Former Second World War Veteran remembered for his service to Canada

The funeral of political figure and one-time Minister of National Defence, Gilles Lamontagne was held on June 18 in Quebec City at the Notre-Dame de Quebec Cathedral-Basilica. Lamontagne passed away at the age of 97 on June 15.

“On a personal level, I will remember Gilles mostly through the stories told by my father – of their time spent together in Montreal as teenagers and of his strong moral compass.

“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of this remarkable man. We join Quebecers and all Canadians in mourning the passing of this great man,” read a statement released by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the passing of Lamontagne.

Born in Montreal in 1919, Lamontagne was a Second World War veteran serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was taken prisoner of war in Germany from March 1943 until May 1945.

He served as Quebec City’s mayor from 1965 to 1977. Later that year, he was elected Liberal MP and went on to serve as Defence Minister, Postmaster General and acting Minister of Veterans Affairs during Pierre Trudeau’s government.

After resigning from politics, Lamontagne served as Quebec’s lieutenant-governor for six years.

In 1991 he was named Officer of the Order of Canada, a Knight of the French Legion of Honour and received the Diamond Jubilee Medal.

“He served his community in a myriad of ways, from the Rotary Club of Quebec City to local politics, as Mayor of Quebec City.  As a federal cabinet minister, he served as Postmaster General and Minister of National Defence. Despite the demands of these challenging positions, Mr. Lamontagne showed great dedication and leadership.

“In his role as Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec, he further strengthened his personal bonds with the Canadian Armed Forces. It brings me great pride that members of the Canadian Army will provide a Quarter Guard at his funeral, while sentries from the Royal Canadian Navy will stand post at the Basilique-cathédrale Notre-Dame de Québec. Finally, and perhaps most fittingly for a former pilot, two Royal Canadian Air Force helicopters will conduct a fly-past in recognition of his service,” said the Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan in a statement.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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