About the KWNA
Writing the history of the Kitchener-Waterloo Naval Association has long been a thought of mine, and I am thankful of our President Mike Edwards for allowing me the opportunity to do so, especially at such an important time, this being the new millennium and the fortieth anniversary of the founding of this successful association. I am not a prolific writer, and exercise my boundaries. While researching the many items of reference, I was often reminded of significant events and the many players, most of whom have gone to their resting places, and it is for this purpose that we should record our happenings, regularly and factual. I have been well assisted in the effort of compiling the information and thank one and all.
The forming of a naval club was long the thought of Joseph T. Doerner. Joe was a member of the 12th Army Medical Corps Sergeants Mess, and attended their meetings which were held in the armories, or better known as the “old post office building” (since demolished) which was located at the corner of King and Benton Streets, Kitchener. At this period in his life, Joe was an alderman on city council and a partner in the family metal fabricating business in Waterloo. To get the ball rolling and to get an idea on how many naval veterans would be interested in forming and supporting a club, Joe placed an advertisement in the local newspaper, and I understand, with tremendous results. With a good number of applicants on hand, Joe conducted a series of meetings at his Margaret Avenue home until a suitable meeting place could be found to accommodate the interested group of shipmates. As the numbers increased, and a more suitable meeting place was explored, temporary quarters were found at the “old post office” Kitchener, where fund-raising dances, etc. were held to raise funds, and with the help of the wives, the place was cleaned and decorated to suit the purpose. As time progressed a committee would have to be formed, and it was unanimous that Joe T. Doerner would be elected President, John Siems Vice-President, Lorne Pfeiffer Recording Secretary, John D. Riley Secretary, Ed Paquette Treasurer, Ted Rieck Membership, Gavin Currie Entertainment and Harold Stumpf Master-at-arms. In a short period of time the executive were in negotiations to rent space over Teerkott’s Garage (Nov. 1, 1961) located next to the famous Harmony Lunch at 84 King St. N., Waterloo, and it was at this location that the club celebrated its’ first anniversary. The building was accessible by way of a very steep stairway, but only after the volunteers * helped lay a new floor and built a lean-to structure on the roof to suffice as the kitchen for our newly formed Ladies Auxiliary. A bar was built and the Kitchener-Waterloo Naval Veterans Association was self-sufficient.
The elected officers of the club each had a committee, who on monthly schedule had to perform the janitorial work or bartend. Lunch was usually served after each meeting provided by Clive Woolner.
For the first anniversary, May 6th, 1961, a large plaster of paris cake was made and at a given hour the daughter of Lorne and Eileen Pfeiffer jumped out of the cake to the surprise of all present. The menu for the evening was moose burgers, which was the result of the Doerner brothers hunting trip. While at Teerkott’s, the membership grew steadily and friendships were made among members, their wives and many associates that still last to this day. With the numbers increasing, the quarters were getting rather cramped and new premises were required to accommodate the members. In June of 1960 an offer to rent space at the Toronto Dominion Bank for $90.00 per month (rent free from June through January 1st, 1961) was presented. A motion was put to the members and was voted 6-2 against. The secretary advised Mr. Echlin, the bank branch manager that the 3rd floor level meeting rooms were unsuitable for our use. This decision may have been prompted by the injuries sustained by a patron while visiting at the Teerkott club rooms, which resulted in a legal suit against the President of the club. The legal issue was handled by the club lawyer Mr. Joe Mattson and the lady (Mrs. Ann Marie Dietrich) dropped the legal proceedings. This is probably the one and only legal claim brought before the club in its entire history. The first ever dance held by the Club was on June 25, 1960, and to accommodate the group, Joe had to borrow 100 chairs and 8 tables from St. Jeromes High School. The Ladies Auxiliary catered the event. By November of that year, the Ladies Auxiliary was officially formed with Marg Ambrose as President, Betty Currie, Vice President, Trudy Schnarr, Secretary and Marg Doerner as Treasurer. It was from Teerkott’s that we assembled for our 1st Battle of Atlantic parade, joined by members of the Guelph Navy Club, and good representation from our fellow comrades from the local Royal Canadian Legion branches and the R.C.A.F. Wing 404. As our need for larger premises grew, Jim Fromm was appointed building fund chairman, and assisted by Bernice Stumpf to raise funds to enable a move to another location. John Riley was appointed and became the first bar officer and so moved that the bartenders be paid one dollar per hour, for hours worked, and to allow this to happen beer prices would increase to 30Z per bottle, and a 1 1/2 oz. of liquor to 40. The club made money and Jim soon showed a bank balance in the building fund account in excess of $1,000.
