In honour of Remembrance Day, Trace would like to recognize and share the heroic story of a veteran who holds a special place in the heart of one of our own. Today we remember and honour JOHN “JACK” DOUGLAS RENNIE, the late grandfather of Megan Rennie, B.Sc., P.Ag. (Environmental Scientist at Trace).
Jack grew up in the small town of Abbey, Saskatchewan (approximately 90 km northwest of Swift Current, SK). He enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force (R.C.A.F.) in 1942 and the following year was sent overseas to join the war effort (World War II). As a Flight Sergeant flying Lancaster Bombers, Jack was a bombardier in a crew of seven. On his 23rd birthday in January 1944, his plane was shot down during a mass bombing raid over Berlin (515 Lancaster bombers were involved in the raid, 33 did not return). Jack was taken as a prisoner of war and endured suffering and captivity in the German Stalag Luft camps until the end of the war in 1945. The highlight of his liberation was a reunion with his sister Shirley who was a wireless operator with the Canadian Women’s Army Corp and stationed in England.
When Jack was discharged from service, he enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan in 1945 and in 1949 graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture. Upon graduation, he, and his wife Joyce (Russell) Rennie, made their permanent home in Regina. He specialized in Dairy Science and became a long-time employee with Saskatchewan Agriculture as one of two dairy specialists for the province. In 1978, he transitioned to Dairy Producers Co-op as their Production Manager; a position he held until retirement in 1987. Throughout his career, Jack was also actively involved in St. Andrews United Church and served in many capacities in this regard. He was a Grand Officer and Past Master of the Masons, an active member of the Eastern Star, and an executive member of the R.C.A.F. Association. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion for seventy-two years and his commitment to the Legion Branch #001 for fifty-five years was unwavering. He was devoted to visiting veterans regularly and was tireless in his efforts to promote the annual poppy drive.
Jack dedicated ten years to the War Memorial Project which established a Memorial in Regina to acknowledge those lost in service in the First and Second World Wars, as well as the Korean War. The Memorial contains the names of approximately 10,000 Saskatchewan men and women who gave their lives for their country and province. The Regina War Memorial is located on Memorial Way on the Legislative Building and Grounds property, in Regina, Saskatchewan. Staff from Trace’s Regina office had an opportunity to visit,and were grateful to see a small piece of Jack’s legacy.
Jack is remembered for his enduring qualities of care, compassion, and dedication to his family, Veterans, and his fellow human beings. He was the recipient of many awards including, Royal Canadian Legion Life Membership, Meritorious medal, and Palm Leaf – the highest award offered by the Legion – and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal, a testament and tribute to his 94 years.
In honour of Jack’s legacy, Trace has contributed to the Regina War Memorial for his service to Canada.