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Remembrance Day

2011

With deep respect and lasting gratitude, we reflect upon the deeds of those who served. Let us provide our nation’s truest heroes with the recognition they have earned and so richly deserve.

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REMEMBRANCE DAY

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

COMOX VALLEY RECORD

Everyone has a Story to tell. Richard Hilton. I was born in Vancouver in 1916, but I was raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. When I was called to the Second World War, I was way up in the Yukon working on a Gold Dredge and had to wait until spring break-up before I could head south.

same fox hole. Then we were spearheading the capture of Rome, taking 9 bridges over the Tiber River along our way. When we left Italy, we continued on into France where we stayed until the war was over.

I joined the First Special Service Force, a joint American-Canadian unit, at Fort Harrison down in Helena, Montana. We trained in parachuting, mountain-climbing, hand-to-hand combat, explosives, you name it, until we were expert commandos. After that, we started chasing trouble all over the globe, first to Norway, then to the Aleutians, then over to Casablanca and Algiers.

We’re credited with being the forerunners of such famous outfits as the Green Berets and the Navy Seals. I keep in touch regularly with a few close friends and annual reunions are still held.

The worst fighting for us, though, began in December of 1943, when we headed into the mountains of Italy. With our training, we could accomplish what others thought was impossible. We scaled up the steep cliffs on the back side of Mount La Defensa and caught the Nazis by surprise, knocking out one of their key defensive positions. After that, we were assigned to more combat missions in those mountains. Everywhere we went, we won everything we fought for. We became known as The Devil’s Brigade. Years later, in 1968, they would make a movie about us by that very name. We were there at the Mussolini Canal at Anzio early in 1944. We could patrol at night, but we spent long days - 99 long days - in the

After the war, it was back to Canada and British Columbia. The very best decision I ever made was marrying my wife, Molly. It’s been 63 years and we’ve had a great time together, living our lives and raising our family. Over the years, I worked as an accountant, a logger and, finally, as a real estate agent before my retirement here on Vancouver Island. My wife and I moved into the Seniors Village 3 years ago, and are very comfortable here. I still drive a bit and I have been taking organ lessons from a local fellow. He brings his accordion with him and we have a great time making music together. Top left inset photo: Richard in the First Special Service Force. Top right inset photo: Poster from the movie Devil’s Brigade, 1968. Bottom: Forcemen of 3-1, First Special Service Force, 1944, Anzio Beach Head, Italy.(rudeerude)

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REMEMBRANCE DAY

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As it is in many parts of the world, Remembrance Day is observed throughout the Comox Valley.

THE SCENE ABOVE was photographed by Scott Park at the 2010 Remembrance Day ceremony in Courtenay. This year’s event will be the first time for it within sight of a new wartime commemorative mural (right, top) overlooking Jubilee Square. FILE PHOTO

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Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m. Candlelight tribute at cenotaph on Comox Avenue. Open house to follow at Royal Canadian Legion, also on Comox Avenue. Families welcome.

Nov. 11, 9 a.m. Breakfast at Royal Canadian Legion on Cliffe Avenue. March to Jubilee Square cairn at 10:50, ceremony at 11. Open house at Legion to follow.

Nov. 11, 10:40 a.m. March to Royal Canadian Legion on Dunsmuir Avenue begins. Ceremony at 11. Alternate location at Cumberland Recreational Institute if weather is poor. Open house at Legion to follow ceremony.

Nov. 11, 10:30 a.m. If you want a good vantage point, get there early. Ceremony at 11 at Comox Avenue cenotaph. Open house at Legion afterwards.

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REMEMBRANCE DAY

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illian Wright didn’t quite make the ‘big one,’ but the Courtenay resident did serve as a United Nations peacekeeper in Cypress in the mid-’70s. His father, Robert, served as a petty officer with the Royal Canadian Navy from 1939 to ‘45 during the Second World War while his eldest son, also named Robert, did Scott Stanfield a tour of duty in Record Staff Afghanistan and is now an RCMP officer in southern Alberta. “The two Roberts around me spent time in combat theatres, and lowly ole’ me just was a peacekeeper,” said Wright, 60, who is the social director and an active member of the Comox District Mountaineering Club (CDMC). “But that was my tie-in to Roger Schjelderup.” When Wright was serving as a lance corporal with the Princess Pats, Schjelderup was a colonel in the same regiment. One of the most decorated officers in the Canadian Army during the Second World War, Schjelderup is a past member of the CDMC who eventually succumbed to war-related injuries. “I think he may have died in England. He was attached to the liaison office with the Canadian military with the U.K. He was sort of a legend,” Wright

