|John was born in
Neemuch, India on November 7, 1917. His parents were Canadian
missionaries for the United Church. He was schooled in Neemuch and
in the Himalayas until coming to Canada at age 12 to complete his
John remained in Canada when his parents returned to serve
again in India, living with his grandmother, other relatives, or
at the boarding school for the children of Canadian missionaries.
When John graduated from the University of Western Ontario in
1941 he was hired as a personnel officer by the Canadian
Carborundum Company in Niagara Falls. He then enlisted in the
Canadian army and subsequently applied to the Royal Canadian Air
Force. He became a navigator and served in England and Scotland in
434 Squadron. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in
1944, his citation reads:
officer has completed a tour consisting of thirty-six operations.
He has at all times displayed exceptional navigational
ability. His quiet,
cheerful manner and devotion to duty have contributed greatly to
the success of this crew."
other men in John's 434 squadron crew were:
Sgt J. Bray
Sgt C. Eady
John Smith (L) with his Pilot, Ken MacDonald
At warís end he returned to Canada and worked as an
RCAF Liaison Officer in Niagara Falls assisting returning veterans
in the transition to civilian work. Immediately upon returning
from overseas, John had met Lois Dickens, from Toronto, his future
wife, while he was briefly working at Manning Depot before being
assigned the Liaison Officer duties. They met at a Masonic Temple
dance in late September 1945. In fact, John had previously met
Loisís brother Brian, another Air Force veteran, at Manning
Depot before meeting Lois at the dance.
John left the service and returned to work for Canadian
Carborundum Company in Niagara Falls, but during his absence, the
company had hired another personnel officer, and upon Johnís
return they retained both. Not happy with this arrangement and
wanting to get to Toronto, in 1946 he resigned and was hired as a
personnel officer at Square D Electrical Company in Weston, an
area of Toronto.
John married Lois in December 1947. He continued with Square D
until re-enlisting into the RCAF in 1952 and being posted to
Summerside, Prince Edward Island. Lois remained with her brother
and his wife in Ottawa until six weeks before their first child,
Kim was due, then moved to Summerside where he was born. 14 months
later, daughter Heather was born.
The family was then posted to
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1956, where John served until leaving
the Air Force in 1958. The family moved to Kelowna, B.C. and
subsequently to Victoria in 1961.
John eventually had a career with
the federal government in Customs and Excise Canada, becoming
Deputy Ships Registrar. He served in this capacity until his
retirement in 1982. He passed away on May 10, 1996
in Victoria and was survived by his wife of 48 years, his son and
daughter and their families.