The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 49 Mahone Bay presented its first poppy in this year's Remembrance campaign at Fishermen's Memorial Hospital in Lunenburg October 22. It was given to David Waterbury, a 99-year-old veteran who holds a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).
The poppy has become an international symbol of remembrance and honour of those who have died during war. The annual Remembrance Poppy campaign raises funds for veterans' causes; the Mahone Bay legion's campaign this year began on October 30.
Waterbury was born in Wolfville and retired in Mahone Bay. He's currently a resident of the Veterans' Unit at Fishermen's Memorial Hospital
In July, 1941, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in Halifax. After receiving air crew instruction at various training schools in Canada, Waterbury graduated as a navigator in September 1942, from No. 1 Air Navigation School at Rivers, Manitoba. He received additional training overseas and was then posted to No. 162 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron, then based in Yarmouth.
In early 1944, the squadron was stationed first in Iceland and then in northern Scotland to carry out anti-submarine patrols.
According to a report in Trident, the newspaper of Maritime Forces Atlantic, on June 13, 1944 the crew was on patrol off Norway in a Canso 9816 aircraft when they spotted a U-boat. They dropped depth charges and managed to sink the U-boat, but not before it fired on the Canso. The pilot brought the aircraft down on the water, but it was badly damaged and the crew had to abandon it before it sank. One of the two dinghies blew up and there was barely enough room for the eight crew members in the remaining dinghy, which was designed for four passengers.
An air/sea rescue aircraft overflew the area and dropped a lifeboat for them, but it landed some distance away. "Waterbury, who was a strong swimmer, swam to retrieve it and dragged it back with him. The water was frigid and by the time a high speed launch arrived to rescue them, three of the crew members had died," reported Trident.
"But for Waterbury's courage and determination, the whole crew would have perished," noted the Mahone Bay Legion's release.
In recognition of his skill and courage, on October 16, 1946 Waterbury was awarded a DFC.