For­mal Ho­nors for a Lo­cal He­ro

Le Messager Lachine & Dorval - - LOCAL NEWS - DA­VID COX da­vid.cox@tc.tc

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.

(Pho­to: TC Me­dia – Da­vid Cox)

Can­non blast, one bell ring and a mo­ment of si­lence for the re­scuer of Dun­kirk, the Pointe-claire born J. Camp­bell Clouston.

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