Donald Joseph Connolly, originally from Bathurst, graduated from St. Thomas University in 1941. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in July 1940 and was awarded his wings seven months later.
He was the first man from Gloucester County to qualify in the Canadian Branch of the Empire’s Air Fighting Service, with rank of Flight Sergeant. He flew a Spitfire.
Connolly died on Sept. 28, 1941 and is buried in North Weald Bassett (St. Andrew) Churchyard in Essex, England.
This poem was originally published in The Aquinian in 1939, the paper’s fourth year of existence.
In Flanders Fields do spirits wake
To watch as we go forth to take
The torch – our pledge to those who
Fought and died – but in their dying
Taught us strength to battle with the foe,
In foreign fields where poppies blow.
We shall not fail. We take our stand
For freedom’s cause – far from this land
Where we have lived
Spent boyhood years,
In Flanders’ Fields our loved ones sleep,
The larks still sing, the poppies weep,
And spill their tears at dawn each day,
Enriching yet that fertile clay.
We know they sleep
As we go forth,
Our tryst to keep.
-Donald Joseph Connolly