 1945, just days before German troops surrendered.
August: Dick Milne, 97, joined the RCAF at 17 and flew two tours of duty, flying in 52 missions as a tail gunner.
Aug. 13: Bob Heelis, 100, served in the RCAF.
Aug. 14: Gordon Connor, 99, joined the RCAF after getting his pilot’s licence.
Aug. 16: Bill Robbins, 96, joined the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and took part in the invasion of Dunkirk as well as later fighting in both Sicily and Italy. He then became an instructor for the Fifth Division in Holland.
Aug. 16: George Webb, 94, enlisted in the Army at 17.
Aug. 17: Len Bookbinder, 93, left school at 17 to join the Navy and trained as a telegraphist at HMCS St. Hyacinthe and Carleton and served on the minesweeper HMSC New Liskeard.
Aug. 19: Werner Hunzinger, 93, was drafted at 17 to the German Army and fought on the Russian front, before being wounded and forced to return home, mostly on foot.
Aug. 19: Bill Kyle, 94, served as a navigator with the RCAF, 435 Squadron, in the Pacific theatre.
Aug. 20: Stella Ahlgren was a secretary with the Army from 1944 until her discharge in 1945.
Aug. 21: Al Woods, 97, served with the RCAF.
Aug. 23: Peter Porritt, 96. Born in England, he served in the RAF.
Aug. 25: Giuseppe Troia, 99, served as a Bersagiliere, a special forces unit, in the Italian Army.
Aug. 31: Lawrence Hnatowich, 99, joined the RCAF in 1940 and served in England.
Sept. 5: Don Bedard, 97, enlisted in the Royal Canadian Volunteer Reserve in 1943.
Sept. 7: Arnie Barr, 94, joined the RCAF and was selected for training as a navigator.
Sept. 9: Roland Valcourt, 93.
Sept. 11: John Madigan, 95, joined the Navy and served as a Stoker 1st Class on the La Hulloise in the North Atlantic.
Sept. 13: John Cechvala, 94, enlisted in the Army in 1943.
Sept. 14: Chris Trylinski, 100, enlisted in the RCAF and was in the 1082 Regiment as a Leading Aircraftsman.
Sept. 16: Ida Murray, 94, enrolled in the Navy WRENs Chippawa before her 18th birthday and was stationed on both the East and West coasts.
Sept. 17: Jack Cohen, 96, served with the RCAF.
Sept. 17: Harold Harman, 97, served with the Navy.
Sept. 18: Thyra Dutton/Read, 100, served as a commissioned Lieutenant Nursing Sister in 1944 and 1945.
Sept. 19: Norman Lilley, 94.
Sept. 28: Jim Pile, 94, enlisted in the RCAF.
Oct. 10: Walter Gibson, 100, enlisted in the RCAF and served in both Winnipeg and Ottawa.
Oct. 21: Joseph Hays served with the RCAF as a military police officer.
Oct. 24: Al Loader, 93, enlisted in the Army when he was 17 after his brother was killed in the war.
Oct. 24: Ross MacKenzie, 92, enlisted in the Army.
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.