Peter Remembers

I went to have my eyes checked yesterday and am now waiting to see a specialist at the local hospital. I am nervous, but Betty is standing by me and even CoCo has been paying extra attention to me.

This week marked the observance of Remembrance Day. Betty and I watched part of the “build up” to the ceremony on one of the GTA television stations, before changing the channel in disgust. The coverage was pretty contrived. “Dear television announcer, we all know that COVID has had a major impact on our normal routine! It is not necessary to remind us every two minutes! s/ The television watching public.”

The personal tipping point for me was when a live reporter was at a veteran’s hospital and was narrating events like he was describing the crash of the Hindenburg. ” Oh look, a veteran is at his window waving!!”

Sound at Chez Montreuil “CLICK!”

As I always do, I had devoted the Day to thinking about all those who served, whether in the air, on the land or on, ( and under ) the sea.

Very many of them never returned, many returned wounded either physically or mentally. They returned to a world which had changed drastically, not always for the better either.

Slowly they began to beat their swords into ploughshares, to resume their studies, to raise their families, to try to build a better society, a better economy.

As time passed, many veterans joined the Royal Canadian Legion, as well as more parochial groups such as the Royal Canadian Air Force Association, and began to sponsor recreational activities and educational opportunities for youth.

While they strived to build a better world for their children, most veterans were reticent about their memories of the armed forces, especially those during wartime. In my case, my father rarely spoke about his service, even though he never saw combat. Many wives and children never learned any more than the barest part of their husband’s/father’s service until after his passing. I remember asking an Air Force veteran why he didn’t talk about his combat experiences. He simply asked me who would believe him?

World War II veterans are dwindling in number now, as Time inexorably takes its toll. Sadly, we have a continuing flow of veterans, however, as the world has been wracked by War on a continuous basis since, and before as well, truth be told. (Some of these conflicts have been justified, many of them have been just stupid.)

I personally take the time to research and study the lives of these people, many of them have written about their experiences and have done an excellent job chronicling their stories a).

So, while I remember them all the time, I especially remember them at this time of year. As I often say, the very luckiest of them had their lives interrupted for varying stretches of time.

This year, in particular, I want to remember James Mossman, the older brother of my dear friend Peter. While I never met Jim in person, I feel that I met him through Peter, as he enjoyed talking about his big brother. He was responsible for igniting Peter’s life long interest in aviation, and Peter was proud to use his jawdropping artistic ability to paint Jim’s “Halibag” b) in the markings it carried when in service with 429 Squadron, R.C.A.F..

So we come to the end of this week’s column. Be well, my friends and care for each other.

See you soon

  1. a) As an example, the love letters of a pair of gay soldiers have been unearthed. My understanding is that both a book and a movie are under development.
  2. B) Nickname of the Handley Page Halifax, which equipped many squadrons of R.A.F. Bomber Command as well as much of 6 Group, the Canadian funded contribution to Bomber Command. Many Canadians also served in other RAF squadrons in various commands in every theatre of war

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