November 11, 2017 8:55 pm
Updated: November 13, 2017 9:24 am

Four generations of the Woolsey family take part in Remembrance Day ceremony in Peterborough

Four generations of the Woolsey family were on hand as they watched 93-year-old, Second World War vet James W. Woolsey take part in the parade.


There was a large crowd at Confederation Square in Peterborough on Saturday for the annual Remembrance Day ceremony.

It was a special occasion for the Woolsey family, as four generations of the family came together to celebrate and give thanks to 93-year-old, Second World War veteran James W. Woolsey.

Woolsey was just 16 years old when he joined the Canadian Armed Forces. Too young to actually enlist, he was able to use a railroad identification that had mistakenly indicated that he was 17, an error he used to his advantage.

“I am overjoyed,” said Woolsey, following the Remembrance Day ceremony.

READ MORE: Hundreds gather at Old City Hall for Remembrance Day service

A member of the 4th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment of the RCA, Woolsey was sent to Sussex, N.B., for training before he was shipped out to England where he celebrated his 17th birthday on a ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

James W. Woolsey had lied about his age to join the Royal Canadian Army when he was just 16 years old.

Woolsey family

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His regiment fought in Italy before he was sent to Belgium to battle the German forces, and when the war was over, he was sent to Holland after they helped liberate the country.

“I was very lucky to come back,” said Woolsey with his family by his side. “I lost a lot of friends.”

It’s easy for the 93-year-old to get emotional when thinking about the days of war but he doesn’t like to miss a Remembrance Day parade either. Last year, a health issue kept him from being at the ceremony for the first time in many years, and so this time around, there was no way he was going to miss it — nor was the Woolsey family.

Four generations of the family all gathered for the Remembrance Day parade. It was granddaughter Bridie Tindill who took on the role of the organizer to make sure her grandfather was there. She walked behind him in the parade, pushing him along in his wheelchair.

“I just thought it was very important for Grandpa to be in the parade, as we don’t know how many more years he’s going to be able to attend,” said Tindill. “I just wanted my kids and I to be a part of him walking down the street because we are very proud of him.”

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Large crowds lined the streets to pay tribute to the veterans. John Woolsey, who is one of James’ four children, says he was overcome with pride as he watched his father and family march along George Street.

“This is the first time we’ve actually had the four generations together for a Remembrance Day ceremony,” said the eldest son. “Dad sacrificed a lot with that and I’ve heard stories over the years and I know the effect it’s had on the veterans but the fact they did it for their country and grandchildren and great-grandchildren is a very touching thing.”

The ceremony and parade attracted hundreds this year and will surely be a Remembrance Day everyone remembers, especially the Woolsey family.

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