Bernard James Wilson

Bernard James Wilson

The death of Sgt. Bernard James Wilson was the result of a fateful split-second accident and so seemed harder to his comrades than if he had died in direct combat. In the trench mortar section of the Highland Light Infantry, Galt, Sgt. Wilson had been ordered to advance near Rouen, France, on August 29, 1944, and his platoon was successful in knocking out a number of German tanks. Hoping to salvage one that was ablaze, the Canadians moved in and at the moment Sgt. Wilson passed the muzzle of one of its guns, the magazine exploded and he was instantly killed. He lies in a cemetery on the Rouen hillside. Only 21 years of age, he had a veteran's service behind him which began upon his enlistment on June 15, 1940, at the age of 17. Because he was six feet two inches tall and weighed 160 pounds, he had no difficulty in qualifying and, after training in Stratford, Quebec City and Debert, N.S., was moved overseas on July 21, 1941. He was young in years but he had outstanding qualities of leadership and as his superior officers wrote to his father, a real talent for handling men. He could command discipline, but real regard was freely accorded him. Born in Paris, Bernard was only two years of age when brought to Brantford. He attended St. Basil's School and Church and was a member of the C.Y.O. He worked for a time before his enlistment at the Brantford Stationers Limited. During his school days he was fond of games, playing softball and bowling, and, like most boys, enjoyed fishing. Although his death occurred on August 29, 1944, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Wilson, 9 Chestnut Avenue, were not notified until October 18. His mother passed away early in 1945.

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