Last year, we had the opportunity to interview Sid Morton, one of the Canadian soldiers who was the recipient of the Legion of Honour Insignia presented by the President of France for Morton’s involvement in the Second World War and his contribution to the liberation of France.
This month we are fortunate to feature him again as one of the many seniors who is seen daily in our sports landmark, Bob Dailey Stadium.
Morton has lived in the Alberni Valley for several decades, after being transferred from Langley while working as a mail carrier in that city.
Born in Wimmer, Saskatchewan, in 1923, he was the youngest of three boys and a girl born to parents of English descent. His father died in an accident when Sid was only two and a half years old.
After the passing of his father, the family moved to Saskatoon where he attended King George School.
At the age of 19, in 1942, he enlisted in the Army and received military training in Ontario before he was stationed in England for more training, this time in the Regiment of First Hussars. On D-Day he saw no action until six days after the invasion.
Followed D-Day, he was sent to France as a troop reservist. There he was a vehicle co-driver. “From France, our unit was sent to Holland for the liberation of that country and stayed there almost until the end of the war,” he says. “After the war officially ended, I was back on German soil as part of the Allies’ occupation forces.”
In 1947 Morton returned to Canada, to Langley, B.C. But his service to the country did not ended there because in 1952 he rejoined the Army and became a Signals Operator. He trained and worked in various points of Canada, including Ottawa. Soon after, he returned to Germany as part of NATO, for two years in order to deal with defence and security-related issues during the post-war years.
Today, at the age of 98, Morton enjoys exercising daily at the outdoor track and socializing with various friends he meets at this sports venue. “Walking regularly is a good physical activity for anyone. You know, being a mailman for many years, and walking several miles a day, it is in itself a physical activity. So, as soon as I retired, I continued walking pleasurably.”
The stadium offers a number of physical opportunities to the young and old to take part in exercises. “The track is ideal for sport camps, like hockey, athletics, soccer, etc. I go there every day and see many people learning and practicing their favourite activities, especially in the summer months,” he adds.
Morton, a father of four to Dave, Shelley, Joe and Linda, had married his wife Maxine in 1948, after returning from the war. She passed away in 2004. He now lives in an apartment close to a shopping centre.
“This man amazes me! At 98 he never misses a day at the track!” says Jules Gaudreault, one of the regular walkers at the stadium. “I must tell you, not only he does several laps around the course, but after that he does a workout in the fitness area next to the track to finish his daily exercise routine.”
Gaudreault said he enjoys meeting Morton at the stadium, especially for the social time they have together while walking. “Exercising pays off after watching him!”
“My father is incredible, he has the energy and drive to keep him fit,” comments Shelley Penner, well-known local artist, painter, writer and photographer. “I wish that if I get to be his age, I could be in such a good shape!”
By the end of this interview, we said goodbye to Sid Morton by stating that hopefully we will soon see him at the track, to which he responded without hesitation: “I’ll be there!”