Monday, November 12, 2012

The military and my family history

My father served overseas in the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII.
Richard R. Cherryholme, 1943

His younger brother retired from the Air Force (although he was posted overseas in the late 1950s, he didn't see war duty).

Another younger brother spent his career in the Governor General's Foot Guards.

Both my grandfathers (who came to Canada in 1911 and 1912 as British Home Children) enlisted in the 77th Battalion of Canada's Expeditionary Force in WWI, and they were deployed to France within days of each other.  They were demobbed in June 1919, again within days of each other.  (Through my family history research, I discovered that my maternal grandfather's brother, William Thomas Sharpe, also served during WWI.  He  drowned in Germany as he was boarding the ship to take him home following the war.  He had been a private in the 8th Battalion of The King's Liverpool Regiment.  He is buried at Cologne Memorial Cemetery in Cologne, Germany.)

I don't have any photos of my paternal grandfather from that period, but here's my maternal grandfather in 1915:

Then he re-enlisted in 1940, serving in the Veterans' Guard of Canada:
Samuel Sharpe, 1941
My grandfather served 330 days in the Veterans' Guard; time spent in Montreal while his wife was in Ottawa with their two still-young children.  He was eventually discharged on medical grounds (poor vision).  His eldest daughter's first husband died in service during WWII and is buried at Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Graves, France.

My brother served briefly in the Air Force.  A paternal cousin had a career in the RCMP.  Her brother was in Canada's Armed Forces and did see war; I'm not clear on which one but he is a retired veteran.

I guess you might say the military is close to my heart?

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