Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
Canada 150 Vignette – 134 of 150
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan
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Remembrance Day 2017 Part 2​​

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In World War II, over 42,000 men and women died in service to Canada’s armed forces. For the families, notice of the death of a loved one must have been a deeply traumatic and long-lasting experience. There is no way to tell how one family’s tragedy compared to that of another, but for a number of families, and mothers in particular, the death of three loved ones must have been especially sorrowful.​​

A note from Hugh Halliday in an internet post, where he talked about five instances where families lost three members in World War II, inspired this Canada 150 Vignette. Further research turned up the Canada Veteran’s Affairs web site where the National Memorial Silver Cross Mothers are listed. On this site, 12 Silver Cross Mothers lost three loved ones to World War II. Their names and circumstances are listed below. Please note that the entries and photos shown are exactly as they are presented in the Veteran’s Affairs web site:

http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/books/silver

We have a suspicion that there were more than 12 Canadian families who lost three family members in World War II, and suggest that possibly some families lost more..
 
 
Canada’s WWII Sliver Cross Mothers with Three Family Members Killed


1968 - Mrs. Pearl Rich of Vancouver, British Columbia, was named 1968 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother. During the national Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa on November 11, 1968, she laid a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial on behalf of all mothers who have lost a child in military service to Canada.
On November 2, 1943 her son, Private William Rich, was killed while serving with the Loyal Edmonton Regiment.


On December 22, 1943, a second son, Private George Rich, was killed in action also while on duty with the Loyal Edmonton Regiment.


On July 24, 1944, a daughter, Wren Mary Rich (Rech) drowned while serving with the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service.
Mrs. Rich was the wife of Charles Rich.
 
1966 - Mrs. Josephine Stephens, formerly Colville, of Toronto, Ontario, was the 1966 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother. During the national Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa on November 11, 1966, she laid a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial on behalf of all mothers who have lost a child in military service to Canada.


On May 6, 1942, her son, Flight Sergeant William Freeborne Colville, was killed in an airplane crash in Newfoundland while serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force.


On March 16, 1944, a second son, Flying Officer Alexander Colborne Colville, went missing while serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force in a bombing raid.


On August 18, 1944, a third son, Flying Officer John Spencer Colville, was killed flying a typhoon fighter-bomber in France while serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force.


Every Sunday, Mrs. Stephens (Colville) would make a big chicken dinner for her family and up to five servicemen, temporarily posted in her area. In the years following the war, she received hundreds of letters of gratitude from men who had survived and whom she had welcomed into her home. She remarried in 1949 to George Stephens.

 
1965 - Mrs. Nora Wagner of Teeterville, Ontario, was the 1965 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother. During the national Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa on November 11, 1965, she laid a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial on behalf of all mothers who have lost a child in military service to Canada.

On July 18, 1944, her son, Private Ivan Samuel Wagner, was killed while on duty with the Royal Regiment of Canada.


On August 12, 1944, a second son, Corporal Harry Everett Wagner, died of wounds while serving with the Royal Regiment of Canada.


On January 31, 1945, a third son, Private Bruce Howard Wagner, was killed in action while serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada.


Three sons, all dead in barely six months were survived by two sisters, Mary and Nora, and one brother, Jack who was not able to join the forces due to health reasons.


Mrs. Wagner, née Boswell, was born in 1890. She married Bruce Wagner and was widowed in 1961. She was a dignified and resolute woman. Even after the loss of her three sons she never complained about anyone or anything. She carried on for them.
One of her first acts as the National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother in 1965 was to visit the Memorial Chamber in the Peace Tower, in Ottawa. Later that afternoon, she and her daughter were guests of the Ottawa branch of the Silver Cross Mothers. Mrs. Wagner died in 1980.
 
1964 - Mrs. Bernadette Rivait of Windsor, Ontario, was the 1964 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother. During the national Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa on November 11, 1964, she laid a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial on behalf of all mothers who have lost a child in military service to Canada.


On August 19, 1942, sons, Private Leon Maxime Rivait and Private Alphonse Cecil Rivait were killed in action during the battle of Dieppe while serving with the Essex Scottish Regiment.


On November 23, 1944, another of her sons, Private Lawrence Rivait was also killed in action while serving with the Essex Scottish Regiment.


Two other sons of Mrs. Rivait, Raymond and Edward, also served in the Second World War. Raymond was taken prisoner for three years. When Edward enlisted shortly after Lawrence was killed, Mrs. and Mr. Rivait drew up a petition to get him out of the service and while they succeeded in having him discharged, he rejoined a month later.


At the time of the National Remembrance ceremony in 1964, she expressed that she held the memory of her sons dear and found some consolation in her five married sons, five married daughters, 58 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.


