This year marks 75 years since the tragic death of Robert Wing during the Second World War, and on Monday during the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Queenston cenotaph, the Wing family laid a wreath to commemorate and honour the sacrifice he made for his family and his country.
Art Wing gathered with his wife, children and grandchildren in the afternoon to pay their respects to his fallen father. Wing said the family also gathered at a ceremony in St. Catharines earlier in the day.
While the family attends ceremonies on Nov. 11 each year, this was the first time they laid a wreath in his father’s name.
“This year, for the 75 years, we thought it would be an appropriate time to make that recognition and have that memory,” he said.
Robert Wing was the Company Sgt. Major of the Lincoln Welland regiment. He was camped in Crowborough, England, when a rocket headed toward London was intercepted.
“Our own planes knocked it down and it landed on the tent and killed all nine guys on July 5, 1944,” Wing said.
Now, Wing says he and his wife Jaqueline visit Crowborough and have made friends with Royal British Legion members there.
“My wife and I were there in July for the 75th anniversary memorial. The town of Crowborough has held a memorial service every year around July 5 since 1947,” Wing says.
They attended their first memorial in 1994, and he said they’ve returned at least every five years since.
Nov. 11 is such an important day for Wing because he says he knows how much it meant to his father to be a part of defending the country and being in the army. And though his only memories of his father are from when he was very young, he said he’s always admired his need to serve.
“My dad signed up I think the day the war broke out and I was probably four years old at the time. When he died it was the day after my ninth birthday. He left in ‘41, and I never saw him again,” Wing said.
He gives the Royal Canadian Legion credit for preserving and honouring the memory of so many fallen soldiers.
“I can’t say enough how important it is that the Legion works hard to keep the memory of what happened and remember those people who went over and came back – and some of them that didn’t. We have to remember the sacrifice,” Wing said.
On Monday, crowds gathered at the Queenston cenotaph, braving the cold weather and impending snowstorm, to stand in honour of the sacrifice made by many soldiers in both world wars.
Town and local government officials, Legion members, air cadets, emergency services and many members of the community were in attendance to pay their respects, standing in silence for those who gave their lives for freedom.