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LCol Phillip "Danny" Kay, OMM, CD, Croix de Guerre (Fr)


Lieutenant-Colonel Kay was awarded the Canadian Officer of the Canadian Order of Military Merit (Canada Gazette, December 22, 1973); "Major P. Kay is cited for outstanding devotion to duty and professional excellence whilst commanding the Parachute Training Wing, Canadian Airborne Centre. Because of his previous British Army service where he participated in two combat jumps in NW Europe and one in Malaya, he was uniquely qualified to instruct and supervise parachute training. Combining this experience with perception, imagination and diligence, he produced highly trained and motivated paratroopers for the Canadian Forces. Major Kay completely revised the basic parachute course, introducing new and imaginative training which inspired the young Canadian soldiers to feats of endurance and courage above their highest expectations. To ensure that this exceedingly high standard would be perpetuated he wrote appropriate Canadian Forces Pamphlets in such an articulate and lucid manner that they can be utilized at all levels of training. 

Fluently bilingual, he appointed himself ombudsman to ensure that purely francophone candidates on parachute courses did not suffer because of their lack of understanding of English. An intrepid believer in leadership by example, Major Kay was always the first to jump from the aircraft, particularly when the winds were high or the drop zone dangerous. Even though approaching retirement age, Major Kay never once relaxed the exceedingly high standards that characterize his military service." (Note the parachute jump in Malaya listed in the citation was actually in North Vietnam with the French Foreign Legion) Kay was awarded the Commander's Neck Badge of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem on December 27, 1979. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Kay was born in Derbyshire, England on December 10, 1924. He was the illegitimate son of Brigadier-General Frederick William Lawrence Sheppard Hart Cavendish, CMG, DSO, 9th Lancers, and Mademoiselle Francoise Ellene Laxcelles. He was given the name of Philip Kay when a marriage of convince was arranged between Mmle. Lascelles and Lt.Colonel William Kay, OBE. Kay enlisted in the Royal Engineers on May 6, 1943. Late in 1943 he took the Commando course and served briefly with No. 10 Inter-Allied Commando. He was accepted in F Squadron, GHQ Liaison Regiment, Special Air Service Brigade, 1st Airborne Corps. Given the local rank of Second Lieutenant with the 2nd Special Air Service, he was seconded to the 3rd Special Air Service as a Liaison Officer for the June invasion. Kay parachuted into Brittany with the 3rd S.A.S. where they linked up with the Maquis. Together over a two month period they prevented as many as 70,000 enemy troops from being effective against the Allies in Brittany. Kay received a French Croix de Guerre, and a British M.I.D (recorded in Canadian service record but not London Gazette). 

In August 1944, he transferred to the 1st Airborne Division as part of a Phantom Team. Kay parachuted into Arnhem and the Phantom teams inadvertently played an important part in battle. The Phantom teams had the only working radio equipment as the Division's regular communication equipment failed completely. Phantom teams set up a communications net which was the only communications with the relieving ground force. Kay was taken prisoner at Arnhem and spent the rest of the war in a camp. He returned to England in June 1945 and was attached to the Airborne Forces Depot. Kay went to Palestine with the 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment.

 In 1947 he joined the 12th Lancers and later spent two years with the Armoured Training Regiment. In 1949 Kay was posted to Suez Canal Zone. He joined the Malayan Scouts in August 1950, and served in Malaya until September 1951 when he left the British Army. In November 1951 Kay joined the French Foreign Legion and was sent to Indochina. He served with 1er Battalion Etranger de Parachutistes and 2e Regiment Etranger d'Infanterie mainly in the Tonkin region. During the campaign, Kay was wounded, and received two French Croix de Guerres. He was released from the Foreign Legion in February, 1953. 

In May 1953 Kay joined the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps as a Corporal and was posted to the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. In 1956 he was commissioned Second Lieutenant and posted to the Royal 22nd Regiment of Canada. In 1961 as part of 57 Signal Unit, Kay served in the Congo as part of the Canadian United Nations Contingent. In 1963 he was promoted Captain and the served with the Royal 22nd Regiment of Canada in Cyprus. From October, 1966, to September, 1967, Kay was on exchange with the United States Army Special Forces. In 1968 he was promoted Major and joined the Combat Arms School. In 1970 Kay transferred to the Airborne School where he would eventually command the Parachute Training Wing of the Airborne Centre. In 1974 Kay was on exchange with the Sultanate of Oman's Ministry of Defense. 

In 1974 he transferred to the Reserve Forces into the Cadet Instructors List.

 In 1975 Kay was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and transferred to Supplemental Reserve. He commanding Whitehorse Cadet Camp 1974 and 1975. In 1976 he was recalled to active duty as Lieutenant-Colonel while on Special Duty with the Security Forces at the Montreal Olympics. Kay was released from the Supplemental Reserve in 1983. In 1984 he was recalled to the colours as Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding the Banff Cadet Camp. While traveling by road to take up that position he was in a serious automobile accident that left him terribly crippled for the rest of his life. Sadly he never did take up command of BNACC. 


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