Bugle Major WOII Bob Wilson, MM was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1908, son of Robert A Wilson and Annie Wilson who worked as domestic servants. He came to Canada with his parents when he was eight years old and later attended Jarvis Collegiate in Toronto up to grade 10.
After playing in a Sea Cadets bugle band Bob joined the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Bugle band in 1924 at the age of 16. He served with the regiment for 30 years and was the Bugle Major from 1939 until he retired in 1954. He landed with the QOR on D-Day June 6th, he was the Regimental Aid Post Sergeant, and along with the Regiment’s doctor responsible for looking after all wounded rifleman. He received two decorations for bravery, the Military Medal and the Bronze Oak Leaf for being mentioned in dispatches. He also received the “Commander in Chief’s certificate for Valour” signed by Field Marshall Montgomery.
After the war he took over the band once again and modernized it to be competitive with other modern bugle and trumpet bands of the day. Under his leadership the band won a good number of North American band competitions.
He knew the Military regulations right down to the crossing of every T so officers would have to be on their toes at all times when dealing with him or he could make them look very silly. Wilson had the privilege to represent the Regiment at Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation in 1953. When he retired he held the rank of a WOII.
The Queen’s Own Rifles played a major role in Bob’s life and he always attended special mess dinners and other Regimental affairs right up till the day he died.
In his civilian life he held numerous production line jobs before the war, keeping in mind it was the 1930’s. After the war dad was hired by Colonel Baptist Johnston (Colonel-in-Chief and former CO of the Regiment) who at the time was the Queen’s Printer for the Ontario Government. He worked for the Ontario Government for 25 years retiring in 1974.
He had married Georgina Wilson on June 6th 1936 had one child Robert James Wilson. The marriage date would play a significant role in their later life and Georgina would have to play second fiddle on wedding anniversaries as Bob always attended D-day reunions. She never seemed to mind however and they would go out the day before or the day after.
Bob was also active in both the Orange and Masonic Lodges.
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more than 20 years ago, the Wilson family sold me some of Mr. Wilson’s personal items, including two he was carrying on D-Day. I put them into a beautiful frame and hung it on my wall for two decades. now that i’m retiring and downsizing, I would like to sell this collection, which includes his QOR cap and his Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife and scabbard, plus newspaper articles and copies of photos the family provided. if anyone is interested, i can send photos etc. please make an offer. I would like to find an appreciative collector for this framed collection.