A final salute


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When thousands of Canadians and Newfoundlanders landed on the beaches of France on D-Day, flew in fighters and bombers over Europe, or sailed in warships across the Atlantic Ocean, they were in the flower of their youth.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/11/2022 (215 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

When thousands of Canadians and Newfoundlanders landed on the beaches of France on D-Day, flew in fighters and bombers over Europe, or sailed in warships across the Atlantic Ocean, they were in the flower of their youth.

Today, there are only a few still with us. According to Veteran Affairs, there are 1,100 Manitobans still alive who served in either the Second World War or Korean War.

For a number of years, the Free Press has honoured the veterans we have lost in the last year as part of our Remembrance Day coverage. It’s not a comprehensive list as it is mainly compiled from the pages of the Free Press Passages section.

Here are the veterans who have passed away from Nov. 12, 2021 to Oct. 31:

Nov. 13: Ralph Hotel, 97. He was 19 when he enlisted and it is during that time he learned to ride a motorcycle.

Nov. 20: Aylmer Dunlop, 98. He served in the armed forces from 1941 to 1945.

Nov. 21: Lorne Eyolfson, 95. He enlisted with the Royal Canadian Navy when he was 17.

Nov. 28: Jim Craig, 98. He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Signal Corps and served in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Holland.

Dec. 7: Adam Straszynski, 94. He was born in Poland, escaped to Sweden when the war started, and when old enough joined the Polish Army, trained in Sherman tanks, and saw combat in Belgium as a tank bow gunner.

Dec. 13: Georges Toupin, 97. He served with the military.

Dec. 15: Gordon Saunders, 100. He served as a signaller on naval corvettes and made many Atlantic Ocean crossings protecting ships supplying the United Kingdom.

Dec. 17: Norm Shearer, 100. He was 17 when he enlisted on Sept. 6, 1939, just four days before the war started. He was deployed overseas with the Canadian Corp. of Engineers and saw action in Italy and Holland.

Dec. 20: Aron Isaac, 98. He was a conscientious objector due to his faith and he served instead in a lumber camp and as a farm manager.

Dec. 21: Fred Miguel, 102. He joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1942 and was a Cat-skinner for the Number 2 Company, Forestry Corp., making bridges and roads for the troops, and spending time in France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany.

Dec. 22: Velma Magnuson, 97. She served with the Canadian Women’s Army Corps.

Dec. 27: John Houlden, 97. He served with the Royal British Navy.

Dec. 28: Marshall Keller, 93. He served in the military for two decades.

Jan. 3: Bill Burton, 93. He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and received his pilot license, but the war ended before he was deployed.

Jan. 6: Murray Peden, 98. He enlisted in the RCAF at 18 and took pilot training. He was posted to No. 214 Squadron, RAF Bomber Command where he performed bombing missions, dropped supplies to the Free French underground, and did secret radar-countermeasures work. His crew was one of five chosen for a special radar mission to support D-Day and he was given a special commendation and the Distinguished Flying Cross after a raid into the Ruhr when he was attacked twice, had two crew injured, and crash landed on the way back to England. He became an instructor on a B-17 Flying Fortresses until the war ended.

Jan. 7: Tom Nicholl, 95. He served with the Royal Canadian Navy.

Jan. 11: Tom Carrabre, 98. He served on a corvette in the Naval Reserve.

Jan. 12: Cliff Gow, 96. He joined the Royal Canadian Navy and was stationed on the HMCS St. Boniface serving in active duty on North Atlantic convoys.

Jan. 13: Henry Golis, 95. At 17, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and at 19 was a flight sergeant. He survived the crash of a Canso flying boat, one of four of eight who lived.

Jan. 25: Mike Chenewski, 101. He served for two years on the BC West Coast Defence System as an anti-aircraft gunner before serving as a reinforcement in Europe for a year.

Jan. 30: Sylvester Charenko, 96. He was taken by the Nazis and conscripted into the Ukrainian 1st Division. He was sent to an Allied Displaced Persons camp in Italy after the war.

