Raised in Moncton, New Brunswick, Clyde’s youth was enriched by a musical family, he playing cello, sister Ruth piano and brother Eugene violin. His high school nickname “Cello Bates” might have been a burden had he not been captain of the hockey team, New Brunswick tennis champion (both junior and senior categories) and a member of the Carleton- York Regiment High School Cadets.
Immediately enlisting as a private in the Canadian Army upon graduating from Moncton High School in 1941 Clyde moved quickly up the ranks while taking on various duties, in winter patrolling the wild Bay of Fundy (home of his sea captain forebears) on motorcycle searching for U-boats, then training recruits as a gunnery and drill sergeant and becoming a first lieutenant while still a teenager.
In September 1945 Clyde enrolled at Mt. Allison University Sackville, N.B. studying music and commerce and received his Commerce degree from Dalhousie University, Halifax in 1949. Clyde would recall that it “was love at first sight” when he saw Patricia Martin swinging along Weldon Street. She recalls being only 13 when she announced to her mother after her first practice with the Moncton Youth Orchestra “I’ve just seen the boy I’m going to marry – he is 16, plays the cello and his name is Clyde Bates”. Married June 12, 1948 Clyde and Patricia were married for 67 years.
Reenlisting in the army in 1949, Al was posted to Halifax as Paymaster. In the summer of 1955 “Al” (as he was called by colleagues and friends) was sent to Antwerp Belgium where Canadian forces were still stationed. As well as paying the troops he took great pleasure being part of the team enlisting Dutch bandsmen into the Canadian army.
Next posting was to Ottawa in 1959 where he had his first real home and garden. October of 1961 Al left for Wainwright, Alberta. The family followed September 1962 in time for school. Then a posting to Victoria in December 1963 when Al became Paymaster for The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada based in Esquimalt with a beautiful beach and old house by the water. A highlight of this time was being part of a UN peacekeeping mission with the Queen’s Own Rifles to Cyprus in 1965. Al retired for the first time in 1971.
Early retirement didn’t last long, Al returned to military life as Finance Officer at Naden in 1972 and his summers from 1972 to 1984 were spent with the Regional Cadet Instruction School headquartered in Vernon. He was dedicated to finding funding for various cadet programs such as hang-gliding training for air force cadets. A plaque presented to him in 1984 says, “in appreciation of outstanding service rendered in the training of Officers of the Cadet Instructors List”. Al retired from military life in 1984.
Throughout their life together Al’s skills as a craftsman were in high demand as a dedicated helpmate to his artist wife Pat Martin Bates. From custom framing to building shipping crates and helping with installations, even being instrumental in 1967 in securing a donation from the Department of National Defense for what became Signal Hill Creative Centre in Esquimalt. An honorary member of the local art group known as the Limners, Al was immensely proud of his supporting role in the arts. Al was a patron and lifetime member of the University of Victoria President’s Club, a member of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria Asian Society, a member of the Suzhou Sister City Association and donated generously to Pacific Opera Victoria as well as to several local and international charities.
Every inch an officer and a gentleman, seldom seen without an ascot, Al’s old fashioned courtliness and cordiality won him the admiration and deep affection of all those who knew him.
Al died 14 January 2016.