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I would like to think their sacrifice will not be in vain.

Heroes Remember

I would like to think their sacrifice will not be in vain.

Show our appreciation for the country we live in, and that means doing whatever is necessary. Because there’s been a lot of people that have paid a price so that you and I can sit and drink our beer. And I would like to think that their sacrifice will not be in vain. And that, and if I have to go again, I’ll go again, but I may be too old. I guess it could be better explained by an Armistice Day parade that we had in Toronto with the ship’s company from HMCS York. And as senior service, the navy was at the head of the parade. And right behind us was the 48th Highlander Pipe Band. And my mother happened to be watching and she said it was the most moving site she had ever seen. To see those men all marching in step … up Yonge, up Bay Street towards the cenotaph. She said because she knew what was going to happen to a lot of them, and it made her cry. And it brings tears to my eye when I think of how true she was. And I guess that’s where I feel the pride of being able to do something when it was necessary. And I have pictures of all the family who served in World War I and World War II. And they are on my wall and that’s where I spend my Armistice Day, is with them. Thinking about them, reading poetry and I think the poem that had the greatest impact on me was the poem by Robert Service, entitled ‘The Parade of the Dead’. And if you never read that one, read it!

Mr. Irwin reflects on his service and his private celebration on Remembrance Day.

Robert Irwin

Mr. Irwin was born in Toronto, Ontario on April 9, 1921. He lost his father in a car accident while a boy. Because his mother had to work, he and his brother were taken under the wing of the local YMCA, where they both became excellent competitive swimmers. Once old enough, Mr. Irwin worked on the lake boats on Lake Superior. Shortly before enlisting, he also worked for General Electric, where he was promised a job upon his return from active service. Mr. Irwin trained as a wireless operator and, after doing shore duty in the Halifax communications centre, joined the frigate HMCS Prince Rupert, which was assigned to convoy duty. Mr. Irwin spent his entire time at sea aboard this vessel. Notable events during his duty include a possible sub kill off Ireland and the rescue of survivors from a torpedoed British warship in the same action. After leaving the service, General Electric made good on its promise, and Mr. Irwin pursued a 40 year career with them. He now resides in London, Ontario.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Robert Irwin
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
HMCS Prince Rupert
Wireless Operator

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