Pictured right: Lloyd, at Veterans Memorial Lodge.
Born in Northern Saskatchewan in 1925, as a toddler Lloyd Liesch and his family settled 22 miles north of Meadow Lake. A painted picture of the homestead he grew up on hangs above his bed.
On his 18th birthday, Lloyd joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. “The Battle of Britain was going on at the time and I had hoped to train as a pilot. But when I enlisted I was told they didn’t need any more pilots.” So, Lloyd trained as a Flight Engineer and credits the military for his advanced his education. “I was a farm boy growing up as far north as you could, and in the wilderness. I had my basic schooling. But once I was in the military I finished grades 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 within 6 months!”
Lloyd experienced most of the country, having been stationed across Canada, with his first in Saskatoon. “I was no sooner there than I was transferred to Portage la Prairie, other stations, and then all the way to Dartmouth. I think I was stationed in every province.”
His career shifted from Flight Engineer to Intelligence after higher-ups discovered his German background. “My grandparents spoke German, but I never did.” Lloyd trained at a camp in the Laurentian region of Quebec. He remembers when he and about 12 other trainees arrived. The instructor’s directions where clear. “Gentlemen, you have just spoken your last words of English. If you want something – here’s a book.” They were handed an English to German translation book. Lloyd took to the language quickly, thanks in part to listening to his grandparents as a kid. “I was pleased to learn the language, and shocked my parents and my grandparents when I came home my first leave and spoke to them in German.” Lloyd says Intelligence was just a nice name for Spy. He enjoyed the work, but said everything was so secret that he tried his best not to remember the sensitive material that would cross his desk.
After the war and four years of service with the Air Force, Lloyd eventually made his way to the west coast. He was interviewed, and on the same day hired, to work at David Spencer’s Department Store in Victoria. Days later, “The Spencer name was off the building and T Eaton was on the building. I worked for Eaton’s for 20 years. Started at the bottom and made my way to the top.” Nearing retirement, one day his boss shared that he had ‘good news’ and ‘bad news’ for Lloyd. “I said, ‘What’s the good news?’ ‘Well, you’ve been promoted again,’ came the reply. ‘Well then, what’s the bad news?’ ‘You’ve got a new assistant, and his name is Robert Eaton!’” Lloyd was tasked to share all the ins and outs to a then-teenaged Robert, who would eventually take over as President of Eaton’s Department Store.
Lloyd and his late wife of 30 years, Beth, raised their family on Vancouver Island. Active in the community, Lloyd proudly displays his golf trophies from his time as a member at the Royal Colwood Golf Club, including two Horse’s Rear Award Trophies. “Not my best games. But you have to celebrate your successes and your failures.”
In the winter of 2021, Lloyd moved to Veterans Memorial Lodge. Recently elected President of the Veterans Association Group, supported through programs at Broadmead Care, Lloyd and other members meet two times a month. They work to support all veterans living at the Lodge, through visits with isolated veterans, addressing veterans concerns over unjust social issues, and ensuring important dates are recognized at the Lodge, such as D-Day, Remembrance Day, and Battle of the Atlantic services. “We mustn’t forget out veterans. So many have slipped through the cracks and even find themselves living on the streets. We all need to do our part. I am pleased I can still do that while living here at the Lodge.”
Lloyd has fond memories of his time in the military, although still wishes he had trained as a pilot. “But I showed them. I got my personal pilot’s license after the war.”
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