Bill Hillman's Monthly Military Tribute
2017.05 Edition
Click for larger full-screen images
Alexander Daniel McLean Matheson, 91 years of age, passed away peacefully in his sleep at his residence at Hillcrest Personal Care Home on May 16, 2016.

Alex was born and raised in Vancouver, BC. He was very active in sports in his youth excelling in swimming, diving, soccer and lacrosse. Alex served in the armed forces for 33 years, enlisting in July 1943. During his service, he was a pilot, a parachute instructor, and an officer in the Royal Canadian Dragoons, an Armoured Corps Regiment. His military service took him to many places including Korea, Cyprus, Laos and South Vietnam. Alex retired in 1975 with the rank of Colonel as Base Commander of CFB Shilo.

Alex married the love of his life, Margaret (Peggy) Clark, on May 31, 1947. They were very happily married for 68 amazing years and raised four terrific boys.

Following his retirement from the military, Alex was employed as an illustrator at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon - a job he thoroughly enjoyed for ten years.

Alex was very active in his community. He was president of the 1979 Canada Winter Games. He was a long serving member of the Brandon Rotary Club and member of the Royal Canadian Legion #3. He enjoyed playing the bagpipes, public speaking, painting and making wonderful personalized cards for family and friends and was an active member of the local calligraphy club.

Alex is survived by his wife, Peggy, four sons - Dan (Judy), Bruce (Sheila), Gordon (Marie), and Murray (Karen). Grandchildren - Sarah (Mike), Rob, Kelsey (Tim) and Brittany (Patrick), Scott (Amanda), Graeme, Kristine (Paul), Stuart (Sandra), Andrew (Amanda) and great-grandchildren: Abaigeal, Calum, Annabelle, Jolene, and Connor. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law Jean Thomson and Doreen Matheson and numerous nieces and nephews.
Alex is preceded in death by his only brother Brum, his parents Murdock and Catherine (Moore) Matheson, sister-in-law Ina Morson and her husband Mike, brother-in-law Lloyd Thomson, brother-in-law Burt Clark, brother-in-law Norman Clark (and wife Sheila).

Bill and Sue-On Hillman: A 50-Year Musical Odyssey
Gig Notes Excerpts:

"Heeere's Alex!"
We've appeared on the stage of the Brandon Centennial Auditorium many times for a great variety of events. I've even sat on that stage with my fellow Brandon University professors overseeing grad and initiation ceremonies.  But the most unusual gig was probably during the time when Johnny Carson was still hosting television's Tonight Show.

As a bit of a lark and fundraiser, an imitation of this popular show was staged in Brandon. The retired base commander of CFB Shilo, Col. Alex Matheson, took on the role of Carson. The Ed McMahon second banana seat was taken by broadcaster Ron Arnst who opened the show with a "Heeeere's Alex" intro.

Alex followed a short monologue by bringing on guest performers. We did a musical number and then moved to the couch where we engaged in typical talk-show chatter with Alex and Ron. A real fun experience. 

Rock 'n' Roll Bagpipes - Command Performance

Throughout the '60s to '80s we regularly played all the mess clubs at the nearby military base, CFB Shilo: Jr. Ranks, Sgts/WO, Officers, etc. Since we were quite popular at base functions we were hired as the first band to open the new expanded Junior Ranks Club.

Camp Commander, Colonel Matheson, came in with his bagpipes and we did a whole set of songs featuring rock and roll bagpipes. After the show, while taking out equipment, the overactive new glass door sprang back on me and the long Shure Vocal Master speaker columns I was carrying shattered the glass. Interesting way to Christen the fancy new club.

We featured Col. Matheson in our
CANADA 150 BCATP Vignette Series
in Vignette No. 58
Alex Matheson was a long-time volunteer at the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum. He was well respected and liked for his easy going manner and true interest in people with who he interacted. In 2001, Alex sat in on a CATP Museum Oral History video interview conducted by the museum’s Kathy Sheppard in her first job with us as Oral History Facilitator. In the hour long interview, Alex, with the help of Kathy presents a comprehensive and interesting explanation, with a dash or two of humour, of training for an airman new to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. This included the first stop in the RCAF – the Manning Depot – to the last – graduation and the wings ceremony as airman eligible for operational training. View this truly enjoyable hour on YouTube at:.

JANUARY: Photos ~ RCN Hong Kong Journal ~ Station Mag
FEBRUARY: BCATP Pilot Training ~ Dragoons Vimy Night
MARCH: BCATP / CATP Air Museum Celebrate Canada 150
APRIL: War, Conflict. . . and Life
MAY: Remembering Col. Alex Matheson
JUNE: Star Weekly Wartime Covers
JULY: Canadian WWII Victory Bonds

Previous 2016 Issues:
Vets Home for Xmas Plus The Japan Homefront
Photo Story: WWII Remembered
Canadian Women in WWII
RCAF Flyers wrote Olympic history
Imperial War Museums Memories
Lancaster Cockpit and Crew Stations ~ Pearl Harbor Mastermind
BCATP Bases and Aircraft ~ Battle of Britain ~ War Brides
RCAF and WWII Polish Resistance ~ F/L Donald Hillman ~ WWI Camp Hughes
RCAF Women Honoured
1. Lest We Forget: Family Tribute
2. Then and Now ~ Wearing the Poppy
A Wartime Christmas

As You Were . . .

.XII Manitoba Dragoons Museum - Brandon Armoury

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