RCAF LEADING AIRCRAFTMAN LORNE (BILL) CLEMENS
Bill Clemens was born March 20, 1924, on his parents' farm near Riceville, Ontario.
He enlisted in the RCAF in November 1941 in Ottawa. He served as an Airframe Mechanic at No. 15 SFTS Claresholm, Alberta and spent four and a half years in the U.K. with No. 435 Husky Squadron, Blakehill Farm, Wiltshire; No. 1666 H.C.U. (Heavy Conversion Unit) at Wombleton, Yorkshire; No. 427 Lion and 429 Bison Squadrons at Leeming, Yorkshire; and No. 1664 H.C.U. in Yorkshire. He also served with No. 436 Chinthe and 437 Elephant Squadron at Down Ampney, Wiltshire, mainly with the RAF Regiment and Bomber Command. He was discharged at Lachine, Quebec, on September 6, 1946.
In 1948, he travelled west to Alberta, and began working for Imperial Oil Ltd. in the newly discovered Leduc Oil Field on June 26 as a Field Operator, a position he held for 31.5 years. On June 26, 1949, Bill married Rosie Kotanko. Together, they raised four children – David, Maxwell and twins Eleanor and Elaine.
Bill was active in the development of several facilities in Devon, including the construction of the original Devon swimming pool, moving of the old Pool Hall to the original outdoor hockey rink to serve as dressing rooms and concession, construction of the original Devon United Church and eventually the addition of the Education Wing to the church.
Bill participated in many sports, including hockey, baseball and fastball. While initially refereeing hockey, he was wearing a black and white referee's shirt that earned him the nickname Magpie – a name that has stuck with him to the present day. He was a charter member of the Devon Minor Hockey Association (DMHA) but also worked for the Figure Skating Club. He acted as equipment manager and coach for many years under the DMHA, earning him the title Mr. Hockey of Devon; he also served as president of the DMHA. Following the 1972-73 season, he received the Stan Ingram Memorial Award. Bill was also active in the Devon Wolf Cubs and Devon Fish and Game.
He was a charter member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #247 in Devon for more than 70 years, serving in almost every position. In 1996, he became the Devon Legion's first Legionnaire of the Year and was the Branch President from 1984-86. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 2009 and was the first Devon Legion member to be given that honour.
Bill was the last World War II veteran member of the Devon Legion.
Bill passed away on December 2, 2022.