On January 22nd the Club received an invitation to join the C.N.A. (Canadian Naval Association). The C.N.A. was formed on May 12, 1954 and listed 2000 members per capita tax was .25q per member. In December 1963 the C.N.A. requested royal assent by adding “Royal” to its title and become known as the Royal Canadian Naval Association (R.C.N.A.). Shipmate Lorne Pfeiffer was appointed our first R.C.N.A. delegate. The title was introduced in their bylaw No. 7 and was approved thereby allowing affiliate branches to use the new title.
The K-W Naval Association became a member of the K-W Poppy Fund in December 1961, which was administered from Branch 50 R.C.L. Harold Stumpf was our first representative at the Poppy Fund meetings (Note: Wearing a poppy became official in Canada on November 11th, 1921). As of February the Club had not applied for a licence to dispense alcohol, and it was requested by the bar officer that we hold off doing so until he checked out the liquor law requirements. I understand that it wasn’t too long before application was made.
WE BECOME PROPERTY OWNERS
During a business outing Joe Doerner and Ed Paquette spotted a vacant church property known as the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, located at 145 Parkway Dr., Centreville. Enquiries were made and soon a meeting was arranged (in Aug. 61) between Joe and Ellacott Real Estate re purchase of the property. The asking price was seventeen thousand dollars, a deposit of ten dollars on the offer and two thousand down payment. Monthly payment on fifteen thousand dollars mortgage was one hundred and fifty dollars per month including P.I.T. all subject to the property being re-zoned for a service club. It is recorded that the liquor inspector at the time, a devout Anglican opposed the sale. While the re-zoning was being investigated, a second meeting was held at Ellacott Real Estate with a requirement that the club take possession of the properly by September 30th, 1961, at a rental of one hundred and fifty dollars per month, the rental amount to be applied against the mortgage (purchase price) when zoning change approved. Lawyer Joe Mattson consulted with Kitchener Mayor Meinzinger and the planning committee to force re-zoning (at the request of Mr. Hancock of Galt, the mortgage holder).
On August 23, 1961 the closing date was reached with the re-zoning approval granted and an amended purchase price of sixteen thousand dollars, Joe Doerner, Lorne Pfeiffer and Jim Fromm became trustees and Joe guaranteed the mortgage.
The elections of 1961 saw Joe being elected for a second term as President, and some new members, namely Wally Melnychuk and John Fraser. Much needed work was carried out at the “Church” to transform it to a servicemans club. Repairs, painting etc. was carried out by the members who worked as a team to house the navy club. The property had a well, be it sufficient for a church? However for a service club it was inadequate, and arrangements were made through the city to ship in tanker loads of water when supplies were needed. Our stay at Centreville was short lived, due to redevelopment.
