MGen George Hylton Spencer, OBE, CD (Ret'd)
We regret to advise that Major General George Hylton Spencer, OBE, CD (Ret'd) passed away peacefully on 31 July 2008 in his 92nd year at home in Chester, Nova Scotia.
Born in Seaford, Sussex, England, he grew up in Toronto, graduated from Royal Military College of Canada 1938, and Queen's University 1939 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He received a Doctorate (Hon) in Engineering from Royal Military College of Canada in 1982.
Commissioned in 1938, Lieutenant Spencer was posted to the 1st Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers and deployed overseas in late 1939. He later served in various regimental, command, and staff capacities during WW II in England, Burma, Belgium, Holland and Germany 1942-45. This service included being a senior planner and director with Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force for the very successful 'cover and deception' strategy for Operation OVERLORD, the Normandy landings.
Immediately after the war, General Spencer served at Army Headquarters, Ottawa, and at the Canadian Army Staff College in Kingston. In 1951 he was promoted to the rank of colonel and appointed Director of Weapons and Development. He was subsequently appointed Commander, Headquarters, Canadian Base Units Europe in 1955 and from there was posted in 1957 to the Imperial Defence College, England. After completing this course he was appointed Colonel in Charge of Administration, Headquarters, Eastern Command, Halifax 1958 - 1961.
In January 1962, on promotion to Brigadier, he was appointed Commandant of Royal Military College of Canada. Following that command, he became Commander and Chief Engineer of the North-West Highway System in 1963. With the transfer of the North-West Highway System to the Department of Public Works, Brigadier Spencer returned to Ottawa and became Director General of Training and Recruiting in 1964. Promoted to Major-General in 1967, General Spencer was appointed Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans and Policy at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. In 1970 he returned to Canada and was Deputy Comptroller General at Canadian Forces Headquarters in Ottawa until retiring in 1971.
Major General Spencer's decorations include: Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, 1939-45 Star, Burma Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Bar, War Medal 1939-45, Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953, The Canadian Centennial Medal 1967, and Canadian Forces Decoration and Bars.
Following retirement from the Canadian Forces, General Spencer served as Director of Metric Conversion for the Standards Council of Canada 1972-77, after which he relocated from Ottawa to Marriott's Cove, Nova Scotia. He dedicated his energies to many military and civilian organisations, including an appointment as Colonel Commandant Canadian Military Engineers Sept 1978 to Oct 1982 and chairmanships of the Fisherman's Memorial Hospital, Lunenburg, and the South Shore Regional Hospital, Bridgewater. Cremation has taken place.
A memorial service will be held at St. Stephen's Anglican Church, 60 Regent St., Chester, NS, at 11:00 am on Thursday 28 August. A subsequent interment ceremony will be held at Beechwood National Military cemetery at a later date. Donations may be made to the South Shore Regional Hospital Foundation, 90 Glen Allen Dr., Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, B4V 3S6, 902-543-4603.