||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2010)|
Rohmer speaking at a Remembrance Day ceremony in 2012
|Born||1924 (age 88–89)|
|Service/branch||Royal Canadian Air Force|
Chief of Reserves of the Canadian Armed ForcesCommander of the Air Reserve Group
|Awards||Officer of the Order of Canada
Knight of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem
Order of Ontario
Commander of the Order of Military Merit (Canada)
Distinguished Flying Cross (UK)
Canadian Forces Decoration
Officer of the Order of Leopold (Belgium)
Chevalier of the Legion of Honour (France)
|Other work||Author, Lawyer, Columnist|
Major-General (Ret'd) Richard Heath Rohmer, OC, CMM, DFC, O.Ont., K.StJ, CD, Of.L, QC, BA, LLB, JD, LLD, UEL, Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur (born 1924) is an aviator, a senior lawyer (aviation law), adviser to business leaders and the Government of Ontario, a prolific author and historian, and Canada's most decorated citizen.
Rohmer was born in Hamilton, Ontario, and spent some of his early youth in Pasadena, California as well as in western Ontario at Windsor and Fort Erie. The Peterborough Examiner's lead editorial of 14 January 2009 describes Rohmer as "one of Canada's most colourful figures of the past half-century."
He was an unexceptional student in high school and worked briefly at Fleet Aerospace before joining, at 18, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) early in World War II. He flew P-51 Mustang fighters and was taking part in the Battle of Normandy as a fighter reconnaissance pilot when he spotted what appeared to be a staff car, usually used to carry German officers. In this case, the German officer being carried was Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Rohmer reported the car's location to Group Control Centre, which sent in a Spitfire flown by a pilot (Rohmer knows he was not a Canadian) who strafed the target and wounded Rommel. Rohmer later took part in the liberation of France, Belgium and Holland.
In 1950 he returned to the RCAF (Reserve), flying Vampire jets and commanding 400 Squadron (City of Toronto) and 411 Squadron (County of York). He retired in 1953 as a Wing Commander.
In 1971 he was appointed Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel (and later Honorary Colonel) of 411 Air Reserve Squadron. In April, 1975 he was promoted to Brigadier-General and appointed Senior Air Reserve Advisor. On April 1, 1976 he was appointed Commander of the newly formed Air Reserve Group. On January 31, 1978 he was promoted to the rank of Major-General and appointed Chief of Reserves. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of Military Merit in December, 1978, and left the military effective February, 1981.
Rohmer is active in a range of legal, corporate and veterans' activities. He is an active senior member of the Toronto law firm of Rohmer & Fenn with a boutique international and national aviation and commercial litigation practice. Called to the Bar in 1951 and Queen's Counsel in 1960, he continues to practice and was appointed to the Court of Appeal of Ontario in 2012. He was chairman of the 60th anniversary of D-Day celebrations that took place in the presence of the Queen at Juno Beach in Normandy on 6 June 2004. He co-chaired the Ontario advisory committee that created the Veterans' Memorial unveiled 17 September 2006 in front of the provincial legislature at Queen's Park. He is chair of the Premier's Ceremonial Advisory Council and was a ten year member of the Advisory Council of the Order of Ontario.
He chaired the significant Royal Commission on Book Publishing in 1971/72. He is a premier Canadian author of both fiction and non-fiction. His most recent non-fiction is The Building of the CN Tower published 2011 by RailCore Press Inc. of which he is president. His most recent novel, Ultimatum 2 was published early 2007. It fictionalizes a confrontation between the US and Russia against Canada over the building of an international high level nuclear waste disposal site in Arctic Canada. The second edition of his historical novel on the 1866/67 Canadian negotiations with the British for autonomy under the British North American Act is Sir John A's Crusade and Seward's Magnificent Folly, with a Downton Abbey connection.
General Rohmer is the honorary deputy commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, the honorary chief of Toronto Emergency Medical Services, patron of the Toronto St. John's Ambulance (1978–2007), honorary fire chief of Collingwood, Ontario and honorary detective of the Toronto Police Service.
While living in Toronto in the 1950s, he was heavily involved in the Don Mills Progressive Conservative riding association and, in 1958, he challenged the incumbent Progressive Conservative MPP in the adjacent riding of York East to be the candidate for the 1959 general election. While the incumbent was successful, Rohmer became an advisor to John Robarts during his successful campaign to win the leadership of the PC Party of Ontario and, in so doing, become Premier.
He was twice chancellor of the University of Windsor, serving a total of 13 years. In 1978 he negotiated the donation to the university of Conrad Black's collection of Duplessis papers in exchange for an honorary degree.
He was a charter member of his local (Don Mills) Civitan club, and he served as treasurer of the international organization. His position allowed him to meet U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower to present Civitan's World Citizenship Award.
Richard Rohmer lives with his wife Mary-O in Collingwood, Ontario and practises aviation litigation with the Toronto law firm of Rohmer & Fenn. He has two daughters, Ann Rohmer, a TV personality, and Catherine, a lawyer. He is a licensed pilot.
- Practice and Procedure Before the Highway Transport Board (1965)
- The Green North: Mid-Canada (1970)
- The Royal Commission on Book Publishing (Chair, 1972)
- The Arctic Imperative (1973)
- Ultimatum (1974)
- Exxoneration (1974)
- Exodus UK (1975)
- Separation (1976)
- Balls! (1980)
- Periscope Red (1980)
- Poems by Arthur Henry Ward (1980)
- Separation two (1981)
- Pattons Gap (1981)
- Triad (1982)
- Retaliation (1982)
- Massacre 747 (1984)
- Rommel and Patton (1986)
- Starmageddon (1986)
- Hour of the Fox (1988)
- Red Arctic (1989)
- John A.'s Crusade (1995)
- Death by Deficit (1996)
- Caged Eagle (2002)
- Raleigh on the Rocks (2002)
- Generally Speaking (autobiography, 2004)
- Ultimatum 2 (2007)
- Building of the CN Tower (2011)
- Building of the Sky Dome/Rogers Centre (2012)
- Sir John A's Crusade and Seward's Magnificent Folly (2013)
- Officer of the Order of Canada (1990)
- Commander of the Order of Military Merit (1978)
- Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom)
- Order of Ontario (1997)
- Knight of the Order of St. John
- 1939-45 Star
- Air Crew Europe Star, with France and Germany clasp
- Defence Medal (United Kingdom)
- Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, with clasp for overseas service
- War Medal 1939–1945
- Canadian Centennial Medal (1967)
- Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977)
- 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal (1992)
- Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002)
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012)
- Canadian Forces Decoration
- Officer of the Order of Leopold (Belgium) (1989)
- Chevalier of the Legion of Honour (2004)
In 1960, he was designated a Queen's Counsel by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.