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Bay Roberts' last Second World War veteran dead at 92

Bertha Hierlihy, when she was still a Mercer, wearing her Canadian Women's Army Corps uniform. — Courtesy Bay Roberts Heritage Society
Bertha Hierlihy, when she was still a Mercer, wearing her Canadian Women's Army Corps uniform. — Courtesy Bay Roberts Heritage Society

Bertha Hierlihy served with Canadian Women's Army Corps

Bertha Hierlihy stands next to a display case at the Road to Yesterday Museum in Bay Roberts in 2010. People had gathered to officially open a new military exhibit that featured Hierlihy's Canadian Women's Army Corps uniform. — Photo by Eric Jerrett
Bertha Hierlihy stands next to a display case at the Road to Yesterday Museum in Bay Roberts in 2010. People had gathered to officially open a new military exhibit that featured Hierlihy's Canadian Women's Army Corps uniform. — Photo by Eric Jerrett

BAY ROBERTS, NL — A Bay Roberts woman who represented the last living connection locally to the Second World War has died.

Bertha (Mercer) Hierlihy, who held the rank of private with the Canadian Women's Army Corps, passed away this week at St. Clare's Hospital in St. John's. She was 92.

Dissolved in the 1960s once it fully integrated with the Canadian Armed Forces, the Women's Army Corps dedicated itself to non-combat roles such as mechanical work, food preparation and secretarial duties. It was founded in 1941, two years into the war.

Then known as Bertha Mercer, she was the last of 11 children and one of five in her immediate family (herself and four brothers) to serve in the Second World War. Lewis "Buck" Mercer was a Merchant Marine. Harry Mercer served as a corporal with the U.S. Army and earned a Purple Heart following his death in 1945 (he was buried in the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines). Hayward Mercer enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces, and Percy was a member of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood posed for a photo with Second World War veteran Bertha Hierlihy during last year's Remembrance Day ceremony at the Bay Roberts Retirement Centre.
Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood posed for a photo with Second World War veteran Bertha Hierlihy during last year's Remembrance Day ceremony at the Bay Roberts Retirement Centre. — Twitter

Following the war, Bertha raised a family with her husband, Adriel Hierlihy. The Hierlihy's had a farm in Bay Roberts and also operated a butcher shop on Water Street.

In her later year's, Bertha continued to remember the hand she and others had in protecting the freedoms people enjoy today, attending Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Bay Roberts Retirement Centre.

Visitation was scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 4 at Moore's Funeral Home in Bay Roberts from 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. The funeral for Hierlihy will be held Friday, Jan. 5, at St. Matthew's Anglican Church in Bay Roberts starting at 11 a.m.

editor@cbncompass.ca

A closer look at Bertha Hierlihy's uniform. — Courtesy Bay Roberts Heritage Society
A closer look at Bertha Hierlihy's uniform. — Courtesy Bay Roberts Heritage Society

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