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Second World War veteran Bert Payne was known as 'poppy' to all youngsters who knew him

Bert Payne
Bert Payne - Submitted

Bert Payne lied about his age so he could serve his country in the Second World War.

Mr. Payne, who served in the Royal Canadian Navy, died Dec. 12 at the Corner Brook Long-Term Centre.

He was 94 years of age.

“Just about any child who knew him called him ‘poppy,’” his daughter Vicky Holwell said Sunday via Messenger.

According to his daughter, Mr. Payne was a self-taught engineer who was a foreman with Bowaters in the early 1960s before moving to Ontario where he worked for Dominion Bridge and helped build the CN Tower.

He moved back to this province in 1977 where he played a key role in helping build roads all over western Newfoundland. When he retired from that job he turned to lobster fishing, which his daughter believes was the most enjoyable thing he worked at.

To enlist for the war, a person had to be 16, but Mr. Payne was 15 when he went to war. He lied about his age, his daughter said, because he wanted to follow his older brother Harold off to war.

Mr. Payne’s son Rick followed in his footsteps.

Rick Payne, who died three years ago, was a petty officer first class who served for 35 years with the Royal Canadian Navy where he served on both the Protector and Preserver as a stoker. He was the most decorated officer in Canada with 11 medals when he died, according to Holwell.

Over the past couple of years, she said, her dad became somewhat of a recluse with his wife Mary (Polly) battling dementia.

She said her parents loved to travel to Ontario a couple of times a year to visit his children and great grandchildren.

Family meant everything to Mr. Payne.

He loved them all and enjoyed being around them all.

The funeral service for Mr. Payne was held Saturday at Saint Nicholas Anglican Church in Cox’s Cove.

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