Seaward turned 100-years-old on Oct. 3.
“They said you’re going to be 100 tomorrow — that come and went, it’s no different,” he said. “I can see an awful lot of changes (over the years). The railway C and R, I worked for, that’s gone. The mill, I worked down there, that’s gone. They told me I’m the last engineer (that worked on the railway) left in Newfoundland.”
Seaward grew up in Clarenville with his siblings and parents. He scarcely recalls his school days some 90-years ago but credits his grandmother — who was a school teacher — for providing him such a wealth of knowledge that he was able to pass examinations and get his engineering certificate.
From his boyhood days in Clarenville, to working on the railway in Bishop’s Falls, to being a prisoner of war during the Second World War, to working at the pulp and paper mill in Grand Falls-Windsor and later travelling the world over with his dearly beloved wife Margaret, Seaward has lived a very full and happy life.
Prisoner of war
Seaward was a member of the British Navy. He was in Africa when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He then found himself on the HMS Exeter in the Pacific. Seaward recalls it being around 8 a.m. when the ship sunk and the crew jumped ship. Later that night the Japanese ships returned for survivors and Seaward found himself as a prisoner of war for the next three years.
Seaward said he can remember being 150 pounds when he was first taken as a prisoner of war. After three years he weighed a mere 78 pounds.
“A lot of mealtimes that I didn’t see the meals,” he said.
It was during this time when Seaward learned to speak Japanese, although it was 70 years ago and he forgets a lot of the language, sometimes it comes back to him. Recently, during a hearing test carried out by a doctor from Japan, Seaward said he asked her what time it was in Japanese. So she started to converse with him in her native tongue and it all came back to him very easily.
While Seaward was a prisoner of war his father received a letter back home in Clarenville stating his son was missing in action and presumed dead.
It would be three years later that his father received another letter upon Seawards release saying he was alive and well but that he would be staying abroad for another two years.
Love of his life
After seven years serving in the British Navy, Seaward made his way back to Bishop’s Falls where he started seeing the woman who would become the love of his life for the next 70 years, Margaret.
“I knew her before the war,” he said. “When I come back I said, ‘I’m going out with her’.”
Margaret and Lloyd were married in Toronto in 1947. They would have been married for 70 years on Oct. 4, 2017 but sadly Margaret passed away in March of 2017 at 94-years-old.
“She had a good life,” Seaward said as he recalled their life together with three children and a multitude of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Seward had a passion for travelling the world. With his wife by his side they explored Canada and the United Stated with their trailer in tow.
“Twenty-six years we was on the go in that camper,” he said.
When Seaward was in his fifties, after multiple jobs and serving in the Navy, “the doctors caught up with me. I used to have malaria. When they found out I used to have malaria, no more work, they put me right off. They done me a wonderful favor, because I liked travelling and my wife liked travelling, so we travelled just about every country in Europe — loved it.”
Lloyd and Margaret took advantage of the opportunity presented to them and travelled all throughout Europe and Scandinavia, chasing adventure after adventure, until Margaret took ill and they returned home once again to Bishop’s Falls.
At just 15–years-old Seward spent an entire winter living in canvas tents, fishing and trapping in the woods now know as Gander with his uncle who was visiting from away.
The outdoors is another passion of Seawards, travelling the rivers by birch bark canoes he built himself, snowmobiling in the countryside, and camping in the woods were all things he enjoyed well into his nineties.
Seaward recalls many trips up the Exploits River visiting places where Beothuk People were known to have previously inhabited. Some of the canoes he built are now located in museums throughout Newfoundland, including one in Boyd’s Cove.
It wasn’t until Seaward was in his nineties that he gave up going up to his camp 32 miles into the woods.
“I’ve done a lot,” he said. “I’m at the end of the line now. What I miss now is the rivers, travelling the rivers. I’ve had a very good life.”
If you’re wondering what his secret to longevity is, “Seventy years ago I quit drinking, I quit smoking — that’s the reason I’m still here.”
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GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL — Lloyd Seaward sits in a cozy chair in his room at Hollett’s Retirement centre in Grand Falls-Windsor, reminiscing on the past 100 years and the life he’s led.
Seaward turned 100-years-old on Oct. 3.