Corp Of Canadian FireFighters in England During WW II

 


           
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September 11th, 2001
God Bless The Firefighters
Corp of Canadian Firefighters In England WW II

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Photographs and Memories

LFM George Laskey - Brantford, Ontario

LASKEY, George Harold - born on June 21, 1905 in Saint John, New Brunswick, my father wanted to be a fireman for as long as he could remember.  His father, George Saunders Laskey, and his brother, William ‘Bill’ Laskey were both firemen.  Bill went on to become the Captain of one of the Saint John fire stations.
Dad served in England during the Blitz in both Liverpool and Southampton.  He was taken in by the British and treated as one of their own.  He remained friends throughout his life with ‘The Chalks’ even visiting them on one occasion.  They returned the favour visiting us in Canada.  Dad wouldn’t return to England for another visit though our Mother, a British immigrant, did more than once.   He said he simply wasn’t able to go again.  I always felt the memories were too raw, too close to the surface, even all those years later. 
Dad told us of the day he was going to meet some of his pals at the Milk Bar around the corner but was called back for some reason.  The Milk Bar was hit by a bomb and his friends were killed.  He would tell us of fighting fires and finding the bodies of little children.  His eyes would well with tears.  
He returned to Canada after serving overseas for nearly three years.  I remember waking up in the middle of the night.  He and Mom were sitting on the couch.  As the eldest child I was given the special honour of presenting my father with a gold Bulova pocket watch engraved on the back.  I remember the next morning the three of us being in bed with our parents frolicking and laughing after such a long time of worry on the part of our Mom.
He was discharged on February 13, 1945.  He tried to get on the Brantford Fire Department, but he was (1) too old at 40, and (2) too short at 5' 4½".  He carried the sorrow all of his life.   He was delighted when his son-in-law, John, became a fireman, even though it was only for five years.
Dad worked at Cockshutt Farm Equipment, in Hagersville as a fireman for a brief time and finally as a school custodian.  The children loved ‘Mr. Laskey’ coming to be with him in the school’s boiler room.  He took an early retirement due to problems with his heart. 
Dad was a member of the Brantford Corps of The Salvation Army serving in his later years as The Welcome Sergeant. People loved his beautiful smile greeting them as they entered the church on Sunday morning.  He was the Corps Cadet Leader for some time.  His love of the Bible remained with him all of his life. He had many versions of the Bible and knew many verses by heart.  He was often asked to speak both in Brantford and out of town and relished these moments ‘in the limelight’. 
He was also a member of The Odd Fellows Lodge, The Masons and very late in life, The Shriners.  He was so proud of belonging to each of these lodges serving at District Deputy Grand Master and Chaplain for IOOF. 
His wife, Eva Booth (Robinson) Laskey predeceased him on March 7, 1986.  Dad followed six years later on May 1, 1992.  He left three children, Joan (Guy) Jolin, Windsor, Ontario, George (Gale), Bruderheim, Alberta and Jean (John) Henderson, St. George, Ontario as well as twelve grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren.  He is buried beside his beloved wife in Mount Hope Cemetery, Brantford, Ontario.  The words at the bottom of the monument read ‘Love First, Love Last’.  These four words express fully the life my father lived.  Love for his wife and family, for his country, for his lodge mates and for his fellow Firefighters but most of all for the God he served so well all of his life.

Submitted by Joan M. R. Jolin, George's eldest daughter
   

 

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