Meet Cpl. Morris McKenzie

Published: November 8, 2019

Morris McKenzie was born in Westlock, Alberta in 1947. When he was just 20 years old, he enlisted in the military and was posted to Gagetown, New Brunswick to complete his basic military training. While there he joined the 2nd Battalion, Black Watch.

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“It was always something I wanted to do. Back then, basic training was the first 13 weeks of your military career. It was tough and physically and mentally demanding. They teach you practical military skills such as drill, marching and combat training.” says Morris.

Following a year in Gagetown, Morris was posted overseas to Germany for four and a half years. At the time, the battalions of the Royal Canadian Regiment were serving under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) during the Cold War. Morris was stationed at the brigade headquarters in Fort Henry, Soest, Germany, where he was the driver to the brigade Major until 1970 when he was deployed to 3 Mechanised Commando in Baden-Solingen, Germany.

In Baden-Solingen, Morris was assigned to the mortar platoon. He was stationed there until 1973 when he returned to London, Ontario. Members of the first battalion were deployed to Cairo, Egypt to participate in Canada’s contribution to United Nations peacekeeping.

“One of the most memorable moments from my military career was in Germany in 1971 when we went up to Nijmegen, Netherlands. We marched 25 miles a day going to where the Canadians were.” recounts Morris.

Morris’s service ended in 1975. Before his release from the military, he had already signed on to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway (formerly known as CP Rail) in London, Ontario. He spent 32 years with the company, starting as a brakeman then a conductor and eventually being promoted to a locomotive engineer.

These days, Morris is retired and volunteers every Friday at the Royal Canadian Regiment Museum. This past spring, he decided to take a military history class at King’s University College in London, Ontario. The class was about Totalitarianism in the 20th Century and focused on Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini. In January, he’ll be taking another course on World War II.

“I’m a volunteer at the Royal Canadian Regiment Museum, so I want to have better insight into how things were during World War I and World War II. We get a lot of visitors asking what their parents or grandparents would have done in the wars. I want to give them insight into not only what the Royal Canadian Regiment did, but also what other military units would have done.”

When asked how his military service affected his life, Morris said:

“It gave me a much more different perspective on things, especially at CP Rail. I feel like I have a better understanding of how unexpected situations can arise and how to handle them.”

Every Remembrance Day, the Royal Canadian Regiment Museum holds a service to honour our military veterans. Morris, along with other military veterans, will be in attendance to share their experiences in the military. The ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. and attendees are invited to tour the museum and visit the veterans afterwards.

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We are very proud that Morris has been part of our Landmark Towers community for the past eight years. Thank you, Morris, and our other veterans for your service!

*Did you know Boardwalk offers a rental discount to our military veterans? Contact us today to find out more!

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