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

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

There is an emergency shelter near the Golden Ears peaks. (Facebook/Special to The News)
Hiker fogged in on Golden Ears, spends 2 nights

Talon Helicopters, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue bring him home Monday

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-week-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of mass-marketing fraud is ever reported.
Tips to avoid scams targeting Vancouver Island seniors

In most cases, fraudsters impersonate an individual, business or agency seniors recognize and trust

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Most Read