In celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th anniversary of accession to the throne, the Governor General of Canada has produced a commemorative medal in her honour.
Sixty thousand Canadians will be awarded the new medal in a year-long celebration for services to their area or who have brought credit to Canada.
Ponoka’s Jim Golley was one such recipient of the Diamond Jubilee Medal recently for services to Canada in the Second World War. The 93-year-old veteran travelled to the Number 5 Bombing and Gunnery School near Dafoe, Sask. June 3 to receive the medal from Senator Pamela Wallin.
Golley was in the army from 1940 to 1945 and despite an ulcer that prevented him from fighting in Europe, was still able to serve as an airplane mechanic at the gunnery school.
Approximately 1,200 people attended the ceremony at the old air base to see Golley and another veteran receive the award. Golley was surprised and honoured by the commendation.
“I didn’t expect it to begin with. I was quite honoured to have it given to me,” he stated.
It was the Wynyard, Sask. Legion that nominated the veteran; the family was almost able to keep the nomination a secret until Golley received a phone call from Wallin’s assistant a few days before. The cat was out of the bag and Golley made the trip with his son, daughter-in-law, and Terry, his wife of 41 years.
Wallin said in her speech that Saskatchewan was ideal for airfields. “It’s no surprise that there were more of these schools in Saskatchewan than any other province aside from Ontario. Two words sum it up. Flat land, and lots of it – perfect for new airfields.”
She added the theme of the Queen’s Jubilee should be service. “No one anywhere has shown greater devotion to service than Queen Elizabeth — service to all of us in Britain, in Canada and indeed the entire Commonwealth. Day in and day out for 60 years, she has been there for us, an inspiration, setting the very finest example for us all. As Princess Elizabeth during the Second World War, she and her family stayed in London during the Blitz. They didn’t flee to a safe haven. During this time, Buckingham Palace suffered nine direct bomb hits, but still they stayed.”
Golley is proud of the work he did as a veteran and he enjoyed members of the Royal Canadian Air Force 15 Wing do a fly past as well as model airplane flights, and to meet Wallin. “It was nice to meet her.”
He is also pretty handy with machines and residents might be able to recognize some of his toy cars in the Canada Day parade in Ponoka. Golley built a miniature road grader, car and bulldozer with scraper that is driven in the parade.