Students at Clinton Street Public School took some time to learn about the sacrifices made by some of their school’s former alumni at a special Remembrance Day ceremony on Friday, Nov. 9.
The students were paid a visit from former student Wilfred Ross, who fought alongside his fellow Canadians in the Second World War.
Ross trained as a signalman, but wound up being placed on the front lines.
“Because there was a shortage of infantrymen, we were reallocated to serve in the infantry,” he said. “I saw quite a (number) of unfortunate incidents.”
Ross’ time in the service saw him fighting his way through Europe, in England, Holland, Germany, France and elsewhere.
While he was fortunate enough to survive, many of his fellow soldiers were not so lucky. Many fell while serving alongside him.
“It was something I kept with me all these years and something that never goes away,” he said.
Ross attended Clinton Street Public School as a young boy and reminded students at his former school that they should not take their current lives for granted.
“You’re fortunate enough to be Canadian and I hope you’re proud of that,” he said.
Ross was one of several Clinton Street alumni who served in the Second World War.
Clinton Street principal Wendy Hughes spoke of some of the others, including brothers Alex and Henry Aiken – who changed their last name from Isenbaum at a time when Jews faced discrimination even in Canada – as well as Hai Naistein, David Devor and Jack Spiegel, the latter two died in the war.
“(Devor) took part in some of the toughest battles in World War Two in Northern Italy,” Hughes said. “He died on Dec. 20, 1944 and like all Canadian soldiers who died in Italy, he was buried there.”
The day before he died, Hughes said, Devor sent a letter to his mother in which he wrote “I’m tired and I think I’ve had enough.”
Spiegel was a wireless radio operator whose plane was shot down on Oct. 28, 1944. His body was not found for years. His family held out hope for his return, Hughes said, but eventually learned that he had been killed in the war.
The Remembrance Day assembly included a dance by grade three and four students commemorating the efforts of First Nations Canadians in the Second World War, and songs by another group of students and by music teacher Lorie Wolf.