Canada loses WWI veteran
CanWest News Service. Published: Thursday, February 22, 2007
Victor Lloyd Clemett, one of Canada’s last remaining First World War veterans, died this week in Toronto.
He was 107 and passed away at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre's veteran's wing.
With his death, the ranks of those who can tell first-hand stories of the Great War shrink to two - Dwight Wilson and John Babcock.
When he was just 16 years old, Clemett ran away from home, ultimately to enlist as a soldier in the First World War. His brother Albert had left a few months earlier.
“When I was standing in line, I was prepared for them,” he said in an Ottawa Citizen interview in 2003, referring to the calculations he’d made to convincingly lie about his age.
“But they never questioned me.”
Clemett became a bugle boy. But after a year overseas, authorities discovered his age and sent him to help supply lumber.
“Rather than stay in the infantry, the bigwigs decided the French couldn’t supply enough lumber, so they called on the Canadian Army to form the Canadian Forestry Core,” he said.
“I stayed with them until the fall of 1918.”
At that point, the Germans were making a heavy push toward the front lines and the Allies needed 20 men from the forestry core. Clemett once again volunteered to go, reasoning that he didn’t go overseas to be a cadet, he went “to soldier.” “Within a few weeks, I was headed for the front lines,” he said. But before he could get there, the Armistice was signed.
Back in Toronto, he signed up for a post-war benefits course and became a railway agent.
He worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway for 10 years before leaving to join a friend with whom he co-founded a lawn-equipment company.
Clemett later became a water-meter reader, but while in the lawn business, he met “a girl in Toronto” named Cassie Duggan.
At 36, he married her and they had two sons, David, who lives in the U.S., and John, in Alberta.
Clemett's wife died at 82 in 1993.
"We honour his service to Canada during the First World War,” said Rudyard Griffiths, executive director of the Dominion Institute.
“With only two Great War veterans remaining, we hope that the federal government will follow through on the motion unanimously passed in Parliament last November to offer the family of the last Great War veteran resident in Canada a full state funeral."
As the highest honour the government of Canada can bestow on an individual, a full state funeral would be fitting tribute not only to this individual’s service to our country but also the half million Canadians he fought alongside in the Great War and the 60,000 who died."
© CanWest News Service 2007
First World War veterans Dwight Wilson (left) and Lloyd Clemett participate in Remebrance Day ceremonies in 2006. Clemett's death leaves only two known survivng Canadian WWI veterans. (CP PHOTO/Frank Gunn
So many of them lied about their age so that they could go and "do something right". These days its mighty difficult to find a person with those qualities.....
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Thread: Death Of A Legacy....
02-22-2007, 01:48 PM #1
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02-23-2007, 01:46 PM #2
The last article I read was that there were less than 200 WWII US veterans alive.
And WWII vets are dying at rate of a few thousand a day.
An entire generation that fought to keep men free and to free men are dying off and an entirely new generation couldn't give a rats ***."Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers
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