Remembrance Day Service: Honouring those who paved the way for Canada today

Posted: 11/10/2017

On November 8, 2017, in honour of Remembrance Day, Aboriginal Veterans Day, and a commemorative Call to the Bar ceremony, Osgoode Hall’s historic Rotunda hosted a service attended by military members, the judiciary, Law Society Benchers and guests, and the families of fallen law students who perished in the Second World War.

This poignant service began by honouring National Aboriginal Veterans Day.

“I would like to acknowledge the significant participation, both historical and contemporary, of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to service,” said Law Society Treasurer Paul Schabas. “We also acknowledge Indigenous veterans in the spirit of reconciliation. This is an opportunity that we must take to reflect upon the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, with a focus on improving upon it for the good of us all. With that, we thank the many thousands of Indigenous people in uniform who sacrificed their lives for this country and for their people.”

It is a tradition at the Law Society to pay tribute to the lawyers and law students who gave their lives in the two World Wars. In 2014, an honorary Call for the students who died during the First World War was held to mark the centenary. This year, the honorary Call to the Bar ceremony commemorated the lives of 18 students who fought and died for our country during the Second World War.

The names of the fallen (listed below) were read aloud to remember and honour each sacrifice for our nation, and family members were presented with a certificate on each soldier’s behalf.

Special Project

This year’s Honorary Call to the Bar ceremony was spearheaded by Patrick Shea, Gowling WLG, who initiated and dedicated himself to the Great War Law Student Memorial Project. This initiative involved years of research in libraries and archives around the world.  To read the stories of these soldiers and for insight into the depth and span of this project, you can read Shea’s commemorative book “We Gave Our Today” online, here.

Remembrance Day is a time to remember those who put their lives and education on hold to fight for what they believed in. To think about the great minds we have lost, and the sacrifices that they made not only for the legal community, but for Canada.

We are thankful for their service, and we remember.

The names of the 18 students called to the bar are as follows:

Edwin Ronald Bennett – New Brunswick, Canadian Army. Admitted as a student in 1941. Killed in action in France, August 5, 1944.

Robert Dick Cawthorpe – Tavistock, Canadian Army. Admitted as a student in 1938. Accidentally killed while on active service, November 16, 1940.

Norman Aage Christopherson – Norway, Canadian Army. Admitted as a student in 1941. Killed in action in France, August 10, 1944.

Frederick John Arthur Coleman – Whitby, Canadian Army. Admitted as a student in 1941. Killed over the Bay of Biscay, June 13, 1943.

John Alexander Foster – Toronto, Canadian Army. Admitted as a student in 1940. Killed in action at Dieppe, August 19, 1944.

Michael Arnold Gleason – Toronto, Royal Canadian Air Force. Admitted as a student in 1941. Killed in a flying accident, November 20, 1944.

Edward Nesbitt Heighington – Toronto, Canadian Army. Admitted as a student in 1937. Killed in action in Italy, January 19, 1944.

Charles Earl Hersom – Streetsville, Canadian Army. Admitted as a student in 1941. Accidentally killed while on active service, June 22, 1942.

Harold Wilmer Kerby – Toronto, Royal Canadian Air Force. Admitted as a student in 1938. Killed in action over Germany, July 30, 1943.

William Francis McCarthy – Toronto, Royal Canadian Air Force. Admitted as a student in 1941. Killed in a flying accident, April 14, 1942.

Douglas Niel McIntyre – Victoria, British Columbia Canadian Army. Admitted as a student in 1941. Killed in action in Italy, July 22, 1943.

William Donald Nelson McKessock – Sudbury, Royal Canadian Air Force. Admitted as a student in 1938. Killed in a flying accident, June 8, 1944.

William George Middlebro – Owen Sound, Royal Canadian Air Force. Admitted as a student in 1937. Killed in a flying accident, July 17, 1940.

Wilson Albert Reason – Toronto, Royal Canadian Air Force. Admitted as a student in 1939. Killed in action over Germany, May 30, 1942.

Thomas Peter Scandiffio – Toronto Royal Canadian Air Force. Admitted as a student in 1938. Killed in action over the Mediterranean, June 16, 1943.

Walter Alexander Tanner – Maryfield Saskatchewan, Royal Canadian Air Force. Admitted as a student in 1937. Killed in action when crashed into the Mediterranean, December 13, 1941.

Douglas Stewart Tickner – Toronto, Canadian Army. Admitted as a student in 1939. Killed in action in France, July 25, 1944.

Sidney Russell Watson – Toronto, Royal Canadian Navy. Admitted as a student in 1940. Died in Egypt of wounds suffered at sea, April 2, 1941.

Lest We Forget.