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said. “There was a connection in the club with the military and service.” Along with Schjelderup, Sid Williams and Geoffrey Capes were CDMC members. Capes is a club founder who emigrated from England to Vancouver in 1911. After serving overseas with the Canadian Army, Capes brought his family to the Comox Valley in 1920, working first as an accountant at the Soldiers Settlement Board office in Merville and later at the Courtenay Builders Supply Company. There is a park, lake and a home named after him. “The three of them (in 1937) were the third ascent of the Golden Hinde, which is the highest mountain on Vancouver Island,” Wright said. It was because of Capes’ daughter, Katherine, that Ruth Masters became a club member in 1938. Masters, a well-known conservationist who has twice been named Comox Valley’s Citizen of the Year, was a member of the RCAF Women’s Division, stationed in London, England from 1943—’46 as an administration sergeant. She is the eldest member of the CDMC. “We have many members

that served overseas, like Dick Idiens, who was a cofounder of the club who was killed in the war in a training mission. He was in the air force and he was killed on a plane.” Idiens was 34 when he

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was killed April 28, 1944 in a crash over England. Like Capes, he has a lake named in his honour, located on a ridge near the Comox Glacier. His name is also commemorated at Idiens Way. reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

WILLIAM WRIGHT’S SON ROBERT is seen above. Clockwise at left is William Wright’s father, Al Idiens, Ruth Masters (left) and Geoffrey Capes. PHOTO SUBMITTED

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REMEMBRANCE DAY

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

COMOX VALLEY RECORD

Air Force Museum keeps aviation heritage alive

Scott Stanfield

century warfare with a West Coast focus. Numerous photographs and artifacts help depict the First World War, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Pacific Coast War, and

Record Staff The Comox Air Force Museum presents an opportunity for the public to stroll through a timeline of 20th

COURAGE Remembered in honour of those who served.

Comox in the early years from 1942 to ‘45 and during the nuclear threat of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Other displays include Japanese Balloon Bombs, the Women’s Division and 442 Squadron. Displays do not change specifically for Remembrance Day, but pictures are reconfigured in the art gallery. “This year we’ll be showing bomber command because of the 17,000 RCAF guys killed in the Second World War, 10,000 of them

were killed on bombers,” said Col. (ret.) Jon Ambler, the museum’s program manager and volunteer coordinator. “That was where the big suffering was and the big losses.” Along with preserving the history and heritage of the Canadian Air Force, the museum supports organizations such as Legions that participate in Remembrance Day ceremonies. “They may need a uniform, they may need a helmet,” Ambler said. “The

Legion is special in that respect.” Schools also benefit from loaned materials and from the expertise of Ambler, the former commander of CFB Comox who speaks annually to students at Courtenay Elementary school. “It’s all part of it,” he said. About 40 volunteers help operate the museum, which accommodates 10,000 to 12,000 visitors each year. Besides the displays, the museum features an aviation library, a store, a Heri-

tage Air Park and the Y2K ‘Roseland’ Spitfire, a partnership with Vintage Wings of Canada. “A museum is like a garden,” Ambler said. “It’s daily tending.” Located outside the gates at CFB Comox, the Comox Air Force Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday. Admission is by donation. For more information, call 250-339-8162 or visit www. comoxairforcemuseum.ca. reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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COL. (RET.) JON AMBLER (top left) poses with a fighter pilot at the Comox Air Force Museum. See page 7 for more photos from the museum. PHOTOS BY SCOTT STANFIELD

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REMEMBRANCE DAY

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

COMOX VALLEY RECORD

Comox Valley schools connecting youth with vets

Remembrance Day ceremonies held at schools for students Lindsay Chung Record Staff

Each year, secondary school students across the Comox Valley play an important role in presenting Remembrance Day assemblies that connect youth with veterans. This year is no different, and many reflective presen-

tations are planned for this Thursday. Georges P. Vanier Secondary School holds a traditional ceremony each Remembrance Day. “We run a ritual assembly, so to speak, kind of like what you would see on Comox Avenue or near the Sid Williams Theatre on the 11th,” said leadership teacher Tim Krutzmann. “Ceremony is something we sorely lack within our culture now for a variety of reasons. A lot of students can’t get to or won’t get to

the ceremony, so we try to give them ceremony.” Vanier’s ceremony will include bagpipers piping in the procession, which will include school administrators, the student government prime minister, cadets, a representative from 19 Wing Comox and the Royal Canadian Legion Colour Guard. This is the first year Vanier will have a speaker from 19 Wing, according to Krutzmann, noting he will speak about the Canadian effort in Afghanistan. The ceremony will include

