OTTAWA, November 30, 2013 – It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Cliff Chadderton, 94, who served as The War Amps Chief Executive Officer until 2009 and as Chairman, and later Honourary Chairman for Life, of NCVA.
“Cliff was a truly remarkable advocate who dedicated his life to protecting the interests and rights of veterans and their families,” said NCVA Chairman Brian Forbes, who had the privilege of working with Mr. Chadderton for over 35 years as War Amps Solicitor, his personal Legal Counsel and with NCVA.
Known to Canadians simply as “Mr. Veteran,” Cliff Chadderton was recognized both nationally and internationally as an influential developer of innovative programs and services for war, civilian and child amputees, and as founder of The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program.
“Cliff was an inspirational leader of the veterans’ community in Canada and once he took on a crusade, his tenacity and determination were legendary,” said Mr. Forbes, noting that his first priority in all the initiatives that he led was to ensure that veterans and their families attained deserved compensation and benefits for the disabilities they suffered in the defence of their country.
A D-Day veteran, Mr. Chadderton lost part of his right leg in October 1944 while in command of a company of The Royal Winnipeg Rifles battling for the Scheldt Estuary in Belgium and Holland. Following the war, he held several positions in The War Amps before his appointment as Executive Secretary (later Chief Executive Officer) of the Association in1965.
In recognition of his work, he received numerous awards, including Companion in the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, induction into the Canada Veterans Hall of Valour and the Terry Fox Hall of Fame, Knight in the Order of the Legion of Honour of France, the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation, the Royal Bank Award for Canadian Achievement and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
A memorial service will be announced at a later date.
Cliff’s biographical sketch, which was published on The War Amps memorial page, details his remarkable life and career, and is copied below.
Known to Canadians as “Mr. Veteran,” Cliff Chadderton, who held the position of Chief Executive Officer of The War Amps until 2009, was renowned as Canada’s most influential developer of innovative programs and services for war, civilian and child amputees, and as a tireless advocate for veterans.
Born on May 9, 1919, in Fort William (Thunder Bay), Ontario, to William Hugh Chadderton and Gladys Muriel (Blackburn) Chadderton, Cliff Chadderton was raised in Winnipeg. Prior to the Second World War, he worked as a news editor for Canadian Press in Winnipeg, a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press and attended the University of Manitoba. He also played for the Winnipeg Rangers hockey team – the farm team for the New York Rangers.
Second World War
Mr. Chadderton enlisted on October 15, 1939, with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles and went from a non-commissioned officer to company commander. He was four months in combat in France and Belgium. A D-Day veteran, he lost part of his right leg in October 1944 while in command of a company of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles battling for the Scheldt Estuary in Belgium and Holland.
With The War Amps
Cliff Chadderton joined The War Amps on returning to Canada in 1944. An active member, he held a number of positions within the Association until his appointment in 1965 as Executive Secretary (later Chief Executive Officer). Under his leadership, the Association transitioned from a solely veteran-oriented organization to a charitable institution which effectively represents all amputees, and particularly child amputees.
Chief among his accomplishments was founding The War Amps internationally-renowned Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program, which assists thousands of amputee children across Canada with the cost of artificial limbs and education, and provides counselling and regional seminars. He also established several other programs including PLAYSAFE, to promote child safety with a “kids-to-kids” approach, Matching Mothers, to bring together new and experienced CHAMP families for advice and support, and JUMPSTART, which ensures that multiple amputee children have the computer skills they need for an independent future.
A forward-thinker, he began early in his tenure to lay the groundwork so that the valuable programs started by returning war amputees would be carried on well into the future. In 1975, he brought on board Brian Forbes as Association Solicitor and in 1979, David Saunders as Chief Operating Officer. He worked closely with David Saunders over the ensuing years to ensure that The War Amps Key Tag Service, founded in 1946 as a sheltered workshop for returning war amputees, would remain a state of the art facility that continues today to employ Canada’s disabled and provide a valuable key return service for Canadians.
