Reverend Cyril Edward Martin

    • Honorary Capt Cyril Martin
    • 7th Bn Cdn Rwy Tps
    • Pte Cyril Martin

    We regret to advise of the death of another Engineer First World War veteran. The Reverend Cyril Edward Martin died on 17 Nov 2003 at the age of 103 in the Mewburn Veterans Centre in Edmonton, AB. Cyril Martin was born in February 1900 near London, England. His family emigrated to Canada in 1907 and settled in Verdun, QC.

    When war broke out in 1914, Cyril went to work in a munitions factory and when a Navy recruiter visited his factory he convinced Cyril to join up. However, as Cyril was only 15 his father had him taken out of the Navy as soon as he found out. But it was impossible to keep dreams of 'adventure' out of a young man's head and Cyril tried next to join the Army. While the army recruiters knew he was lying about his age, Cyril was enlisted and sent overseas. By his 16th birthday, Cyril was already in France with the Canadian Army Expeditionary Force. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops and was in action at Ypres and Passchendaele where he laid track from the rear areas over the shell-holes and up to the trenches in order to bring forward the ammunition, rations and other supplies. Cyril contracted trench fever and became so ill that he was sent to England to recover. He spent the rest of the war with a young boys' regiment in England and returned home to Canada when the war ended.

    For Cyril, however, peace was hard to find. He had been deeply religious when he went overseas but the war had shaken his faith. However, the goodness in human nature that he remembered became the focus of Cyril's life and in 1919 he decided to become a minister. He attended Toronto Bible College for several years and moved to Saskatchewan to preach. Attending St. Andrew's College in Saskatoon, in 1929 he was ordained as a United Church minister. When war broke out again in 1939 Cyril re-enlisted in the army - this time as a chaplain assigned to the 7th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, stationed in England.

    After the war, Cyril continued to work in a military hospital in England. Through his life, Cyril spent 55 years as a minister before retiring in 1968 from full-time work, 50 years as a Legion member, and 50 years as a Mason. Well past his 90th birthday, Cyril was invited by the governments of Canada and France in 1997 to attend the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. He visited Vimy and Passchendaele and received the Legion of Honour from the French people. The Chaplain General of the Canadian Forces authorized the awarding of Canadian Forces Chaplain's Coin in December 2002. In Jun 2003 he was presented with the Queen's Jubilee Medal and, in October, St. Andrew's College in Saskatoon awarded him with a Bachelor of Theology degree.

    A memorial Service will be held at 2:00 PM on 26 November 2003 at St. Andrew's United Church, 9915 148 St, Edmonton. In lieu of flowers, donations in Cyril Martin's memory may be made to the Mewburn Veterans Centre or the Bissel Centre.{khMay2016}