In April 1962, an offer to purchase the “Church” property was presented by Whitney Real Estate on behalf of Industrial Leaseholds Ltd., Toronto. The properly was slated for demolishion to make way for the then proposed Fairview Park shopping mall. The club property is said to be located where the Wal-mart store stands today. The building was eventually sold to the developer for thirty-two thousand dollars plus five hundred dollars to a Mr. Kleinscroth of Guelph to salvage some of the interior woodwork. The last official event to be held at the “church” clubrooms was a closing dance on September 15th, 1962. At the time of closing the membership stood at 32 active and 16 associate members. Alba Hentges and Syl Hoffman were our newest members. A search for new club rooms was underway and with little to choose from that was suitable for our club needs, the purchase of 2 acres of land at a cost of four thousand one hundred dollars was the means to solving our problem. Once negotiated and the purchase made, two tenders were issued to erect a new building. Two quotations were received for the construction of the building: 1) from Ralph Paleczny Ltd. at a cost of twenty-six thousand nine hundred dollars; 2) J. Huber Construction at a cost of twenty-eight thousand four hundred dollars. The construction contract was ultimately awarded to Ralph Paleczny as the price included the building design and engineering costs. The footings and foundation were poured during August 1962 with expected date of occupancy October 15, 1962. Since having vacated the Centreville facility the possession date for 315 Weber Street North, Waterloo, had to be accelerated and as a result, September 28th was moving day on the calendar, but truth has it that Thursday, October 25th was the big day. The move went off very smoothly and with the construction behind them, the building committee was re-named “Ways and Means”. The live hundred dollars already received from Mr. Kleinscroth was used to purchase 40 chairs and 10 tables for the new facility. A notice of motion was tabled at the general meeting by Jim Fromm that all membership dues be turned over to the re-named building committee and applied against the mortgage and city taxes, the motion was passed and was ultimately used as a target for future building concerns.
OPENING NIGHT: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25TH.
A buffet lunch was served following the ribbon cutting ceremony. In attendance were: Commodore Paul Taylor R.C.N., Lt. Cdr. R.L. Shaver, Lt. Cdr. W.J.S. Mock, Lt. Cdr. K.A. Scott, Mayor Jas S. Bauer (Waterloo), Mayor Jas E. Gray (Kitchener) and the officers of 12th Army Medical Corps sergeants mess. Jas .A Breithaupt M.P.P. Carlings Breweries donated 10 cases of beer for this event. Through negotiations by Treasurer Ed Paquette (The Manager of Carling Brewery Retail Store), we acquired the beer cooler, still in use in our rental hail, for the sum of three hundred dollars and at a cost of ninety dollars to install. The loss of space due to the inset of the cooler into the kitchen wall, left our ladies with much less needed space to function efficiently. It was agreed that to earn income the hail could be rented at a charge of twenty-five dollars and the additional income would offset our added costs and property expenses.
On January 14th, 1963 a contract was agreed to allow the Dominion of Marksmen and Canadian Civilian Association of Marksmen to use the club for rifle practice. The rifle range was soon set up for the 21 members, and Carl Doerner made the targets and set up the lights that were required. There were four classifications namely Marksman, Sharpshooter, Expert and Master. Carl Doemer was recognized as Master Class. Joe Doerner, Doug Schiefele, Ab Hentges, Lorne Pfeiffer, Harold Curzon qualified for Dominion Marksmen Association membership. Things went well until Harold shot a projectile through the roof of the building, here endith the rifle club practice at the navy club.
1964 saw the introduction of the “Service Fund” and Bill Baker was appointed to the position of Chairman. The committee would include the President, Past-President, and the Club Padre. The sum of one thousand dollars was assigned to this great cause. The summer of 1964 brought the R.C.N.A. Naval Reunion to the K-W Naval Association. This was to be our first attempt at hosting a reunion and under the direction of Joe Doerner and chairman Jim Fromm the event was a great success. This would be the 10th Annual Naval Reunion (R.C.N.A.) on record. The club had to make use of the Glenbriar Curling Club for this event, as 1000 delegates and their wives had registered to attend. The event was a great success and would be considered again in the future. At the next executive meeting it was decided that an extension should be added to the existing building. Wilf Wagner was selected as the person to direct operations and given the go ahead. On July 6th the Club began publication of a monthly bulletin and was open for suggestions on subject matter and a significant title. After much consideration the members chose the “Log” as the publication title, the same document has had many changes in format but still conveys the Club news. At the R.C.N.A. meeting Wally Ross presented the R.C.N.A. with a cock-of-the-walk trophy to be presented each year to the qualifying club. The trophy was a gesture of the K-W Naval Association and is awarded each year as intended. Back to basics; Saturday evenings at the Club were pleasant times. Admission was one dollar per couple, men had to wear a lounge suit, shirt and tie (no casual dress) and dance to the music from the juke box. Each week the social director received ten dollars from the bar receipts to buy “Gramophone” records for the many Saturday night dances. By July (64) the membership showed 108 active and 64 associate members.
