Lieutenant Colonel Norman Bruce “Ike” Buchanan was born in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, 16 September 1915. He attended the Royal Military College of Canada from 1934 to 1939. Buchanan graduated as a Lieutenant in the Canadian Artillery. After graduation, he served at the Partridge Island Battery in Saint John, New Brunswick, from 1939 to 1940.
He served in World War II from 1940 to 1945. In 1942 and 1943, he served in North Africa with the British Army as a Forward Observation Officer (FOO). In 1943, he served with the 1st Field Regiment, RCHA, 1st Canadian Division in Italy. He then moved to the 14th Field Regiment, RCA, 3rd Canadian Division. He landed on Normandy and remained in action until the liberation of Europe.
He received his first Military Cross for actions in North Africa (Tunisia), 22 February 1943. While serving as a Troop Commander with the 1st Canadian Division, he received his first bar to his Military Cross for action in Italy, on 7 October 1943. He received his second bar to his Military Cross for efforts during the invasion of Normandy, 7 June 1944.
He received his Military Cross with two bars for three separate acts of exemplary gallantry. Only twenty-three Commonwealth soldiers have the Military Cross with two bars. He is the only graduate of the Royal Military College and the only Canadian Gunner to hold this distinction.
In 1952, he became an MLA for Charlotte County. From 1952 to 1960, he was a Minister in New Brunswick. During this time, he championed economic development and industrial growth. He applied his engineering knowledge to public works projects.
He served in the Militia and became the Commanding Officer of the Carleton and York Regiment with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He motivated and inspired his troops and led them during public events.
He excelled in amateur sport. In 1936, he was a pitcher on the championship-winning St. Stephen – St. Croix team, later inducted to the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame. Of note, he pitched against Babe Ruth during an exhibition game in Halifax. After the war, he curled on his father’s team that won the New Brunswick title, and he curled in the Brier. He helped invent the fibreglass hockey stick used worldwide.
LCol Buchanan inspired many during his lifetime, serving Canada with dignity and honour. He passed away in 2008.