McBRIDE, Victor Oliver
Deep River — Victor Oliver McBride, WWII Royal Navy Veteran, British Royal Navy, age 100, died Wednesday March 15th, 2023, after a short stay at The Four Seasons Lodge, in Deep River.
Vic (predeceased by the love of his life, Isobel Steen (1981)), is survived by his children, Susan (Richard Birchall), Victor Jr., James (Jennifer Daley), and grandchildren Thomas (Justin), Isaac, Eric and Emily. He was also predeceased by his sister May Louise Robertson.
He will be remembered fondly by many, including cousins Bob and Martin McBride of the UK.
Born to Louisa May Oliver and Victor James McBride Wednesday January 17th, 1923, in Strood England, Vic was raised from age 5 by the Church of England at the St George’s Home for Waifs and Strays in Kersal (Salford) England when his father could no longer manage two small children due to deteriorating health from WWI injuries.
An avid reader from a very young age, the Home recognized this ability, and allowed Vic to stay on 2 years past the usual leaving age until his 16th birthday, to provide him the rare opportunity for orphaned children to attend a technical school in Manchester.
Always wanting to be a sailor like his father, Vic signed up as a Boy Seaman with the Royal British Navy just a few days before his 16th birthday, as evidenced by the paperwork he meticulously kept the rest of his days. He served on every kind of ship the Royal Navy had, from destroyers to battleships.
A WWII veteran, Vic earned numerous medals for his service, serving in the Baltic, Mediterranean, the African East Coast, and even with duties all the way to the Eastern Seaboard of the United States as well as the Normandy Invasion. Stories of many twists of fate and near misses left us in awe and deeply thankful of he and all his fellow Veterans’ bravery and fortitude for their Service.
In 1951, Vic joined the Canadian Army serving with the Canadian Scottish Princess Mary’s and with the Black Watch. He was stationed in Germany, as part of the successful NATO effort to ensure Germany regained national sovereignty. He received the medal for Canadian Special Services NATO/OTAN bar in recognition of his efforts.
Vic and his sister May always kept in contact, and it was a visit to her, her Canadian husband and their young family that brought him to Deep River, Ontario, Canada in 1948. He had exactly, and only the 20 pounds Stirling required to take advantage of an Ontario program for free airfare and train transport for those coming from UK to work - it was by chance he heard the ad on the radio.
Vic had many adventures in Canada before settling down in Deep River. Labourer on the Swisha dam and for houses in the Deep River town site, prospector panning for gold in BC, and even a position smelling for gas - a position limited to those with a good sense of smell.
Joining AECL in 1957, Vic worked as a nuclear operator, radiation protection surveyor and research technician. Always modest, he described his work as part of the clean up of the NRU reactor accident as "just doing his job".
He had a busy life in Deep River participating in the many activities, playing rugger (where his future wife Isobel spied him from the crowd of fans), playing bagpipes and even performing at Expo '67 in Montreal as part of the Deep River Scottish Country dancing club. Of course there were attempts at skiing, golfing, camping and canoeing, and to keep himself busy in his early retirement years Vic decided to take up curling.
As a parent and grandparent, Vic shuffled kids from piano, cubs and scouts, ballet, highland dancing, and various hockey arenas up and down the valley. Many saw him on the sidelines cheering on many minor soccer games and of course, the Mackenzie football team well into his 90s.
Vic joined the Deep River Royal Canadian Legion Branch 436 in 1948, and carried his original membership card in his wallet for the rest of his life. The enduring loyalty remained with his comrades from WWII, standing proudly until age 98, remembering those who were lost as he grew old.
He served in almost all capacities with the Deep River Legion including stints as the Chairman of the Poppy Campaign and as a flag bearer for the Remembrance Day ceremonies into his 90s. He also enjoying many of the social activities of the Legion maintaining the Friday night boys’ night and Euchre circuit until COVID shut those rituals down when he was 97.
Vic was very blessed to celebrate his 100th birthday at the Deep River Legion joined by family and friends.
A life well lived with perseverance, modesty and a duty to those who went before.
A Service will be held for Victor on Saturday, March 25th, at 10:45am, at St. Barnabas Anglican Church, followed by a reception at the Deep River Legion.
Arrangements by Valley Funeral Home.
In memory of Victor donations to the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch #436, Deep River, St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Deep River or the Deep River and District Hospital Closer to Home Campaign would be greatly appreciated.
“Lights out, has sounded long ago, come on young soldier, put away your gun, the war is over for tonight”