Har­bour Grace mourns loss of WWII vet­eran

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

Har­bour Grace’s last known vet­eran from the Sec­ond World War has died.

Cpl. Geral­dine “Jean” Dove died in her home Wed­nes­day at the age of 91.

Har­bour Grace Mayor Terry Barnes an­nounced the news of her death at the end of last Wed­nes­day’s coun­cil meet­ing. A mo­ment of si­lence was held for Dove ear­lier that same meet­ing.

“She’s the last one in our town for World War II,” he said.

The mil­i­tary played a piv­otal role in Dove’s fam­ily. Three rel­a­tives — her fa­ther Thomas Pike and two un­cles — served in the First World War, and one of her broth­ers en­listed in the navy dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

Known back then as Jean Pike, the Royal Canadian Air Force re­cruited her as an 18 year old with­out her fam­ily’s knowl­edge. Dove in­formed them the next day by tele­gram.

Through­out the Sec­ond World War, Dove served as an air traf­fic con­troller in On­tario, spend­ing time in Tren­ton, Ottawa and Toronto.

She re­turned home at the end of the war and mar­ried Robert Ch­es­ley Dove. They had two chil­dren, Don­ald and Bar­bara.

Dove was a mem­ber of Royal Canadian Le­gion, Branch 15, Har­bour Grace for many decades and re­ceived 50-year pins and medals in 2009.

That same year, she was one of four vet­er­ans from New­found­land and Labrador se­lected to travel to Beau­mont-Hamel, France, to at­tend me­mo­rial ser­vices ded­i­cated to the Royal New­found­land Reg­i­ment.

Of the 801 sol­diers from the reg­i­ment who took part in the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916, 68 re­sponded to roll call the next day. The re­main­ing sol­diers were dead, wounded or miss­ing.

Fol­low­ing her trip, Dove told The Compass vis­it­ing the Beau­mont-Hamel New­found­land Me­mo­rial was some­thing she al­ways wanted to do.

“It’s very im­pres­sive, eh? It’s re­ally some­thing that sticks in your mind. I can see all those trenches and ev­ery­thing. I can pic­ture all the men, you know, what they went through. They had some nasty con­di­tions.”

Out­side of her war ex­pe­ri­ence, Le­gion in­volve­ment and fam­ily life, Dove loved to play darts and was a pas­sion­ate sewer.

Dove’s fu­neral was sched­uled to take place last Satur­day at St. Paul’s Angli­can Church in Har­bour Grace.

FILE PHOTO BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COMPASS

Jean Dove stands be­fore the Har­bour Grace War Me­mo­rial to help lay a wreath on Re­mem­brance Day in 2010.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Jean Dove is seen here among pop­pies in a field in Flan­ders dur­ing her visit to Europe in 2009.

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