ESS Client Turns 100

Happy Birthday to ESS client Kenneth Milsom!


What a rare privilege it is to celebrate a 100th birthday.  It’s not often one gets to experience living through an entire century.

Over this past weekend, over 100 people came out to celebrate Kenneth’s life and this special birthday milestone. Kenneth sure knows how to throw a good party; a bag-piper and Marilyn Monroe impersonator were there to help usher him into his next year of life as a centenarian. Kenneth plans to celebrate his birthday today with his family at the Mandarin. What is Kenneth’s life advice? “Just keep going!”

A veteran, Kenneth spent most of his professional career in the military.  He has lived an interesting life with many different experiences.  In 2018 we featured him in a Remembrance Day special on our website.

We hope you enjoy this previously published story:

Kenneth’s early and teen years were spent living on a farm. Through his teens, he picked up whatever odd jobs were available to him at the time. When his family eventually moved to Toronto, Kenneth once again searched for available work and came upon the army. In February of 1940, at 20 years old, Kenneth decided to enlist thus beginning his 30-year military career.

Shortly after enlisting, Kenneth was sent to England in May of 1940 and was posted to the Canadian Military Headquarters in London for a period of 3 years. Here he fulfilled various administrative roles – completing any tasks that were assigned to him. Eventually the Brigadier took notice of his work and requested he be assigned to support him personally, marking the start of his journey as a full-time army clerk.

While stationed in London, Kenneth survived the prolonged aerial attacks against Britain known as “The Blitz”. This was a frightening period of time in his military career. Another instant he found himself in the midst of danger was during his temporary posting to a field unit. As fate should have it, his unit was missed by a coordinated aerial attack by enemy forces who fortunately (for Kenneth and his unit) had the wrong coordinates.


Kenneth moved frequently with his job, being posted wherever he was needed including France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Japan, Korea and Egypt. He recalls spending one Christmas Eve in Antwerp where the only food available to them was cold beans, bread and cake that their cook had managed to find. While living in Japan and Korea, being the adventurous spirit that he is, it was not unusual for Kenneth to spontaneously jump on a bus, train or boat to explore a new place without having a plan or determined destination.

His fondest memories of his career are those from when he was posted in Germany for 3 years from 1959 to 1962. He was able to move his family to Germany for this assignment and travel to many countries throughout Europe during his leisure time. Some of these travels included visiting Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, Austria, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. He also enjoyed his job involving coordinating the movement of troops and their dependents between Canada and Germany. Today, Kenneth owns many ornate German beer steins which are on display in his home.

After his posting in Germany, he and his family were moved to Edmonton where he completed his military career at the age of 50. After which they moved back to Toronto and he started a new career with Canada Post until he retired at 65.

Cheers to many more years Kenneth!
Kenneth with a letter from Queen Elizabeth II in honour of his 100th birthday.


ESS staff members surprise Kenneth with an in-home visit for his birthday.


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