MANITOULIN—The Sergeant Charles Golden Silver Star Memorial Rifle Team attended its first series of memorial services this past weekend starting at the Hilly Grove Cemetery in Assiginack Township.
“Last June I posted in the Legion in Little Current that I wanted to put up a colour party for my uncle that died in WWII, but I couldn’t get a firing team assembled,” explained Vietnam veteran Wayne Golden. “I couldn’t get the support I needed, so I purchased all the rifles and sought out members for a rifle team. No vet in any country should be put in the ground without being given supreme honours.”
The Sergeant Charles Golden Silver Star Memorial Rifle Team consists of Legionnaires and war pensioners from the Island and North Shore area.
The current members consist of Mr. Golden, Gary Trimmer, Paul Abbott, Dan McGauley and flag bearer Robert Smith.
Saturday afternoon, the rifle team gave tribute to WWII veteran Jack McGauley (the father of Dan McGauley), WWII veterans Avery Smith (father of Robert Smith) and Percy Smith (his uncle), as well as WWII veteran David Harrison, firing three shots for each soldier.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Mr. McGauley of the ceremony for his father. “It now feels complete. I feel better and so does he. He lives on and this was very important to me.”
“My father was stationed in England and was a barber,” Mr. Smith told The Expositor. “After my uncle was wounded, he actually sat in my dad’s chair to get his hair cut and they didn’t recognize each other until after. I don’t know how to put today into words, but it’s amazing that Wayne (Golden) organized this group and Colin Pick these services.”
The last service of the afternoon was for David Harrison, 1923-2010, a WWII veteran whose 90-year-old wife was present with her family for the service.
“We met just after the war in Toronto and were married in 1946,” said Glenora Harrison. “We eventually moved to the Island. Today is really special for me and our family—remembering his contribution to the war.”
The Sergeant Charles Golden Silver Star Memorial Rifle Team is looking for more volunteers. Anyone looking to volunteer or for more information can contact Wayne Golden at 705-865-1597.