Windsor

'A very brave man': Windsor, Amherstburg 'Devil's Brigade' veteran dies at 97

Ralph Mayville, a veteran of the First Special Service Force during World War II, has died.

Ralph Mayville was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2015

Ralph Mayville became a member of the Essex Scottish in 1940. (CBC)

Ralph Mayville, veteran of the First Special Service Force during World War II, has died. 

Mayville, born August 21, 1921, grew up in Amherstburg, Ont. and later lived in Windsor.

According to records from the Windsor Public Library, Mayville became a member of the Essex Scottish Regiment in 1940, but quickly joined the Royal Canadian Regiment. 

In 1944, Mayville was one of the elite Canadian-American force, nicknamed the 'Devil's Brigade' that landed in Italy. The unit would later become a model for the U.S. Navy SEALs.

As part of the Devil's Brigade, Mayville was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2015

Trained as a paratrooper, Mayville didn't make his first jump until 2014 — the war ended before he had a chance. 

Mayville's caregiver Cathy Moczko described him as a man who was "stubborn and straight to the point."

"He will tell you what he wants to tell you," said Moczko, who began working for Mayville in 2010.

According to Moczko, Mayville had been staying at her home following an incident in which he fell and cracked his left arm and shattered his right elbow.

At about 1:30 a.m. Friday, Moczko found Mayville unresponsive while he was asleep, prompting her to call emergency services.

Moczko said Mayville's family will be coordinating funeral arrangements. 

"Ralph will be remembered and should not be forgotten," she said. "He is a soldier, straight to the point, and a very brave man."

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