Jim Newell, a former resident of Grand Cove, was recently featured in the Remembrance Day broadcast from Ottawa. Jim and his wife Doreen lived for many years on Pinetree Lane, and were active members of the lawn bowling and Cove Theatre Group writing, producing and acting in many productions.
Jim was born in England in 1924 and joined the Royal Marines on his 18th birthday. His military career first took him to India, Burma and Sri Lanka. Fully loaded with 75 pounds of kit and rifle, route marches of several miles in the hot and humid air were regular commands. In 1944 Jim transferred to the Royal Black Watch Regiment. Since he was able to strip and assemble a Bren gun blindfolded he was deployed to France, Holland, Belgium and finally to Nazi Germany. During the “Battle of the Bulge” Jim with others of the Black Watch were sent to Belgium to allow the American Troops time to regroup. Jim recalls entering a farmhouse where a mug of coffee left by a retreating German soldier, was still warm! In March of 1945 Jim was severely wounded and, after a lengthy recovery, was retired from active duty. He continued to serve in a less strenuous capacity until being discharged in 1947. After immigrating to Canada with his family in 1953, Jim joined the Ontario Regiment and eventually obtained the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major.
Jim and his first wife Jean raised and trained many dogs that were eventually used for dog therapy programs. After the death of his wife, Jim started to spend time with his sister in Florida and there he met Doreen who was visiting from the U. K. They shared a love of dogs and with the support of the St. John’s Ambulance formed the Dog Therapy Program in Peterborough, a program that has since spread across Canada and around the world.