Harbour Grace mourns loss of WWII veteran
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.
Jean Dove stands before the Harbour Grace War Memorial to help lay a wreath on Remembrance Day in 2010.
Jean Dove is seen here among poppies in a field in Flanders during her visit to Europe in 2009.