Though a motorcycle accident while serving with the Toronto Police Service (TPS) has limited his mobility, Paul Beaumont makes every effort to attend the annual Remembrance Day ceremony at police headquarters.
He joined Service members, many of them having served in the military or in policing roles alongside troops, at this year’s celebration.
Beaumont retired from the Service as a Sergeant in 1996.
“I was involved in an accident while with the Service and suffered a hip injury,” he said. “So, I have not being able to get out every Remembrance Day event.”
The day is very significant for Beaumont who comes from a family with a lengthy military history.
He was a Navy member for three years before joining the TPS.
Beaumont was on the HMC Terra Nova and the Beaumont that was decommissioned in 1970.
“We patrolled the North Atlantic and I traveled the world before leaving the Navy to go back to school and become a police officer,” he added.
“Many of the men paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives and we will always remember them,” said TMPVA president Dana Gidlow, who read the names of the fallen and recited the poem, They Shall Not Grow Old.
Constable Paul Breeze, who spent 12 years with the British military before joining TPS, played ‘The Last Post’ and George Johnstone of the Toronto Police Pipe Band performed ‘Flowers of the Forest’.
Hugh Ferguson Sr., father of Superintendent Hugh Ferguson Jr. who was the Master of Ceremony, read ‘In Flanders Field’.
His four brothers served in the military and his father was a member of the Royal Canadian Dragoon during World War II.
Like Beaumont, Rocky Prosser is a longstanding Toronto Police Military Veterans Association (TPMVA) member.
“This is an important day because we are here to pay tribute to everyone who made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives,” said Prosser who served in the military and was a TPS Auxiliary member for 12 years.
Toronto police officers who have served on peacekeeping and training missions, along with war veterans, gathered in the Grenville lobby for this year’s Remembrance Day service, marking the 97th year of the first Armistice on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Retired Staff Sergeant Gord Barrett and William Talbot paid tribute to family member and close friend Frederick Topham, by laying a wreath in his honour. Topham was Barrett’s great-great-uncle.
A medical orderly who parachuted with his battalion into a strongly defended area east of the Rhine during World War Two, Topham was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry. He died in 1974.