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N.S. Second World War veteran dies just before his 100th birthday

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One the best-known remaining Second World War veterans in the Maritimes has passed away.

Retired Merchant Navy Captain Earle Wagner of Halifax died Friday at the age of 99.

Wagner said he knew from an early age he wanted a life at sea, just like his uncle before him.

“In Grade 6, I wrote an essay, and I wanted to be a captain in the Merchant Navy,” he told CTV News earlier this year.

Wagner signed up to serve when he was 17-years-old and fought in the Battle of the Atlantic.

He later went on to have a long career in the marine industry.

Wagner was also among those who pushed Ottawa to provide Merchant Navy veterans the same recognition and benefits as their counterparts in the Canadian Armed Forces. They won their fight in 1992, although it wasn’t until 2000 that retroactive benefits were paid out back to the end of the Second World War to the veterans who remained.

Wagner also ensured those who died in service were remembered with a special monument on the Halifax waterfront.

He appeared on CTV News programs several times over the years, most recently during CTV News at 6 on Remembrance Day less than a month ago.

Wagner said he was looking forward to having a bowl of fish chowder for his 100th birthday, which was coming up on Christmas Day.

His family is working on arrangements for a celebration of life that will likely take place near the end of the month.

His son says the family is proud of the life their father lived, and the legacy he leaves behind.

With files from CTV's Bruce Frisko

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