This section was created to remember those, and relatives of those, in the St. Luke’s community—both still living and can tell their story, and those who gave their lives and told by a family member—who served in wars, campaigns and peacetime to keep Canada free. We can’t forget.
The following are the first remembrances. Many more to follow as the stories get told.
Lieutenant Alfred Hubert Poirier (1918-1944)
Lieutenant Alfred Hubert Poirier is the uncle of Judy Langley and her six sisters. Alfred was born and raised in Cape Breton in West Arichat. His mother was Sabine Rose Leblanc Poirier and his father was Joseph Hubert Poirier. Alfred was the second oldest. He had four sisters: Rita, Estelle, Laure and Germaine. Judy’s mother is Laure. Alfred attended Dalhousie University in Halifax and studied to be a lawyer. He earned his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees prior to joining the service.
He served in the Royal Canadian Regiment and died at the age of 26 on October 17, 1944 in Italy during the advance from Rimini to Forli and beyond in September-November 1944, an advance across one flooded river after another in atrocious autumn weather.
On September 3, 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side.
Following the fall of Rome to the Allies in June 1944, the German retreat became ordered and successive stands were made on a series of defensive lines. In the northern Appenine mountains the last of these, the Gothic Line, was breached by the Allies during the Autumn campaign and the front inched forward as far as Ravenna in the Adratic sector. Because some Allied divisions were transferred to support the new offensive in France, the Germans dug in on a number of key defensive positions and the advance stalled as winter set in.
Alfred is buried in the Cesena War Cemetery site, which was selected in November 1944, and burials were brought in from the surrounding battlefields. Most of those buried in this cemetery died during the advance from Rimini to Forli and beyond in September-November 1944. There are 775 soldiers buried there from various Commonwealth countries.
Captain the Reverend Eleanor Clitheroe
Captain the Reverend Eleanor Clitheroe is a Reserve Chaplain with the Canadian Forces serving the Reserve Unit Governor General Horse Guards, after briefly serving with the Queen's Own Rifles. St Luke's own Commanding Officer—a Colonel Ed Rayment (ret'd)—met Ellie several years ago and convinced her to become part of the Queen's Own Rifles. Unfortunately no sooner had she joined than she was transferred to GGHG who didn't have a Padre. Life in the Army!
Our Regional Dean of Lincoln, Captain the Reverend Canon Rob Fead, of St George’s Anglican Church in St Catharines, is also a Reserve Chaplain in Hamilton with the Canadian Forces and is Brigade Chaplain for 31 Brigade out of London, Ontario.
As a Captain in the Chaplaincy Branch, Padre Ellie parades with the GG's on Tuesday evenings between 7-10 pm at Dennison Armoury. Although there is little opportunity to meet, theoretically, Rev Ellie is the GG's Padre too! (The Governor General is currently His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, who was Rev Ellie's Dean of Law School when she was a law student at University of Western Ontario and was President of McGill University when Ellie was a law student at McGill.)
Rev Ellie's father, Herb, served in World War II in bombing missions over Germany as a navigator in a Lancaster and a Halifax, and following the war, in the Reserves monitoring the DEW line (Royal Canadian Air Force). Her paternal grandfather (from England) served in World War 1 (Royal Armed Forces) and her two uncles (Uncle Doug from Montreal and Uncle Vaughan from Moncton) served in World War II (Royal Canadian Air Force). (Ellie's parents met during her father's medical work up—her mother, Lois, was his nurse and he never forgot her. Told all his buddies in the war he had met the girl he was going to marry, looked her up as soon as got home, and they were married a year later.)
Both Rev Ellie's children, ages 11 and 12, are in Army Cadets. In 2010, Jacob won the Veteran’s Medal for his Historica Project on the wartime experience of his grandfather (Ellie's father), Sgt Herbert Charles Clitheroe. The Exhibit was shown at St Luke's just before the competition opened. In May, 2012 Jacob was just promoted to Lance Corporal, served in the colour party for Church Parade and will be going to Blackdown Cadet Camp for GT (General Training) this summer. Faith will be turning 12 in November and will also be able to be more involved once she is "of age."
Rev Ellie and her husband, Randy, a horseman, enjoy taking a part in the GGHG Cavalry Squadron, training for the Musical Ride with the squadron one Saturday per month—Randy as a civilian and Ellie as the riding Padre! Randy does all the work. There are several horse folk at St Luke's (Heather Ridge, Randy and Suzanne Kay). We could start our own Cavalry charge!
Rev Ellie takes the Remembrance Day Service at St James Anglican Cathedral in Toronto at 2 pm on the Sunday afternoon each year. Come out and meet the Regiment, enjoy the Parade, honour our soldiers and enjoy some refreshments with the Regiment and the convivial and welcoming Dean Douglas Stout and the Vicar David Brinson in their beautiful, newly refurbished Parish Hall of St James Cathedral. (Parking is meter parking on the street in front of the Cathedral.)