The poppy became widespread in Europe after soils became rich in lime from debris and rubble left from the First World War. This was the inspiration behind John McCrae's poem, In Flanders Fields.
Sixteen Canadians were awarded the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery in the presence of the enemy during the war.
In 1902, PEI's Georgina Pope led the 12 Canadian Nursing Sisters in South Africa. It marked the first time Canadian women served overseas.
In honor of Remembrance Day, here is a photo tribute of NRC employees and their family members who have fought for peace. We respect the courage and sacrifice of those who served their country and acknowledge our responsibility to work for the peace they fought hard to achieve.
Fulton Thomas Noye was grandfather to Christie Delaney, a Technical Officer with the NRC's Life Sciences division. Fulton was a member of the North Shore Regiment from New Brunswick. He landed on JUNO Beach in Normandy, France on D-Day, June 6, 1944, as part of the 8th Infantry Brigade.
On June 10, 1944 the regiment liberated the town of Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer. Later that year, after recovering from an injury, Fulton returned to New Brunswick to train European and Canadian soldiers.
At fifteen, Klaus G. Decker, father of Kate McLaughlin, Planning and Policy Analyst with the NRC's Industrial Research Assistance Program, was drafted to full military service guarding the gasoline works of Poelitz and the V-2 rocket proving grounds of Peenemuende, near the city of Stettin on the Baltic Sea, against air attacks by Allied bombers.
One night changed his life. A couple of Canadian parachutes descended near his post. After taking them prisoner, an unlikely camaraderie would flourish. The crewmen shared stories of their lives back home - one of them, Frank, a teenager from Saskatoon, spoke of beautiful Canadians farms and landscapes. Exchanging views on the German war, they grew reflective and confused. The talk stopped and friend and foe drifted into fitful sleep together. After surrendering the crewmen to German MPs, Klaus did not see Frank or the others again.
Postwar, Klaus lost his parents and his home. With nothing left but the memory of Frank, Klaus emigrated to Canada, a country with tolerance and an open heart.
You can find the full story in "Up the Gatineau!" Vol. 22, 1996 from the Historical Society in Chelsea, Quebec.
LCol (retired) Perry Comeau served 28 years in the Royal Canadian Air Forces as a pilot before working for the NRC in the Flight Research Lab. He served on many international deployments with the Sea King Helicopter including Persian Gulf and NATO Standing Force Atlantic.
Corporal Alfred Rackley, grandfather to NRC Hiring Specialist Jennifer Treacy, served with the British Army in the Queen's Own Infantry 2nd Battalion in the Far East in the Second World War.
He was stationed in India and Burma. Using his skills as a mason, he was also responsible for repairing damaged buildings in Germany as part of the Allied Occupied Forces from 1946-47. He emigrated to Canada in 1951.
Warrant Officer Anthony "Tony" Lee spent most of his career as a Canadian Military Engineer, a dedicated member of the Mapping and Charting Establishment in Ottawa.
Tony originally enlisted with the Lord Strathcona's Horse as a Crewman in 1974, until he transferred to the Topographic Surveyor trade two years later while stationed in Calgary.
Among his many accomplishments, in 1987, Tony and his small survey crew were responsible for surveying the most northern point in Canada at Cape Columbia on Ellesmere Island. Tony's dedication for field work lives on through his daughter, Madeline Lee, who currently conducts airborne research with the NRC's Flight Research Laboratory in Ottawa.
Hugh Cairns, great-great uncle to NRC Technical Officer Chantelle Cairns, was just 21 when he was a sergeant in the 46th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War.
On November 1, 1918, he led a small party that forced over 100 enemies to surrender. Throughout the operation, he showed the highest degree of valour, and his leadership greatly contributed to the success of the attack. He died on the 2nd November from wounds.
With the German surrender and armistice 10 days later on November 11, Sergeant Cairns would prove to be the last of 71 Canadians to earn the Victoria Cross for his actions in the Great War. Cairns was also awarded the Légion d'honneur by the Government of France.
Our very own Lieutenant-Colonel (Retired) Perry J. Wells served 35 years in the Canadian Army and retired in August 2015 to work with the National Research Council as a Senior Project Manager.
He served with the Royal Canadian Dragoons – an armoured regiment stationed in Lahr, Germany until 1987 and then made his way back to Petawawa, Ontario.
