OTTAWA – Edmonton East Member of Parliament Peter Goldring paid tribute in the House of Commons today to William Teleske, a former member of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment and veteran of the 1943 Italian campaign, particularly the Battle of Ortona, who died Sunday at age 91.
“I had a chance to get to know Bill Teleske when fundraising across Canada to send the veterans of the Ortona Battle to return to Italy in 1998 to celebrate a retake of the 1943 Christmas dinner,” Mr. Goldring says. “We raised more than $200,000 to send 30 veterans from across Canada to Ortona, where they recreated that 1943 Christmas dinner with their former enemies on its 55th anniversary.
Mr. Goldring was also instrumental in the “Price of Peace” monument from Ottawa artist Robert Surette being installed on permanent display in the plaza square in Ortona.
The life-size monument to Ortona veterans and their fallen comrades was also paid for by the contributions and donations of thousands of Canadians in a fundraising campaign spearheaded by Peter Goldring in his role as as Veterans Affairs Critic.
Mr. Goldring’s complete statement follows:
WWII Veteran William Teleske
William Teleske fought with the Loyal Edmonton Regiment in the Italian Campaign.
Late 1943, he was in the Battle for Ortona, called the “Stalingrad” of Italy for its ferocity. Christmas was a short reprieve from the front lines to a bombed out church for dinner.
Christmas 1998, Bill returned to Ortona with 30 Veterans, of his Regiment, the Three Rivers, Royal 22nd, Provost Corps, and the Seaforth Highlanders.
They visited their 1400 fallen comrades resting at the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery, and wondered: “So why not me?”
Then they shared Christmas Dinner in the rebuilt church, this time with their foes of old – a wonderful expression of the hopefulness for world peace in a season of Christ meant for such reflection.
Bill passed away on Sunday, June 19.
Bill Teleske was respected for his service to his country and will be missed by his family and his many friends.
We will not forget.