Last WWII vet­eran dies

Bertha Hier­lihy served with Cana­dian Women’s Army Corps

The Compass - - Front page - BY ANDREW ROBIN­SON editor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Bertha Hier­lihy of Bay Roberts re­cently died at the age of 92. She served in the Cana­dian Women’s Army Corps dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

A Bay Roberts wo­man who rep­re­sented the last liv­ing con­nec­tion lo­cally to the Sec­ond World War has died.

Bertha (Mercer) Hier­lihy, who held the rank of pri­vate with the Cana­dian Women’s Army Corps, passed away last week at St. Clare’s Hos­pi­tal in St. John’s. She was 92.

Dis­solved in the 1960s once it fully in­te­grated with the Cana­dian Armed Forces, the Women’s Army Corps ded­i­cated it­self to non-com­bat roles such as me­chan­i­cal work, food prepa­ra­tion and sec­re­tar­ial du­ties. It was founded in 1941, two years into the war.

Then known as Bertha Mercer, she was the last of 11 chil­dren and one of five in her im­me­di­ate fam­ily (her­self and four brothers) to serve in the Sec­ond World War. Lewis “Buck” Mercer was a Mer­chant Ma­rine. Harry Mercer served as a cor­po­ral with the U.S. Army and earned a Pur­ple Heart fol­low­ing his death in 1945 (he was buried in the Manila Amer­i­can Ceme­tery in the Philip­pines). Hay­ward Mercer en­listed in the Cana­dian Armed Forces, and Percy was a mem­ber of the Royal New­found­land Reg­i­ment.

Fol­low­ing the war, Bertha raised a fam­ily with her hus­band, Adriel Hier­lihy. The Hier­lihy’s had a farm in Bay Roberts and also op­er­ated a butcher shop on Wa­ter Street.

In her later years, Bertha con­tin­ued to re­mem­ber the hand she and oth­ers had in pro­tect­ing the free­doms peo­ple en­joy to­day, at­tend­ing Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­monies at the Bay Roberts Re­tire­ment Cen­tre.

The fu­neral for Hier­lihy was held last Fri­day at St. Matthew’s Angli­can Church in Bay Roberts.

TWIT­TER

Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood posed for a photo with Sec­ond World War vet­eran Bertha Hier­lihy dur­ing last year’s Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­mony at the Bay Roberts Re­tire­ment Cen­tre.

COURTESY BAY ROBERTS HER­ITAGE SO­CI­ETY

Bertha Hier­lihy, when she was still a Mercer, wear­ing her Cana­dian Women’s Army Corps uni­form.

COURTESY BAY ROBERTS HER­ITAGE SO­CI­ETY

Bertha Hier­lihy, when she was still a Mercer, wear­ing her Cana­dian Women’s Army Corps uni­form.

PHOTO BY ERIC JERRETT

Bertha Hier­lihy stands next to a dis­play case at the Road to Yes­ter­day Mu­seum in Bay Roberts in 2010. Peo­ple had gath­ered to of­fi­cially open a new mil­i­tary ex­hibit that fea­tured Hier­lihy’s Cana­dian Women’s Army Corps uni­form.

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