On March 27, 2019, Canada’s oldest and the longest-serving officer died at the age of 101. Honorary Colonel David Lloyd Hart, MM, CD, started his career in the military during the Second World War, where he was a Communications Operator. By the end of his career in 1964, he had been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and he had served in many honorary positions from his retirement until his death.
“I am very saddened by the passing of Honorary Colonel Hart, who was an inspiration to many generations. He was an example to all and made a very significant contribution in the strengthening of the Reserve units within the 2nd Canadian Division. A friend and mentor to many, from soldiers to commanders, his absence will be heartfelt. I wish to pay tribute to this extraordinary man and express my deepest condolences to family, friends and the military community,” said Brigadier-General Jennie Carignan, Commander 2nd Canadian Division and Joint Task Force (East).
When he was a sergeant, Hart was awarded the British Military Medal for bravery for his actions on the battlefield during the Dieppe Raid in 1942.
The Dieppe Raid is known for being the bloodiest single day of combat for Canada during the Second World War. Thanks to his actions, two units, the South Saskatchewan Regiment and the Cameron’s of Winnipeg, where he relayed crucial information, which saved the lives of over a hundred soldiers.
After the Second World War, Honorary Colonel Hart joined the Army Signal Reserves and was eventually promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 1961 when he became commander of the 11th Signal Regiment. After his retirement, Honorary Colonel Hart spent the next 40 years serving in honorary positions. He first served as the Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of 712 Communications Squadron from 1976 to 2013. He then served as the Honorary Colonel of 34 Signal Regiment in Westmount, Quebec, from 2013 until his death in 2019.
In 2013, Anne, Princess Royal, awarded Honorary Colonel Hart with the Communications and Electronics Colonel-in-Chief’s Commendation for a lifetime of outstanding service to the Communications and Electronics Branch of which she is the Colonel-in-Chief. Honorary Colonel Hart was one of the first recipients of this award.
Honorary Colonel Hart was also awarded the fourth clasp to his Canadian Forces Decoration (CD), which recognized his over 52 years of loyal and dedicated service to Canada.
“When looking at the life of this Canadian military icon, we are truly thankful for his dedication, courage, and contribution to the military and Canadians. Not only was he decorated for saving lives during World War II but he spent his entire adult life serving Canada and inspiring fellow soldiers both on active duty and in honorary positions. The Canadian Army would like to extend its deepest sympathies to Honorary Colonel Hart’s family and Regiment,” said Lieutenant-General Jean-Marc Lanthier, Commander Canadian Army.