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Peter Chance memorial at Christ Church Cathedral brings joy

Peter Godwin Chance, served in the Royal Candaian Navy and 80 years ago took part in D-Day

Before he died at 103, Peter Godwin Chance spent countless days at the pub in Sidney. When he couldn't walk, he invited his friends to his apartment.

"When Peter poured out a dram of scotch and handed the glasses around the conversations that brought joy and hope," said Rev. Denise Doerksen, Incumbent, Holy Trinity, North Saanich.

Chance died on April 9 at Royal Jubilee Hospital. A memorial service occurred on June 5 at Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria. At the memorial, Chance's family paid tribute, with his son Simon Chance giving a eulogy to honour his dad.

"He would always say, 'For goodness sake, be kind,'" Simon Chance said. "I am still hearing a lot of stories about my father."

Canadian family members and friends all paid tribute to Chance at Christ Church Cathedral.

Rev. Jeannine Friesen, the priest in charge of the service, who served as a Chaplin in the Canadian Armed Forces for ten years, said she encountered Chance at the various Battles of the Atlantic and always found him an engaging storyteller.

Well before his death, Chance served in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) for 30 years, serving in the Second World War during the Battle of the Atlantic, the Dunkirk evacuation, and D-Day on June 6, 1944.

"Eighty years ago today, Peter was one of the thousands of Canadians engaged in Operation Overlord. As the troops and equipment made the trip across the English Channel," Friesen said.

In 1938, Chance won the Junior Figure Skating Champion of Canada. That same year, the Ottawa Division of the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) was a midshipman – a year later, the war broke out.

He would be involved in some of the Second World War's most important battles and continue his service in The Korean War supporting the United Nations coastal operations on HMCS Cayuga.

Osgoode Hall, York University's Law School, would be the next stop for Chance, and he would gain the position of administrator where he would rub shoulders with members of the British Royal Family – including Queen Elizabeth II. He would then move his family west and spent 18 years as the BC/Yukon representative for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Program.

Chance was many things: an author, a long-time volunteer with the ALS Society at the Saanich Peninsula, a recipient of the Knight of the Legion award and took control of a Cessna plane at 102. But for his son Simon, he was simply dad.

About the Author: Thomas Eley

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