Canada’s oldest and longest-serving officer passed away on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at the age of 101. Decorated Dieppe Veteran, Honorary Colonel David Lloyd Hart, MM, CD led an extraordinary life in service to Canada.
As a Communications Operator during the Second World War, then-Sergeant Hart was awarded the British Military Medal (MM) for bravery by His Majesty, King George VI, at Buckingham Palace. The actions for which the MM was awarded took place on the battlefield during the Dieppe Raid in 1942, a day which remains as the bloodiest single day of combat for Canada’s military in the entire Second World War.
“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,” stated Lieutenant-General Jean-Marc Lanthier, Commander Canadian Army. “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.”
After the war, Honorary Colonel Hart joined the Army Signal Reserve, eventually being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 1961 to command 11th Signal Regiment.
“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).
Hart retired from active service in 1965 but served continuously in honorary positions until his death.
In 2013, Honorary Colonel Hart was one of the first recipients of the Communications and Electronics Colonel-in-Chief’s Commendation. The commendation was presented by Anne, The Princess Royal, for a lifetime of outstanding service to the Communications and Electronics Branch of which she is the Colonel-in-Chief.
About Honorary Colonel Hart
- Honorary Colonel Hart earned the British Military Medal for bravery through his actions during the Dieppe Raid. Through his determination and initiative, he managed to contact two units, the South Saskatchewan Regiment and the Cameron’s of Winnipeg and relayed crucial orders, that saved the lives of over 100 men.
- Honorary Colonel Hart spent more than 40 years as an honorary member of the Canadian Army, first as the Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of 712 Communications Squadron from 1976 to 2013, and subsequently as the Honorary Colonel of 34 Signal Regiment in Westmount, Quebec, from 2013 until his death in 2019.
- Honorary Colonel Hart was awarded the fourth clasp to his Canadian Forces Decoration (CD) recognizing over 52 years of loyal and dedicated service to Canada.