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(Boomer) Eykelenboom, flicts, which I think is really a guest from the Legion who was killed by a suicide interesting,” said Village. speaking about the Poppy bomber in 2006 while servStudents at Highland Campaign, a reading of In ing as a medic in AfghaniSecondary School are very Flanders Field, the laying of stan. involved in presenting their wreaths and the Last Post. “We have a video overview Remembrance Day assembly. “There will be a four-minof Canada’s involvement in “Last year went really ute video that’s very emovarious wars from World well, so we’re hoping that tional, connecting veterans War I to present day,” of the 20th century said Jerome. with veterans of the Ceremony is something we Lake Trail Second21st century,” said ary School will hold Krutzmann. sorely lack within our culture an assembly at 10:30 Mark R. Isfeld Secnow for a variety of reasons. A a.m. ondary School is doing lot of students can’t get to or There will student something a little difwon’t get to the ceremony, so we presentations featurferent this year. ing a slideshow and For the past few try to give them ceremony. video and perforyears, the school has — Tim Krutzmann mances by the school presented assemblies choir and band, to smaller groups explained vice-principal several times during the day, again this year, it will be a really reflective assembly,” David Mayert. but this year, there will be said teacher-librarian Tami As well, representatives one full-school assembly at Jerome. from the Royal Canadian 11 a.m. Highland will hold an Legion and 19 Wing Comox They have more than 20 assembly at 10:05 a.m. will be at Lake Trail to parcadets at the school, and Grade 12 students Katie ticipate in a wreath-laying many will be involved in a Symonds and Spencer Ball ceremony, he noted. cadet march-in, explained will MC the assembly. At Cumberland Junior principal Bill Village. Michael Martel will narSchool, there will be a The assembly will also rate a presentation about school-wide assembly at 9 include a speaker from 19 aboriginal veterans. a.m. in the gym. Wing Comox, a monologue Nathaniel Johnson will “We’ve invited the Legion, and drama presentation, sing O Canada, while Joel who always come,” said prina student playing the Last cipal Phil Maund. Post, the school choir singing Riemer will play the Last Post. There will also be a and a number by the senior There will be representaguest from 19 Wing Comox, band, he noted. tives from the Royal Canawho will speak about “There will be a sevendian Legion, and there will what Remembrance is, he minute presentation around be a short piece on Highexplained. the involvement of aborigiland graduate Cpl. Andrew nal soldiers in major conwriter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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Throughout history, at home and overseas, our military has put their love for Canada above all else. On Remembrance Day we proudly honour these brave men and women for their courage, commitment and resourcefulness. To all who have sacrificed so much, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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REMEMBRANCE DAY

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

REMEMBRANCE DAY

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COMOX VALLEY RECORD

REMEMBRANCE DAY

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

EVERY NOV. 11, we turn our thoughts to the men and women who served their country, and sometimes died in its service. The photos on this and the facing page were taken in Cumberland and Comox on the past two Remembrance Days. PHOTOS BY ERIN HALUSCHAK

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

REMEMBRANCE DAY

COMOX VALLEY RECORD

COMOX VALLEY RECORD

REMEMBRANCE DAY

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

EVERY NOV. 11, we turn our thoughts to the men and women who served their country, and sometimes died in its service. The photos on this and the facing page were taken in Cumberland and Comox on the past two Remembrance Days. PHOTOS BY ERIN HALUSCHAK

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REMEMBRANCE DAY

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

COMOX VALLEY RECORD

‘No flaming hero’ survived Blitz

Earle Couper Record Staff

RUTH MASTERS still has her trusty Kodak Vigilant camera, which captured photos no one else was able to shoot during the Second World War. PHOTO BY EARLE COUPER