Mrs. Rivait enjoyed playing bingo while her husband was an avid gardener. Two of their grandchildren also joined the military; Raymond in the air force and Albert in the navy.
 
1963 - Mrs. Mary Stodgell of Norwood, Manitoba, was the 1963 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother. During the national Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa on November 11, 1963, at age 74, she laid a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial on behalf of all mothers who have lost a child in military service to Canada.


On December 19, 1941, her son, Private Stanley Fredrick Stodgell, was killed in action in Hong Kong while serving with the Winnipeg Grenadiers.


On March 20, 1943, a second son, Private Garnett James Stodgell, was taken prisoner in Hong Kong while serving with the Winnipeg Grenadiers. He died while in captivity.


On September 11, 1944, a third son, Corporal Cyril Angus Stodgell, was also killed in action while serving with the Lake Superior Regiment (Motor).


Mrs. Stodgell had five sons enlist during the Second World War, Stanley, Garnett, Cyril, Norman and Roy. Only Norman and Roy returned home.




 
1962 - Mrs. Vitaline Lanteigne of Caraquet, New Brunswick, was the 1962 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother. During the national Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa on November 11, 1962, at age 73, she laid a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial on behalf of all mothers who have lost a child in military service to Canada. She was the first French Canadian and the first from New Brunswick to be selected.

On June 12, 1944, her son, Private Jean Baptiste Lanteigne, was killed in action in France while serving with Le Régiment de la Chaudière.


On August 14, 1944, a second son, Private Philippe Joseph Lanteigne, was also killed in France while serving with Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal.


On September 15, 1944, a third son, Lance Corporal Arthur Lanteigne, was killed in action in Italy while serving with the Royal 22nd Regiment.


Born on December 9, 1889, Vitaline is the daughter of Odilon and Marguerite Doiron of Caraquet. She married Dominique Lanteigne on November 11, 1907. Five of her 13 sons enlisted during the Second World War. Three did not return, dying within three months of each other. Her surviving sons returned home wounded. Lucien was wounded at Dieppe and Daniel was wounded in the Netherlands.
Mrs. Lanteigne died in 1984.
 
1961 – Mrs. Sylvia Kimmel of Mission, British Columbia, was the 1961 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother. During the national Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa on November 11, 1961, she laid a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial on behalf of all mothers who have lost a child in military service to Canada.


On June 8, 1944, her son, Rifleman Gordon Leroy Kimmel, was killed while serving with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles.


Just ten days later, June 18, 1944, a second son, Corporal Richard Kenneth Kimmel, was killed while on duty, serving with the Regina Rifle Regiment on June 18, 1944.


On December 5, 1944, a third son, Corporal Clifford Howard Kimmel, was killed in the line of duty while serving with the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment.


She lost three of her sons to the line of duty during Second World War. Five of her eleven children were in the Armed Forces. Her three deceased sons joined up within a month of each other in 1940 and all were killed within a six month period in 1944.


The weather was very cold when Mrs. Kimmel arrived in Ottawa in November 1961 in preparation of her duties as National Memorial (Silver) Cross mother. When she and her husband went to the department store, Eaton’s, to purchase a warmer coat, the store manager, upon discovering that she was the Silver Cross Mother and did not have a proper coat for the weather, allowed Mrs. Kimmel to choose one to her liking--a warm, black mink coat, on behalf of the store.
 
1960 - Mrs. Julienne Cantin of McCreary, Manitoba, was the 1960 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother. During the national Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa on November 11, 1960, at age 80, she laid a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial on behalf of all mothers who have lost a child in military service to Canada. Mrs. Cantin, who had also received the Legion of Honour from the Government of France, stood with the Governor General of Canada and received her three Silver Crosses, leading the nation in silent tribute. She remarked, “I’m not doing this for myself, but for the children who deserve it. We never asked them to go.”


On November 4, 1940, her son, Private Wilfred Cantin, was killed during a training exercise while training with the Fort Garry Horse.


On October 9, 1942, another son, Flying Officer Clement Francis Cantin, was killed in action while serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force.


On November 26, 1943, a third son, Flying Officer Maurice Raoul Cantin, was killed while also serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force.


Noel and Clement Nivon landed in France on D-Day, and Noel was wounded twice while serving with the Fort Garry Horse.


Julienne and Amedee Cantin (originally from Brittany, France) married in 1910 and began farming near McCreary, Manitoba. Together they raised ten children—nine sons and one daughter. During the Second World War, all ten children, as well as a daughter-in-law, enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces. Sons Lionel, Clement, Maurice, Joseph and Albert joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. Wilfred, Amidee, Clement (Nivon) and Noel enlisted with the Fort Garry Horse of the Canadian Armored Corps. Daughter, Marie, served overseas as a nurse with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. When Wilfred died in 1940, daughter-in-law, Evelyne joined the Canadian Women’s Army Corps and served overseas.