Jan. 30: Elizabeth Fisher, 97. She served with the Canadian Women’s Army Corp.

Jan. 31: Bert Jolly, 95. He joined the Royal Canadian Navy on his 18th birthday and served on HMCS Cornwallis, Hamilton and Rosthern.

Feb. 4: Tom Ball, 102. He was a veteran of both the RAF and the RCAF.

Feb. 8: Leroy Johnson, 100. He served for four years.

March 17: Wilf Finch, 104. He answered the navy’s call for wireless operators and served at a base in Victoria monitoring Japanese naval radio traffic, then at a submarine monitoring station in Halifax, and then served on the HMCS Runnymede. Towards the end of the war he taught wireless communication to WRENS.

April 3: George Hampshire, 99. He joined the army in Fort William with the Lake Superior Regiment as a mechanic and Bren gun carrier driver. He served in England, France, Germany and Holland, before serving with the occupational forces stabilizing Europe until 1946.

April 7: Pamela Oakley. She joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force when the war broke out and worked in Air Defence in the Balloon Barrage putting up the large balloons over London to keep German bombers at high altitude. She then was transferred to an entertainment unit where she was an actress, singer and performer.

April 14: Gus Bohde, 100. His schooling in Germany was interrupted by the war and in his youth he joined the military service. He suffered serious injuries early in the war, and received several medals for bravery, but that was the end of his service.

April 22: Arnie Roxton, 101. He joined the Royal Canadian Navy and served on the Wolfe, Cataquet, Quatsino, and Prince David.

April 23: Art Jonasson, 95. He joined the Canadian Army in 1944, but ended up not going overseas before the war ended.

May 4: Mary Sturney, 96. She enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps Service when she was 18 and served until the end of the war.

May 24: Raymond Charles Marie-Hippolyte Vanstraelen, 94. He served his country in the Belgian army in 1944.

May 30: Bill Bawden, 97. He volunteered and served overseas with the Royal Canadian Corp of Signals until 1946.

June 13: Bob Major, 99. He enlisted in the XII Manitoba Dragoons and served until the end of the war.

June 17: Eric Spence, 93, He served with the Royal Air Force.

July 6: Al Greenberg, 97. He served with the Royal Canadian Navy.

July 6: Raymond Allard, 97. He enlisted in the RCAF in 1943 and received his pilot’s wings and a bombardier rating.

July 13: Allan Walder, 104. After graduating, he was drafted and spent four years in the medical corps of the Canadian Army. He was stationed in Canada and then a hospital in post-war Germany.

July 24: Walter Curry, 97. He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy and met his wife when he was stationed in Charlottetown.

Aug. 3: Jack Wright, 99. He served in the Royal Canadian Navy from 1939 to 1945.

Aug. 28: Norine Anderson, 98. She was Norine Parker when she signed up for the Women’s Division of the RCAF, beginning her service at Rockcliffe before being assigned to RCAF Western Air Command at Patricia Bay and Tofino until being demobilized with the rank of Corporal in November 1945.

Sept. 7: Bill Hall, 98. He enlisted in the RCAF in 1942 and graduated as a bomber pilot before transferring to the PPCLI and training as a paratrooper. He later served in Korea as well.

Sept. 28: Wally Mildren, 99. He joined the Royal Air Force in Dec. 1941 and, after being trained in Canada, flew 30 operations in a Lancaster Bomber as a Pilot Officer. He then served in India until he was discharged in 1946.

Oct. 12: Louise Cairns, 101. She joined the Canadian Women’s Army Corp in 1942.

Oct. 23: George Hall, 106. He joined the RCAF in 1940 and trained to be an aircraft mechanic, but he was called to be a flight engineer and flew reconnaissance off the east coast.


Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason

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.


Updated on Monday, November 7, 2022 1:48 PM CST: Updates with information about veteran Wally Mildren

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