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Biography

LCol Eric W. Cormack, CM, OBE, ED, CD, Croix de Guerre

Commanding Officer WCTTC, Vernon, BC - 1949

 

Colonel Cormack was born in Lockerbie, Oumfriesshire, Scotland; January 7, 1899. He was educated at Edinburgh University and the University of Alberta. 


He achieved numerous Athletic awards in Cricket and shooting. In running along with Eric Ciddel (Olympic Runner), their team established the medley one mile relay race record for over ten years. He received his officers training while serving with the R.O.T.C. Cadet Corps. He later joined the 35th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, but was discharged due to age requirements. In 1917, he joined the Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery, and was commissioned 2ND Lieutenant and acting Captain, while serving in France. He was wounded twice in Belgium in 1918 and was awarded the Croix De Guerre. 
Upon immigration to Canada he joined the Canadian Officers Training Corps as Captain at the University of Alberta. He served as Major in the Royal Canadian Artillery, (Militia), 78th Field Battery, Red Deer, Alberta from 1928 - 1939. At the start of World War II in 1939 he went to Winnipeg serving as Chief Gunnery Instructor. 

On January 4, 1941 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and assumed command of the 16th field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (active); later transferring to the 8th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment. He sailed to England in 1942 to serve with the Anti-Aircraft Defense of Britain. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Cormack commanded the 8 Canadian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment throughout the campaign in the Netherlands with great skill and distinction. He and his unit have consistently carried out all tasks which they have been assigned in such a manner as to win the confidence and admiration of the division, Their work during operations under the able leadership and Lieutenant-Colonel Cormack has been outstanding both in their role as an Anti-Aircraft Regiment and in assisting in road construction and protecting the lines of communication. It has been the personal example of this officer's initiative, drive and leadership which has inspired his regiment. From November 1944 to January 1945 Lieutenant-Colonel Cormack organized and was personally responsible for the air defence of the general areas of Breda, Tilburg and s'Hertogenbosch. He was also Garrison Commander of Tilburg and worked tirelessly to organize the defence when the enemy threatened to cross the Maas River in December 1944. Throughout, Lieutenant-Colonel Cormack's continual enthusiasm and unfailing devotion to duty have contributed greatly to the standard of efficiency reached by his unit thereby assisting materially in the successful conclusion of the war and the liberation of the Netherlands.

In late June 1944 he sailed to France; and in August his Regiment assumed the unofficial, but widely known name of "Cormack's Commando's". He was wounded in October 1944. Shortly before the Nazi Surrender, Colonel Cormack assumed command of all the artillery in the 4th Canadian Armoured Division under the acting rank of Brigadier. 

After the war ended, in 1946, he escorted some 750 war brides to Canada. He then returned to his farm at Alix, Alberta, retaining many military links. He was asked to reorganize the reserve artillery units in western commanding November 1949, at which time he moved to Edmonton and accepted a post in the Expensions Department, at the University of Alberta. He commanded the 10th Manning Depot at the Prince of Wales Armouries, Edmonton in 1955. He joined the Legion of Frontiersman-Canadian Division in 1956 where he received the Efficient Service Medal, Canadian Division Medal, Centennial Medal, Austrian Medal of Merit, Provincial Command Medals of Merit, and Honorary Life Member before retiring as Alberta Commandant in 1981. He joined the Royal Canadian Legion in 1926 serving on various committees and held the positions of Zone Commander, Past Zone Commander, Past President of Branch #150, as well as Honourable President of Branch 277. His Legion awards included the 50 year medal, 60th Anniversary Medal, Certificate of Merit and life Member. In November 1987, the Sherwood Park Legion received their new charter and was officially renamed "The Eric W. Cormack Branch 277 of the Royal Canadian Legion;" in his honour. 

He assumed command of the 20th Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (reserve) in 1962. He was created the Honourary Colonel of the Artillery in Northern Alberta which included the 78th Field Battery, Red Deer. He was involved with the Navy League Cadets and in 1971 the Navy League Corps was named after him. He retired in 1977 under the rank of Full Colonel. 

CORMACK, Eric Wyld, Lieutenant-Colonel, ED - Officer, Order of the British Empire - RCA (8 Canadian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment) - Awarded as per Canada Gazette dated 23 December 1944 and CARO/5235 dated 3 January 1945.

This officer has been in command of the 8 Canadian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment since its conversion from a field regiment. His standard of training and leadership has been of an extremely high order. This was reflected in the excellent reports received on the regiment whilst it was employed on Air Defence Great Britain. He has succeeded in instilling in all ranks of the regiment his own high sense of duty and standard of personal behaviour. This high standard of efficiency can be attributed solely to this officer_s ability, personality, initiative and drive. The standard of this regiment has been demonstrated in operations since its arrival in Northwestern Europe. He has handled it extremely well with good results for a Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment in the terms of enemy aircraft destroyed.

CORMACK, Eric Wyld, Lieutenant-Colonel, OBE, ED - Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau (with Swords) (Holland) - RCA - awarded as per Canada Gazette dated 22 December 1945 and CARO/6291 dated 23 December 1945.

Lieutenant-Colonel Cormack commanded the 8 Canadian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment throughout the campaign in the Netherlands with great skill and distinction. He and his unit have consistently carried out all tasks which they have been assigned in such a manner as to win the confidence and admiration of the division, Their work during operations under the able leadership and Lieutenant-Colonel Cormack has been outstanding both in their role as an Anti-Aircraft Regiment and in assisting in road construction and protecting the lines of communication. It has been the personal example of this officer's initiative, drive and leadership which has inspired his regiment. From November 1944 to January 1945 Lieutenant-Colonel Cormack organized and was personally responsible for the air defence of the general areas of Breda, Tilburg and s'Hertogenbosch. He was also Garrison Commander of Tilburg and worked tirelessly to organize the defence when the enemy threatened to cross the Maas River in December 1944. Throughout, Lieutenant-Colonel Cormack's continual enthusiasm and unfailing devotion to duty have contributed greatly to the standard of efficiency reached by his unit thereby assisting materially in the successful conclusion of the war and the liberation of the Netherlands.


AWARDS:
Order of Canada 1981 
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) 
Royal Order of Orange Nassau with Crossed Swords (Dutch) 
Great War Medal, Allied War Medal, Croix de Guerre (French) 
Defense of Britain, 1939 - 1945 Star, France Germany Star 
Canadian Volunteer Medal with Bar, General Service Medal, Efficiency Decoration (20 years service), Canadian Decoration (12 years) 
Queen's Coronation Medal, Queen's Jubilee Medal. 
Alberta Distinguished Award 1977 
Honourary Doctor of Law Degree 1983 
He joined the Legion of Frontiersman-Canadian Division in 1956 where he received the Efficient Service Medal, Canadian Division Medal, Centennial Medal, Austrian Medal of Merit, Provincial Command Medals of Merit, and Honorary Life Member before retiring as Alberta Commandant in 1981. 
He joined the Royal Canadian Legion in 1926 serving on various committees and held the positions of Zone Commander, Past Zone Commander, Past President of Branch #150, as well as Honourable President of Branch 277. His Legion awards included the 50 year medal, 60th Anniversary Medal, Certificate of Merit and life Member. In November 1987, the Sherwood Park Legion received their new charter and was officially renamed "The Eric W. Cormack Branch 277 of the Royal Canadian Legion;" in his honour. 
He was involved with the Navy League Cadets and in 1971 the Navy League Corps was named after him. 
The Cormacks assisted in founding the Robin Hood School in Sherwood Park. The Eric Cormack Center for the mentally retarded, in Edmonton, was also named after him. 

He died November 19, 1987