Second World War veteran Patrick Alyward laid to rest

Krysta
Krysta Carroll
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Would have turned 90 Remembrance Day

Patrick Alyward always had a smile on his face. He had a zest and love for life, and love for anybody and everybody, his nephew Rick Stagg told The Advertiser.

Patrick Denis Alyward proudly served in the Second World War as a member of the 59th Heavy Artillery Unit and later transferred to the 166th Regiment referred to as the Fighting Newfoundlanders. Alyward was a life member of the Royal Canadian Legion, as well as the Knights of Columbus. He died suddenly but peacefully at his home surrounded by his loving family on Nov. 2, in his 90th year.
— Submitted photo

He was looking forward to his 90th birthday today.

Friday evening he looked at his nephew’s wife and said, “‘Shelley, I needs to get some sandwiches now for Monday,’ because he was so much looking forward to his 90th birthday,” Stagg said. “And Shelley looked at him and said, ‘You don’t need to get any sandwiches Uncle Pat.’

“‘How about I’m going to buy a cake?’

“And Shelley would look at him and say, ‘Uncle Pat, you don’t need to buy a cake. Everything is taken care of.’

‘You’re planning something aren’t ya?’

“Shelley looked at him and said, ‘I don’t mean to be rude Uncle Pat. I’ve never been saucy to ya, but now mind your own business.”‘

And Alyward walked away laughing, his nephew said.

Alyward lived with Stagg and his wife.

“The only unfortunate part was that we had a list of people done up to contact about a party and on Saturday morning we realized we had to use that list for a whole different reason,” Stagg said.

Alyward died suddenly, but peacefully at his home, surrounded by his loving family on Nov. 2.

“This was his 90th birthday today,” Stagg said. “We had to lay him to rest on his birthday. We were planning a surprise birthday party for him and he never quite made it.”

He was in very good health for a man his age, Stagg said.

On Saturday morning Alyward came running down to Stagg’s bedroom complaining of burning on his stomach, Stagg explained.

“It was 6 a.m. and we jumped up and I was trying to speak to him and he started to get a little more incoherent,” Stagg said. “It was very quick. Shelley called the ambulance … and came back over with a facecloth and started wiping his face; and he gently put his head against Shelley’s chest and drew his last breath. He was here with the ones who love him.”

Alyward proudly served in the Second World War as a member of the 59th Heavy Artillery Unit and later transferred to the 166th Regiment, referred to as the Fighting Newfoundlanders.

He was a proud member of the Royal Canadian Legion for 61 years, and was a life member.  He was also a life member of the Knights of Columbus fourth degree.

“Yet he never bragged about it,” Stagg said. “He never bragged about where he was or what he did during the war.

“I can remember as a little boy, one day I was watching the special on the Battle at Dieppe … I was so interested in everything about the war. I was watching the show with fascination, and I suddenly turned very quickly wanting to ask him if there was anybody that landed on the beaches of Dieppe that he may have known and the tears were running down his face. I never did get to ask the questions.”

Stagg said his uncle was a real storyteller. He remembers stories he told of being overseas.

One such story was about Alyward and a couple buddies who had gone on leave.

“They weren’t going to be able to get back to camp,” Stagg said. “They were going to end up being AWOL. Vera Lynn, who was a famous singer during the Second World War, Uncle Pat and his buddies hit her up for a loan.

“She was performing somewhere they had been and they had gotten a loan off of her to get the train back to a camp in time to not be

AWOL.

“Years later, Vera Lynn was over here for a reunion of the legion and Uncle Pat paid her back many moons later.”

Stagg said even in his 90th year, Alyward’s memory was incredible. He knew everything about the New York Yankees from the days when he was a little boy right up until this season, and could quote statistics amazingly.

“When we lost him we were sitting down trying to figure out some things and saying ‘what are we all supposed to do?’” Stagg said. “He’s the one we went to for any information.”

His uncle was a giver, Stagg said. He was always worried about others instead of himself.

“He was a very kind and gentle man who seen the good in everybody,” Stagg said. “In my 48 years of being on this planet I believe I may have seen him get upset maybe twice, and as to getting really angry, I never, ever seen him get really angry.”

He loved a good argument, Stagg said, and a heavy discussion, but as far as any kind of hatred towards anyone, he never had that in his body.

“My mother’s sister (Maisie) was married to Uncle Pat, so Uncle Pat wasn’t related to me by blood, but as I often said I was blessed with two sets of parents,” Stagg said. “They had no children, and I guess I was, not but blood, but by choice and by love.

“He was teaching me every day of his life.”

Organizations: Heavy Artillery Unit, Royal Canadian Legion, Knights of Columbus New York Yankees

Geographic location: Dieppe

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