Pat Onions remembers visit by Queen Elizabeth II

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HANOVER – When Queen Elizabeth II last visited Canada in 2010, Second World War naval veteran Pat Onions was part of the group of about 200 that welcomed Her Majesty to Halifax on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy.

There, the Queen unveiled a plaque rededicating the Sackville as Canada’s Memorial Ship. Onions served aboard the HMCS Sackville at the end of the war.

“It was quite a ceremony,” he said. “Ships were there from all over the world.”

He recalled that the Queen boarded a Canadian vessel and toured the basin, then returned to the wharf where the Sackville was located.

“We had a front-row seat,” he said.

He was well down the row of people, and the Queen put out her hand and spoke to him.

“I told her how I’d been one of the last to serve on the Sackville, and she said, ‘Really? How good of you to serve.’”

He spoke of his admiration for the Queen, of how she’d driven ambulances during the bombing of England. He has a DVD of the Queen’s visit to Halifax.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times