His career took him across Canada and to three separate postings to Europe. He was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina (1996) and Afghanistan (2006).
Brad Smith is a technical officer on our Biomedical Nanotechnologies Team. He joined the Canadian Forces in July 1990. During his career he was deployed on four overseas tours: three times to Bosnia-Herzegovina and once to Afghanistan.
Serving in the Lord Strathcona's Horse Tank Regiment in Edmonton, Alberta, he acquired the rank of Warrant Officer. After 23 years, he retired in the summer of 2013.
Stephen Neil McPhee, brother-in-law of Lise Trudel, NRC Communications Coordinator, is a veteran who served in the Canadian Armed Forces from 1955-1958 as a Leading Aircraftman. He later rejoined as a Squadron Leader until finally retiring in 1968.
Stephen is a life member and past president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 632.
John Cy Laye, grandfather to NRC Technical Officer Evan Laye, served in the Second World War. He was part of the "Dufferin Gang" – a group of 35 men and women who served in in the Second World War, all from the same block of Dufferin St. in Selkirk, Manitoba. The group was since memorialized in a painting on Dufferin Street.
William H. Cooke, father of Paul Cooke, NRC Director, Solutions Development and Deputy CIO, served the RCAF in the Second World War from 1940 to 1946, and rose to the rank of Flight Lieutenant.
During the war he flew as a Wireless Air Gunner in squadrons #5 and #10 aboard Canso, Mitchell, and Liberator aircraft, performing anti-submarine convoy escort duties between Halifax and the mid-Atlantic. He finished the war in the Intelligence Services Branch.
Sgt. Reginald Gray, step grandfather to the NRC's Labour Relations Officer Leah Kennedy, was a Second World War Veteran, trained to fly in Canada and the United Kingdom in what was known as a commonwealth air training plan.
He served with 243 and 111 Squadron flying a Spitfire on operations in England and North Africa, Malta, Sicily, and Italy. After completing an extended tour of operations he was posted to Egypt and Palestine, where he was a pilot gunnery instructor training young pilots.
Isaac Vargas, father of the NRC's Industrial Research Assistance Program Advisor Alberto Vargas, served in the Korean War between 1952-1953 as part of the Colombian Battalion until his retirement from the Colombian Army in 1964.
He is an honorary member of the Korean Veteran Association of Canada since 2016.
Charles Beresford Topp, grandfather to NRC's Principal Engineer in Transportation and Manufacturing Donald LeBlanc, was a medical student when a flu outbreak took his father. To support his family, he left school to work as a reporter.
During the First World War, Charles was a war correspondent. He returned home to enlist as an officer in the Black Watch.
He served as commander of the Governor General's Foot Guards from 1925 to 1930. As area commander for Ottawa he played a key role in the King's visit in 1939. He then served as a staff officer overseas during the Second World War. Charles eventually retired as a Brigadier General.
LCol (retired) Bryan Carrothers served 25 years in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a pilot before joining the Flight Research Lab at the NRC. He served overseas in Haiti and Afghanistan as well as on several domestic deployments.
Serge Bosak, father to Olga Bosak, Manager with NRC Operations and Finance, was born in Cognac on October 13, 1919. He would have been 100 years old this year.
War broke out in Serge's early twenties. After the armistice of June 1940, he returned to Paris working as an actor. Following a denunciation, he was arrested for being part of the resistance and imprisoned in Fresnes, eventually taking the last train headed for the concentration camps. Buchenwald, then Ellrich, he is released by American soldiers, having only a few hours left to live.
Back in Paris, Serge fights off infection, but makes at trip to Switzerland to treat his tuberculosis. He went on to live a full life.
Norman "Pat" Honeyman, dear friend of Human Resources Coordinator Colette Bujold, was a veteran of the Second World War, serving in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany.
Pat was briefly enlisted in Oct. 1943 at age 18 and assigned to Armoured Corps to train as a wireless operator. He made his way to the U.K., then sailed to Ostend to work through the reinforcement pool.
When posted in Winnipeg, he played a part in the liberation as the "Rear Link Operator" with "C" Squadron HQ of the 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment, Fort Garry Horse, Manitoba.
Oldenburg was the final destination for Pat, as the German forces in Bavaria surrendered on 4 May 1945.