Ret. Major Rev. Fr. Michael M.J. Dalton is the most decorated clergy in Canadian military history. Ordained in 1932, Father Dalton saw much of the fiercest fighting in the Second World War, often accompanying his men to the front lines. Shrapnel hit Father Dalton three times while overseas, twice while travelling in a jeep. Dalton received the Military Cross for his bravery and service and was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire by King George VI. He was the first Catholic priest to receive the recognition.
While serving as the Parish priest for St. Alphonsus in downtown Windsor, Father Dalton saw many men who had received their First Communion from him heading off to war. He felt he needed to join them and enlisted with the Essex Scottish Regiment (headquartered in Windsor) in 1939. Following the war, Father Dalton returned to the area, where he served congregations in Windsor, Kingsville and Woodslee.
Born May 5, 1902 near Goderich, Ontario, Father Dalton served his faith until his death on April 6, 2009, one month shy of his 107th birthday. His nephew Brian turned one of Father Dalton’s war diaries into a book The Padre’s War Diary.