PUGWASH – Melanie Haylock clutched a photo of her grandfather as she placed a poppy at the foot of the cenotaph in Pugwash on Saturday.
The Pugwash woman said she couldn’t be prouder of what her grandfather, Sgt. Robert Haylock, did as a member of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.
“Remembrance Day is about remembering everyone who served or is serving, but for me it’s about my grandfather who was an RAF pilot in World War Two,” Haylock said.
Her grandfather was born in England in 1921 and enlisted in 1939, flying with the 236 Squadron escorting torpedo bombers that attacked Nazi shipping in the English Channel and later flew a Beaufighter in Malta and North Africa, strafing enemy airfields and covering convoys at Tobruk in Egypt.
He returned to England in late 1941 and was posted as a test pilot at Boscombe Down.
“He didn’t talk a lot about what he did because he said a lot of it was top secret, but as he got older he started to talk to us and tell us some of what he did,” Haylock said.
He died in Brighton, England in March 2006.
Haylock was one of several dozen people to brave a brisk northwest wind to attend the village’s Remembrance Day ceremony that saw members of the military, join with RCMP, the Pugwash Fire Department and Royal Canadian Legion Peach Branch to participate in the parade and lay wreaths at the foot of the cenotaph.
John MacDonald, who played the Last Post and Reveille, said it’s important for today’s generation to continue remembering the sacrifice others made in two world wars, Korea and more recently in Afghanistan and several peacekeeping missions.
“We wouldn’t be here if not for them,” said MacDonald. “They paid a huge price for us. For me, playing the trumpet on a day like today is a tremendous privilege and an honour.”
While there is still lots of conflict in the world, MacDonald believes Canada has a role to play in bringing peace to the world and he’s hoping that today’s young people and tomorrow’s generation will remember what was done in the past so they can work towards a world with no war.
Numerous wreaths were laid at the cenotaph. Cpl. Lee Lush of the RCMP laid a wreath on behalf of the Canadian government, while Taylor Ripley laid one on behalf of the province and Cumberland North MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin and Warden Allison Gillis laid a wreath for the Municipality of Cumberland.
Charlie Gould placed a wreath for the Village of Pugwash, Sherry Arkins laid the wreath for Silver Cross Mothers, Maggie Stone laid a wreath for Branch 60 of the Royal Canadian Legion and Belinda Bennett laid a wreath for the Ladies Auxiliary Royal Canadian Legion.