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A special gift for Yarmouth veteran

Rick Young (left) chats with Miff O’Connell at Veterans Place in Yarmouth. Young was there to present O’Connell with a model he had made of a Staghound armoured vehicle. ERIC BOURQUE PHOTO
Rick Young (left) chats with Miff O’Connell at Veterans Place in Yarmouth. Young was there to present O’Connell with a model he had made of a Staghound armoured vehicle. ERIC BOURQUE PHOTO

Falmouth model maker presents specially made creation to Yarmouth veteran

A resident of Veterans Place in Yarmouth got an unexpected gift the other day.

Miff O’Connell, a 95-year-old veteran of the Second World War, was presented with a model of a Staghound armoured vehicle, the same kind he rode in during his wartime service overseas.

Rick Young of Falmouth, a maker of military models, had met O’Connell not long ago and decided to create a model for him.

Young had been in Digby for the Wharf Rat Rally and from there had travelled down to Yarmouth, where he had a chance to meet O’Connell.

“When I was talking to him,” Young said, “he was telling me that he was in the Royal Canadian Dragoons and that he’d been a bow gunner in a Staghound. I had a Staghound model (at) home. I figured Miff might like it for Christmas.”

The model, which is encased in glass, was a hit with its recipient, who said he never expected it.

“It was a big surprise,” O’Connell said with a hearty laugh.

 

A close-up look at the glass-encased model of a Staghound armoured vehicle built by Rick Young of Falmouth. Young presented it to Miff O’Connell, a resident of Veterans Place in Yarmouth. ERIC BOURQUE PHOTO
A close-up look at the glass-encased model of a Staghound armoured vehicle built by Rick Young of Falmouth. Young presented it to Miff O’Connell, a resident of Veterans Place in Yarmouth. ERIC BOURQUE PHOTO

 

 

A native of Little River Harbour, Yarmouth County, O’Connell spent almost three years overseas. He was wounded twice in the war and had a few other close calls, he said.

He was the youngest of four children. His three siblings – all of whom are deceased – also served in the war. A photograph of them hangs on the wall of his room at Veterans Place.

Young, the creator of O’Connell’s surprise gift, said he has been building models since he was a kid.

“It tends to be quite a hobby when you get into it,” he said.

O’Connell too has a hobby – knitting bait bags – and he offered a little demonstration of his skills for Young and a couple other visitors.

“It’s something to pass the time,” he said. “I started at 12 years old, knitting for my father.”

O’Connell, who has 11 children, worked as a fisherman after returning home after the war.

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