| Nov 08, 2007


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In Remembrance - November 8, 2007 John Ross Matheson: A Great Canadian and Soldierby Don Antoine

Italy, mid December 1943 - On our approach to Ortona, the driver of the half tracked light armoured open top Bren gun carrier moved carefully through the front lines of the Infantry to a high point where the forward observation officer had a good view of the enemy lines. While there were many good targets for his 24 artillery guns, his main concern was the formation of an attack well back on the enemy lines.

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While the officer brought shell fire upon their position,the enemy continued to advance. Forcing him to draw the shell fire closer to himself and his men. Under heavy shelling the enemy finally withdrew, when the carrier received a direct hit - the driver was killed and of the two radio operators in the back, one was killed and the other severely wounded. The officer sustained severe head wounds. He spent two years in a Montreal hospital with a sound mind, but no memory.

Years later we met many times, including an occasion when he gave a guest speech at our Legion Memorial Dinner. While reminiscing about the regiment and his fellow officers, the memories would come back to him. After his recovery, he became a lawyer, Member of Parliament, and as a Member of the Privy Council he designed the Canadian Flag. He was a judge for many years in Perth.

This officer was Colonel John Ross Matheson, CD, QC, MA, LLM, LLD and he is well known in his beloved Royal Canadian Horse Artillery Club House as "J.R." Today, he and his wife are doing well in Kingston, at the age of 92 years.

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