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.

March 9, 1942

Gave HQ Company Lucky Strikes, American Cigarettes - are rare - so one to each.  I have now given to men of brigade over 50,000 ($1117.50 in Canadian money).  These cigarettes came from friends in Windsor and elsewhere.

Evening about 9:30:

I was answering mail accompanied by the roar of the channel.  Suddenly windows shake violently, siren hadn’t sounded.  It must be a sea battle.  Concussion travels many miles.  It reminded us of the noisy days at Aldershot during Battle of Britain.  It’s a good thing to hear these bombs.  Some never hear them and will never again hear with mortal ears.

“The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave.
Await alike the inevitable hour,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”
 ~ General Wolf

1 comment:

  1. Are you paying more than $5 / pack of cigs? I'm buying my cigarettes over at Duty Free Depot and I'm saving over 60%.