“My RCAF wartime experiences were the adventure of my life.” That’s what Comox Valley activist Ruth Masters told Hazel Lennox in Lennox’ Us Dames Have Come a Long Way book. Given the amazing adventures the feisty and fun-loving 91-year-old Masters has lived, that’s quite the statement. But she has the keen memory and photo albums to back it up. Masters joined the RCAF Women’s Division in 1942 and went to Toronto for her training. “The women’s depot was on Jarvis Street, which was the red light area. Everyone from Toronto blinks when I tell them I got my training on Jarvis Street,” Masters recalled with a laugh. After a year and a half at CFB Uplands (about five miles outside of Ottawa) Masters was sent to Halifax. “It was as cold as Greenland in December of 1943 when we got to Halifax. They put us in a men’s barracks and we all rushed to the washroom. There were yards and miles of troughs for men to piddle in. It wasn’t exactly

a heroic sendoff,” Masters chuckled. The seriousness of the war was made immediately apparent when Masters was sailing to London, England. “There was between 8,000 and 8,500 on board. The first announcement they made was that if anybody fell overboard they weren’t

war is a testimony to the valiant spirit that has earmarked Masters’ life. Consider she survived 14 months of steady bombing during The Blitz. “That was a psychological shock. The whole sky lit up with bombs and planes chasing each other and flak. And you think, ‘If those guys up there

There were 12,000 or 14,00 killed in ❝ London while we were there. When you went to bed at night you never knew if you’d be waking up in the morning.

— Ruth Masters

going to risk the lives of the others by turning around to pick them up. So you better not fall overboard,” Masters recalled. The Second World War was “a nice war,” for Masters. “I got thousands of miles of free travel and I didn’t have to kill anybody and they didn’t get me,” she said of her time as an administrative sergeant in charge of the orderly room (RCAF headquarters) in London, England. “I was no flaming hero. I mostly spent the time heroically shining the seat of my skirt. It was just the way it was.” Her perspective on the

aren’t careful they’re going to kill us.’ Then you realize that’s essentially what they’ve come to do,” she said. “We were boarded out all over London so one bomb wouldn’t take out the whole RCAF overseas headquarters. When we got to work in the morning we’d do a hasty check to see what friends were missing. We all thought we’d be seeing the pearly gates ahead of our time. “One day I walked to work and almost a block was missing ... gone ... just rubble. There were about a dozen or so people standing around the outskirts. A policeman told me to move

on because the people there were waiting for the bodies to be brought out of this mess so they could identify them,” Masters said. “I was very lucky actually. There were 12,000 or 14,000 killed in London while we were there. When you went to bed at night you never knew if you’d be waking up in the morning. I got so I’d sleep through a bombing raid. I explained to my friend it must be because my conscience was so clear and my thoughts so pure. I didn’t get very far with that explanation,” Masters chuckled. Her secret to surviving the bombing was unique. “It was too far to run to an air raid shelter in the dark. So I just stayed in bed with a pillow above my head and below my head.” A constant companion in London was Masters’ trusty $20 (“A ton of money back then.”) Kodak Vigilant camera. “We weren’t allowed to have cameras. They were very strict. But I kept mine, so I’ve got pictures that nobody else has,” said Masters, adding she hid her camera in her cleavage. “Nobody noticed my expanded bust line,” she recalled with a smile. One of her

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REMEMBRANCE DAY

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

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Lest we forget… RUTH MASTERS STANDS stands on the wing of a Harvard trainer at Uplands air force base, Ottawa, Ontario in 1943. PHOTO COURTESY RUTH MASTERS/HISTORICA-DOMINION INSTITUTE week or so. Then a week in Paris, a week in Switzerland and then over to Holland. That was where to go with a Canadian badge. They nearly fell at our feet,” Masters

I always go ❝ to … the cemetery at Brookwood just outside of Woking in Surrey. A friend of mine (Dick Idiens) is buried there.

— Ruth Masters said, noting Canadian forces liberated Holland from the Nazis. Masters has not forgotten her fallen comrades. Every Nov. 11 the provincial government honours the war sacrifices of British Columbians by naming geographical features after them. “I think I’ve named 50 features on the Island; 10 of them for guys we lost in the war,” she said, citing Cyril Cottingham and Barnett Harvey as two examples. She has been back to

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Europe two or three times and recommends that anyone travelling there visit one of the many Canadian cemeteries. “I always go to ... the cemetery at Brookwood just outside of Woking in Surrey. A friend of mine (Dick Idiens) is buried there,” she said, referring to the man who was the first she dedicated a lake to in Strathcona Provincial Park. Masters, who every Wednesday for many years has taken her harmonica to entertain patients at the extended care unit at St. Joseph’s General Hospital (“First a hymn for the sinners and then I play something cheerful.”), was very happy to return to Canada in 1946 when her overseas adventures were over. “I remember I got back and said, ‘I’m glad to be here; I’m glad to be anywhere.’” Still living in the house she built 50 years ago with Veteran Affairs money, Masters summed up her tour of duty succinctly: “I always say it wasn’t your average overseas vacation.”

