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Memorial Cross Presentation

    On May 20, 2008, the Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs, presented to Maxine Gillespie, widow of Veteran Charles Nevin Gillespie , a Memorial Cross-one of Canada's most highly regarded honours. Mr. Gillespie, who served overseas in the Second World War aboard two torpedo boats and the minesweeper HMCS Bayfield, was remembered for his service and dedication during the ceremony at St. George, New Brunswick.


The Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs, speaking at
the Memorial Cross presentation in St. George, New Brunswick.


Minister Thompson addresses the recipient and guests at the ceremony.


Minister Thompson presents the Memorial Cross to Maxine Gillespie.


Minister Thompson presents the Memorial Cross to Maxine Gillespie.


Minister Thompson presents the Memorial Cross to Maxine Gillespie.


Minister Thompson with Harold Gillespie, first cousin of Charlie Gillespie.


Minister Thompson with Herbert Matthews, comrade of Charlie Gillespie.


The Gillespie Family.


Minister Thompson presents a poster to Rolland Chater, Local President
(Branch #40) of the Royal Canadian Legion.

SOURCE: Minister's Corner, Veterans Affairs Canada website.

Speaking Notes for The Honourable Greg Thompson
Minister of Veterans Affairs
Memorial Cross Presentation to Maxine Gillespie, Widow of Veteran Charles Nevin Gillespie
St. George, New Brunswick
May 20, 2008

Mrs. Gillespie, honoured Veterans, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a special honour to be here this morning.

And before I go any further, I'd like to thank the Royal Canadian Legion for organizing this presentation of the Memorial Cross.

The Memorial Cross, or as we commonly refer to it, the Silver Cross, was created in 1919.

The medal recognizes the personal loss and sacrifice of those whose husbands, wives, sons, and brothers, laid down their lives in the service of our country-or whose death resulted from military service.

For decades, Canada's young men and women sacrificed all they knew-all the comforts of home-in order to defend peace and freedom around the world.

Whether it was the First or Second World Wars, the Korean War, peacekeeping missions or operational deployments, Canadians have always stepped up to defend our shared values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

Some of these courageous Canadians returned with physical and emotional scars. Others never came back at all.

We owe it to them to learn, to understand and to appreciate their sacrifices.

But we also owe it to their families to honour their personal loss and sacrifice. They too, know that freedom is not free. It has never been free. It comes with a terrible price, and Canada has felt it in every community across our great country.

And that is why we are here today.

Charlie Gillespie served in the Second World War. From 1942 to 1945 he served with crews on two torpedo boats and the minesweeper HMCS Bayfield. He was a dedicated sailor who made a remarkable contribution to Canada's wartime effort. He embodied the values of our truest heroes.

Sadly, he passed away last November after a courageous-and final battle-with cancer.

Charlie's service-as with all of Canada's Veterans'-must be remembered and passed on from one generation to the next. It is our duty to remember them. And our privilege to honour them.

Mrs. Gillespie, please come forward and join me here.

It is my very great honour, on behalf of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, to present the Memorial Cross in honour of your family's personal loss and sacrifice.

On behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, let me express our condolences and say a heartfelt "thank you" for your husband's service to our country.

Lest we forget.

SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada website.

Widow of Veteran Charles Nevin Gillespie Receives Memorial Cross

St. George, NB - The Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today presented to Maxine Gillespie, widow of Veteran Charles Nevin Gillespie, a Memorial Cross-one of Canada's most highly regarded honours. Mr. Gillespie, who served overseas in the Second World War aboard two torpedo boats and the minesweeper HMCS Bayfield, was remembered for his service and dedication during the ceremony.

"Charlie's service-as with all of Canada's Veterans'-must be remembered and passed on from one generation to the next. It is our duty to honour them," said Minister Thompson. "He was a dedicated sailor who made a remarkable contribution to Canada's wartime effort. He embodied the values of our truest heroes."

Many of Charles Gillespie's family members and comrades from The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 40 in St. George were present for the ceremony. "Charlie was so very proud of being a veteran and of his medals, he would be especially proud to know of this medal," said Mrs. Gillespie.

The Memorial Cross, often referred to as the Silver Cross, was created in 1919 to commemorate the dead of the First World War. It has historically been awarded to mothers and widows, or their eldest surviving next of kin, of Canadian Forces members who died on active duty, or whose death was attributed to such duty.

SOURCE: New Release, Veterans Affairs Canada website.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: Charlie was the son of Hugh Wellsley GILLESPIE (1892-1968) from Pennfield, NB and Nina Evadna MATTHEWS (1899-1990) from L'Etete, NB. 

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