Remembering the Telegraphist Air Gunners
Donating A Piece Of History July 10, 2009 Article in The Welland Tribune (Welland ON) KAESHA FORAND , TRIBUNE STAF Friday, July 10, 2009 12:00:00 EDT AM   Robert Geale hadn't walked the streets of Port Colborne since 1946. Much   has   changed   since   then,   but   more   than   60   years   later   he   returned   with   a   cherished   gift   --   a   special   card   honouring   his   service   during   the   Second   World War. Geale,   affectionately   known   as   Bob   or   Windy,   lived   in   Port   Colborne   from   his birth   until   1943   when   he   left   to   join   the   Royal   Navy   Voluntary   Reserve   to   fight in the Second World War. On   May   28,   1943   he   was   posted   to   the   HMS   Canada   in   Halifax   and   was   then posted   in   the   United   Kingdom   for   training   as   a   telegraphist   air   gunner,   a position he held until 1950. He   returned   to   Port   Colborne   in   1946   to   visit   his   family. At   that   time,   mayor   H. H.    Knoll    presented    Geale    with    a    card    recognizing    his    war    service    to    his country. A   presentation   parade   was   held   where   5,000   citizens   lined   the   streets   of   Port Colborne   and   450   of   Port   Colborne's   575   armed   service   members   received cards. On Wednesday, Geale returned to his hometown to donate the card to Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum. "I   don't   really   know   what   to   say.   It's   a   pleasure   to   be   back   here.   It   has   certainly   changed,"   Geale   said.   "I   put   (the   card)   in   my wallet and of course in my day I flew with my wallet because you never knew where you would end up." The   card   has   a   thick,   layer   of   plastic   --   similar   to   having   been   laminated.   It   has   yellowed   over   the   last   63   years,   but   it's   in   good condition   considering   Geale   kept   it   in   his   wallet   for   years   while   he   serve   in   the   navy.   The   card   bears   the   image   of   poppies,   a cross, Port Colborne's logo and the following inscription: "1939 to 1946 not for himself but for his country." "In   grateful   recognition   of   your   patriotic   spirit   and   noble   sacrifices   as   a   voluntary   member   of   the   Canadian   action   forces.   The citizens   of   Port   Colborne   hereby   record   their   sincere   appreciation   of   your   dedication   in   the   preservation   of   honour   among nations and the freedom of the world." Museum   assistant   curator   Lynn   van   Dillen   said   when   the   museum   commemorates   an   important   anniversary   --   such   as   next   year's 100th anniversary of the navy, the card will be on display. "There   will   be   an   exhibit   to   commemorate   that   and   we   will   take   soldier   wartime   artefacts,"   she   said   of   the   archives,   letters, correspondences and items such as Geale's card. "We   are   very   happy   you   thought   of   the   museum   when   you   decided   to   part   with   your   card,"   she   said   to   him   with   family   and members of the community Wednesday at the L. R. Wilson Heritage Research Archive building. He   served   in   the   Canadian   Navy   until   1970   when   he   transferred   to   the   Royal Australian   Navy.   He   retired   in   1984   after   serving   41 consecutive years in naval aviation across three navies. Everywhere   he   went,   so   did   the   card   in   his   wallet.   It   was   with   Geale   in   the   Mediterranean,   over   the   Indian   Ocean,   Singapore and Europe to name a few places. And most recently, in his home in New South Wales, Australia. As   a   thank   you   for   the   generous   donation,   Mayor   Vance   Badawey   presented   "Windy"   with   a   plaque   on   behalf   of   the   city   which also had a replica of the card. Regional   Coun.   Bob   Saracino   said   "as   time   passes   on   so   do   our   veterans   and   their   history,"   while   emphasizing   the   importance   of education through donations like the card. "We hope you will always have a soft sport for Port Colborne and we will always have a soft spot for you." Geale,   his   wife   and   daughter   came   to   Ontario   for   a   family   reunion   and   spent   three   days   in   Port   Colborne,   with   today   being   his last day. The original article is from the Welland Tribune at:
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