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The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 160 Comox

The tribute will start at 7:30 pm (and last approximately on half hour) on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at the Cenotaph on Comox Avenue, families welcome. There will be hot chocolate and hot dogs served in the Upper Hall of Branch 160 Legion following the ceremony.

Dress will be casual (suitable for the weather). A limited number of candles will be available, so please join us with your candle. Join us after the Remembrance Day Parade and Ceremonies on Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 11:30 am.

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1907 Photo Library and Archives Canada

more memorable Kodak moments was snapping a photo of King George VI. “I could have swatted the king I was so close when he came for the victory celebration at Albert Hall and I had my camera. I said, ‘Official RCAF photographer,’ and this seven-foot cop let me go by. “When I got in, there was the real RCAF photographer. But he quickly tumbled to what I was up to. He said, ‘You can stoop in front of me and I’ll shoot over your head.’ This is what we did and I got a picture of the king shaking hands. He was a very nice, handsome man,” Masters said. “The best part of it was after the war ended the rush to get back to Canada was just overwhelming. A bunch of us that had no reason to hurry home waived our (repat) number and let others go first. So I was there an extra year in Britain (after the war). To reward us for our sacrifice in letting others go first, we had a moral leadership course in Stratford On Avon for a

Take time to remember the men and women who served then and serve now.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

20TH ANNIVERSARY BANQUET

for the Comox Valley Pregnancy Care Centre Celebrating Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Come and enjoy a wonderful roast beef dinner and quality entertainment by: Matt Day Entertainer to monarchs and MPs, Matt Day is a distinguished pianist and musical humorist. During a career that has spanned nearly 20 years, Matt has travelled across Canada performing a blend of jazz, pop and musical comedy, delighting audiences from coast to coast.

With Special Guest Speaker Lisa Wengel

November 19th, Native Sons Hall

Doors open at 5:30 dinner at 6:00 Tickets $25.00. Available at: Comox Valley Pregnancy Care Centre or Nearly New Books Inc. 785 6th Street Courtenay 1761 Comox Ave

REMEMBRANCE DAY

IN BILLY BISHOP GOES TO WAR, acting legend Eric Peterson and award-winning writer/composer John Gray reprise their iconic two-man play that has captivated audiences for three decades. Through raucous stories, haunting memories, and vibrant song, an aged Bishop (Peterson) recounts the triumphs and horrors of The War to End All Wars.

Billy Bishop Goes to War

CUMBERLAND

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Respectfully acknowledges Remembrance Day 2717 Dunsmuir Ave., Cumberland

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We will remember... always.

COMOX VALLEY RECORD

We Salute our veterans

The Rialto Theatre in Courtenay is having a special Remembrance Day showing of Billy Bishop Goes to War. This musical theatrical saga of First world War flying ace Billy Bishop has been evolving for 33 years, with Eric Peterson and John Gray involved throughout. Now it is a fine wine, or a shot of aged Canadian

whiskey, and it is tasty, tart, pleasing with a great finish. Barbara Willis-Sweete beautifully films the latest stage incarnation. Billy Bishop Goes to War plays at the Rialto Theatre this Thursday at 4 and Friday at 1 and 3:30. All tickets cost $6 at the Rialto box office. For details, call 250-3385502. — Rialto Theatre

Thank you to our military Past and Present

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We remember… Those who gave their y, lives in defense of family, country and freedom.

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We’re thankful for the peace that our military has enabled us to enjoy. We salute you all!

