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A Tribute to Jerry Chalmers

Sun, Apr 27th, 2003
Submitted by: Warren B. Funnel

A Tribute to Jerry Chalmers

A close friendship of three kids attending a brand new high school in Winnipeg, was formed almost from the moment we met. One was Gerry Walmsley, another was Jerry Chalmers, and the third was myself. I was from the lower income area of Winnipeg, the North End. Not poor, but having three squares a day, sometimes only two, and sometimes four (midnight snacks).

Jerry was from the South End--The Rich Part of Town. Today, it looks a lot different. But I had to wear my Dad's good pants if I had a special place to go, and my shoes were always worn out. So anyone with a couple of pair of shoes, and a good pair of their own pants was "rich" to me.
Gerry Walmsley was one of the children that was shipped somewhere else to escape the London Blitz. He was older than us, but they had to put him in our grade 10 class to match his previous education. He knew a lot more things about a lot more stuff than we did, but he fit in well. He knew all the British Navy drinking songs, so they became a part of our repertoire, toned down to 1951 Winnipeg prudishism, which satisfied us.

Our school was a new concept for all of us, and the idea was we could go into any of 10 trades. Jerry chose Industrial Arts. I ended up in printing after a year of Metal Crafts. Gerry followed me.
The three of us ended up in HMS Pinafore. Jerry had put my name down on the sign up sheet, thinking I did not notice. So I put Gerry's on, and Gerry put Jerry's on. On the day of the first practice, quite a few from our class signed up after seeing our names on there. Jerry was chuckling to himself when my name was called, and when they called his name and Gerry's, he was surprised, but we all went and had a blast.

Jerry loved to go to the airport and beg for flying time; around 1957 he decided to have the RCAF pay for his gas and supply a plane for him to fly. I was proud to hear he was able to do this.
The last time I saw Jerry was a going away party at his house. He had many of his friends there, and as I was going steady with my wife to be, I did not fit into the party mood without her. I sort of backed out the door, saying Good Luck to Jerry. I never saw him again after that.

When I heard he crashed years later, he died somewhere in Germany, when his engine flamed out and his 'chute' did not open on Dec. 21, 1959

I always wanted to belief that it was a fake death so that he could become an international spy or had a special government job that one day he would appear, telling us of his life adventures.
Unfortunately , I was wrong.

We will pay a tribute to Jerry Chalmers on May 21, 2001 on the 50th Birthday Celebration of our High school.

Any pictures and memories would be greatly appreciated that would can help me to pay tribute to this wonderful person would be greatly appreciated.

Warren B. Funnel



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