CHADDERTON, Hugh Clifford (Cliff)
CC, O.Ont., OStJ, CLJ, CAE, DCL, LLD
Peacefully in his 95th year at the Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre in Ottawa on November 30, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Nina, sons Bill (Marlyn), Brian (Donna), stepson Gleb, stepdaughter Sandy Richmond (Clare) as well as several cherished grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
As long time Chief Executive Officer of The War Amps until his retirement in 2009 and Honourary Chairman for Life of the National Council of Veteran Associations, Cliff was known to Canadians as "Mr. Veteran" and as a tireless innovator of programs for war, civilian and child amputees. He was also a truly remarkable advocate who dedicated his life to protecting the interests and rights of veterans.
Cliff was born on May 9, 1919 in Fort William (Thunder Bay), Ontario, to William Hugh Chadderton and Gladys Muriel (Blackburn) Chadderton, and raised in Winnipeg. Prior to the Second World War, he worked as a news editor for Canadian Press in Winnipeg, a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press and attended the University of Manitoba. He also played for the Winnipeg Rangers hockey team – the farm team for the New York Rangers.
Cliff enlisted on October 15, 1939 with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles and went from a non- commissioned officer to company commander. He was four months in combat in France and Belgium. A D-Day veteran, he lost part of his right leg in October 1944 while in command of a company of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles battling for the Scheldt Estuary in Belgium and Holland, and joined The War Amps on returning to Canada in 1944.
Among his major accomplishments was founding The War Amps internationally- renowned Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program. Both CHAMP and the solid foundation of programs for amputees that he established and ensured would continue into the Association's second century will stand as his lasting legacy.
An advocate for all amputees, in 1987 he established a taskforce to assist Thalidomide victims, ultimately obtaining compensation from the Canadian government. Standing shoulder to shoulder with Canada's Hong Kong veterans, he successfully obtained compensation for their 44 months of enforced labour during the Second World War. He also made it a mission to preserve the integrity and reputation of Canadian veterans, giving a voice to their concerns over the controversial series The Valour and the Horror, and the Billy Bishop documentary The Kid Who Couldn't Miss.
Cliff was a strong believer in the importance of preserving Canada's military heritage, and produced The War Amps internationally award winning Military Heritage Documentary Series, as well as published two memoirs about his experiences as a company commander in World War II.
He received many awards including Companion in the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, induction into the Canada Veterans Hall of Valour and the Terry Fox Hall of Fame, Knight in the Order of the Legion of Honour of France, the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation, the Royal Bank Award for Canadian Achievement and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal.
Cliff's approach to living with amputation was that "it's what's left that counts," and he challenged both himself and other amputees to stay active and engaged. He delighted in a good round of golf with friends, and learned to downhill ski at the age of 69 as an inspiration to others. He enjoyed boating, often writing about his nautical adventures, and also keeping in touch with close friend Jack Mitchell of Winnipeg, with whom he served in the Royal Winnipeg Rifles.
He will be warmly remembered by his many colleagues and friends at The War Amps and the many generations of child amputees who have come up through the CHAMP Program. The War Amps has created a memorial page in his honour at www.waramps.ca.
A private funeral service will be held in Ottawa, with a memorial service in celebration of Cliff's life to be announced at a later date. The family wishes to thank the doctors and staff at the Ottawa Hospital General Campus and the staff and volunteers at the Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre for their exceptional and compassionate care.
Published in The Ottawa Citizen from Dec. 5 to Dec. 7, 2013