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REMEMBRANCE DAY

COMOX VALLEY RECORD

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

15

A Soldier Died Today He was getting old and paunchy And his hair was falling fast, And he sat around the Legion, Telling stories of the past. Of a war that he once fought in And the deeds that he had done, In his exploits with his buddies; They were heroes, every one. And ‘tho sometimes to his neighbors His tales became a joke, All his buddies listened quietly For they knew where of he spoke. But we’ll hear his tales no longer, For ol’ Bob has passed away, And the world’s a little poorer For a Soldier died today. He won’t be mourned by many, Just his children and his wife. For he lived an ordinary, Very quiet sort of life. He held a job and raised a family, Going quietly on his way; And the world won’t note his passing, ‘Tho a Soldier died today. When politicians leave this earth,

Their bodies lie in state, While thousands note their passing, And proclaim that they were great. Papers tell of their life stories From the time that they were young But the passing of a Soldier Goes unnoticed, and unsung. Is the greatest contribution To the welfare of our land, Some jerk who breaks his promise And cons his fellow man? Or the ordinary fellow Who in times of war and strife, Goes off to serve his country And offers up his life? The politician’s stipend And the style in which he lives, Are often disproportionate, To the service that he gives. While the ordinary Soldier, Who offered up his all, Is paid off with a medal And perhaps a pension, small. It is not the politicians With their compromise and ploys, Who won for us the freedom That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger, With your enemies at hand, Would you really want some copout, With his ever waffling stand? Or would you want a Soldier — His home, his country, his kin, Just a common Soldier, Who would fight until the end. He was just a common Soldier, And his ranks are growing thin, But his presence should remind us We may need his like again. For when countries are in conflict, We find the Soldier’s part Is to clean up all the troubles That the politicians start. If we cannot do him honor While he’s here to hear the praise, Then at least let’s give him homage At the ending of his days. Perhaps just a simply headline In the paper that might say: “OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING, A SOLDIER DIED TODAY.” — Author unknown

CPL. ANDREW EYKELENBOOM of Comox was mourned after he was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2006.

In honour and remembrance of our fellow Canadians who defend our freedom

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Honouring the men and women of our Military, past and present

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… with grateful thanks.

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On November 11 we honour and thank the men and women of the Canadian Forces for their contributions to our country and to people in other nations.

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16

REMEMBRANCE DAY

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

COMOX VALLEY RECORD

Putting a human face to Canadian military history

Lindsay Chung Record Staff

Veterans and serving Canadian Forces personnel across the country are sharing their stories with schools

and community groups across the country through the Memory Project Speakers Bureau. An initiative of the Historica Dominion Institute, the Memory Project Speak-

WE ARE

FOREVER GRATEFUL TO OUR TROOPS for the sacrifices they have made.

10% OFF ALL SERVICES …for military personnel and veterans during November

250.334.9969 250 334 9969

Next to A&W, across from Superstore

ers Bureau puts a human face to Canadian military history, as thousands of men and women volunteer their time to speak about their experiences serving Canada throughout the year, but particularly around Remembrance Day. The Memory Project is always looking to recruit new volunteers, and as part of those efforts, it hosted a community Lunch and Learn event at CFB Comox last week — its first visit to Comox. The reception acknowledged the contributions of current Memory Project volunteers while recruiting new ones. Canadian Forces personnel, veterans from the Second World War and the Korean War, family, friends and supporters attended the event. The Memory Project Speakers Bureau is one of Historica Dominion Institute’s longest-running, largest and most successful programs, according to outreach co-ordinator Alyssa Armstrong. Canada’s largest veteran and current Canadian Forces speakers bureau, the Memory Project connects veterans and currently-serving soldiers with classrooms

ALYSSA ARMSTRONG co-ordinated a Lunch and Learn event at CFB Comox last week. PHOTO BY LINDSAY CHUNG

and community groups across the country. More than 1,500 veteran volunteers represent a wide range of Canadian conflicts and tours from the Second World War to the Korean War to peacekeeping operations to Afghanistan. The Memory Project was founded in 2001 through the

efforts of two Second World War veterans, John Kirkpatrick and Grant McRae, explained Armstrong. “These gentlemen were living in Toronto at the time and going on visits informally, and they decided wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could pull together a group of speakers who would be

available in their own communities throughout the country to go on visits and share their stories of service with students and community organizations,” she said. To kickstart the program, the Dominion Institute conducted a national poll, and it was found that the idea of See MEMORY, page 17

