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Kayden MacPhee

Kayden MacPhee is currently a grade 12 student from Maple Ridge, New Brunswick. He recently presented a class project on the service of Able Seaman Douglas Moore, a Veteran of the Second World War. Able Seaman Moore also happens to be Kayden’s great-grandfather.

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Kayden MacPhee

Able Seaman Douglas Moore was a member of the Royal Canadian Navy, and participated in the Battle of the Atlantic during the Second World War. He served on the HMCS Assiniboine. Tens of thousands of brave Canadians took part in the Battle of the Atlantic. More than 4,600 Canadians lost their lives at this struggle at sea. For six long years, Canadians transported supplies and troops across the Atlantic, helping fuel the eventual Allied victory in Europe.

Kayden’s interest in his great-grandfather’s service stems from conversations with his grandfather David. David often talks about his father’s service in the Navy at family gatherings that follow the commemorative services at their local Cenotaph. “Our family always seems to congregate at our place after the commemorative ceremonies. We play games and do quizzes in relation to his service.” By doing so, David helps emphasize the importance of commemoration – and he honours his father by sharing his story with the next generation.

“It’s my own piece of personal history.”

After Kayden displayed a keen interest in learning more about Able Seaman Moore’s service, David shared something special with his grandson – a suitcase that holds a variety of mementos from the Second World War. Although Able Seaman Moore did not often speak about his experience overseas during the Battle of the Atlantic, David is glad he held on to the suitcase. “It’s my own piece of personal history.”

Shortly after sitting down with his grandfather to learn more about his great‑grandfather’s service, Kayden was assigned a school project. His teacher encouraged him to present on commemoration, specifically Canadian efforts during the Second World War. There was an obvious choice – Kayden would present on the service of his great‑grandfather, and his role in the Battle of Atlantic. Kayden took extraordinary steps to ensure he honoured his great‑grandfather in the best way possible.

“I knew my family had kept his uniform, along with various other pieces in the suitcase. So I decided to dress in my great‑grandfather’s uniform as I presented his story to my class.” What surprised Kayden the most about his great‑grandfather’s naval uniform was how small it was. “I’m quite small myself, so the fact that I could barely fit into the uniform was quite surprising.” Able Seaman Moore was 19 at the time of his service, two years older than Kayden’s current age.

“I’m so proud to be part of a family who has historical ties to the Second World War.”

Kayden’s project on his great‑grandfather has helped him realize that many of the Canadians who participated in the Second World War were young, ordinary people – much like himself. “I can’t image being in his shoes. Getting that call… I mean, I would be honoured, but at the same time, very afraid. I’m so proud to be part of a family who has historical ties to the Second World War.”

Kayden’s project on his great‑grandfather has inspired him to learn more on Canadian war history, and it has led him to read new books and text related to the Second World War and the Battle of the Atlantic.

So, what’s next for Kayden? “I’ll be studying Biochemistry at the University of New Brunswick beginning in the Fall.”

And how does his grandfather David feel about his grandson’s experience commemorating Able Seaman Moore and his upcoming post‑secondary studies? “We’re extremely proud.”

In honour of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, Kayden MacPhee is this week’s Face of Freedom. He is an example of a new generation of Canadians who continue to commemorate and honour the sacrifices of Canadian Veterans, both past and present.

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