Local Hero: A salute to a Second World War veteran on Remembrance Day

Yonge-Lawrence native remembers the war from his perch on the high seas


Published:

Senior veteran George Lawrie

While we wear poppies on Remembrance Day for those who served our country, Yonge Street and Lawrence Avenue native George Lawrie remembers his own days of service.

Lawrie, a Second World War veteran, is one of 475 veterans from the Second World War and the Korean War at Sunnybrook Hospital’s veterans centre. Sunnybrook is the largest veterans’ facility in Canada for long-term hospital care, and Lawrie, 92, has called it home for the last two years.

Lawrie joined the navy and spent 14 months on the ship called The Puncher, which began after months of paperwork and training. “Nine months of training and it was about a year until I went to radar school and then got drafted out into the ship in Vancouver,” he said. 

Once on board, Lawrie said there was a sink or swim mentality. “We had to learn how to operate an aircraft carrier from scratch,” he said. “When flyer jets would take off there were some times where they didn’t make it, and one pilot drowned. There was sadness here and there.”

He also remembers a time in Saint John in the Bay of Fundy where a soldier was killed by another ship.

“That’s why you wear a dog tag, so you can identify the body. When you go down in the ocean, it becomes your grave,” he said.

Both of Lawrie’s brothers were in the army. His eldest brother died from wounds while serving. 

“He was buried at sea in the Mediterranean,” he said.

This Remembrance Day, Lawrie will join other resident veterans for a ceremony on the main floor of the building.

A rundown of all city of Toronto Remembrance Day ceremonies can be found here.

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

The great indoors

The great indoors

Posted 12 hours ago
Toronto's venerable Cowboy Junkies hit Massey Hall

Toronto's venerable Cowboy Junkies hit Massey Hall

The Cowboy Junkies have quietly become one of the most important bands to come out of Toronto, and more than three decades deep they continue to turn gorgeously crafted albums that speak of the times in a way that is unique. Their latest, All That Reckoning, proves the band still has a lot to say. But it took some time to get there.
Posted 2 days ago
Confessions of a Lawrence Park shopping expert

Confessions of a Lawrence Park shopping expert

Posted 4 days ago
Outdoor spaces that evolve as our families mature

Outdoor spaces that evolve as our families mature

Posted 1 week ago
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module