Cliff Kowalsky

Cliff was born in 1916 in Winnipeg. He grew up on Granville Street in Point Douglas with 2 sisters and 4 brothers and attended Norquay School and Tech Voc. His father, an engineer, died in the Dirty Thirties when Cliff was 16, so he left school to support his family. From an early age he joyed athletics, especially track and swimming.

When Canada declared war on Nazi Germany on September 10th, 1939, Cliff enlisted in the Royal Canadian Engineers. After marrying Rosemary in December 1939, he shipped out for training and deployment to England. He took part in the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, then went on to Italy, participating in crucial battles at Ortona and Monte Cassino. As an Engineer in the 12th Field Company, he was tasked with setting and clearing mines, building emplacements and constructing bridges. He was wounded during this time by an exploding mine, but continued to serve after recovering.

In early 1945, he was given 10 days leave in London, where he reunited with his wife Rosemary for the first time since they were married. After the leave he was deployed to North West Europe, where he served in France and Germany till the end of the war. He stayed in the Reserves until 1953, and attended the Queen’s Coronation in London in 1953, marching with the Canadian Contingent.

He was demobilised in July 1945, and returned to civilian life as a construction foreman, and began his family. In the early 1950’s he was given a Veteran’s Land Act (VLA) grant for property in Roblin Park in Charleswood. He built the family home at 41 Bowhill Lane, where he lived for the rest of his life.

Cliff was an active member of the community, in the Charleswood United Church choir, Roblin Park Community Club Teen drop in Centre, Scouts Canada and was a 50 year member at the Charleswood Legion. He enjoyed the fine art of Bathtub racing, winning the Provincial Championship in 1970 in the non motorized category. He returned to his love of track at the age of 68 , winning the Manitoba Marathon 2 times in the over 65 category. He loved going fishing at Lac Du Bonnet and was a skilled lawn bowler and dart player.

Cliff passed away in 2004 at the age of 88 and is buried in the Veteran’s Field of Honour at Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg.

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