Black and white picture of a soldier
Commander J. Campbell Clouston. © Courtesy of the Clouston family

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.

From coast to coast, thousands of Canadians supported the war effort. We invite you to learn more about these local hometown heroes.

Get to know their remarkable stories, 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…

Commander J. Campbell Clouston 1900-1940

Black and white picture of soldiers on a small bridge
Troops efficiently organized by Clouston for rapid boarding onto ships from the east mole at Dunkirk. © Archives de Dunkerque – Centre de la mémoire urbaine d’agglomération

Born and raised in Montreal, Campbell Clouston raced sailboats on Lake Saint Louis in his youth and later attended Lower Canada College and McGill University before enlisting in Britain’s Royal Navy in 1918. Over the next two decades, he rose through the officer ranks and was appointed to command the destroyer HMS Isis in 1937.

In 1940, as British, French and Belgian soldiers were pushed back to the coast of France at Dunkirk by advancing German forces, Commander Clouston took part in Operation Dynamo (May 26-June 4) to evacuate the trapped Allied troops. As piermaster of the east mole, a breakwater pressed into service as a wharf, he worked courageously around the clock for six days while under enemy fire, organizing and overseeing the boarding of troops onto waiting ships.

Although expectations were for 45,000 to be evacuated, the “Miracle of Dunkirk” resulted in more than 338,000 troops saved. The majority of those were embarked from the east mole under Clouston’s command. After a brief meeting in England and while returning to Dunkirk on June 2, to coordinate the rescue of remaining French and Belgian soldiers, his motor launch was attacked and sunk by enemy aircraft. Campbell Clouston perished at sea.

Commander J. Campbell Clouston commemorative plate (PDF 1,6 MB)

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