Four Toronto Police and World War II veterans participated in this year’s Annual Warriors Day Parade on August 22.
Along with the World War II Veterans were 25 other Toronto Police Military Veterans, walking behind honorary Parade Commander retired Staff Superintendent Jack Reid, who served in the Royal Canadian Navy in the North Atlantic fleet in World War II.
Retired Sergeant and Military Veteran Dana Gidlow said that “I believe we were the only parade today led by a World War Two veteran which was an honour for us.”
Chief Mark Saunders also led the veterans in the parade. “This is a great opportunity to be reminded of all the people who did their part to make the world a better place,” said the Chief, as he led alongside Reid.
Amongst the veterans was retired TPS officer Colin Campbell, who had served in Italy as part of the Irish Regiment of Canada. His mission took him from Italy to France to Belgium. Participating in the parade was bittersweet for Campbell, who was happy to make it home for Christmas a year after the war was over, but bad news awaited him when he made it back. His brother, 22 at the time, died off the coast of Burma, says Campbell.
Sitting next to Campbell was retired TPS Staff Superintendent Michael Coulis who is also a WWII veteran and in front of them was Retired TPS Detective Sergeant Art Lymer, who also served on dangerous missions during the war as part of the Merchant Navy, which suffered many causalities during the Second World War. His six years in the navy led Lymer to a career in policing as soon as the war was over, he says.
For Jim Campbell, serving in the Canadian Army was a natural transition from his earlier days of being in the Scots Guard, Campbell joined the British Army at 16 as a drummer boy, he says, and, after 12 years with the Scots Guard, he joined the Canadian Army.
Other than the World War Two veterans, many members present served in countries around the world, including Afghanistan, Kosovo, Haiti, East Timor and Sudan.
The Toronto Police Service has been participating in the Warriors Day Parade since 1922. This year marked the 94th year of the parade.
“It was a tremendous day…and us younger veterans were honoured to have participated alongside not only retired TPS members but veterans of World War Two and it was our day to honour them,” said Gidlow.