In November our Vice-President Ken Buss officiated at the opening of the General W. Sikorski Memorial hail of the Royal Canadian Legion, Polish Branch 412 Kitchener.
The business year was progressive until illness struck our President Don Durbin. During this period Vice-President Ken Buss filled in and performed the duties in Don’s absence.
On April 10th our President Ken Buss was honoured to receive our “Letters Patent” declaring the Kitchener-Waterloo Naval Association a not for profit corporation. The document was approved by the Province of Ontario, Provincial Secretary and Minister of Citizenship the Honourable Robert Welch. The certificate was endorsed by Ken Buss, Lorne Pfeiffer, Jas Herbert Blake, Ken Murphy, Robert Russel, Ron Smith, Lee Marvin Bowman, Clarence Currie, Harold Stumpf, James Fromm, Orval Huras, Robert Bruder, John Misner, Robert Lundie, Harrison Stumpf, Wilf Wagner.
1969 - HERE WE GROW AGAIN
The club has enjoyed tremendous success and can see the opportunity to expand. We had acquired the property in 1962 and the land was available. Wilf Wagner was to select a work force to break ground and begin the addition to the existing building. Many members availed themselves to this project, the construction of the new building was recorded on movie (super 8) and was later transferred to video cassette narrated by the late (Past-President) Lorne Pfeiffer. The mandate was to complete the project in time for the R.C.N.A. Annual Meeting to be held at the Club on June 28th. All deadlines were met, thanks to a marvelous group of individuals. The R.C.N.A. meeting was held as planned. To complete the project and finish off the members lounge Harold Stumpf, a qualified stone mason, built a fireplace from stone blocks donated by many service clubs in the region. One large piece of field stone, which was carefully cut into five sections was donated by the honourable Joey Smallwood, the then premier of Newfoundland. Behind a section of this stone is placed a time capsule with coins of the realm, newspaper clippings and other artifacts of the time. Following the 1969 expansion there was an increase in member enthusiasm within the club. Membership increased slightly, the bar was busier, dances and parties were better attended, and the general attitude of the members had picked up. There is nothing like club (house) improvements to give a club a much needed shot in the arm. Frequently seen members will come out to see where the money was spent, see whats going on and meet a few “old” shipmates, and it has been heard said “This is a pretty nice place — I must try and get out more often and enjoy my club.”
The Club applied for and received its first banquet hail liquor license. Our newly elected President Lorne Pfeiffer suffered the sad loss of Past President Don Durbin.
While President Lorne Pfeiffer was able to promote the Club, the K-W N.A. won the R.C.N.A. Club-of-the-Year award. The following year (1971) Lorne was presented with the R.C.N.A. Member-of-the-Year award.
The annual R.C.N.A. Reunion was held at the Brantford Naval Club. It is fact that John Fraser and Ron Smith rowed 45 miles down the Grand River to attend the meeting. Any challengers for the next reunion in Brantford.
The Oktoberfest bavarian style beer festival (which came to the Twin Cities in 1969) was gaining great momentum, and it was decided that the K.W.N.A. should get in on the action. John Rooymans was selected to be “Mr. Oktoberfest” for the club. John’s involvement lasted some 14 years and brought a tremendous amount of people to the 10 day festival and the Club enjoyed the increased cash flow. A team of approximately 100 people was usually required to man this event, and I am assured that there was no shortage of help. This year also saw the 19th annual R.C.N.A. Reunuion held at Compass Rose Naval Association in Oshawa, and evidence proves that our “voyageurs” Ron & John peddled a tendem bike to Oshawa for this event, however the bike was tied down onto the roof of a conveniently waiting car for the return journey.
The addition to the Club rooms in 1969, gave us the much needed members lounge, the enlarged kitchen for our ladies auxiliary, the pool room and darts area, which would allow us to host future R.C.N.A. sports days. The dishwasher and other equipment would come later, when the purchase was made at the closing of the “Glenbriar” in 1977 (now the Home Hardware store on Weber St. North).
