Canada’s participation in the First World War (1914-1918) and the Second World War (1939-1945) touched every community in this country. Parks Canada invites Canadians to join us in commemorating individuals from all walks of life who made unique contributions to the war effort. During these global conflicts, civilians and those in the armed forces played a crucial role in protecting and building their communities and thus Canada as a whole.

Get to know the remarkable stories of these Hometown Heroes, honour their memory and express your gratitude for their service by visiting Parks Canada’s National Historic Sites, National Parks, and National Marine Conservation Areas. We will remember them…

 

Flight Lieutenant John Robinson Myles, DFC (1923-2010)

Jack Myles
LF Jack Myles
© Harold Wright

Royal Canadian Air Force

Jack was born in Saint John in 1923. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941 and served with a RAF Photo Reconnaissance Unit. Jack flew 70 operational sorties in two types of aircraft; the famed Spitfire, and the Mosquito. Jack photographed U-boat pens, V1 rocket sites at Peenemunde, the naval yard at Wilhelmshaven and other targets in France and Germany.

After VE day Jack was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross by King George VI and awarded the American Air Medal for flying five missions for their Air Force.

Following the war, Jack received his Bachelor of Architecture and practised architecture at his father’s firm until his retirement in 1989.

In 2012 the Wade-Myles Aviation Park was dedicated next to M. Gerald Teed School a school he designed.

 

Captain Ernest Rae Jones (1877-1914)

Ernest Jones
Capt. Ernest Rae Jones
© Harold Wright

British Army

E. Rae Jones was born in Saint John in 1877.

In August 1914 Captain Jones was the Officer Commanding "D" Company during the Battle at Audregnies. On the 24th of August, after his Battalion had begun a withdrawal, Captain Jones' Company engaged German troops from the Magdeburg Regiment. Captain Jones and Drummer Hogan were killed early in this action.

A German Officer ordered captured British prisoners to carry their bodies to a freshly dug grave in a nearby field. After the burial service the Germans fired three volleys over the grave. His gravestone reads: "For his bravery he was given a military funeral by the Germans".

Captain Jones is the first Canadian to die on active service during the First World War.

 

Pilot Officer Duncan Alexander Hewitt (1920-1940)

Duncan Hewitt
Plt. Duncan Hewitt
© Heritage Resources, Saint John

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Duncan learned to fly at the former Millidgeville Airport in the mid-1930s and then went to England where he enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He was serving with 501 Squadron during the Battle of Britain.

On 12 July 12 1940, during a Luftwaffe attack on the Royal Navy Dockyard at Portland Harbour, P/O Hewitt, flying Hurricane P3084, attacked a Dornier Do-17 bomber. Hewitt’s aircraft was reported to have plunged into the sea. He is listed as Missing In Action.

Duncan Hewitt was the first Canadian to die in the Battle of Britain. He is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial in England, at the Rothesay-Netherwood School, and at the Aviation Wall of Fame at the M. Gerald Teed School.

 

Private John Milton Fitzgerald (1881-1972)

John Fitzgerald
Wedding of Jack and Jessie, 1917
© Heritage Resources, Saint John

Canadian Army

Jack was born in Millstream, N.B. in 1881. He worked at various jobs in New Brunswick and out west: Parks Cotton Mill, Saint John Dairy Co., and C.P. Railway.

Jack was a member of the 62nd Saint John Fusiliers when he enlisted and served with A Squadron, 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles in South Africa.While on leave in England he married Jessie Tuson in 1917. In 1918 Jack became ill with “trench fever” and returned to Canada in 1919.

After his First World War service, Jack returned to Saint John where he operated a trucking business, before settling into a store and post office business in Renforth, which he operated until his retirement.

 

Corporal Douglas James Wright (1924-2002)

Douglas Wright
Cpl. Doug Wright
© Harold Wright

Merchant Navy and Canadian Army

Doug served with the 2nd Battalion, Saint John Fusiliers (MG) Reserve Force from 1942-1943. Doug subsequently joined the Merchant Navy and served as a fireman aboard the ship Michael Livanos which was torpedoed and sunk by U-178 in the Mozambique Channel. After repatriation to Canada, he joined the ship Anna T and sailed with her until January 1945.