The Cantin’s extraordinary contribution to the Second World War possibly represents the largest single contribution by any Canadian family. Neither Mrs. nor Mr. Cantin encouraged nor discouraged their children from enlisting; they were patriotic and believed in the cause.
 
1959 - Mrs. Anderson of Craigmyle, Alberta, was the 1959 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother. During the national Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa on November 11, 1959, she laid a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial on behalf of all mothers who have lost a child in military service to Canada.


On October 17, 1942, her son, Flight Sergeant James (Jimmie) Sangster Anderson, was fatally injured in a crash landing over Germany while serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force.


On January 20, 1943, a second son, Flying Officer William (Billy) Boyd Anderson, was on a secret mission, as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force "Demon Squadron", when his plane sent out a SOS 40 miles off the coast of England. The plane was never found.

On March 31, 1944, her third son, Flight Sergeant Lloyd George Anderson, was killed during an air raid over Nuremberg, Germany while serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Mrs. Anderson was born in Denmark and immigrated to Canada in 1913, living with her aunt and cousin on a farm near Craigmyle. She married William Boyd Anderson, originally from Aberdeen, Scotland, and together they raised three sons—James, William and Lloyd. Twin sons, Billy and Jimmie enlisted for service on their twentieth birthday while attending the Calgary Stampede. Lloyd enlisted in 1942 at age 25.


Mrs. Anderson loved to knit and was a curling enthusiast, attending as many curling bonspiels as possible. She and her husband were avid scrabble players.
Her sons’ memory was honoured with the naming of Anderson Creek in Alberta for James, Boyd Creek for William Boyd and Lloyd Creek, Alberta for Lloyd. The Anderson of Craigmyle School was also named and opened locally in memory of the three boys but has since been demolished.
 
1958 - Mrs. Helen Forestell of Coniston, Ontario, was the 1958 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother. During the national Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa on November 11, 1958, she laid a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial on behalf of all mothers who have lost a child in military service to Canada.


On April 5, 1943, her son, Warrant Officer Class II Daniel Arthur Forestell, was killed while on duty serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force.


On March 20, 1944, a second son, Warrant Officer Class II Thomas Bernard Forestell, was killed during a navigation exercise in Canada while serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force.


On August 8, 1944, a third son, Flying Officer Robert Samuel Forestell, was killed in action also while serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force.
 
1957 - Mrs. Zylpha MacFarlane (formerly Griffiths) of Truro, Nova Scotia, was the 1957 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother. During the national Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa on November 11, 1957, accompanied by her daughter, she laid a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial on behalf of all mothers who have lost a child in military service to Canada.


On April 9, 1917, her first husband, Private John Henry Griffiths, was killed at Vimy Ridge during the First World War.


On May 26, 1943, her son, Flight Sergeant David William MacFarlane, was killed while serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force.


The Memorial Cross (Silver Cross) 
Awarded to mothers and widows (next of kin) of Canadian soldiers who died on active duty or whose death was consequently attributed to such duty.
On July 8, 1944, a second son, Sergeant Robert James Griffiths, was killed while serving with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders.

The widow of John Henry Griffiths, Mrs. MacFarlane remarried and was a mother of 17 children—five of whom were step children. In addition to sons, David, Joseph and Robert, two of her other children, son, Herbert MacFarlane and daughter, Mrs. Douglas Alice Boutillier also served during the Second World War.

Mrs. MacFarlane attended the First Baptist Church in Truro, Nova Scotia and was an active community member and volunteer. She was superintendent of Sunday School, Truro Heights for eight years, past mistress of Loyal True Blue Lodge, Truro and worked with the youth movement of the International order of Good Templars. Mrs. MacFarlane was also a member of the Women’s Missionary Society, Ladies Auxiliary of the Royal Canadian Legion and Nova Scotia Temperance Federation.

She enjoyed crocheting and felt she had been blessed with many fine children, including 30 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
 

1956 - Mrs. Gertrude Edna Reynolds of Chatham, Ontario, was the 1956 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother. During the national Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa on November 11, 1956 she laid a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial on behalf of all mothers who have lost a child in military service to Canada.

On January 16, 1943, her son, Flying Officer Hugh Gordon Reynolds, was killed in a flying accident while on duty serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force.


On January 31, 1943, a second son, Warrant Officer Class II Arthur Mac Reynolds, was killed in action while serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force.


On April 15, 1944, a third son, Pilot Officer Douglas Glen Reynolds, was killed in action while serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force.


 
1955 – Regina Leboldus – subject of previous Canada 150 Vignette.