Centennial College’s Story Arts Centre hosted a Remembrance Day service last Friday, where students, faculty, and community members alike came together to listen to the testimonies of two Second World War veterans and one current sub-lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Navy, currently in his 23rd year of active service.
Barbara Trendos, author of the book “Survival”, also attended this year’s ceremony at the Carlaw Avenue campus in East York. Her book recounts the harrowing story of her father, Flight Lieutenant Albert Wallace, currently 98 years old. Wallace was unable to attend the event, for health reasons.
Mildred Kennedy’s family served Canada in its armed forces, but few noticed.
“It was lonely,” she said.
Mildred Kennedy is the widow of Gottfried Kennedy, a Royal Canadian Air Force photographer, who served in the military in 1967, during the Cold War in the Canadian Arctic.
The veteran has finished speaking. He’s told his life story. A young cub scout stands and asks a question.
“Mr. Lightstone why should we care about all of this stuff,” he asked.
Capt. Lightstone gets up from his chair and smiles at the young scout and said, “Because in Canada we are very lucky to live in a country where we have freedom and privileges. … That’s why Remembrance Day is important.”
On one of the last pages of his father’s old pilot’s logbook, Dave Ward Jr. saw his own name written down. Dave Sr. often took Dave Jr. up for casual flights at the Brampton Flying Club well after his time in the armed services. “I never knew that he had kept track of all of our flights together,” Ward Jr. said. “That’s pretty cool.” During the Korean War, Flying Officer David Ward logged over 1,148 hours teaching pilot recruits of the Royal Canadian Air Force how to survive in the sky.
Sydney Phillips’s war ended in the water half a world away. “I saw a water spout up behind me and said, ‘Uh oh,’” he said. “I was sitting in a lift behind two machine guns. (I) couldn’t get out. The plane must have broken in half behind me because the next thing I knew I pitched forward and I was floating in the Mediterranean.”
Nearly 66 years after he was liberated at the end of the Second World War, Albert Wallace can still remember the night of the Great Escape. “I didn’t sleep that night, waiting to see what was going to happen,” he said.