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...

Parent to Parent: Crafting a home curriculum for your kids

Parent to Parent: Crafting a home curriculum for your kids

Posted 2 days ago
The Beaches ready to rock the Big Feastival food and music festival this weekend

The Beaches ready to rock the Big Feastival food and music festival this weekend

The Beaches play food and music festival the Big Feastival this weekend in Oro Medonte north of Toronto
Posted 2 days ago
From TV to the CNE: Kiefer Sutherland playing at the Ex

From TV to the CNE: Kiefer Sutherland playing at the Ex

As far as actors go, Toronto native Kiefer Sutherland is as recognizable as they come.
Posted 4 days ago
Community pop-up to yield 20-foot art installation

Community pop-up to yield 20-foot art installation

The Dream Weaver Project, launched by City of Vaughan cultural services department and facilitated by the educational services group ThinkinEd, has been popping up in various events around Vaughan since Canada Day, which saw 3,000 participants in attendance.
Posted 4 days ago
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module