Lance Corporal R.J. Payne served in the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps during the Second World War. He hailed from Ontario, Canada but like many of his fellow country-people, had Ulster heritage.
In July 1945, Payne realised a life-long ambition, to march in a 12th July Orange Order parade in Northern Ireland. He was Past Master of L.O.L. 82 in Pontypool, Ontario, Canada, and Past Deputy Master of Manvers District.
During the Second World War, Payne had spent four years serving in Europe. On a short stay in England, his thoughts turned across the Irish Sea as he had ancestors from around Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh.
In April last, he paid his first visit to Belfast. On arrival, his first query was for an Orange Hall, and a passer-by directed him to Sandy Row. After contacting brethren in that area, and enjoying typical hospitality, he returned to his unit.
Another period of leave for Lance Corporal Payne tied in with the annual “Twelfth” celebrations. He traveled from Stranraer in Scotland to Belfast, made his way to Royal Avenue and made himself known to a local Orange Lodge.
Welcomed into the ranks, he marched with the officers of the lodge all the way to Finaghy, and helped to carry the banner part of the way. After the return journey, he was the welcome guest of the lodge.
On 13th July 1945, the Canadian soldier accompanied Lurgan Black Preceptory to Bangor, Co. Down, marching at the head of the procession through the town.
He looked on his visit to Belfast as one of the highlights of his life, and states that he would not have missed it for anything.