Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

June 13, 2007 13:57 ET

DND Reaches Settlement With Estate of Deceased Airman

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 13, 2007) - The Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Defence, today announced a settlement with the Estate of the late Flight Sergeant William Waldo Coates, who did not receive a military pension despite more than 20 years of service in Canada's armed forces. The Minister made his announcement following a meeting with Mr. Jon Coates, Flight Sergeant Coates' son. This settlement was reached to the satisfaction of both parties. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

"Flight Sergeant Coates ably served Canada in war and peace, and was released from service in 1956. The Coates family has waited patiently for many years for his service to our country to be recognized and acknowledged. I am pleased to be able to say that this situation has been finally resolved," Minister O'Connor said.

The Coates family requested to make the following statements:

"For over 50 years, our family wrote to every new Minister of National Defence, 10 Prime Ministers and countless Members of Parliament and hundreds of journalists-all to no avail," said Jon Coates, on behalf of his mother and family. "News of the Defence Department's decision earlier this month to grant an award in the matter of my late father's pension has been received by my 85-year old mother and my family with heartfelt thanks. The Minister responded handsomely to our requests for a full review and who by his personal display of humanity, kindness and great consideration put a happy end to a 50-year-long project which was often filled with regrets and frustration."

"Mr. O'Connor's leadership and capacity to make things happen for the little guy should not go unnoticed in the rough and tumble world of politics."

"I can honestly say that all of the credit for bringing about this settlement belongs to Minister Gordon O'Connor who, from the beginning, had an innate understanding and respect for Flight Sergeant's Coates's sacrifices and remarkable devotion to the Service throughout his 21-year career in peace and war," said Colonel (ret'd) Michel W. Drapeau, counsel for the Estate of Flight Sergeant William Waldo Coates.

"Mr. O'Connor then had the fortitude and courage to bend the bureaucracy to do what is right and proper for a veteran and his family while his predecessors in office over the past fifty one years elected to look the other way ignoring incessant appeals for justice and fairness by Mr. Coates and his family," Colonel (ret'd) Drapeau continued. "Mr. O'Connor deserves a salute of gratitude and a compliment of respect from the serving and retired military community because, without fanfare and posturing, he delivered the goods."

Contact Information

  • Office of the Hon. Gordon O'Connor
    Isabelle Bouchard
    Director of Communications
    Colonel-Maitre (ret'd) Michel W. Drapeau, counsel for
    the Estate of Flight Sergeant William Waldo Coates
    Office of the Minister of National Defence