Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Roly Armitage reunites with woman he rescued during World War II

Cindy Melcher
Carp, ON August 13, 2023
An enthusiastic crowd gathered at Highland Park in Carp this past Sunday for a ceremony to honour the legacy of Dr. Roly Armitage, a beloved Pontiac veterinarian. The occasion was made all the more special by the presence of Sonja Jobes, a woman from Holland whom Armitage had rescued as a child during World War II in 1944.
“I was driving the Jeep in 1944 in Holland near the Eindhoven airport,” recalled Armitage in a recent CTV News report.
“I thought I saw some movement as I went by, I thought it could be soldiers, so I backed up and there’s two little kids in the ditch.”
He picked up the children and brought them to safety in the field kitchen to get cleaned up and grab a bite to eat.
Dr. Armitage never forgot about the little girl he had rescued during World War II. He searched for her for years until a man came forward claiming to know someone who might fit the bill. It was then that Jobes, now 83 years old and living in Minnesota, recognized herself as the young girl Armitage had saved all those years ago.
“When I saw it in the newspaper, I knew immediately that it was me because I told that story so many times in my life, I’ve got to be that girl,” said Jobes.
“She was in the ditch and then the next thing she knew, she was standing in a big kitchen pot getting bathed,” said Roly’s son Mick Armitage, retelling the story.
It was an emotional reunion between the two nearly eight decades after Armitage rescued Jobes as a young girl. As the two sat hand in hand during the ceremony, their bond and mutual affection was apparent.
“We drove almost 20 hours all the way from Minnesota to be here, but we wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” said Denise Wright, daughter of Sonja Jobes.
Though Dr. Armitage was able to reunite with Jobes, he never knew what happened to the boy he also rescued during that fateful day in World War II.
Dr. Armitage was a distinguished Shawville veterinarian from 1951 to 1969. He was awarded Citizen of the Year in Shawville in 1961, was President of the Pontiac Agricultural Society, had a major involvement in building the Agricultural Hall in the Shawville Fairgrounds and helped secure a grant from the Quebec government to install a system of sewage pipes in Shawville. Known for his impressive driving skills and experience training horses at the Shawville Driving Club, Dr. Armitage was President of the Canadian Trotting Association.
Plans are already in motion for Sonya’s return visit to Canada next year. Roly’s son Mick expressed his excitement about the upcoming reunion, saying “they were thrilled to meet his father and were treated with the utmost kindness by everyone here in Canada.”

REUNITED: Sonja Jobes (left) was rescued as a young girl from a ditch in Holland by Roly Armitage (right).


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