IN HONOUR OF OUR VETERANS R E M E M B R A N C E D AY, N O V E M B E R 1 1

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REMEMBRANCE DAY

COMOX VALLEY RECORD

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

17

Memory Project Speakers Bureau an educational tool

Continued from page 16

a centralized speakers bureau featuring veterans and currently-serving Canadian Forces members would be welcome in schools across Canada, according to Armstrong. “The Memory Project Speakers Bureau became an effective tool for education, and by bringing a real-life veteran into their classroom, teachers can reinforce the lessons that they provide,” she said. “Basically, as a volunteer, you act as a human face to the history that students in Canada and different members of the public in Canada might read about. “These first-hand experiences shine a light, not only on history, but also on current affairs, so we find it very important and a very excellent, enriching service that we are able to provide. “Many teachers ask to bring a speaker to their class to discuss current events, geography, history and many of our speakers are more than happy to do so,” added Armstrong. “Regardless of whether you have served in Afghanistan or not, every person who has served Canada has a story to share; we are convinced

of that.” The Memory Project Speakers Bureau is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. “Through the dedication of our speakers and the enthusiasm of our teachers, the Memory Project has grown significantly over

groups nationwide each year, reaching on average 175,000 Canadians, according to Armstrong. “Through the success of the Memory Project and the work our speakers have done, we’ve been able to help increase awareness of Canada’s military history and

We are certainly seeking more diversity, ❝ and we are seeing more diversity, more women, younger faces, in the Canadian Forces.

the past 10 years and has become the official school speakers bureau of the Royal Canadian Legion,” said Armstrong. “We are growing. Of our 5,000 school visits in total, 2,000 occurred between 2008 and 2011. This increase in visits culminated in 2009 with the celebration of having reached one million students since 2001 when the program was founded. These milestones are a testament to our speakers who give so generously of their time.” The Memory Project is the largest volunteer registry of its kind, and it sends speakers to an average of 700 schools and community

— Alyssa Arnstrong military contributions and bring about a better sense of appreciation for our veterans and currently-serving Canadian Forces,” she said. As the Historica Dominion Institute works to bring the Memory Project across Canada from coast to coast, Armstrong says it’s no secret the face of the Canadian Forces and of the veterans who volunteer is changing. “We are sadly losing many Second World War volunteers,” she said. “Over the past three years, we have seen a marked increase in the number of requests from teachers asking for a serving member of the Canadian Forces to visit their class.

Now and Forever We Remember and Honour

But of course we are always looking to recruit Second World War veterans to join the bureau to share their stories as well. “We are certainly seeking more diversity, and we are seeing more diversity, more women, younger faces, in the Canadian Forces. These newer veterans and Canadian Forces personnel have so much to teach young Canadians, not just on Remembrance Day. When you combine the power of our Second World War veterans, our Korean War veterans, our peacekeeping veterans and anyone who’s served Canada all the way up to present-day Afghanistan and people who’ve been on tours right here in Canada, it really sends a powerful message.” In 2009, Historica Dominion Institute launched another program called Memory Project: Stories of the Second World War. “This digital archive is the largest oral history of its kind in Canada,” said Armstrong. “The program gives every living Second World War veteran a chance to have his or her story recorded and memorabilia digitized so that it is preserved online

and it is 100 per cent accessible to the public.” This summer, Canadian Heritage announced more than $1.2 million to continue the project and expand it to include Stories of the

Korean War. To learn more about the Memory Project Speakers Bureau, visit www.thememoryproject.com or call 1-866701-1867. writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Thank You. Yesterday’s Sacrifices, Today’s Freedom.

FORD COUNTRY 4901 North Islandd Hi Highway, h CCourtenay • 250-334-3161

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The City of

COURTENAY salutes our Veterans

Scene from World War II. (Photo Library and Archives Canada)

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With Honour & Respect to our veterans.

Sandwick War Memorial Cairn, Mission Hill, 1922

City of Courtenay • 250-334-4441 • www.courtenay.ca


18

REMEMBRANCE DAY

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

COMOX VALLEY RECORD

These Comox Valley youngsters are true Champs

Record Staff

Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program, such as the young boy who lost a leg in a lawnmower accident who helps spread the PLAYSAFE message to other children. Local Champs include Roy Hemmerich, 14, of Comox, who was born a right arm amputee below the elbow. The Grade 9 student at Mark Isfeld Secondary plays hockey and is a passionate freestyle skier, assisted by a new myoelectric specialized arm with sensors. Roy was a junior counsellor at the 2011 CHAMP seminar in Vancou-

