Second World War veteran returns to his former port of call
Published Sunday, July 16, 2017 2:39PM ADT
A veteran who is believed to have been the youngest member of Canada’s navy has returned to Halifax – his former port of call – to relive the city as it once was.
Honourable William Winegard served on corvettes and was part of a crew that took the surrender of a German submarine near the end of World War II when he was just 17 years old.
"Against all kinds of odds these little ships, these little corvettes carried the bulk of the Battle of the Atlantic issues," he says.
Now living in Guelph, Ont., Halifax has always been a home away from home for Winegard. He still remembers the city how it was in the early 90s, including the good and the bad.
Now 91 years old, Winegard has to be guided by his caregiver’s grandson, Emmerison Millbury, Wingard boards the HMCS Sackville along the Halifax waterfront. Eager to share his memories, he points to the bow of the ship.
“I'd be standing up there. But every time you'd go through a big wave it would come up over the gun and hit the bridge right up there."
While gazing at the skyline on the waterfront, he remembers the people he met in the city who made a lasting impression on him.
“The people of Halifax treated us very well,” he says. “Some of the merchants no they took advantage of us because we had nowhere else to go but no one deserved what happened here immediately after the war.”
At the time of his last convoy – before leaving the navy after the war – he toured the East Coast, including former ports of call.
"I don't relive the war but I relive the ship and the spirit of comradery that keeps that ship going,” he says.
After wearing a lot of hats as a professor, university president and federal cabinet minister, Wingard says his greatest passion remains teaching and offering life lessons that are often rooted in his service.
"Do your duty. No excuses. Do your duty.”
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jayson Baxter.