MONTREAL, Sept. 21, 2017 /CNW/ - Canada's national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas enable Canadians to experience their rich and varied history in a special way. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, the Government of Canada invites Canadians to experience nature and learn more about our history. Parks Canada places reflect the rich and varied heritage of our country and provide an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about our diversity, including the history, cultures and contributions of Indigenous Peoples.
Today, at the Lachine Canal National Historic Site, Parks Canada honoured Montreal-born Commander J. Campbell Clouston of the Royal Navy as a Hometown Hero. The commemorative ceremony was attended by the late Commander's son from England and grandson from Australia. In keeping with navy traditions, the ceremony included a military band, the firing of a cannon, a minute of silence, the ringing of a ship's bell, and the tossing of flowers into the water.
The Government of Canada is committed to connecting Canadians to the significant events that contributed to our country's rich history and heritage, particularly as we mark the centennial of the First World War, the 75th anniversary of the Second World War and the 375th anniversary of the city of Montreal. In 1940, Commander J. Campbell Clouston played a pivotal role during Operation Dynamo in the evacuation of trapped British, French and Belgian troops from the beaches of Dunkirk, France. The majority of the 338 000 troops that were saved from Dunkirk embarked from the east mole under Clouston's command. His personal example of courage was largely responsible for the maintenance of discipline and efficiency in the successful operation.
Commander Clouston joins a growing list of Canadians who have been recognized for their achievements during the First World War or the Second World War. Launched by Parks Canada in 2015 as a community-based initiative, Hometown Heroes honours and tells the stories of ordinary citizens, both civilian and military, who contributed to Allied efforts during the two world wars and also provides Canadians with unique opportunities to connect with history. To date, more than 100 Canadians from across the country have been recognized through interpretive panels displayed on the Parks Canada website and at national historic sites in their hometown. By sharing these exemplary stories with Canadians, we express gratitude for their service and sacrifices.
This year also marks the centennial of national historic sites and Parks Canada invites Canadians to discover and be inspired by the stories of the people, places, and events that shaped the Canada of today. Take advantage of free admission to Parks Canada national historic sites in 2017, and discover truly Canadian places and stories.
"Honouring Commander J. Campbell Clouston as a Hometown Hero for his sacrifice and his courageous military service at Dunkirk in 1940, demonstrates the importance of Canada's participation in the First World War and the Second World War and how it touched every community in this country. As part of the centennial of national historic sites, the Government of Canada invites Canadians to be inspired and captivated by the stories of the people, places and events that shaped the Canada of today."
The Honourable Catherine McKenna,
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
- J. Campbell Clouston was born near the Lachine Canal in Montreal, Quebec, on August 31, 1900. He attended Lower Canada College, and McGill University where he studied engineering before enlisting in Britain's Royal Navy in 1918.
- While returning to Dunkirk on June 2, 1940 to coordinate the rescue of remaining French and Belgian soldiers, Commander Clouston's motor launch was attacked and sunk by enemy aircraft. Campbell Clouston perished at sea and was later laid to rest at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Becklingen War Cemetery in Germany.
- Open to recreational boating since 2002, the Lachine Canal's history stretches over more than 150 years. The canal was the port of entry for a canal network that linked the Atlantic to the heart of the continent. Its development influenced the urbanization of the South-West of the island of Montreal.
Backgrounder: Commander J. Campbell Clouston
Commander J. Campbell Clouston
J. Campbell Clouston was born near the Lachine Canal in Montreal, Quebec, on August 31, 1900, to William Stewart Clouston and Evelyn Campbell, from Lachine. Subsequently living across from the Pointe-Claire Yacht Club, "Campbell," as referred to by family and friends, learned to sail on nearby Lake Saint Louis, winning, the Challenge Cup in 1913. He attended Lower Canada College, and then McGill University where he studied engineering for a year before enlisting in Britain's Royal Navy in 1918 as a special entry cadet.
Over the next two decades, Clouston rose through the officer ranks. He trained at the Royal Naval Gunnery School at HMS Excellent, Whale Island, Portsmouth, later serving as gunnery commander at this establishment in the first half of the 1930s. He also obtained his air pilot's license. During his tenure at the school, the Admiralty had Clouston develop anti-aircraft tactics to neutralize the growing airborne threat posed by planes on Britain's naval fleet. Students were subsequently trained in these new techniques.
He was appointed to command the destroyer HMS Isis in 1937. In 1940, with Isis laid up for repairs following intense action during the Norwegian campaign, and as British, French and Belgian soldiers were being pushed back to the coast of France at Dunkirk by advancing German forces, Commander Clouston, took part in Operation Dynamo (May 26 - June 4) to evacuate the trapped Allied troops. As piermaster of the east mole, while under enemy fire, he worked courageously around the clock for six days organizing and overseeing the boarding of troops onto waiting ships.
Although expectations were for 45,000 to be evacuated, the "Miracle of Dunkirk" resulted in more than 338,000 troops saved. The majority of those were embarked from the east mole under Clouston's command. After a brief meeting in England, and while returning to Dunkirk on June 2 to coordinate the rescue of remaining French and Belgian soldiers, his motor launch was attacked and sunk by enemy aircraft. Campbell Clouston perished at sea and was later laid to rest at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Becklingen War Cemetery in Germany. In the London Times, Captain William Tennant, Senior Naval Officer at Dunkirk and future Admiral, described the actions of the pier party who worked without rest for days, writing: "No one is more deserving of praise than Commander Clouston."
The Clouston family has deep roots in Canada extending back to the late-eighteenth century when Clouston's great-grandfather arrived from Orkney, Scotland, as an agent of the Hudson's Bay Company. Subsequent generations also held positions in the company, with his grandfather, James Stewart Clouston, being chief trader and chief factor at the Lachine post for a decade. Other family members became involved in organized sports and Canada's growing financial sector, including his father and his uncle, Sir Edward Seaborne Clouston, who held leadership roles with the Bank of Montreal. It was this same uncle who played in the very first indoor ice hockey game in 1875 and who was also a trustee of the Stanley Cup. It is noteworthy that J. Campbell was also an avid hockey player.
Parks Canada "Hometown Heroes" program
Canada's participation in the First World War (1914-1918) and the Second World War (1939-1945) touched every community in this country. In 2014, the Government of Canada launched a seven year commemoration period to mark the centennial of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the Second World War. As part of this program, Parks Canada developed the Hometown Heroes program. Now very well known, the program honours the courage of individuals from all walks of life who made unique contributions to the war effort. Their exploits are told through posters, exhibits and special events across the country. To date, more than 25 Parks Canada places have taken part in the program and more than 100 individuals have been recognized.
Lachine Canal National Historic Site
The Lachine Canal's history stretches over more than 150 years. The canal was the port of entry for a canal network that linked the Atlantic to the heart of the continent. Its development influenced the urbanization of the South-West of the island of Montréal. The waterway and its surroundings bear witness to the role of the Lachine Canal in the development of the Canadian manufacturing industry.
SOURCE Parks Canada (Georgian Bay and Ontario East Field Unit)
For further information: Alice Carvalho, Public Relations and Communications Officer, Quebec Waterways, Parks Canada, 514-566-9885, email@example.com; Media Relations, Parks Canada Agency, 855-862-1812, firstname.lastname@example.org