Born: December 1, 1912 (Galt, Ontario)
Died: March 16, 2013 (Kitchener, Ontario)
Member: Cambridge (Ont.) Sports Hall of Fame (2013)
An avid curler, Jimmy Broomfield’s 80-year membership in the Galt Curling Club included competing in five provincial championship briers. He contested — but never won — the Ontario title in 1939, 1949, 1953, 1956 and 1959.
In the 1950s, he curled as recreation with Ken Thomson, the son of the newspaper baron Lord Thomson of Fleet, who lived in Galt, Ont., while learning the newspaper business he was later to inherit. The men struck up a friendship, though not one so strong as to lure donations from the notoriously parsimonious billionaire in fundraising campaigns for the venerable club.
Born 19 months before the outbreak of the Great War, Broomfield enlisted in June, 1942. He was sent overseas in September, 1943, with the Algonquin Regiment. On Oct. 25, 1944, he was returning from a mission transporting an injured soldier in Holland when the jeep he was driving was struck by a bazooka shell. He awoke, scratched and dazed, in a roadside ditch, armed Germans standing over him. He spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner of war at Stalag XIB in German, until liberated by British soldiers on April 16, 1945.
In February, just 19 days before he died, the centenarian was introduced from the floor of the House of Commons by Peter Stoffer (NDP—Sackville-Eastern Shore), who thanked him for liberating his parents’ Dutch homeland.
Broomfield’s pending induction into the Cambridge Sports Hall of Fame was announced before he died on March 16, just one week after the death of Rose (née Hedges), his wife of 62 years. She was 99. The curler was inducted posthumously in May.