An advocate for all amputees, Cliff Chadderton established in 1987 a task force to assist Thalidomide victims. This involved obtaining for The War Amps consultative status to the United Nations as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), with a team of delegates that included Dr. John Humphrey, co-author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Dr. Gustave Gingras, honorary president of the Canadian Human Rights Foundation and internationally renowned specialist in rehabilitative medicine, and Brian Forbes as Association Legal Counsel, a leading advocate in International Law and Human Rights. This initiative ultimately resulted in the obtaining of compensation from the Canadian government.
Mr. Chadderton also produced The War Amps internationally award-winning Military Heritage Documentary Series, as well as published two memoirs about his experiences as a company commander in World War II. In 2008, he started a blog which gained a popular following for its telling of some of the lesser-known stories of war.
On Mr. Chadderton’s retirement from The War Amps in 2009, its National Board of Directors, adopting Mr. Chadderton’s proposed operational plan, appointed Brian Forbes and David Saunders to serve as the Executive Committee of The War Amps, supported by an Executive Subcommittee consisting of Danita Chisholm, Executive Director of Communications & the Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program, Lorraine Cornelius, Executive Director of Public Awareness and Darlene Quesnel, Executive Director of Internal Operations.
Advocate for Veterans
Prior to his appointment as Executive Secretary of The War Amps in 1965, Cliff Chadderton held several impressive positions: Adviser to the Minister of Labour in veterans’ rehabilitation, National Secretary of the Army Benevolent Fund, and Director of the Canadian Army Financial Welfare Program.
From 1965 to 1968, he served as Secretary and Executive Director of the Woods Committee, formed to conduct an extensive study on veterans pension legislation in Canada. The final three-volume study, acclaimed as the most important of its kind since the Second World War, made available to veterans for the first time a complete and detailed explanation of virtually every section of the Pension Act as well as resulted in some 148 recommendations to improve the legislation and its administration.
As Chairman and, at the time of his passing, Honourary Chairman, of The National Council of Veteran Associations in Canada (60 member groups), Cliff Chadderton had a long list of credits in his struggle for veterans’ rights. On behalf of both NCVA and The War Amps, he appeared before hundreds of tribunals established by Veterans Affairs Canada in the pursuit of innovative pension benefits and allowances on behalf of individual veterans, their families, and their children, with a particular focus on the prioritization of the seriously disabled veteran. An expert in the history and evolution of veteran’s legislation in Canada and throughout the world, he appeared regularly before Committees of the House of Commons and Senate, presenting papers and recommendations regarding legislative amendments for the betterment of Canadian veterans.
For more than a decade, he led The War Amps successful battle to see justice served for Canada's Hong Kong veterans. As prisoners of war of the Japanese, they were forced into slave labour during the Second World War. As Patron of the Hong Kong Veterans Association, and again working with Dr. John Humphrey, Dr. Gingras and Brian Forbes, he fought for compensation, both at the UN Human Rights Tribunals in Geneva, Switzerland and before the Canadian Government in Ottawa. Compensation of $24,000 was awarded to each surviving PoW or their widow in December 1998.
He also made it a mission to preserve the integrity and reputation of Canadian veterans, giving a voice to their concerns over the controversial series The Valour and the Horror, and the Billy Bishop documentary The Kid Who Couldn't Miss.
A Lasting Legacy
During Mr. Chadderton’s life and career, he received numerous awards, including Companion in the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, induction into the Canada Veterans Hall of Valour and the Terry Fox Hall of Fame, Knight in the Order of the Legion of Honour of France, the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation, the Royal Bank Award for Canadian Achievement and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal.
He considered the creation of the CHAMP Program, however, to be his greatest achievement. Both CHAMP and the solid foundation of programs for amputees that he established and ensured would continue into the Association’s second century will stand as his lasting legacy.
He is survived by his wife, Nina, sons Bill (Marlyn), Brian (Donna), stepson Gleb, stepdaughter Sandy (Clare) Richmond as well as several cherished grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
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