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(Updated 8:30 p.m., Nov. 12)
Local war veteran among those in attendance at Navan Remembrance ceremony

By Fred Sherwin
The Orléans Star

WWII and Korean War veterran Eric Smith was among those in attendance at the Navan Remembrance Day ceremony on Nov. 11. File photo

Eric G. Smith will be 97 years old in January and the only living veteran from Ottawa that fought in both the Second World War and the Korea War.

On Saturday, the former fighter pilot attended the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Navan Cenotaph as he's done every year since returning to the village where he grew up.

"The elements worked out well for the day, I was quite impressed with the ceremony, the attendance seems to get bigger every year," Smith said during a reception in the Navan Memorial Arena following the service.

Smith was joined by his wife of 65 years, Dinah, their daughter Erin and their grand-daughter Kristen.

"My dad is an impressive man and had a distinguished military career," said Erin Zintel. "He flew over 60 missions during his military career, was never shot down or held as a prisoner of war."

The distinguished gentleman and war hero has made Navan his home for decades. He grew up on his family's home near the corner of Smith and Milton Road before volunteering for military service in 1941.

At the end of the WWII, Smith remained with the RCAF as a flight instructor, then in 1952 he accepted an invitation to fly combat missions in the Korean War as an exchange pilot with the United States Air Force at the age of 31.

Smith flew over 30 missions along the Korean Peninsula during the outbreak which lasted from June 25, 1950 until July 27, 1953.

Upon his retirement from the Armed Forces in 1968, he sold real estate and operated a beef farm until 1991 before deciding to settle down on Henn Drive which is just across the street from Cenotaph.

When asked about the current tensions between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, Smith witnessed first-hand, the results of recklessness and ill thought out plans when it comes to international disputes.

"I can't understand the way they both behave, it's ridiculous," Smith stated.

"The situation between the United States and North Korea must be resolved amicably. Trump seems to be working well with China. If he can't do the same with North Korea he should just ignore their leader. If one fires off a nuclear weapon, it could be curtains for the rest of us."

Fellow military veterans Michael Godden and Bill Jacobs were also in attendance at the Navan ceremony. Godden spent 20 years in the RCAF.

"My brother was killed in the (Second World) War and my wife Sandra is a Silver Cross Mother after losing her father in battle as well. He lies in an unmarked grave in Holland," said Godden.

Jacobs lost a good friend, Lance Corporal R. H. Allan, in November, 1959 while the two men were serving with the United Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East.

"We were ambushed by a group of Egyptian fighers and tried to get away but they riddled our jeep with 97 bullet holes," Jacobs explained.

Allan was killed in the hail of bullets, but Jacobs somehow miraculously survived. "To this day I can't figure out how I missed getting hit with one of those bullets."

Lance Corporal Allan is among 115 Canadian military personnel who lost their lives while on peacekeeping missions around the world. It is in their honour, along with the thousands of men and women who died in active service, that we pay homage to every Remembrance Day.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

 

   
   

 


Posted Jan. 12



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