~ Summer 2009 Edition
~ This edition written by Colin Stephenson ~
and Glen Pettinger
Member at Large
Come on back!
The first Probus Perth meeting for 2009-10 will be held on Wednesday, September 2nd at the Perth Legion. Based on the plans to date, this year promises to be another good one in terms of the quality of both speakers and special events.
Reflecting back on the past year, most members would probably agree that it was a very successful one in terms of the quality and diversity of the speakers, the delightful anecdotes contained in the self-introductions and the enjoyment of those taking part in the special activities. Who will ever forget the moving personal account of D-Day given by our own Peter Craske (see below)?
The address by General Lewis McKenzie was remarkable in terms of profile and personal insight. The presentations by authors McKenty and Needham were both highly entertaining, as was the demonstration of powered flight by Frank Roy. Indeed all of the other speakers were memorable. as well for various reasons. The Special Activities included a unique golf Tournament / book exchange combo, "Forever Plaid" at the Gananoque Playhouse, and visits to the RCAF Museum and Fortune Farms Sugar Bush. Will the current year be as interesting? You will have to participate to find out.
Recollections of the Longest Day
It was entirely fitting that the June meeting should be given over to a presentation on D-Day, on this the 65th anniversary of the crucial turning point in World War II. It was even more fitting that the address should be given by Probus Perth member Peter Craske. That he should deliver his message so eloquently and so movingly was something that few among us will ever forget. Luckily, the address was filmed for posterity and the text is available (minus the extemporaneous asides) on our website (click here), for those who may have missed it.
On that historic mission, Peter was directly involved as a member of the 512 Squadron of the Royal Air Force. This was a Transport Squadron with the job of dropping paratroops, towing gliders of the army’s Airborne Divisions, and a myriad of other jobs. The notation in Peter's RAF logbook read: "June 5th 1944 2100 Hours Aircraft: Dakota FZ647 Operation “Tonga” D-Day minus 1. 17 Paratroops dropped on Zone Z, south of Ouistreham, Normandy, France".
Longest day contin.....
The conditions can only be described as chilling. The mission involved flying unarmed aircraft, which flew at slow speeds and were a sitting target for any predatory German fighters that came along. Also, by Air Force policy they did not carry parachutes for the crews of their aircraft. The 17 paratroopers were heavily loaded with arms, ammunition, and other equipment. In the fading light, their faces blackened, Peter observed that they looked like creatures from another planet. After dropping the paratroopers at the designated location, the Dakota returned at very low altitude to avoid enemy fire. From time to time they observed other planes being shot down. After they landed, the Dakota was quickly serviced and they were in the sky again, this time towing heavy Horsa gliders loaded with men, jeeps and even field artillery. This was a very slow flight since the loaded gliders weighed almost as much as the aircraft and consequently the danger from enemy aircraft was much greater. The great armada of airplanes and gliders flew across the Channel in a stream that stretched over fifty miles, flying six abreast almost nose to tail. For Peter, only ten days past his 22nd birthday on D-Day, taking part in this huge operation was just a job to be done – notwithstanding the scared feeling of being surrounded by so much danger, and the inevitable loss of many of his comrades. These are just a few excerpts pulled from Peter's stirring account, but you can read a more complete version on our website (click here).
Guests and members of other Probus Clubs are welcome to join our special events. If you have an idea for an activity you think other Probus members might enjoy, please talk to one of the members of the Management Team.
Management Team Notes
On 15 June, 38 members of the Perth Probus Club met for dinner at the Links O" Tay Golf Club in Perth. Twenty of their number had engaged in a serious and intense battle on the links for the previous two and one half hours. Somewhat exhausted but now somewhat refreshed by cooling libations and friendlier conversations, they told of their trials and suffering. The victors, Irene Casselman, Mike Else, and Rod and Shirley McLean, scored a commendable one under par 34 on the tough front nine. This may be the best score in the ten- year history of the Probus Golf Tournament and researchers are busily checking this out as we go to press. After dinner, prizes in the form of favoured books were exchanged and Peter Craske entertained by involving everyone in a singalong which he led with his accordion. Some exceptional talent revealed itself and it was decided to form a Glee Club then and there!!! Thus was born the Perth Probus Golf Tournament, Book Exchange, Dinner, and Voluntary Glee Club (PPGTBED&VGC for short).
We hope that everyone had a good time. We know that the Book Exchange did not work out for everyone, but we hope to remedy that before the October meeting.
Self Introduction ~ Bruce Gourley
As our President pro tem for 2009-2010, it was particularly fitting to hear from Bruce Gourley in this his second self-introduction. Bruce's early formative years were spent in Fort Smith and he has only vague recollection of the place. His family moved to Ottawa before the war and to Port Credit after the war. He took Civil Engineering at Queen's University. After a stint back in Port Credit, he moved to Ottawa as an engineering consultant. Just some of the interesting assignments included work on the expropriation of Lebreton Flats in Ottawa, the construction of maximum security facilities for Penitentiary Services and structural work for Code's Mill in Perth. Bruce then underwent a career change and joined the Carleton Board of Education in Ottawa, for what turned out to be 25 years. During that time, he was involved with the construction of 10 to 12 elementary and secondary schools. He loved the management aspect and the people, but when the issue of the amalgamation of the Carleton and Ottawa Boards surfaced, he decided to take a buy out and to return to private consulting. Ultimately Bruce discovered that he preferred golf to consulting so elected to retire. His move to the Perth area was sealed while driving around the countryside one day in his jeep. He discovering an irresistible patch of rocks and dead sumac trees, which he promptly bought and on which he subsequently built his house. With his wealth of engineering and construction experience, we are confident that he will continue to build a solid structure for Probus Perth during his term as President.
Probus Box 2164, Perth, Ont., K7H 3M9
PROBUS CLUB OF PERTH
Statement of Cash Receipts and Disbursements
For Fiscal Year ending July 31, 2009
Bank Balance as of August 1, 2008 $3,247.22
Add: Probus Membership Dues 2,100.00
Oktoberfest Dinner Receipts: $1,537.50 less expenses of $1,675.92 (138.42)
Xmas Dinner Receipts: $2,760.00 less expenses of $2,905.47 (145.47)
Gan. Theatre Trip Receipts: $418.00 less expenses of $440.00 (22.00)
Golf Tournament Receipts: $.00 less expenses of $.00 0.00 .
Less: Operating Expenses:
Bank Charges $ 80.61
Legion Hall Rental 656.30
Name Tags and Pins 292.05
Office Supplies 145.77
Past President's Gift 75.00
Post Box Rental 131.25
Probus Centre Liability Insurance 317.50
Cenotaph Wreath 47.00
Legion Storage 50.00
Club banner 150.00
Speakers' Honoraria and Lunches 459.04
Bank Balance as of July 31, 2009 $2,262.82
Donald F. Sherwin,