2424 Major General (Ret’d) George Hylton Spencer, O.B.E., C.D.
2424 Major General George Spencer was born in England on 20 November 1916, the son of Angus Farquharson and Nora Spencer. Raised and schooled in Toronto, he spent summers as a youth at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, where he learned to sail and was an instructor. Following his graduation from high school, he was accepted as a young recruit into RMC.
An athlete of note, he captained the College sailing team (intercollegiate champions) for two years, and was co-captain of the varsity hockey team in his final year.
As a CSM in his senior year, he graduated with distinction in 1938 and was voted by his class as the recipient of the prestigious Victor Van der Smissen Award. He received his BSc in Civil Engineering from Queens University in 1939.
With the advent of the war, he was posted to Halifax as a subaltern with the 1st Field Company, RCE, 1st Canadian Division. Here he met his sweetheart Jean Fitzgerald, and they were married in Halifax on 5 December 1939. The 1st Field Company was deployed overseas a couple of weeks later.
He served in various regimental, command, and staff capacities from 1942-45 in England, Burma, Belgium, Holland, and Germany. These included being a senior planner and director for the very successful “cover and deception” strategy for Operation Overlord, the Normandy landings.
Post-war appointments included: Commander Canadian Base Unit Europe; Colonel-in-charge of Administration, Headquarters Eastern Command Halifax; Commandant Royal Military College of Canada; Commander and Chief Engineer Northwest Highway System; Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans and Policy, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.
Of note is his opening remarks to the Cadet Wing upon taking command as Commandant of RMC in 1962. To paraphrase…”My name is George Spencer; my college number is 2424; I am the 24th Commandant; I am addressing you on the 24th day of January.” It was an opening address that is well remembered by those classes to this day!
Following retirement from the Canadian Army in 1972, he served as Director of Metric Conversion for the Standards Council of Canada 1972-77, after which he and Jean relocated from Ottawa to Marriott’s Cove, Nova Scotia. He dedicated his energies to many military and civilian organizations, including an appointment as Colonel Commandant Canadian Military Engineers, and chairmanships of the Fisherman’s Memorial Hospital, Lunenburg, and the South Shore Regional Hospital, Bridgewater.
He is survived by his wife Jean, sons Peter, Kenneth, Michael, seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
HOPE (Cohoon), Elizabeth Ann, 70, Halifax, passed away peacefully on Monday, September 29, 2008. Born in Wolfville, NS, on November 6, 1937, she was the daughter of the late John and Jennie (Eisenhauer) Cohoon of Kentville, NS. Ann is survived by her husband of 46 years, Captain Frank Hope, OMM, RN/RCN Retired; daughter Leslie Hope and husband Adam Kane; son Stephen Hope and wife Virginia; her sisters-in-law, Helen and husband John Thorowgood; Lindy; Stephanie and partner Mark Solly; and ‘special sister’ Judy Cohoon; grandchildren Mackenzie Angell, Andrew, Cody, and Tessa Hope. She was predeceased by her brother, Bruce Cohoon, New Minas, NS and by her nephew Dominic.
Ann grew up in Kentville, NS and had a long and happy life with Frank. She was a dedicated Navy wife, who coped extraordinarily well during Frank’s sea-time and indeed helped many younger naval wives to manage during their early years of marriage. She subsequently so much enjoyed becoming part of the NATO family during postings to Rome, Brussels and Norfolk. Not only was Ann a super wife, mother, grandmother, friend, cook, hostess, singer, bridge player and bowler, she was a quilter “par excellence.” Ann was well known for her love of quilting and formed or joined quilting groups wherever she and Frank were posted. Ann taught quilting in Canada, the US and Europe so now, grandchildren all over the world are dreaming special dreams beneath the quilts their grandmothers created under Ann’s loving tutelage.
Ann’s stroke was the latest in an unremitting series of health setbacks that proved simply too much for her to overcome…notwithstanding the persistent endeavours of her friend and physician Dr. Vicky Mitchell, as well as the efforts of all the other dedicated caregivers at The QE II Halifax, who so generously comforted and consoled Ann and her family and friends.
No flowers please, but a donation to a charity of your choosing or The Scotianaires (her singing group) would be most appreciated.
A Church Service will be held, Sunday, November 9, 1430, Stadacona Chapel with a gathering of all her friends and acquaintances to follow at RA Park Officers Mess, Queen Street, Halifax
Frank Hope was the Naval Staff Officer at the College 1971-3 and was chairman of the sailing team and assistant rugby coach.
PITT, Reginald Gilbert –(Honourary member of the RMC Class of 1968) – Passed away September, 30 2008 after a brave battle with Alzheimer’s at the Cheminus Health Center in British Columbia. Predeceased by the love of his life, Doris, his wife of 55 years in 1998. He is survived by his four children, Patricia (Beryl) Delancy of Colorado, Rick of Kingston, Ontario, Lee (Patricia) of Kingston Ontario and Tony (Lynda-Lee), his three grandsons, Lee (Marnie) of Kenora, Ontario, Danton and Ruxton and two great grandchildren, Joshua and Grace. Reg, grew up in Cardiff, Wales where he apprenticed as an upholsterer. He joined the British Royal Navy at the age of 16, eventually joining the Royal Canadian Navy. Over the next 36 years he excelled at many and varied sports, was a master fencer, champion squash and soccer player, gymnast, became a highly respected physical education instructor and survived two sinking ships. After the war he had a career as Chief Petty officer and taught at the Royal Military College at St. Jean, Quebec and at Kingston, Ontario where he received an honorary degree. After retiring from the services he accepted an invitation to teach at Brentwood College where he spent the next 30 years, finally retiring in 1991. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Society. Condolences may be offered to the family at www.sandsfuneral.com. Reg, will be greatly missed by his family and friends
Note: Danny McLeod & Jim Gebhardt are both trying to organize a memorial for CPO Pitt for some time around mid – November. Exact date / place will not be available until early November. Many Ex cadets from the mid 1960s era may be interested in attending.