Philip Miles Lyons

1917–2011

Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve V9722

Philip grew up in Winnipeg and before enlisting in the navy, was a sheet metal worker. He volunteered in 1939 and was sent to Halifax for training. Starting as an Ordinary Telegrapher, he rose in rank to Leading Telegrapher (L/Tel) and was very proud of his occupation, maintaining knowledge of Morse Code until the day he died! He served on North Atlantic convoy escorts in the wireless shacks of many Corvettes, but his favourite seemed to be the HMCS Orillia. He made many friends through the navy and corresponded with many of them long after the war and his discharge on October 30, 1945.

Upon return to Winnipeg, he pursued odd jobs, and ultimately joined the Winnipeg Fire Department on May 16, 1946. Married in 1947, Philip served as a firefighter for several years before successfully writing the exam and assuming the position of Fire Prevention Officer. Fire Prevention was his true calling and he was passionate about fire safety. His passion led him to being appointed to the Manitoba Provincial Fire Advisory Board, and being asked to sit on the National Research Council’s committee examining amendments to the National Fire Code. He was promoted to Chief Fire Prevention Officer, and after a 36-year career in fire service, retired in 1982. His fire safety passion continued post-retirement with the provincial government appointing him as Chairman of both the Manitoba Fire Advisory Committee and the Building Standards Board. Retiring from those duties in 1989, he was awarded the Mary Beth Dolin Meritorious Fire Service Award.

As a proud veteran and Legion member, for thirty years, he and his wife kept an inventory of all the monuments, statues and plaques in the Winnipeg area, including over 450 pictures with typewritten text of inscriptions, and ten folders of histories of all these monuments. This entire collection was donated to the Manitoba Provincial Government Heritage Department and is known as the Phil and Veda Lyons Collection. Additionally, on the 50th Anniversary of the end of WWII, his family produced 2,500 postcards of the Winnipeg Cenotaph and Memorial Park. Most of these were given away, with 1,700 donated to the province to be given away to people taking a tour of the Legislative Building and grounds. For all his tireless work in Remembrance, he was awarded the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation in person in the Senate Chamber in Ottawa!

Philip was a proud veteran and Legionnaire, and a wonderful family man….but most of all, he was a kind, caring and thoughtful man who loved a good joke….the cornier the better!

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