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Canada Remembers Times
Veterans’ Week Special Edition

5-11 November 2023 - Page 4

Serving with pride

Private Ross Hamilton in character as Marjorie during the First World War.
Photo: Library and Archives Canada

Ross Hamilton was born in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, in 1892. He enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1916 during the First World War. Ross first served as an ambulance driver before joining an all-male team of performing soldiers. Using a high falsetto singing voice, he played a female character on
stage named Marjorie. The first outfits Ross put together were made from tent canvas, old curtains, pillow feathers and rosary beads.

Hamilton became a member of the famous vaudeville-style acting troupe, the Dumbells. For the rest of the war, Ross performed in shows for the troops. He and Marjorie were so popular he had to change out of costume before going back to the barracks for fear of being mobbed by fans.

As one soldier said, “When [Ross] marched into a mess in costume, every officer would stand to attention until he was seated. Then, in a truck driver’s voice, he’d call for a drink—and the illusion soon vanished!”

Ross volunteered for service when the Second World War broke out in 1939. Once again, he found himself entertaining soldiers as part of a group called “Chin up.” This time, his female character was a middle-aged opera singer. However, military authorities discovered that Ross was gay and discharged him from the army. Unfairly, members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community were officially barred from military service during the war years for no reason other than their sexual and gender identities.

Ross retired to a quiet life in a log cabin back in Nova Scotia to read, garden and help others in his home  community. He died in 1965 at the age of 76.

Want to learn more?

Check out our new “Pride in service” web feature to learn about the many 2SLGBTQI+ Canadians who have served in uniform.

A trailblazer from Wendake

Lieutenant-General Jocelyn Paul in uniform.
Photo: Department of National Defence

Jocelyn Paul grew up in Wendake, a Huron-Wendat First Nations community near Quebec City. He learned how to make shoes and canoes from his father, like his own father had learned from his ancestors. Paul joined the Canadian Armed Forces reserves in 1988 while studying history in university. Three years later, he moved to the regular forces and became an officer with the Royal 22e Régiment.

Jocelyn has served in a wide variety of roles in Canada and overseas during his long military career. He was Aide-de-Camp for former Governor General Roméo LeBlanc. He was also assigned to the Privy Council Office and went on military deployments to Croatia, Afghanistan, Israel and Italy.

In June 2022, Lieutenant-General Paul became the commander of the Canadian Army. He is the first Indigenous person to reach this top role. He now uses his talents to lead our men and women in uniform, reflecting Canada’s diverse society.

Peacekeeping in Vietnam?

Canadian peacekeepers in Vietnam in 1973.
Photo: Department of National Defence

You might have heard about the Vietnam War from Hollywood movies and TV shows. Did you know that the Canadian government also sent our military to Vietnam? But they didn’t go there to fight.

Hundreds of Canadian peacekeepers served in this Southeast Asian country from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s. Canadian soldiers, sailors and aviators played a variety of roles. They acted as inspectors enforcing treaty agreements. They also performed logistical, communications, medical and security duties.

2023 marks 50 years since the last of our peacekeepers in Vietnam returned home. We remember the brave Canadians who served so far from home in the cause of peace.

Places of respect

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National War Memorial in Ottawa.
Photo: Veterans Affairs Canada

War memorials commemorate those who put their lives on the line to serve in uniform. They are special ways for Canadians to acknowledge that what these people did is important.

Our country has thousands of military monuments from coast to coast to coast, as well as overseas. In our capital, the National War Memorial and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier stand as sacred places. When we quietly and respectfully visit them, we show ourselves and others that Canadians care. Those who  died in military service, Veterans, and current Canadian Armed Forces members deserve recognition and respect. They put Canada before themselves when serving in uniform. Lest we forget.

Crossword puzzle


  • 1. Last name of Jewish Canadian woman who earned a Mention in Dispatches.
  • 3. City where Fumio Tatsuoka enlisted in the First World War.
  • 5. Country in the Balkans where Wendy Jocko served in the 1990s.
  • 9. Codename of the military operation to help during the 1998 Ice Storm.
  • 11. Former peacekeeper named Lieutenant Governor of Alberta in 2010.
  • 12. Belgian city where Canadian troops were on November 11, 1918.
  • 13. First Nations community near Quebec City where Jocelyn Paul grew up.
  • 14. Latin word that means unconquered.
  • 15. Place known as the “land of the morning calm.”
  • 16. Name of female character performed by Ross Hamilton.


  • 2. Last name of Italian dictator during the Second World War.
  • 3. First name of Canadian Veteran “Gus” Este.
  • 4. Type of dress hat worn by RCMP members.
  • 6. Last name of the designer of the St. Julien Canadian Memorial.
  • 7. Command ship for the Swissair Flight 111 recovery efforts.
  • 8. Military camp where George Nasmith set up a water system.
  • 10. Asian country where Canadians served from the 1950s to 2000.
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