The 20th annual R.C.N.A. Naval Reunion was held in Edmonton, and some photographs have surfaced showing our “voyageurs” Ron and John arriving in Edmonton on horseback. I have never been able to unfold the true story behind this one.
At the spring meeting of the R.C.N.A. directors the K.WN.A. accepted the offer to host the 1975 naval reunion. There was not much much time to take on this tremendous task, however President Wally (W.D.) Ross appointed past-president Jim Fromm as Chairman. The Glenbriar Curling Club was rented for this reunion and with the Ted Mach Orchestra on hand to entertain the reunion was another success. The “Glenbriar” being in close proximity to our club rooms, allowed for easy movement of the delegated duties and supplies to the banquet hall.
On August 9th, 1976, the Kitchener-Waterloo Naval Veterans Association would take on a new identity. It would now be known as the Kitchener-Waterloo Naval Association. The change in title by eliminating “veterans” would allow us to increase our percentage of associate members and on doing so would require that we review our by-laws, our aims and objectives would remain the same, our corporate registration number would change and business would go on as usual i.e. with RCNA affiliation.
The Poppy Fund administration was moved from Branch 50 R.C.L. to Waterloo and would be chaired by comrade Joe Oberhoizer. Joe assumed this post on June 1978, and is still at the helm of this very worthy charity. The fund is controlled from the K-W Poppy Fund offices on Regina St. Waterloo, and regular monthly meetings are held and attended by representatives of all service clubs in the Twin Cities of Kitchener-Waterloo. The 24th Annual R.C.N.A. Naval Reunion was hosted by Oxford County Naval Association (Woodstock) and the slogan chosen for this reunion was “Meet Your Mate in ‘78.” The festivities for this event were held in London, Ontario as Woodstock hotel and motel accommodations could not handle the 1500 delegates.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Naval Association won the R.C.N.A. club of the year award and to add to our achievements, past President of our Ladies’ Auxiliary (and ex-wren) Dorothy Murphy received “Member of the Year Award.”
July 1st “0 Canada” was proclaimed the official national anthem of Canada, 100 years after it was first sung. The official English lyrics were written in 1908 by Robert Stanley Weir. The music was composed by Claixa Lavalée.
President John Rooymans accepted a request from R.C.N.A. to host the annual Directors Meeting to be held on January 16th. This would allow us to bid for the 1982 R.C.N.A. 28th Naval Reunion, as a notice was circulated that Calgary Navy Club had to back out from their earlier acceptance to host this event.
The 28th Naval Reunion did come to the K.W.N.A. President John Rooymans appointed past president Lorne Pfeiffer as Chairman. The Grand Ball would be held at Market Square in Kitchener, which was connected to the then known Inn of the Black Walnut, by a walkway. R.C.N.A. President Joseph L. Leonard welcomed Kitchener Mayor Morley Rosenberg Q.C. and Waterloo Mayor Marjorie Carroll to the head table.
Following the 1974 club room imprQyements. and increasing membership, certain new upgrades were presented to the Executive approval—which included removal of the “long” bar, to be replaced with the present “horseshoe” bar, a new liquor gantry and a much improved beer cooler and bottle racks. The renovations were soon approved and Harold Curzon soon had his team working on the changes, a new ceiling was installed at this time, as well as new ceiling lights. During the renovations the members used the banquet hail facilities.
1985 was the year of the 75th Anniversary of the Royal Canadian Navy, and the 25th Anniversary of the Kitchener-Waterloo Naval Association. May 2 1-22-23 were reserved for club celebrations. President John Rooymans and President of the ladies auxiliary Eileen Pfeiffer hosted the weekend of festivities, with a wonderful banquet, well enjoyed by the 200 guests.
The K.W.N.A. has long been a proud sponsor of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps “Warspite” No. 94, and this year they celebrated their 45th anniversary. The Corps supports us on parade and ceremonial occasions and more especially, avail themselves on poppy tagging duty during poppy week. Past President Jack Gough, our Liason Officer to the cadet corps, responds to their requests for assistance and, also attends at the inspection reviews. The late Jim Fromm (Past President) was the first commanding officer member of the K.W.N.A.
The Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Warspite No. 94 celebrated their 45th Anniversary on June 8, 1986. The K-W branch of the Navy League of Canada congratulated the staff and cadets of Warspite for their many achievements through the years and wished them well in the future.
“THE LAST HOORAY”
October 9th through 17th, 1987, was the last event held under the “Oktoberfest” title. John Rooymans was honoured for his 14 years as Oktoberfest Chairman for the Kitchener-Waterloo Naval Association. The event would go on, and be named Navyfest, as the Oktoberfest title is the registered name of K-W Oktoberfest Inc. and certain ramifications limit the use of this title by others.
Early in 1989, President Harold Curzon received a letter from the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics requesting that they visit the Kitchener-Waterloo Naval Association to honour the Canadian ex-shipmates who participated in the convoys of Murmansk during the Second World War. On March 10th, 1989, an official visit by ambassador Igor Liakin-Frolov was made to present medals to those who served these missions. There is no list available of the recipients of the medals. I am advised that the Ambassador accompanied by his wife Helen and his daughter Maria could not speak English. Past President Jack Gough however came to the rescue by having one of his ringette team skaters attend. She was able to converse in French to Maria, who in turn translated French to Russian and everything went off very well. The presentations were made and everything went very well. We played a tape of the Soviet National Anthem and flew the Soviet flag. I also believe that we served the best vodka that was available only to find our Russian friend drank scotch. It is recorded that at this time our membership totalled 381. Through the years the Club members have supported the Club picnics which have been held at various locations, and among the various spots are listed: The Krupp Family Game Farm, Knechtels Farm, Sunrise Horseshoe Club, the Tamerac Club and Joe Doerners backyard. Our current picnic spot is the B.F.G. Foreman’s Club and as the children of our members and their children have grown through the picnic venue, we are still able to enjoy an adult picnic each year. The B.F.G. Toreman’s Club is also used for the Council of Veterans picnic each year, and each of the service clubs in the Twin Cities take turn at hosting this fun filled day.
On April 21st, 1990, President Norm Meike and Ladies Auxiliary President Anne Melnychuk were proud to host the 30th Anniversary activities. This period in time suffered the loss of Past President Jim Fromm. Among our prized possessions, the club was honoured to be presented with a hand built scale model of the HMCS Kitchener (K-225) by the late shipmate Charlie Hulley. The model took 2 years to build and is exemplary of Charlies perfection in all the projects that he carried out for the club. The model of K-225 is honourably displayed and adorns the fireplace in the members lounge area.
CONSTRUCTION AND CHANGES CONTINUE
As we progress into 1991, some improvements were necessary to the outside of the building, which is of cement block type construction. A quotation had earlier been received from Ken Ertel Limited to clad the exterior of the building with glass fibre reinforced polymer concrete panels including suitable coloured metal flashings. The contract valued at $38,000.00 was awarded and the work completed during February that year. The application of the new cladding would not only enhance the building, but would also add warmth to the premises and eliminate annual painting of the outer surfaces.
During the summer of 1993, President Ian MacLean received a letter from the Korea Veterans Association Unit Number 52 asking that they be allowed to hold their monthly meetings at our club as well as some social events. On January 11, 1994, the K.V.A. No. 52 moved their meetings to the K.W.N.A. from the Bridgeport Community Centre. The Community Centre being city property had numerous by-law restrictions and private rental agreements that interfered with the K.V.A. agenda. To accommodate this worthy group of veterans our clubrooms were made available on Sundays for their meetings, and in usual K.W.N.A. fashion our part-time bar tender Claire Ooms volunteered to serve their favourite brew. It is recorded that the Korean War of 1950 involved 29,600 soldiers and sailors from across Canada; 1557 returned wounded, 516 died in action. The Wall of Remembrance in Brampton, Ontario, is a tribute to those brave men. On Sunday, October 3, 1993, at a special General Meeting of our members, the late shipmate Edgar Wiles introduced Cdr. Beaudry (RCN) from National Defence Headquarters, Ottawa, as our guest speaker. Cdr. Beaudry gave us a very enlightening speech and slide show of the Canadian Armed Forces participation in the Gulf War. I do understand that it was through Cdr. Beaudry’s direction that we have been able to have naval input at our Battle of Atlantic ceremonies, and through his advice we have been fortunate to have representation of the navy at our annual celebrations since Cdr. Paul Leblanc first accepted.
