Private William Jonathan James Cushley (September 3, 2006)
Soldier, 21, returns to St. Clair River town
Sep. 14, 2006. 04:09 PM
In Port Lambton, Ont., the sun burst through the clouds as soldiers greeted the casket containing the remains of Pte. William
Cushley, 21, outside Sacred Heart Church.
Some 500 people were on hand to bid farewell to the first Lambton County resident to be killed in action since the Korean War.
“He was a deeply spiritual man,” said Brig.-Gen. Guy Thibault, Commander Land Force Central Area. “The rank wasn’t testimony to his
Thibault said soldiers who knew Cushley were no doubt thinking of him, but added he believes morale remains strong among Canadian
“It steels the soldiers in their resolve for what they have to do,” Thibault said.
Cushley was remembered by Capt. Rev. Daniel Roushorne as a man “who got back off the bus to give mom a hug and kiss, and it didn’t
matter that everybody was watching.”
In his eEulogy, Tyler Atkins paid tribute to his fun-loving buddy and added that Cushley “made a difference for our country.”
Cushley’s three sisters took turns reading stanzas from a heart-wrenching poem, including lines that read: “You were our brother and
our friend. We wish we could have been with you at the end.”
As the hearse passed by Sacred Heart elementary school, from which he had graduated only seven years before, the entire student body
lined up on the curb, most dressed in red, all wearing arm bands that read 'Thank you Will.' Some waved Canadian flags or tossed
Other than a few muffled sobs, the 145 youngsters stood silently as the procession, which was more than 100 metres long, passed by.
Warrant Officer Richard Francis Nolan, Warrant Officer Frank Robert Mellish, Sgt. Shane Stachnik were also killed in the bloody
battle with Taliban insurgents near Kandahar on September 3.
A fifth soldier, Pte. Mark Graham, died a day later when he was accidentally strafed by a U.S. warplane.
The graveside service saw three volleys of fire from soldiers, a bagpiper, then a trumpeter sound the Last Post.
Cushley’s parents, Errol and Elaine, were presented with a Canadian flag.