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Veterans’ banners honour three brothers who all fought in armoured vehicles

This series looks at the 23 veterans whose faces appear on the downtown banners. This seventh and last article in the series features brothers Arthur, Malcolm and David Wilson.

Twenty-three banners featuring Moose Jaw veterans now hang from light poles on Main Street as part of a project that city hall pursued to honour those who served in war and peace.

Below are the biographies of three brothers who appear on the banners. The information comes from the City of Moose Jaw website.

This is part 7 of 7. 

Arthur George Wilson

Our father, Arthur George Wilson, was born to William and Annie (Sherris) Wilson on Nov. 8, 1923. He was raised on the BW Bar ranch southeast of Coderre, Sask. with four sisters and three brothers.   

George was only 17 when he and his two brothers joined the war effort on June 19, 1941. They were sent to Portage la Prairie, Man., and then on to Camp Borden, Ont., for basic training. George and Dave became part of the 9th Armoured Regiment of the B.C. Dragoons. Their younger brother, Mac, served with the North Strathcona Lighthorse Tank Corps.

By early November 1941, the Dragoons were boarding the H.M.T. Andes at Pier 21 in Halifax, N.S. A convoy of USA warships escorted them and other troop ships. About mid-ocean, they were met by British naval vessels that took over, delivering them safely into Liverpool, England on Nov. 22.  

It was at Marlborough, Wiltshire and Aldershot, Hampshire, where training with tanks, signalling and weapons was carried out. Whenever he was on leave, George would head into a city or up to Wishaw, Scotland, to visit his paternal grandfather and family.

After nearly two years in England, the time came to board the Samaria travelling to Naples, Italy. From there, the regiment fought its way through to France and later the Netherlands. During his years at the front, George was wounded once, thankfully not seriously.  

V-E Day on May 8, 1945, brought relief that the war in Europe was over. The B.C. Dragoons joined other Canadian units in moving approximately 140,000 German prisoners of war from the Western Netherlands to Germany.

All three brothers returned home with the Five-Year Medal and Clasp, the Defence Medal, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, the Italy Star, the France & Germany Star and the 1939-1945 Star. After being discharged on Dec. 7, 1945, George returned to ranching, taking over the family homestead. 

He knew a lot about horses. Often, he would be called to stock sales to help identify a colt. With one look, he could tell who its sire and dame were just by its features. He also settled many disputes.   

On Feb. 12, 1948, George married Fernande Marie Gaucher, daughter of Rosalphe and Bertha (Arguin) Gaucher. They had three children, living first on the ranch and later in Coderre. George was an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Coderre Branch No. 22 and one of the founding members of the Coderre Lions Club.  

After a battle with cancer, George died on May 10, 1979.

Malcolm (Mac) Wilson

Malcolm (Mac) Douglas Wilson was born at the BW Bar Ranch, six miles southeast of Coderre, Sask. Mac, along with brothers David and George, joined the army in June 1941. He trained with the Lord Strathcona Horse Corps in Regina, Portage La Prairie and Borden and could fill any position in a Sherman tank. 

On Dec. 8, 1941, he sailed for England on the Pasteur. Two days later, Mac celebrated his 17th birthday at sea, drinking stale, flat draft beer out of an aluminum mess tin. What a celebration! After further training in England, he headed to Europe to fight in the Italian Campaign.

After 18 months of battle, four Christmases, four birthdays and two wounds, he said goodbye to Italy on Feb. 18, 1945. Landing in France, he fought through Belgium and then to Holland. As part of the Canadian humanitarian effort, Mac came to the aid of many, including a young Dutch family. 

In May 1995, Gerdine Koopmans, the daughter of a family Malcolm helped, located him through his nickname “Lucky” in an ad in the Legion magazine. After 50 years, she finally located him to thank him, and they met in August 1995. Gerdine attended Mac’s 90th birthday party. 

May 8, 1945, was VE Day and Mac stayed behind to transport civilians back to their homes and to escort German soldiers out of Holland. On Jan. 19, 1946, he returned home to his family. He was two months into his 21st birthday.

Mac married Lil and they had five children. Both maintained a lifelong association with the Legion. Mac was awarded the Palm Leaf to the Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of his long and exemplary service to the Legion. 

Mac died on Sept. 30, 2015, two and a half months shy of his 91st birthday.

David Guy Wilson

Trooper David Guy Wilson was born on July 25, 1922, and raised southeast of Coderre, Sask. on the B.W. Ranch along with his three brothers and four sisters.

On June 19, 1941, David and his two younger brothers, Malcolm Douglas and Arthur George, went to Regina to enlist to fight in the Second World War. They were sent to Portage la Prairie and then to Camp Borden for basic training.  

Dave and brother George were assigned to the 9th Armoured Regiment of the B.C. Dragoons, while Mac was assigned to the Strathcona Light Tank Corps. Leaving from Pier 21 in Halifax, they arrived in Liverpool on Nov. 11, 1941. Dave soon found himself in battles in France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Belgium, and the central Mediterranean. On Dec. 7, 1945, Dave was discharged and returned home.

On Oct. 24, 1947, Dave married Therese Lepine, and they lived on the half-section farm Dave had acquired from the VLA — until their house burned down. They then moved into Coderre, where Dave farmed from town and Therese ran the telephone exchange. 

On June 28, 1969, Dave died, leaving behind Therese and four children.

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