(We spoke with Ace's wife, Annie Drummond)
Ace (William) Drummond was born in Brandon, Manitoba on February 18, 1918. He and his future wife Annie Hobok were raised on family farms very close together. He helped his father on the farm through the depression and tough conditions led him to make his first journey west in 1937. He rode freight trains to the western prairies to help with the harvest and make a bit of money to send back home so that their cattle might survive the winters. During one of these trips he prolonged his stay to play hockey in Irma.
Ace joined the Armed Forces in September of 1939, at the outset of World War II. He moved to Ottawa to complete the physical training course and then returned to Brandon to prepare for departure to England in December. Ace’s was the first group to depart from Canada. He furthered his training in England and was made Battery Sergeant Major in the 8th Canadian Field Regiment (Sp) RCA. The service took him to Africa, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Holland. He received three stars: the 1939-1945 Star; the Italy Star; and the France and Germany Star. He also received a Voluntary Service medal and an Imperial Medal. Recently, he also was honored to receive a medal from Holland thanking Canada for their liberation.
He returned to Canada and settled back in Brandon in 1945. During this time he courted Annie Drummond and they were married in 1947. That same week he was offered employment at Anglo Oil in Brandon. He worked at Anglo as a gauger for 5 years and was promoted to shift supervisor in 1953. He and a few co-workers were asked by a former manager to relocate to Fort William where a refinery had just been moved from Texas. This refinery, affectionately known as the ‘little teapot’ as it was shipped across Lake Superior, was the first refinery moved across those waters. Ace
Ace Drummond (top left) at Husky Refinery at the Lakehead (now Thunder Bay, Ontario)
was a process supervisor for the refinery for 10 years—five of these under the banner of Riverlake and five under Husky. Ace was involved when Husky dismantled the refinery and moved it to Lloydminster.
Ace spent a short time in Wainright before moving to Lloydminster to work with Bob Miller at Husky. In 1976, he and 23 others worked through a strike at the Lloydminster refinery that lasted from December 6, 1976 until February 23, 1977. Fifty employees who were members of the Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers Union demanded recognition and staff seniority advancements. The workers who stayed on to run the refinery lived at the refinery site throughout the strike and Ace spent one Christmas and birthday there. It was a very stressful time accented by the vandalism that occurred outside. Ace just missed being hit in the shoulder by a shot that was fired. It was a difficult time for the workers who had young families. Annie and the children were quietly ushered to the refinery for visits. Many of the pictures of the strike show Ace sporting a beard. When the strike ended, Ace was presented with a pair of scissors to take care of the 88 days of growth. (Click here for photos of the strike.)
During his time at the Lloydminster refinery, Ace moved through the ranks of employment and was made Assistant Manager of Pipelines. He retired in February, 1984. Ace was named Oilman of the Year for 1985.
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Husky pipeline from
Lloydminster to Hardisty, Alberta is the crew that pumped the first
barrels of crude down the 6 inch line. Standing at the original valve,
they are: (Left to right) Charlie Coulter,
Frank McClennon, Ace Drummond and John Stellmacher.
Ace had many athletic achievements. During the war years, he had two huge achievements in running races, which earned him a first in the hundred-yard dash for the 1st Corp, Troops and a third in the Canadian Military Finals. After the war, Ace played ball and had the highest batting average of .421 in his league. He also loved golfing, hockey, curling, fishing, broomball and running. Ace shot two hole-in-one’s at the Lloydminster Golf and Country Club. He also spent five years on the building committee for the Communiplex.
Annie recalls that while Ace was riding freight trains out west many were doing the same. You could see the cars go by with men clinging on everywhere. The train slowed briefly by their farm so they would have a roast ready and run bread and meat to the men. Many of these men stopped by after the war to offer their gratitude.
Ace sang a beautiful Irish Tenor and it is said that he brought fellow soldiers to tears overseas. He sang at Husky and Legion banquets and other gatherings.
Ace and Annie travelled around the United States and Canada in a motor home and spent twenty-four winters in Hawaii.
Annie remarks that Ace earned a wonderful and lasting living for the family while she kept the home together. She is continually grateful for this.
Ace and Annie have two children. Patricia Anne Drummond was married to Clifford Willment and they have two children, Rick and Loralee, who both have families of their own. Their second child, William Thomas Garry Drummond, married Sandy McCoy and they have two children, Cory and Lee.