Military honours Ladysmith sailor

Investiture into Order of Military Merit at ceremony in Ottawa

  • Jun. 21, 2016 4:00 p.m.

Pirjo RaitsThe Chronicle

The stories of life onboard ships, foreign ports and high seas adventures lured 19-year-old Norman Cawthra into the Canadian navy. He grew up in Surrey and having met a sailor a few years older who regaled him with life in the navy, he was hooked and left the construction industry and enlisted in the military in 1982.

Thirty three years later, Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Norman Cawthra was recognized and appointed to the Order of Military Merit in October 2015. He was invested as a Member by his Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief, at an investiture ceremony at Rideau Hall on June 3.  He was nominated by Commander Sea Training Pacific, Cdr Chris Peschke.

CPO1 Cawthra’s career in the navy has been varied and rewarding. He first served on the HMCS Mackenzie, followed by the HMCS Saskatchewan. He obtained his Ship’s Diver Qualification and was a member of the West Coast Naval Gun Run Team. He volunteered for submarine service and was posted to Halifax and served as radio supervisor aboard submarines HMCS Okanagan and HMCS Onandaga.

His career led him to New Zealand for a two month exchange, deployment to the Persian Gulf and became one of the first NAV COMMs in the fleet when the communications trades amalgamated.

He received a DGMEPM Special Award for exceptional and distinguished contribution to the submarine program. In 2008 he became the Chief Naval Communicator at Sea Training Pacific.

In August 2014, after two years onboard ship, including a tasking as the Detachment Forward Coxswain in support of HMCS Protecteur after the onboard fire, and as the RIMPAC CCPO, he as appointed to his current position of Coxswain of Sea Training Pacific.

CPO1 Cawthra is a humble sailor and said, “there is not one thing that earned me specific high level recognition.”

“I contribute my successes in the military to the unwavering support that I have received from my family, especially from my wife Cindy, who always supported me, took care of the home, and raised our son Ben and daughter Autumn in my constant absences.”

Cawthra said he met his wife in Halifax in 1990 while she was serving in the navy as an administrative clerk.

“She gave up her career in 1995 to raise our children,” he said.

When not onboard ships or serving in the military he enjoys time with his family, and doing typically “Canadian” things such as hiking, camping, traveling and building things.

Orders of Military Merit were also handed out to 12 Officers and 40 Members.  Cawthra was the only Member from British Columbia. The Order honours them for their commitment to Canada, according to the following three levels of membership: Commander (C.M.M.), Officer (O.M.M.) and Member (M.M.M.)


Just Posted

Sizzling season starts with Summer Fest celebrations in Chemainus

Rotary Club event features plenty of food, entertainment and a parade

Memorial Midget C Hockey Tournament supports Puska

Ladysmith man in need of a kidney transplant receiving abundant financial contributions

Poppy funds blossom at Chemainus Health Care Centre

Cowichan Legion Branch 53 makes a valuable contribution

Ladysmith Hill Dash and Running of the Balls return to High street

Ever year Ladysmith residents run High street to support the Ladysmith Resource Centre Association

RCMP urges community to report crimes as theft from vehicles continues

Ladysmith RCMP confirmed a group of teens were seen trying to break into a vehicle on Thetis drive

‘This is unbelievable:’ Raptors dazzled by massive crowds at downtown Toronto parade

Mayor John Tory declares it ‘We The North Day’ after team’s historic NBA title win

Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Skipping school costs a dozen B.C. students chance at a new car

Cowichan’s Jared Lammi showed up and won $5,000 cheque toward vehicle, but he can’t drive

BC Ferries adds extra and late night summer sailings

Seasonal adjustments to sailing times also in effect on many routes

Man suffers burns, dog dies in fire in Nanaimo

Structure burns down on Clifford Road property in Cedar

Province comes through with funding for Charleigh Fales

Lake Cowichan toddler only one in B.C. diagnosed with CLN2 Batten disease

People throwing food at a bear in Fernie alarms conservation groups

“Approaching and feeding bears contributes to habituation,” says conservation group

Feds announce $50M strategy to fight dementia

Emphasis is on prevention and and supporting caregivers

Most Read