In 1952 Doug joined the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, for service in Korea. Doug served as a stretcher bearer in Korea until mid-1953. Doug transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Canadian Guards, until his Honourable Discharge in 1955.

He married Erma (Hovey) Flewelling in 1946. Doug worked for the City of Saint John until his retirement in the late 1980s.

 

Able Seaman Robert Arthur Squires (1920-2005)

Robert Squires
Bob and Ruth Squires after their wedding in Halifax
© Harold Wright

Royal Navy Reserve

Bob moved to Saint John after the Second World War and worked as a stationary engineer at the Saint John High School, the Irving Pulp Mill, Crosby Molasses, and the Lantic Sugar Refinery.

In 1939 Bob enlisted in the Royal Navy Reserve for war service. He was posted to HMS Jervis Bay and served on this ship until her sinking in 1940. While the Jervis Bay was being refitted at the Saint John Drydock in 1940, Bob met Ruth, whom he married in Halifax. His final warship was HMS Pembroke. Bob was discharged as no longer meeting naval physical standards in May 1942.

A few months later he joined the merchant marine, and was finally discharged from war service in December 1944.

 

Nursing Sister Anna Irene Stamers (1888-1918)

Toombstone of Anna Stamers
Anna Stamers
© Harold Wright

Canadian Army Medical Corps

Anna was born in Saint John. She enlisted into the Medical Corps in 1915 at Montreal.

Her story is forever infamously tied into the war-crime sinking of the hospital ship Llandovery Castle by U-86 on 27 June 1918 off southern Ireland. This ship, built in 1914 for the Union-Castle Line, was one of five Canadian hospital ships that served in the First World War.

Attacking a hospital ship was both against international law and the standing orders of the Imperial German Navy. Twenty-four passengers survived the sinking, while 234 doctors, nurses and patients died in this attack. Only six of the ninety-seven medical staff survived, unfortunately Anna was not one of them.

 

Gunner Charles Willis Rae (1920-)

Charles Rae
Receiving the French Legion of Honour, June 2015
© Harold Wright

Canadian Army 

Charlie was born in Saint John in 1920, the son of Gordon and Annie (Cheyne) Rae. He and his five siblings grew up in Brookville in East Saint John where he attended Glen Falls school on Rothesay Avenue.

He enlisted in 1940 and after basic training, he was posted to the 3rd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery. Posted overseas in 1941, Charlie landed on Juno Beach with his Regiment on D-Day in 1944. Gunner Rae also saw service in Holland and Germany.

After his war service, Charlie married Marion Hayes in 1950. He worked at the Lantic Sugar refinery where he made ‘liquid sugar’. He retired in 1985.
In 2015 Charlie received the "Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur" from France.

 

Sergeant Arthur Pottle (1920-)

Art Pottle
© Heritage Resources, Saint John

1st Special Service Force

Art was born in 1920 in East Saint John. With the outbreak of war he enlisted for active service in the 1st Special Service Force, the joint Canadian-American unit which became famously known as ‘The Devil’s Brigade.’ The unit saw service in 1943 on the Aleutian Island of Kiska, and then in Italy at Naples. The force then saw service at Anzio and then in France in 1944.

After his war service, Art attended McGill University where he graduated with a degree in Physical Education. He taught at Simonds High School until his retirement in 1984.

Art is a member of both the Saint John and New Brunswick Halls of Fame.

Art married Constance Brannen in 1950 and they have five children.

 

Commodore George (Gus) Ralph Miles, DSO, OBE (1902-1951)

Gus Miles
HMCS Magnificent Change of Command from Commodore Harry DeWolfe (right) to Commodore Gus Miles, 29 Aug 1948.
© #1996.111A1309, Shearwater Aviation Museum

Royal Canadian Navy

Gus was born in Rothesay, NB in 1902.

In 1919 Gus entered the Royal Naval College of Canada; at the outbreak of the Second World War he was made commanding officer of HMCS Saguenay. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and made a member of the Order of the British Empire in 1943. He was ‘Mentioned-in-Dispatches’ for bringing his damaged ship, HMCS Athebaskan, into port. Gus finished the war as Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief, Canadian Northwest Atlantic, at Halifax.

Post war he served as Chief of Naval Personnel, in 1948 he was given command of HMCS Magnificent. His final command was in 1950 as Commodore of the RCN Barracks in Esquimalt.