In 1939, at the outbreak of WWII and seven years after having been ordained to the priesthood, Rev. Michael Joseph Dalton (May 5, 1902 - April 6, 2009) volunteered to join the Essex Scottish Regiment of the Canadian Army.

Although he could have avoided front line service due to his age and position, he insisted that it was his duty to serve. Father Mike saw active duty in England, France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany.

Father Mike was known to work on the front lines of military combat and often marched with his men, carrying their weapons when they grew fatigued. He was known to drive his jeep, often against orders, to the front lines of combat in order to hear confessions

Saying Mass until his death - just one month shy of his 107th birthday - Father Mike was believed to have been the oldest Catholic priest in Canada and Canada's oldest surviving serviceman from World War II. Father Mike kept a war diary documenting his service during the years 1939-1946. In 1979 he donated it to the National Archives of Canada.

Please join me as I transcribe his writings online.

August 11, 1941

“Our stay at Camberly introduced us to the largest Officer Military training school in the Sanhurst Empire”, Father related later.

Sunningdale was close to Camberly, the 4th Bde. H.Q. and Ascot was a twenty minute walk.

Father Mike said “I bumped into Count John McCormack in a Franciscan Church.  He often sang for us.”  Later he was to add, “Just heard last week twenty five years later that Protestant soldiers galore were outside of that packed Church to hear him sing “Panis Angelicus” and “Sweet Sacrament Divine”, as we all assembled for Mass.

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