Veterans at the Library speakers

Hear Canadian veterans tell their stories and ask them questions on Tuesday, November 10 from 1 to 4 p.m. 

  • Jim Gardiner
  • Ronald Green
  • Tom Jenkins
  • Bill Macleod
  • Gordon Ross
  • Lance Steel
  • Harry Watts

Jim Gardiner

Jim Gardiner joined the army right out of high school in North Bay. He served for 23 years in the Royal Canadian Regiment infantry. He retired from the army as a sergeant and moved to Kitchener. During his time in the military he served in four United Nations tours. Two tours were in Cyprus and two in Yugoslavia. He also did five trips to Norway for Cold War training. As well, he spent three years in training recruits which he found very interesting. Currently, Jim Gardiner is the President of the local Royal Canadian Regiment Association, Waterloo-Wellington Branch.

Ronald Green

Ronald Green joined the army at the age of 16. He served with The Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) from 1962-1967. During his service he spent three years in Canada and two years in Germany as part of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Ronald is a trained paratrooper who was also trained in signals, machine gunner and anti-tank roles. During the Cuban Missile Crisis he was placed on high alert and told to be ready at a moment’s notice should the worst happen. 

Ronald has taken part in winter exercises in Alaska with the U.S. army. He also had the privilege to be part of the first Canadian unit to raise the new Canadian flag on foreign soil, Alaska. He and his unit affectionately called themselves the Cold War Warriors.

During his service he also visited Bergen-Belsen concentration camp 20 years after its liberation.

Ronald served with the Canadian Forces during very tense periods of the Cold War.

Tom Jenkins

Tom Jenkins joined the Artillery Reserves in Brandon, Manitoba while still in high school in 1972. In January, 1974 he was released from the Reserves and joined the regular force of the Canadian Forces. After basic training in Canadian Forces Base (CFB) in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, he reported for “my trades training” at the Canadian Forces School of Communications Electronics and Engineering at CFB Kingston, Ontario. Tom eventually joined the communicator research trade in signals intelligence whose focus is listening in on the enemy.

After the trades training he reported to his first posting at Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Inuvik, N.W.T. From there he had the opportunity to serve in various postings around Canada and the world, including posts in Bermuda, and an exchange posting with the Americans at United States Army Field Station Augsburg in Augsburg, Germany.

Tom’s deployments included five tours to CFS Alert — a listening post located approximately 450 nautical miles from the North Pole on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island. In 2001 he did a six-month tour at Camp Butmir, a NATO base located just outside Sarajevo, Bosnia. Just prior to being released from the Armed Forces, he did a six-month tour of Camp Mirage which was located on the outskirts of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This was Canada's support base for all personnel and materials heading into and out of Afghanistan.

Tom Jenkins joined as a private and rose to the highest enlisted rank, chief warrant officer. After six years in that rank he accepted his commission and was promoted to captain. Tom served his final three years in that rank. He retired after more than 37 years of service in August, 2009.

Bill Macleod

Bill Macleod was born in Glace Bay, Cape Breton and spent his youth enjoying playing hockey, rugby, and baseball. Upon enlisting in the Armed Forces he served in The Royal Canadian Medical Corp. During his time in the service he served in three United Nations tours in Cyprus.  Bill is also a recording artist and an author of several books.

Gordon Ross

Gordon Ross served first in the Reserves, and from 1977 onward he served with the Regular Force. He was a member of the 16th Medical Company. This company provides medical support to other units in the 38th Canadian Brigade Group. Gordon’s trade was a vehicle technician. In 1994, during the Bosnian War, Gordon was deployed as part of the United Nations peace-keeping efforts.  

Lance Steel

Major (Retired) Lance Steel, CD joined the army at the age of 16. He served in the technical branch of the army called the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers or RCEME (pronounced REME) for 36 years. During this time he served in a number of units in Canada, completing two tours of duty with NATO during the Cold War and a tour of duty with the United Nations on United Nations Emergency Force II (UNEF II) separating the Egyptian and Israeli armies in the buffer zone established in the Sinai.

Near the end of his career served as the systems engineer on a $400-million, heavy truck acquisition project and was assigned to the international standby list for a year to go on short notice to any area in the world where Canada might require a technical assessment before committing technical troops. Lance Steel also boxed extensively for the army, managing to win a silver medal in the last army boxing championships held in 1963.

He is soon to celebrate 50 years of marriage and also the proud grandfather of five grandchildren with a suspicion that a sixth is on its way. 

Harry Watts

Harry Watts joined the Canadian forces in 1942 and was in the Royal Armoured Corps. He ended up in the 5th Division acting a dispatch rider with a small group that was called the Divisional Maintenance Area. His mission was transporting top-secret information and messages that were too important to transmit by radio or telephone because these could be tapped into by the Germans. Occasionally he was also required to do convoy duty ensuring that supplies or reinforcements got to their proper location.

Harry Watts served in Italy from November, 1943 until March, 1945. In March, 1945 he was moved to northwestern Europe and was part of the drive into Holland. He stayed in Holland until Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day) on May 8, 1945. 

In 2008, Harry Watts was inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame representing the service of all Canadian dispatch riders.

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