The Last Post
Editor's Note
This section of the MLU website is dedicated to the warriors of the Canadian Army Overseas who, while surviving the turmoil of war and the intervening decades, have now fallen to the friction of age. They shall be remembered no less than their brethren sacrificed so many years before in the cauldron of global conflict. 
Should you know of, or hear of, any member of the Canadian Army Overseas who has recently 'laid his arms to rest', please contact us with as much information as possible, including a short biography if available. With the permission of the family as applicable and available, their names and service will be recorded here as a testament to their courage and dedication to the Canada of their dreams.
We shall likely never see such men again. May their memories live forever. 
Once Strong, Always Bold, Never Forgotten
A59355, HOWEY, Victor Garton
Pte., Lincoln and Welland Regiment (RCIC)

Pte. Victor Howey, age 24, was wounded and later posted as Missing, Presumed Killed, on January 29, 1945, during the small but vicious battle of Kapelsche Veer in Holland. What had begun as a minor 4th Canadian Armoured Division operation to erase an otherwise insignificant German bridgehead across the Maas River became a costly fight in intolerable conditions of mud and snow, made worse by a total lack of cover for the Canadian troops tasked with clearing the ground. The Germans were well dug-in and well-sited in the defence, and gave no quarter.

Victor Howey had originally been reported as Wounded on the first day of the operation, the 26th of January, but was later upgraded to Missing, Presumed Killed. His body was never found... at least until this year.

His remains were finally identified this August through dental records, and he is to be laid to rest with full military honours at the Canadian War Cemetery in Bergen-op-Zoom, on Friday, November 10th, 2000. Several MLU supporters will be in attendance.

Welcome home, Victor Howey, you will never be forgotten.

-- Geoff Winnington-Ball

H103080, CAMERON, Arthur David
Trooper, British Columbia Regiment (RCAC)

My father just passed away on July 12, 2000 from heart failure after a short illness. He was born in Rossburn Manitoba on Sept 13, 1921 and joined the Canadian Army as a volunteer on November 5th, 1942.  He was 21 years old at the time, and served in the United Kingdom, Central Mediterranean area, and continental Europe as a tank trooper with the British Columbia Regiment.  He was decorated with the France & Germany Star, Italy Star, 1939-1945 Star, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and clasp.  He was discharged on November 14, 1945 and returned to Rossburn Manitoba, where he met and married my mother, Rose Borowski.  They had 9 children together, 7 of us who are still alive.

At his funeral, he had a Legion Honour Guard, and the Last Post was played as he was interred.  He is buried with my mother in Rossburn Manitoba, and will be missed greatly by us all.  His stories and memories will live in us all forever...

- Karen Ducharme, Alberta, Canada

MERRITT, Charles Cecil Ingersoll, VC
Lieutenant Colonel, South Saskatchewan Regiment

'Cec' Merritt died of natural causes at the age of 91, on Wednesday 12 July 2000, in Vancouver B.C.

One of only two surviving Canadian Victoria Cross winners, LCol Merritt's life is an inspiration to all Canadians. Brock Dittrick submits the following:

Charles Cecil Ingersoll Merritt was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, on the 10th of November 1908, the son of a First World War hero. He was educated at Lord Roberts School, Vancouver,University School, Victoria, and Royal Military College, Kingston, Ontario. In private life he was a barrister and solicitor. Prior to the outbreak of war in 1939 he had been, since 1929, an officer in the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. In 1942 he was transferred to the South Saskatchewan Regiment. Following his gallant action at Dieppe as described in the citation (below), he became a prisoner of war for the balance of the hostilities. In 1945 he was elected to the Federal Parliament for Vancouver-Burrard and served in that capacity until 1948. Following the loss of his seat in the General Election of that year, he returned to his law practice in Vancouver where he and his wife took up residence. In 1951 he was appointed commanding officer of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada (R), a post he held for three years.