Our 35th Anniversary was celebrated on April 22nd, 1995. President Jack Gough Assisted by the late Past President John Rooymans arranged a celebration that was enjoyed by 150 members. On Saturday, November 11th, 1995 the City of Waterloo hosted, under the direction of Mayor Brian Thrnbull and his councilors, a memorial service “Waterloo Remembers.” During this service the Rev. Robert Bouchard unveiled a plaque and dedicated it to Waterloo’s war dead. The plaque lists 69 losses, 16 from the 1914-1918 war and 53 from the 1939-1945 war. It was during 1995 that a proposal to build and install a naval archives display. Shipmates Dennis Saunders and the late Edgar Wiles headed up this project and soon were soliciting financial commitment and military artifacts donations. Edgar took on the task of preparing the area by dry walling and painting in readiness for the proposed cabinets which were being built by Rooymans Wood Products.
At our general meeting held on Sunday April 13th, 1996, Commander Paul Leblanc C.D. of the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College in Toronto was our guest speaker and during his visit and assisted by our Padre Rev. Paul Ellingham. The display was dedicated during a small service of remembrance.
The financial and wonderful donations of naval and military artifacts to this priceless addition to our Club is overwhelming. The photograph display (name tagged) of our members past and present who served in the armed services, lead us down memory lane. As you enter the Clubrooms by the members entrance you will notice on your left a large cabinet with wooden plaques with bronze plates mounted thereon which are our honour rolls. Each member who has died has his or her name added. Our Past President Jack Gough has this honour roll updated each year preceding our Battle of Atlantic gatherings and much to Jacks consternation new (additional) plates are required as our member loss is significant. If any member or visitor would care to donate an item or memorabilia to our display, please make your wishes known to any member of the executive. All donations will be greatly accepted and used in accordance with your wishes. The spring of 1997 again saw some refurbishment at the Club. The ships office had a face-lift, new wall panelling was installed, walls were moved, a new ceiling and improved lighting together with additional electrical receptacles were added to accommodate the additional computer and electronic equipment used in today’s business environment. The Clubrooms also had a new ceiling, lights and carpeting installed all for the comfort of our members.
From 1988 through 1998 the Kitchener Waterloo Poppy Fund has donated $686,250.00 to the community, $300,000.00 to the 3 local hospitals and $186,000.00 to veterans assistance. The Kitchener-Waterloo Naval Association assisted by Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps No. 94 Warspite is proud to be part of this union. At our Battle of Atlantic banquet held on Saturday, April 27, 1998, Commander Paul Wylie was our guest speaker. CDR. Wylie came well recommended by Cdr. Leblanc at the Cdn. Forces Staff College. The Department of National Defence decided to demolish the armouries at Knollwood Park and erect a new building the result being the R.C.S.S.C. No. 94 Warspite became homeless. A temporary premises was found on Wellington Street, that would be rented until the new building was completed in 2000. Despite all this upset and limited space for training, President Walter Harvey of the Navy League of Canada and Commanding Officer Ken Albert Lt (N) were proud when the ships company pickeds up 12 competition placements at the 58th Annual Review of the Royal Sea Cadet Corps, adding yet 2 Corps honours by achieving the “Cock of the Walk” 4 years straight. It was a sad year at the Club when our honour roll would add Past Presidents John Rooymans and Norm Meikie to the list and a founding member and former executive vice-president John D. Riley. John Riley was responsible for starting the annual Ladies Appreciation Dinner hosted by the men of the club. The dinner is enjoyed by the ladies of the auxiliary and the men I am told favour this event and show their appreciation by taking part. At our Battle of Atlantic Banquet, our guest speaker Cdr. Brian Nelson CD spoke on naval logistics in the high tech sea going vessels. He and his wife Heather reside in Ottawa and enjoyed a tour of our community during their visit and hope to visit again soon.
