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Honorary Colonel David Lloyd Hart of 34 Signal Regiment.

Yves Bélanger - Journal Servir

He is 100 years old, but his memory is infallible. Honorary Colonel David Lloyd Hart of 34 Signal Regiment (34 Sig Regt), who recently marked his 80th year of service with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), tells us about his military career.

He was barely 20 when he decided to enrol in the Reserves in 1937, two years before the outbreak of the Second World War. During the war, he deployed to England and France. He recounts with emotion the raid on Dieppe in which he took part as a sergeant. “We were being shot at. The fire came from everywhere, and thousands of men around me were being killed. We were pinned down on the beach, and I really thought I was going to die or be taken prisoner.” He reminds us that among the 6100 Allied soldiers in the raid, nearly 5000 were Canadian. Canadian casualties numbered 3367.

The memory of that day has forever been branded into his consciousness. He explains that what the Allies encountered was not at all what they anticipated. “For all that we were well trained, we did not have the correct information. We were expecting to come up against a group of 1000 German soldiers. Instead, there were more like 6000 waiting for us.”

HCol Hart, who worked in communications, explains that he spend most of the battle in the front lines sending updates to headquarters, which then issued the troops orders to move, reinforce positions and retreat. “Communications were essential to their survival.”

He recalls that at one point he cut off all contact with headquarters until he could find a frequency that would put him in touch with the members of the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa and the South Saskatchewan Regiment. “They were engaging the enemy and could not be reached by the senior commanders. I managed to contact them and relay the orders to retreat.”

Among other things, his taking part in this historic operation one day led to his meeting King George VI. “I was invited to Buckingham Palace, where His Majesty awarded me the Military Medal for gallantry,” he states proudly.

80 years of military life

Once the Second World War had ended, HCol Hart stayed in the Reserves. In civilian life, he studied accounting. In 1965, he reached the rank of lieutenant-colonel, some time before his retirement. He was Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of 34 Sig Regt from 1976 to 2013, when he was promoted Honorary Colonel.

On Tuesday, October 3, members of the Regiment celebrated with great pomp and circumstance HCol Hart’s 80 years of military life at the St. Catherine Armoury in Westmount. Serving as Reviewing Officer for the parade, he inspected the troops and spoke to remind the reservists of the importance of their commitment. Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-François Denis and Regimental Sergeant-Major Master Warrant Officer Gaétan Caron presented him with a copy of the History of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals.

HCol Hart is today the longest-serving officer in the Canadian Armed Forces.




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