Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Peter Worthington was one such man . . . it was a great honor and a unique privilege to meet him in the last year of his life - S.L.


Sometime in the midst of a busy and hectic Monday morning I became aware of the passing of a great warrior of North America. Peter Worthington departed this earth on Sunday 12 May, and stepped immediately into the presence of Almighty. Well-known enough in certain circles here in the United States, in his native Canada Peter Worthington was and is legendary.

A veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, from 1956 to 1971 Peter Worthington attended virtually every international crises as they occurred throughout the world – I recently saw a photograph of Peter Worthington in Vietnam, in a US uniform - he was a veteran of the small brushfire wars and the very hot wars of the Cold War era. More recently, Peter was present on the battlefields of Afghanistan - a battlespace environment as lethal to journalists as it is to weapon-toting warriors.

Peter Worthington reporting from the front lines of one of the many wars he covered for the Toronto Telegram, including the civil war in Biafra and the Vietnam War.

Throughout the course of a lifetime total of some 30-40 wars, revolutions, coups and crises, Worthington experienced the hunger, starvation, cruelty and compassion of the Biafran War, the anarchy and chaos and humour of the Congo’s independence, nightly assassinations in Algiers, where the Foreign Legion rebelled against the de Gaulle government. Vietnam, Dutch New Guinea, Baghdad, Zimbabwe.

In the midst of wading through all the gore and mayhem of Third World conflict, Peter Worthington proved himself to be an astute businessman, helping start the Tornoto Sun newspaper that expanded into a chain providing jobs for thousands, defying the odds and proving critics and cynics wrong.

During the Roland-the-Headless-Thompson-Gunner era of African conflict in the 1960's and 70's, Worthington witnessed the civil war in Angola -he was there when the barefoot armies of Jonas Savimbi routed Cuban and Soviet armor.

He was on the spot in Eritrea when rebels, with no aid from anyone, defeated Ethiopia - which had largest Soviet-backed military machine in Black Africa. He witnessed the Chinese invasion of India, ringside.

Pete interviewed such diverse figures as Albert Schweitzer and Joe Louis; Patrice Lumumba and Alexander Kerensky; Jomo Kenyatta and Louis Armstrong; The Dalai Lama and Clifford Olson. The list is long and varied.

Into this mosaic is the assassination of President John Kennedy, and watching Jack Ruby gun down Lee Harvey Oswald - Pete is quite visible in the existing video tape of the era; the trial of Sirhan Sirhan, assassin of Senator Bobby Kennedy – and the trial of Charlie Manson.

Peter Worthington's career as a soldier of fortune began at the age of sixteen, when he joined the Royal Canadian Navy in order to catch the tail-end action of World War II. His dad was a General in the Canadian Army - running off and joining the Army was out of the question; his father would have had him pulled back.

Peter Worthington, seen here as platoon leader of Dog Company during the Korean War in 1952

Later, Pete consolidated his military credentials in the Korean war, as an officer in the Princess Patricia's Light Infantry; Canada's equivalent of the Ranger Regiment. It is what was expected at a time when least 10% of the Canadian population was in uniform; only today, with WWII and Korean veterans dying off, does it seem special. It is not. When your country calls, there is a duty to answer - which Canadians did, and still do.

Peter Worthington in Afghanistan, continuing his war reporting into his 70s.

Peter Worthington in the prime of his life. This photo was taken in 1982 shortly before Peter left for Zimbabwe with $500,000 in a failed attempt to negotiate the release of six tourist hostages held by insurgents.

Peter Worthington's father, Major General F.F. "Fighting Frank" Worthington, founder of the Canadian Armoured Corps.

Peter Worthington as a young man, having lied about his age to get into the Canadian navy and get in on the action at the end of World War II

Peter Worthington in the trenches in Korea with US Colonel Joe Stilwell.

Peter Worthington at an air base from which he flew Mosquitos - a fast photo-reconnaissance aircraft.

Peter Worthington is a great hero of Canada, and the Free World. It is my humble honor to be related to him, through marriage on the Canadian side of my family.

Honor him.



  1. A wonderful tribute to a Canadian legend. Thank you Sean. Once again you've made me proud. - H.

  2. "Let us not mourn his passing, but let us be grateful that such men lived."