Formal Honors for a Local Hero
MEMORIAL. On the shores of Lac St. Louis, the man responsible for bringing home 338,000 souls from the beaches of Dunkirk in May 1940 was honored. Commander J. Campbell Clouston was immortalized as a Hometown Hero at the Lachine Canal National Historic Site.
In a service that was both formal and touching, the Commander’s life, courage, career and sacrifice was explored through the words of dignitaries, military representatives and several of James Campbell Clouston’s relatives.
«There were many heroes in World War II,” said Moray Clouston, the son of the Commander. Quite often during the rest of his speech his voice trembled, all the more poignant when realizing that the son had never met his father. “This is a very big event, which is bringing back a lot of memories of what one could have had, as a son, which one didn’t have.”
He went on to thank the Canadian government, and the group of Canadian amateur historians who led the effort to honor an exceptional hero - Michael Zavacky, Jeffrey Street and Rick Munroe who also promised to
SAILOR, SOLDIER, SAVIOR
Clouston, born in 1900, grew up in Pointeclaire, attended Selwyn House, Lower Canada College and Mcgill University. He raced sailboats on Lac St. Louis as a member of the Pointe-claire Yacht Club and his name is etched on the Challenger Cup, which he won when he was just 13 years old.
A few years later, like many of the idealistic young men of the time, he enlisted in Britain’s Royal Navy in 1917 to fight in the War to End All Wars. His career with the British Navy lasted through the War and into World War Two. In May 1940, he was put in charge of the temporary pier at the eastern end of the beach at Dunkirk during the evacuation of 338,000 Allied surrounded soldiers in the northern France region.
For six days the Commander ran the dock, leading to the rescue of over 200,000 while under fire from German Luftwaffe warplanes. Britain’s Winston Churchill was so impressed by the number of soldiers rescued that he dubbed it the “Miracle at Dunkirk”.
Sadly, this would be Commander J. Campbell Clouston`s final mission. As the evacuation was in its final stages, the Luftwaffe caught up to him and he was killed when his vessel was bombed.
Cannon blast, one bell ring and a moment of silence for the rescuer of Dunkirk, the Pointe-claire born J. Campbell Clouston.