Memorial for Michael W. Simpson

Michael On My Mind
Memorial for a Friend who died for his country as a
Canadian Peacekeeper 

Michael W. Simpson
June 29, 1948 - August 9, 1974

His Mission
UNEF II was established in October 1973 to supervise the ceasefire between Egyptian and Israeli forces and, following the conclusion of the agreements of 18 January 1974 and 4 September 1975, to supervise the redeployment of Egyptian and Israeli forces and to man and control the buffer zones established under those agreements

Michael (Mike) Simpson joined the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps under the Soldier Apprentice Program. After his promotion to corporal, Mike transferred from Transport Operator to Traffic Technician and worked at 2 Air Movements Unit Canadian Forces Base Petawawa. In 1974, he went to the Canadian Contingent of the United Nations Emergency Force Middle-East II, commonly known as UNEF 2, in Ismailia, Egypt. Later that year he was transferred to duties in Cairo. On 9 August, 1974, Cpl. Michael William Simpson was one of nine Canadian Forces personnel killed on United Nations Flight 51, shot down by a missile en route from Cairo to Lebanon.

Son of William (Bill) James Simpson and Loyola Helen Park (née Harrington) of Toronto, Ontario. Husband of Catherine (nee Lambert) of Hearst, Ontario. 

They shall not grow old, as we that are left, grow old
Age will not worry them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
We will remember him

Peacekeepers' Day

August 9 has been designated as Peacekeepers' Day by the legislatures of Ontario and eight other provinces. On that day in 1974, Syrian forces fired three anti-aircraft missiles at an unarmed Canadian Forces Buffalo aircraft.

Nine Canadian Forces members were sacrificed when their aircraft was
destroyed. It was the largest loss of life in a single incident in more than 50 years of Canadian peacekeeping operations.

Canada's peacekeeping veterans have chosen August 9 as Peacekeepers' Day.
The day serves not only to commemorate that tragic incident, but to pay
tribute to all those Canadians who have died in the service of peace on United Nations operations in such places as the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.

Those who have returned from peacekeeping service are also honoured for
exercising a proud Canadian tradition.

The Cpl. Michael W. Simpson Chapter of CAVUNP in Toronto was named in his
honour since Cpl. Simpson was one of the nine Canadian peacekeepers killed on August 9, 1974.

Michael On My Mind

His face still haunts me
This friend and for a short time, love.
So young and handsome
Full of life and hope and happiness
An image now frozen forever in time.
In service to his country, he perished
Struck down by the aggressor
In a country where he was sent to preserve the peace.
We mourned that one of our own was gone.
No more to laugh with us, no more to see the setting sun.
His passing seemed unimaginable.
War was something our fathers and grandfathers knew.
Not our generation, not our comrades.
Now more than 25 years after the event
As a mother of a son;
A son whose age is near to that of my fallen friend
I have only begun to comprehend the magnitude
of this tragic loss.
I see that he was just a boy,
a tender promise left unfulfilled.
My heart grieves mother to mother
as the dark shadow of this senseless death
weighs heavily on my soul, disturbs my sleeping hours
and leaves footprints in my heart.

Rest well Mike
Gone but not forgotten
© D.W. Rickard 2001

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