IMPROVING SERVICE DELIVERY TO CANADIAN VETERANS Report of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs

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Canada is a vast country with the longest coastline of any nation in the world. We have a rich tradition of fishing and maritime trade dating back to our earliest days, however it took more than 40 years after Confederation to form our own navy. Before that, as a member of the British Empire, …….read more


He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.

And ‘tho sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.

But we’ll hear his tales no longer,
For ol’ Joe has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer
For a Veteran died today.

He won’t be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won’t note his passing,
‘Tho a Veteran died today.

When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young,
But the passing of a Veteran
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?

The politician’s stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Veteran,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.

It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever-waffling stand?

Or would you want a Veteran
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Veteran,
Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Veteran,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his likes again.

For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Veteran’s part,
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor
While he’s here to hear the praise,
Then at least let’s give him homage
At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:

The National Council of Veteran Associations “The Bulletin” – July 2013

Associations (NCVA) is an umbrella organization of approximately 58 distinct Veterans’ Associations formed to ensure a strong and independent voice on issues which are of significant interest to the Veterans’ community at large. NCVA has diverse membership consisting of a range of member organizations who reflect the width and breadth of the Veteran constituency. In addition to NCVA’s ongoing and continuing efforts to ensure that the Traditional Veterans’ community receives the most effective services and entitlements possible, in recent years, NCVA has been a leading voice and advocate in the cause of the Modern Day Veteran in furtherance of the enactment of an updated New Veteran’s Charter.

May 2014

Canadian Arctic convoy vets finally get British medal

Hundreds of Canadian veterans who braved the North Atlantic to deliver supplies to Russia during the Second World War will be allowed to wear a decoration created by the British government to honour their service

OTTAWA—Hundreds of Canadian veterans who braved the North Atlantic to deliver supplies to Russia during the Second World War will be allowed to wear a decoration created by the British government to honour their service.

Approval to wear the Arctic Star by Governor General David Johnston has come over a year after it was announced and after sailors, many of them from the merchant marine, expressed concern they were becoming caught in the middle of frosty relations between Ottawa and Moscow.

The medal was created to honour those who risked their lives on the treacherous convoys to Murmansk and Archangel, in Russia.

But in order for Canadians to wear the decoration, the Governor General needed to sign off. A note was quietly posted in the Canada Gazette, which posts many government decisions. However, no public announcement was made to the veterans.

A spokeswoman for the Governor General would not comment Friday and National Defence would say only that there are strict guidelines when it comes to the acceptance and display of foreign honours.

The veterans, many in their late 80s and 90s, had been waiting more than a year for that permission and some believe the delay stems from rapidly deteriorating relations over the crisis in Ukraine.

Paul Bender, a merchant navy captain and Ottawa resident who enlisted at 15, says recognizing veterans who aided the Russians seven decades ago could be politically embarrassing for Conservatives who’ve been talking tough against Vladimir Putin’s government.

He says honouring those who risked their lives in the war should be separate from the political circumstances of today.

“I think it should be a totally separate matter insofar as it happened almost three-quarters of a century ago,” said Bender, 86.

For his service, including a stint with the Royal Canadian Navy, Bender was also awarded the Commonwealth Atlantic Star, which recognized the U-boat war in the Battle of the Atlantic and the Italy Star, given for operations in the Mediterranean.

“I don’t recall the government of Canada objecting to those,” he said.

Bruce Poulin, a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Legion, said there are a few hundred veterans in Canada eligible to wear the medal and their numbers are dwindling.

“It would be good for them to receive this medal before they pass away,” he said.

The legion wrote to Rideau Hall and lobbied to get the decoration recognized, but has received only the cold shoulder.

Several times in the last decade, even the Russian government has honoured many of the Arctic convoy veterans with a commemorative medal that conveyed the country’s deep gratitude for the sacrifices of British, Canadian and other sailors who helped deliver food, weapons, ammunition and vehicles to the Soviet Union. Some 3,000 merchant sailors died on the Murmansk run.

A special protocol was even developed that allowed veterans in this country to accept the Russian medal.

Poulin said he finds the government’s reluctance curious given the Conservatives are gearing up for commemorations to showcase the country’s military history, in particular the First and Second World Wars.

Even the passage of 70 years hasn’t dulled the memory of the trips Binder took.

He remembers rolling grey seas, being cold all the time and having to chip an ice-crust off his merchant ship as it zig-zagged through submarine-infested waters of Norway.

“The weather was absolutely atrocious; howling gales all the time,” he said.

“As the seawater broke over the ship it would freeze. On my first trip, I was terribly sea sick and not much use to anyone except to chip the ice off the deck.”

June 2013
Londonderry Pilgrimage
A Petrolia son honours his father

March 2013

To WW2 Sackville and other BOA Vets.

RE: Veterans of the Arctic Convoys will get medals next month The Arctic Star Please let BOA vets know of this new medal The Artic Star , as they might qualify .
Veterans of the Arctic Convoys will get medals next month recognition of bravery during World War Two. ​Veterans of the Arctic Convoys will get medals next month Veterans of the Arctic Convoys will get medals next month Veterans of the Arctic Convoy will be awarded the long-awaited Arctic Star next month – after a 15-year campaign.
Defence minister Mark Francois today announced that veteran sailors will receive the Arctic Star in recognition of bravery during World War Two. About 66,000 Royal Navy sailors and merchant seamen ran the gauntlet of German planes and U-boats to supply the Soviet ports of Murmansk and Archangel between 1941 and 1945. Without them, Hitler might have triumphed quickly on the Eastern Front and turned his full attention on Britain. More than 3,000 men died, and 85 merchant ships and 16 Royal Navy vessels were lost.
Only about 200 of the veterans are alive today. After a long campaign David Cameron, the Prime Minister, agreed in December that the veterans would finally get recognition. Russia awarded commemorative medals for the convoys in 1985.
Speaking in his Glenholt home Mr Bruty, 92, recalled his years on the County Class cruiser HMS London. He said morale on the convoys was high. “We knew we had a job to do, and the crew were mostly youngsters. “We felt very sorry for the ships which had been sunk but we couldn’t stop to rescue the survivors because that would have made us a target,” he said. Winston Churchill, the wartime Prime Minister, described the mission as the “worst journey in the world”. Sailors braved treacherous seas and temperatures as low as -60C. “In summer it was quite pleasant, but then it got very cold,” Mr Bruty said with typical understatement.
HMS London carried a Supermarine Walrus, a catapult-launched, amphibious biplane, and one of Mr Bruty’s jobs was working on the catapult. “I had to chip the ice off,” he said.
Mr Bruty wrote to the Queen last year, urging her to support the campaign. “I am told there are only 200 of us left,” he said. “And we’ll lose some of them before the summer, but at least they’ve agreed to give the medal posthumously.” Mr Bruty spent the whole of the Second World War on HMS London. When war ended in 1945 he was given just two weeks’ leave before being sent out to the Far East to bring back British troops. He went to see his mother, and then visited his sweetheart Jennie (who is now 91), marrying her four days later. Their marriage has already lasted 67 years – as long as the campaign for an Arctic convoys medal. Read more

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AGM for Canadian Naval Memorial Trust June 28th 2017