Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

July 3, 2011

CANADA: Veteran couple rack up royal meet-and-greets, meet Will and Kate

OTTAWA / The Globe and Mail / Life / July 2, 2011

At age 94 — or maybe 95; he can't say for sure — C.B. Marsh has already met two previous kings, but was no less thrilled Saturday at meeting the man poised to follow in their footsteps.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge greet C.B. and Edna Marsh (seated) after a tree planting ceremony at Rideau Hall, Ottawa.

The Second World War veteran and his 98-year-old wife Edna have been married 70 years — a milestone that earned them a meeting with Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, as the royal couple attended a tree planting ceremony at Rideau Hall.

Mr. Marsh described the newlyweds as a wonderful, lovely couple, and said they had a nice chat.

The veteran was part of the Royal Army Medical Corps , and was involved in the Battle of Dunkirk, a conflict he remembers as being “quite noisy.” But Mr. Marsh didn't wear any of his three campaign medals to the ceremony because he thought he would be the only one with war medals on display.

During the war, Mr. Marsh met King George VI: “A wonderful chap, I would say.”

He also met George's brother, King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, the socialite for whom Edward abdicated the throne.

“She gave us two cigarettes,” Mr. Marsh recalled.

Marsh married his wife in 1941 in England before they immigrated to Canada in 1962, after falling for the country while on a business trip several years earlier.

He's certain that his wife is 98, but falters a little when asked his own age.

“I'm pretty young,” Mr. Marsh said, mischievously. Just how young, however, was hard for him to say.

“I'm 94,” he said, then caught himself. “95,” he corrected. Then, “94.”

Finally, he ballparked it: “Round about there.”

His wife chimed in: “He's 94.”

The Marshes live at St. Patrick's Home, a long-term care facility in Ottawa, and said it must have been through the home that the royal tour organizers heard about them. Mr. Marsh isn't positive, but said he and his wife just go with the flow.

“We just carry along with the tide,” he said.

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