In memory of those who have Crossed the Bar


Richard Hugh (Dick) Leir


Rear-Admiral, RCN / C.A.F.


Born: 19 Nov 1921, Penticton, British Columbia


Died: 28 May 2015, Saanichton, British Columbia


LEIR, Richard Hugh (Dick) - passed away peacefully at Saanich Peninsula Hospital on May 28th. Dearly beloved husband of Valerie, he is also survived by his children: Michael, Andrew (Laura Lee) and Vivian (Monir) and his grandchildren: Sarah, Siobhan, Galen and Clarissa. Dick also leaves behind numerous siblings, nieces and nephews and many friends. Born in Penticton to Hugh and Joyce Leir, Dick grew up and was educated firstly in Penticton and later in Shawinigan Lake School. He joined the RCN in 1939 and trained with the R.N. in the U.K., as was the practice in those days. From there he was posted to the Far East Theatre of War where he joined HMS PRINCE OF WALES. Sunk in her, he was rescued by HMS EXPRESS and taken to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) where he joined HMS EXETER, only to be sunk again. This time he was picked up by the Japanese and spent 3 1/2 years in the then named Dutch East Indies as a Prisoner of War. He was listed as "Missing, presumed dead". After his release, he resumed his career with the Royal Canadian Navy and spent two years attached to the Mediterranean Fleet, based in Malta. There, he met and married Valerie. Returning to Canada in 1948, he spent the next 28 years serving, either at sea with ships HMCS ATHABASKAN (in which he went to the Korean War), CRUSADER, SUSSEXVALE, SKEENA and BONAVENTURE or on land at various postings. From 1970 to 1973, promoted to Rear Admiral, he was the Maritime Commander at Esquimalt. Upon retirement in Central Saanich, he worked as a Consultant before taking up building stone walls in his garden, fishing, cruising by sea in his boat or on land in his trailer and travelling with Valerie to many parts of the world. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. (the Globe and Mail 06 Jun 2015)


Ships served in:


HMS PRINCE OF WALES - Survived the sinking of HMS PRINCE OF WALES. Rescued by HMS EXPRESS

HMS EXETER - Survived the sinking of HMS EXETER in 1942.  Rescued / captured by Japanese forces and became a POW




HMCS ATHABASKAN - Served in ATHABASKAN 1949-1951 as OpsO during 1st Korean tour

HMCS SIOUX - Served in SIOUX in 1953 as LCdr, RCN, XO

HMCS CRUSADER - 7th Commanding Officer

HMCS SUSSEXVALE - 2nd Commanding Officer


HMCS SKEENA - 6th Commanding Officer


Three Years Dead

Article on RAdm Leir's time as a Japanese POW

CROWSNEST magazine Dec 1950


Click on the above article to view a larger image



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