Frank Hewitt spent most of his adult life in the Canadian military.
The 89-year-old Mission resident began his career in the army from 1944-45, during the Second World War. However, when the war ended, he decided to join the navy from 1945-51 and then the air force from 1951-79.
“At the end of the war they had so many thousand soldiers that they were letting people go,” explained Hewitt.
Having been discharged from the army, he needed to find another career.
“So, I got out and I found out the navy was recruiting. So I went down and joined.”
While in the navy, Hewitt met and married a girl, his wife Jenny. The marriage is what convinced him to change jobs one more time.
“I got married while in the navy and they sent me to sea for nine months. So I decided to get out and go to the air force because you could take your family with you.”
The two met when they were both guests at a mutual friend’s wedding. They hit it off and have now been married for 66 years.
As Hewitt’s career continued, he reached the rank of Sergeant. He spent most of his time in the air force as a weapons tech. He said that meant he was involved with “everything that goes bang, or makes it go bang.”
Born in a small town in Manitoba, Hewitt decided to join the army when he was just 16 years old.
“The war was on and it was just the thing to do,” he explained.
The military was also in his blood as his father was in the Royal Flying Core during the First World War.
As a young soldier, Hewitt didn’t see a lot of action. When he was in Dartmouth, England officials told him he was too young to go overseas and sent him to take a course in weapons carriers.
At least that’s what Hewitt said. His wife Jenny has a different story.
“When he was a boy soldier, he was sent over as a dispatch rider in London,” she explained.
Jenny said Hewitt was riding a motorcycle in London and the bombs were falling all around.
“He drove into a crater and broke his leg.” That’s when military officials realized how young he was and sent him back for training.
Looking back on his career, Hewitt said he enjoyed his time in the military.
“I think it was the comradeship and the good people I met. I just enjoyed the life.”
While he no longer attends the Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Cenotaph in Mission, the Chartwell Cedarbrooke retirement residence where he and Jenny live, hold a small service each year.
“Most of the veterans here can’t really get out to go anymore.”
Remembrance Day is Nov. 11.