Webber, Michael Henry Fairfax

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Michael Henry Fairfax Webber
29 January 1919 – 16 October 2017
BGen Michael Webber studio portrait.jpg
Place of birth Kings Lynn, England
Place of death Ottawa Ontario
Place of burial Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa
Allegiance Canada
Service/branch Canadian Army
Years of service 1937 - 1974
Rank Brigadier-General
Awards CD

Brigadier-General Michael Henry Fairfax Webber CD (29 January 1919 - 16 October 2017) was a Canadian soldier who served in the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals.

Early Life

Michael was born in Kings Lynn, England, January 29 1919, the only child of Harold Fairfax and Edith (nee Proctor) Webber. As an infant, he immigrated with his mother to Ottawa, rejoining his father who had preceded them as a returning World War I veteran. As the child of a career army officer he lived in Kingston, Toronto, Camp Borden and finally back to Ottawa.[1]

Service

In 1937 Michael entered a four-year course of study at Royal Military College of Canada, cadet #2612, with the aim of pursuing a military career. In 1939 his studies were interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. In December 1939, after two and an half years, he received a Special War Certificate and was discharged from RMC so he could accept a commission as Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals. Early in the war he endured the London air raids and was the first to land in the vital 1941 Spitsbergen raid[2].

On July 10, 1943 Captain Webber waded ashore with much of the Canadian Army in Sicily for the beginning of the arduous Italian campaign. As the war progressed he transferred with the rest of the Canadian Army to N.W. Europe. V-E day found Major Michael Webber in Hilversum Holland. Post-war Michael completed his electrical engineering degree at Queens University and was posted to National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa.

In 1952, promoted Lt. Colonel, and became the first Commanding Officer of the 1st Canadian Signal Regiment (1CSR) based at what was then Camp Borden, near Barrie Ont. During his distinguished career, he served in several roles at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, attended the Canadian Army Staff College, the US War College and the Canadian Defence College. He served in 1957-1958 in Indochina with the International Control Commission, in 1960-1964 in Washington D.C. as Canada’s Military liaison to the Pentagon and, from 1965 until the end of 1971, with the Canadian Forces Headquarters Communications Electronics Systems Division. Served from 1970 until 1972 as Honourary Aide-de-Camp to Governor General D. Roland Michener CC, CMM, CD.

Promoted Brigadier General in 1971 he served at NATO Headquarters in Brussels until his retirement in May 1974.

In retirement he was appointed the first Colonel of the Regiment, 1st Canadian Signal Regiment, serving from 1976 to 1979[3]. In 1987-89 he served as Colonel Commandant of the Communications and Electronics Branch.

Personal Life

In April 1940, he married Margaret Frances Marr and four short months later was shipped overseas. Nearly five years later he returned to his wife and met his young son, Michael Fairfax Marr Webber. Together with Margaret they had three more children: Christopher, Peter and Jennifer. He had four grandchildren: Michael and Christina Webber, Andrew Altman and Matthew Altman and one great granddaughter Elsie Fairfax Altman.

After retiring in 1974 he worked ten years for the Law Reform Commission of Canada.

After the death of Margaret, Michael married Louise Gray (nee MacBrien). His step children are Michael, Brien, Bruce and Diana and his step-grandchildren, Lynnette and Gregory White.

Michael Webber died peacefully at home in Ottawa, on Monday, October 16, 2017 in the company of family. His visitation was held at the Hall of Colors of the Beechwood National Memorial Centre, 280 Beechwood Ave. Ottawa on Saturday October 21. Funeral Service was followed by interment with military honours and reception.

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References

  1. Beechwood Obituary
  2. 90 Years and Counting (Chapter 5)
  3. 90 Years and Counting (Chapter 6)