Major Robert Bruce Firlotte, CD was born August 30, 1917, in Campbellton, New Brunswick, to the late Violet and Stanley Firlotte. He served three years before the Second World War with the North Shore Regiment, then joined the active army in April 1940 and served over two years with the Carlton and York Regiment, progressing from Private to Company Sergeant Major. In June 1942, he returned to Canada for officer training and volunteered for the paratroops in 1943. He joined the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion in August 1944.
As a platoon commander with 1 Can Para, Bob participated in the Rhine drop into Germany in March 1945, and fought through to the end of the war.
He remained in the army after the war and served with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (1945 to 1953). He rebadge with The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada in 1953 where he served in Korea after the armistice. Robert retired in 1966 with the rank of Major and continued to be active with the QOR Association.
Just before his retirement, he was awarded The Queen’s Commendation which is given for “gallant and Distinguished service but not in operations against tho enemy”:
“At approximately 1230 hours on 31 May 966. ZG 2163 Major R.B. Firlotte entered the bank of Commerce located at the shopping centre in Kingston, Ontario, for an appointment with the Manager. Mr. T.H. Hein. While awaiting admittance to the Manager’s office he heard Mrs. Joan Seguin, a teller. scream and noticed a man detach himself from the teller window and hurriedly walk towards the exit. In the confusion of the next few moments he heard Mrs.Seguin yell that a robbery had been attempted and that the robber has threatened to use acid if she resisted. With complete disregard for personnel safety and unaware that the robber was only armed with a toy weapon. Major Firlotte ran after the fleeing man. Seized him and forced him to return to the bank where the police shortly after took him into custody. By his presence of mind and quick action, Major Firlotte arrested a felon who would otherwise have escaped. The entire action took place in a matter of only a few minutes. The area outside of the bank was crowded and the robber would have been absorbed in the crowd had Major Firlotte not acted immediately. No other inmates of the bank, other than the manager, made any attempt to follow the robber or assist in his apprehension. Major Firlotte performed a public service which is not only a credit to his personnel qualification, but greatly enhanced the image of the serviceman in the city of Kingston. It is therefore recommended that, for is courageous actions, quick thinking and disregard for personnel safety in apprehending this criminal, Major Firlotte be awarded the Queen’s Commendation.”
On 7 September 2012 he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal.
He died 20 September 2014 at the age of 97.