78 years after James Robert (Bob) Cameron joined the Royal Canadian Navy, he received “a hug from a grateful nation” in the form of a Quilt of Valour.
These days Bob Cameron lives at Berwick House in Victoria, but in 1942 at the age of 17, he served in the Pacific Theatre, patrolling the west coast of Canada and Alaska for Japanese incursions. Later in the Second World War he was transferred to the east coast, where he earned the nickname ‘Lucky Bob.’
During one of 12 successful convoy crossings aboard a corvette, ‘Lucky Bob’ spotted something in the water while on the upper deck. He called the bridge, the ship did a hard turn, and Bob watched a torpedo run down the ship’s side.
After the Second World War Cameron was transferred back to the west coast, and served on HMCS Cayuga, deployed in the Korean War.
“Because Bob was stationed on the upper deck during the firing of Cayuga’s five inch guns, he lost most of his hearing,” says his son-in-law Dan Fitzgerald.
A handmade hug, stitched with love and gratitude
Cameron retired as a CPO 2 (Chief Petty Officer Second Class) by rank and Stoker (Engine Room Artificer) by trade, and veteran of two wars. And he was recently presented with a Quilt of Valour to honour his service.
“Our mission as a Society is to ensure that all Canadian military members, past and present who are ill or injured as a result of their service and sacrifice to our country, are recognized and honoured with a Quilt of Valour,” writes Quilt of Valour President Linda Gerein on the Society’s website. “The need for our quilts continues to grow. To date we have presented nearly 16,000 quilts. Each one a handmade hug, stitched with love and gratitude by grateful Canadians.”
The initiative began when Edmonton quilter Lezley Zwaal presented quilts to three Canadian Armed Forces members recovering in hospital from injuries sustained in Afghanistan. Meeting these young men and hearing their stories made such an impression that before long she’d founded Quilts of Valour.
Bob moved to Berwick House in the spring of 2019. He is an incredibly kind man and has a wicked sense of humour which he shares with others. WhenLinda Lord, Community Relations Manager at Berwick House, asked Bob about a photo of him with Queen Elizabeth II in Liverpool at the 50th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War, Bob said, “she and I are about the same age, and she’s still looking pretty good for her age!”
Berwick Retirement Communities are both locally and family owned offering flexible, upscale and affordable senior living options in a caring community where residents live life to the fullest. For more information about Berwick House, contact Linda Lord at 250 853-5492. For more information about Berwick Royal Oak, contact Kathy McAree at 250 419-4012.