Citation :

'For matchless gallantry and inspiring leadership whilst commanding his battalion during the Dieppe raid on the 19th August, 1942. From the point of landing, his unit's advance had to be made across a bridge in Pourville which was swept by very heavy machine-gun, mortar and artillery fire: the first parties were mostly destroyed and the bridge thickly covered by their bodies. A daring lead was required; waving his helmet, Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt rushed forward shouting, "Come on over! There's nothing to worry about here." 

He thus personally led the survivors of at least four parties in turn across the bridge. Quickly organizing these, he led them forward and when held up by enemy pillboxes he again headed rushes which succeeded in clearing them. In one case he himself destroyed the occupants of the post by throwing grenades into it. After several of his runners became casualties, he himself kept contact with his different positions. Although twice wounded, Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt continued to direct the unit's operations with great vigour and determination and while organizing the withdrawal he stalked a sniper with a Bren gun and silenced him. He then coolly gave orders for the departure and announced his intention to hold off and "get even with" the enemy. When last seen he was collecting Bren and Tommy guns and preparing a defensive position which successfully covered the withdrawal from the beach. Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt is now reported to be a Prisoner of War. To this Commanding Officer's personal daring, the success of his unit's operations and the safe re-embarkation of a large portion of it were chiefly due.' 

The London Gazette, 2nd October 1942

M65590, THIBAULT, Raymond Joseph Maurice
Sergeant, Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (RCEME)

Raymond J. M. Thibault  born June 27, 1918 in Milles Vaches, Quebec, Canada. Raised in Northern Alberta. A volunteer for the Canadian Army Overseas, he served overseas until wounded severely by a land mine somewhere in Italy.  When he was finally discharged, he moved back to Northern Alberta, married and raised 15 children. Bad health due to his wounds plagued him since returning, but he never complained. He was always a strong community member involved in the Legion as well as numerous community groups. His sense of humour was always apparent and he used his glass eye (an unwelcome souvenir of the mine blast in Italy) to play jokes on his children and eventually, his grandchildren.

Raymond passed away on May 18, 2000 in McLennan, Alberta. He was a fighter to
the end but with his last breath, he finally gained freedom from the pains of illness. At his funeral on May 23, the Royal Canadian Legion was present and the Last Post was played at the cemetery as he was interred. He was a devout man: devout to his religion and highly devoted to the memory of his fallen comrades and the sacrifice they all made. Every year leading up to Remembrance Day he was the number one supplier of wreaths to the whole region. He never asked if you wanted a wreath,
he just assumed you were taking one and told you how much it cost! His dedication to the Legion and all it stands for was second to none.

- Paul Charest, Girouxville, Alberta

HOFFMEISTER, Bertram Meryl ('Hoffy')
Major General, OC, CB, CBE, DSO, ED
Seaforth Highlanders of Canada & 5th Canadian Armoured Division

Bert was a soldier, businessman, humanitarian and environmentalist. He was a very successful businessman and was Chief Executive Officer of MacMillan-Bloedel, the giant forestry company. His civilian career was just as outstanding as his military "hostilities only" service and his militia service with the Seaforths where he served for years with Seaforth officers such as (LtCol) Cecil Merritt who later won the Victoria Cross at Dieppe, and Budge Bell-Irving who became a Brigadier, and later served as Lt-Gov of BC.

Maj-Gen Hoffmeister served with the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. In England he commanded B Coy (I believe), and there is a famous photo of him leading his company on a route march in England, with a young English boy with a toy drum off to the left crying as he could not keep up. This photo was used on the cover of a history book. He commanded the Seaforths in action in Sicily-Italy in 1943. Another famous photo shows him leading the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada through the Italian hills to a review by General Montgomery and a painting of this scene was
used on the regimental history by Dr. Reg Roy. By the end of the war he had commanded the 5th Canadian Armoured Division (nicknamed "Hoffy's Mighty Maroon Machine" as their formation patch was a maroon rectangle). He was assigned to command the Canadian Army Pacific Force which was to be made up of volunteer troops going to fight the Japanese (formation patch was six coloured sexagonal patch divided like a pie with colours from the other divisions).

"Hoffy", as he was affectionately known by his troops, was extremely well-respected by his men and superiors alike, and was regarded by many as the best general that Canada ever produced.

- Colin Stevens

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