Armistice baby turns 100 this Remembrance Day

Lorne Boyd has always had to share his birthday with a slightly more sombre occasion — and even though he's turning 100 on Sunday, this year will be no different.

Lorne Boyd of Hawkesbury, Ont., says he doesn't want armed forces to be overshadowed

Lorne Boyd turns 100 on Sunday — the centenary of Armistice Day. When an eye condition prevented the Hawkesbury, Ont., man from fighting overseas, he signed up for the reserves and worked on military planes in Canada. (Denis Babin/Radio-Canada)

Lorne Boyd has always had to share his birthday with a slightly more sombre occasion — and even though he's turning 100 on Sunday, this year will be no different.

Boyd's birthday falls on Remembrance Day, but the Hawkesbury, Ont., man doesn't seem to mind putting his personal celebration second.

"This day is for the poor souls that give us this day, the men that lost their lives. They're the ones we got to celebrate," he said. 

Boyd's retirement residence threw him a party Friday that included family members, Hawkesbury Mayor Jeanne Charlebois and Francis Drouin, the MP for Glengarry–Prescott–​Russell.

The local legion plans to throw him another party on Sunday, but Boyd wants to make sure those who served in the wars are given priority.

"I don't want anybody to think we're taking anything away from the armed forces by having some celebrations on Armistice Day," Boyd said.

Born in 1918 near Montreal

While Europe was celebrating the end of a war that had ravaged much of the continent, a baby boy was born Nov. 11, 1918, in a small hamlet in the Lachute, Que., area, northwest of Montreal. 

Boyd spent much of his childhood in that area, before moving to Montreal to work as an aeronautical mechanic.

When the Second World War broke out in Europe in September 1939, Boyd was 20 years old. Because of a bad eye that had been diagnosed when he was a boy, however, he couldn't enlist to serve overseas.

Recruiters with the Canadian Army told him he was "not suitable for active service," but that they would call on him if they became desperate.

The call never came.

Boyd worked with planes most of his life, as a mechanic during and after the Second World War. (Submitted)

Boyd said he was healthy and was surprised he was never called upon to help fight. 

He still wanted to serve in some way, so he signed up for the reserves and trained in the Eastern Townships regularly while working in Montreal, building and repairing commercial and military planes.

Even after the war ended, he resumed his work with aircraft manufacturer Canadair — which became part of Bombardier — and Trans-Canada Airlines — which later became Air Canada. 

He continued doing what he loved until his retirement in 1979.

With files from Denis Babin