William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

C COY SGT MAJOR JOHN CLEE

I went away to Florida to swim and work the muscles around each knee
And I came back to the news we had lost one AIRBORNE’s John Clee
John was an English Commando he stood tall and apart
Clee was a great soldier with a tough soldier’s heart

He went to the Sergeant’s Mess, in his slippers and housecoat
CFB Greisbach’s SWO[•] entered and in his book wrote a note
Clee was barred for thirty days for his improper dress
You can’t wear your slippers in the Greisbach AIRBORNE Sgt’s mess?

The mess was his living room, he argued his case
He didn’t think being barred was really a disgrace
He had us young Sergeant’s take him huge jugs of beer
To his quarters next store, upstairs to the rear

There will be great discussions in that Mess in the sky
That old band of jumpers will greet this great guy
He had a wry sense of humour – A real deadpan grin
In that heavenly mess, in his housecoat again!!

Author’s Note: “OH WRIGHT LADS, LETS ALL ADJUST OUR PLASTIC FROGS!” bellowed the Company Sergeant Major of C Coy 1 Commando as he stood in front of his troops and his voice rolled around the formed up hollow square at Greisbach Barracks outside Edmonton Alberta.

The form up followed a night-before canteen fight between 1Cdo and 2Cdo lads in the Junior Ranks Club and those with black eyes and scarred faces stood on at attention on that square. C Coy had done well in the fracas and fray. The CSM smiled as he was pleased with how his lads had conducted themselves.

The Colonel of the Regiment had the lads formed up to speak to them and to inform us that all members of the Canadian Airborne Regiment would be signing a CDV for damages done to the canteen. This was an in-house order. The news of the punch up never got on TV, did not get into the newspapers nor did it get reported on the radio. That was back before camcorders and telephone cameras and loyalty to the Regiment was first and foremost.

The English French activities of our soldiers were competitive rather than hateful. These same troops patrolled bravely together through the streets of Quebec following the war measures act, and they showed courage under fire when the Turks invaded the island suffering KIAs and wounded casualties.

Bless them all! Many say they had great affection and admiration for the C Coy 1 Cdo CSM, 1 know that I did.

RIP Sir,
Billy, Canadian Soldier Poet

Victoria Times Colonist Sat 14 March 2009

CLEE, Captain John CD (Ret) June 14, 1929 — Feb 25, 2009

Captain John Clee CD (Ret)
Captain John Clee CD (Ret)

Royal Canadian Regiment

Canadian Airborne
John Beaupre Scott CLEE, Captain CD (Ret) passed away at his residence on the 25th of February 2009. He is survived by his wife Barbara of Cobble Hill, BC, daughter Kathy Clee and granddaughter, Adrienne Kennedy of London, Ont., son Tom Clee of Newbury, Ont., sister Pamela Paine of Wargrave, Berkshire, England, and two loving cats, Mutt and Jeff.

Born on June 14, 1929, John was raised in London, England. As a young child, John experiencing the Battle of Britain, he already knew he wanted to be a paratrooper. As soon as he came of age he joined the Royal Artillery. Shortly afterwards he followed his dream, becoming a paratrooper in an airborne battery and attaining the rank of sergeant.

In 1953 John immigrated to Canada, joining the Canadian Armed Forces as an infantryman in the Royal Canadian Regiment, serving with NATO in Germany and the UN in Cypress. He was one of the first Canadians to attend the US Army Ranger School in 1959 and was a Distinguished Honour Graduate of his course. John rose to the rank of Master Warrant Officer and served with the Canadian Airborne Regiment from its inception. His memories of the soldiers of Charlie Company, 1 Commando and theirs of him, have made them a unique brotherhood.

Commissioned in the rank of Captain on December 1972, John served as Range Control Officer at CFB Gagetown, as Trials and Evaluations Officer at the Canadian Airborne Centre, Griesbach Barracks, Edmonton and as a UN Military Observer on Israel’s Golan Heights.

Upon his retirement from the Army in 1984, John and Barbara moved to Duncan, BC and later to Cobble Hill. Retirement allowed John ample time to indulge his favourite pastime, reading. Quote from John: “Barbara, I will never live long enough to read all the books I want to read.” John was truly loved and will be missed deeply by his family and many friends. “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”

A celebration of his life will take place on March 21st, at 1:30pm in the main community hall, 3550 Watson Road Cobble Hill, BC. Reception to follow. If desired donations may be made to: The RCR Campaign Office, RHQ, Wolseley Barracks, 701 Oxford St„ East London, ON N5Y 4T7 or to: The SPCA, Cowichan & District, 7550 Bell-McKinnon, Duncan, BC V9L 6B1. Online condolences may be offered at www.hwwallacecbc.com.