Mr. Silver: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. For this year’s Remembrance Day tribute, I would like to tell the story of one solider — one solider from Dawson City who recently turned 100 years old — Platoon Sergeant Percy C. DeWolfe, service number K50492. Percy enlisted in Vancouver, BC, on March 4, 1943. Service records indicate his occupation at the time was placer miner on Dredge No. 11, Dawson City, Yukon.
At the time, Percy wanted to be a rear gunner in the air force or a paratrooper, but he was turned down. He ended up in the infantry. After advanced training in Vernon, BC, Percy went to Calgary and then to Halifax before being ferried to Aldershot, England. In Aldershot, Percy had a choice of which regiment to join. He chose the Calgary Highlanders because a good friend of his, John McKenzie, was a highlander. Percy stayed with the Calgary Highlanders to the end.
Percy embarked on July 5, 1944, to Caen, France. Their operation was to follow the 3rd Division. This was among the first combat units to engage in offensive ground combat during the operations in Europe in World War II. They were assigned to take Calais and got within five kilometres of the enemy when they started firing mortars. They were exploding in the air. Percy caught shrapnel in the eye and all over his body. They surrounded Calais and cut off the supply lines. They were unable to take Calais as it was too heavily fortified. This occurred on September 8, 1944.
Percy entered a military hospital after his time there to deal with his injuries, but he continued to fight. He fought through France, through Belgium, through Germany and Holland, where he spent the longest time. He received a lifelong injury to his back when he entered a barn in Holland. There were enemies hiding in the loft. They opened fire and set off grenades, causing the building to collapse on Percy. A few of his comrades did not survive.
The day before the enemy surrendered, Percy was told that the next day they were going to go into the battle that would have been the fight of their lives. At midnight that day, the Germans surrendered and the war was over.
In 1995, Percy returned to Holland to the 50th anniversary of their liberation. He was billeted by a lovely family, the Wagenaars. Every day there were special tributes and events for all the veterans. The Canadians were treated like royalty. Although Percy does not like to talk about the war, Mr. Speaker, it is still a vivid memory in his mind.
On Remembrance Day, it is imperative that we take the time to take a moment and recognize the sacrifices made by
Canadian men and women who gave up their lives, not only to protect our way of life, but to also protect the lives of civilians in other countries.
Tomorrow we will come together as Canadians, along with those in other Commonwealth nations, for a moment of silence. Platoon Sergeant Percy C. DeWolfe is but one story of the more than 1,500,000 Canadians who have served through our nation’s great history. More than 120,000 had made the ultimate sacrifice.
Mr. Speaker, I encourage all Yukoners to take a moment and thank veterans in our communities for their sacrifices. We all owe them a debt of gratitude. We wear the poppy before and on Remembrance Day in memory of those men and women and to show our respect and support for our Canadian troops and veterans and commemorate their sacrifices.
Lest we forget.
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