The year 2000, our 40th Anniversary year is shaping up to be a year to remember. Preparations are under way for the Battle of Atlantic banquet. CDR Paul Leblanc has accepted an invitation to be our guest speaker and our founding president Joseph T. Doerner has accepted to be the master of ceremonies for this event. All things in our favour will see 5 past presidents on hand, and with President Mike Edwards hosting the occasion, the story will go on, the memories will be everlasting as we all pay tribute to those who made it all possible.
This is not the end. It’s only the end of the first forty years of the Kitchener-Waterloo Naval Association. I will not write the history for the second 40 years of the K.W.N.A. because I have been told that your handwriting gets a little shakey at 103 years of age. The Club was formed some fifteen years after World War II and the memory of it is still probably vivid in the minds of our veterans. Many of our present members had not been born yet. The Club has never regressed. When things begin to bog down, another round of renovations and decor upgrades gets started which in turn creates more interest. Hopefully, this Club will never stagnate. It has been proven over and over again that businesses and other organizations can never remain the same for very long. We must progress or our members will lose interest and the whole structure will fall apart, oftentimes at too fast a pace to stop. Hopefully this will not happen to the K.W.NA. I respectfully urge all our members to read up on the by-laws, especially “The Aims and Objectives” and please treat the Club, its properties and the members with respect, and this alone will foster good relations and encourage our aims for future growth.
On June 25, 1950 the forces of North Korea crossed the 38th parallel into the Republic of Korea. This marked the beginning of hostilities which were to rage for three full years and more, throughout that country known to its people as the land of the morning calm. The magnitude of the assault made it clear that this was a full scale invasion. This was the first open act of aggression since the establishment of the United Nations organization and its actions were of great significance for its prestige and credibility, in fact for its very future. The invasion was declared a breach of the peace and sixteen member nations joined forces to resist the aggression. Canada’s contribution exceeded only by that of the United States of America and Great Britain, demonstrated her willingness to uphold the United Nations ideals and to take up arms in support of peace and freedom. All told almost 34,000 Canadians served in this war from start to finish. Canadian participation in these hostilities marked a break with traditional policy. It was the beginning of a new era of involvement in world affairs which saw Canadian troops deployed around the world in truce teams, peace commissions and emergency forces. A new page in Canada’s proud military history was written. The Korea Wall Memorial in Brampton, Ontario is a replica of the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea where there are 2,267 servicemen buried, including 378 Canadians.
The Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC), the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRENS) and the Women’s Division of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF WD.) Over 45,000 women signed up for duty in the Second World War of those, only about one in nine was selected for overseas duly (aside from those women who served as nursing sisters). The roll of women overseas expanded as the needs became greater. They took over such jobs as drivers of light vehicles, cooks, clerks, messengers and canteen helpers and other duties in combat zones because air and ground crews were desperately needed. Getting overseas was the ultimate for everyone to get over closer to the action. Of course, they didn’t know what it was really like. It was just the idea of the excitement and adventure of it all. They weren’t even thinking of the dangers.
BATTLE OF ITALY
The Italian Campaign went from September 1943 to February 1945. A result of the allied invasion of Sicily was the overthrow of the Italian dictator, Mussolini. However, although the new Italian government surrendered on September 3, 1943, the Germans seized control and it was German troops that the Allies faced in their advance up the Italian Peninsula. The fighting in Italy, as in Sicily, was to be bitter, taking advantage of the mountain peaks and swift rivers. The Germans made every allied advance difficult and costly. Total Canadian casualties in the 20th month Mediterranean campaign numbered 25,264 of which more than 4,900 were fatal. In the war as a whole, of the 1.5 million Canadians who served, the initial casually rate is 40 percent and comparable number are lost to the brutality of the P.O.W. camps.