Since 1918, The War Amps philosophy has been to ‘accentuate the positive’ in facing and overcoming an amputation. This is the theme of the 2011 address label mailing in B.C. A positive attitude is what allowed war amputees to lay the groundwork for a remarkable set of programs that continue to this day. This attitude has in turn been embraced by members of the War Amps

ver, where he offered advice to young attendees. “I think being a counsellor is really great because you get to help younger amputees with their problems,” Roy said. “And you also have a great time sharing stories and connecting with the other counsellors.” Lewis Jeon, 11, of Courtenay, and Elijah Sulz, 7, of Union Bay, attended the same seminar. Lewis is a right hand amputee who demonstrated his violin device while Elijah is a right leg amputee who showed his

swim leg. With no government grants, War Amps programs are entirely funded through

public support of the Key Tag and Address Label Service. For more information visit

waramps.ca or call 1-800 250-3030. The public can also connect on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 17 ❖

Breakfast at the Branch, upper hall at 9:00 am. Max. 300 participants, $5.00/ticket. Please arrive early to ensure a seat.

At 10:30 parade forms in front of the Legion on Cliffe Avenue, Courtenay

Service at Cairn will be conducted by Pastor Darryl Burry commencing at 11:00 am

Return to Legion at approx. 11:45 for an afternoon of reminiscing with old friends and acquaintances, refreshments available. Entertainment provided from 1 pm until 6 pm

“Lest we forget”

367 Cliffe Ave., Courtenay

250-334-4322

ROY HEMMERICH of Comox was a junior counsellor at this year’s CHAMP seminar in Vancouver. PHOTO SUBMITTED

Honouring our Canadian Forces Past and Present. I served for 32 years in the RCAF/CF as a navigator; with much of it here in Comox at 19 Wing. My final tour of duty was in Germany from where I was deployed to the Middle East during Gulf War 1 in 1990. When I retired in 1993 I became a Realtor & am very proud of the work & service I have provided to the many Military Families as they dealt with the stresses of relocating. Anne & I have 3 grown children; and 5 grandchildren. In the past I have served as the president of the North Island Branch FSNA (Federal Superannuates Association). I have also been the chairman of the annual “Christmas Dream Program” that helped those in need during the holiday season. I am also on Society (FOHS) Comox Valley Chapter. I tthee executive e ecut e of o the t e First st Open Ope Heart ea t So have come to know the community & understand very challenges that I will face along with council well the challeng together to ensure that we all continue as we work tog to enjoy living in this very special place we call the Comox Valley. for your support for Mayor of Comox I am asking fo on Nov 19th. I understand that there is only one taxpayer and tthat in these times we must be extra vigilante as we manage your tax dollars in a fiscally responsible manner. responsib

Bernie Poole www.pooleformayor.ca w

In The Comox Valley

Bill Anglin (Retired RCAF) 250-703-6119 Please take the time me this year to remember ourr military milies. and their families.

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REMEMBRANCE DAY

COMOX VALLEY RECORD

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

19

The Forgotten Ones a tragic aftermath of warfare

J.E. Landry

Special to the Record

sadly, wait in vain... Then there are the spouses, also too often Forgotten Ones. They are just as precious as the husbands or wives to whom they waved goodbye as they boarded the ships and trains that took them away to war. They were the ones who had seen their ‘best friends’ slowly become frail and in need of assistance (assistance the spouses could no longer give them). Spouses visit often, they care about their loved ones’

condition, they fret about their nutrition, medication and comfort. They watch as their ‘best friend’ slowly fades away. There are veterans in ‘secure’ areas of care facilities. The cognitively impaired are housed in secure areas for their own protection; this secure area has become their home. I would see them walking or shuffling down the hallways, some with constant smiles on their faces, some with vacant eyes staring straight ahead.

It was sometimes difficult to prepare myself to visit the facilities; having seen the Forgotten Ones and knowing what to expect when visiting the wards. Upon entering their rooms, I could see photos placed on walls and tables. Some photos were of young men and women in uniform, laughing eyes, full of hope, ready for anything; a young sailor on board his ship, a young soldier cleaning a rifle, a young airman standing beside an aircraft, a young girl in uniform driving a

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Several years ago, I volunteered as a Legion/Veterans Affairs surveyor. It was my good fortune to visit many of our precious Second World War, Korea and peacekeeping veterans in care facilities on Vancouver Island. I purposely use the word precious, because it describes ‘something of great worth.’ They are precious as well, because there are fewer and fewer of them left for us to

honour. These noble warriors from the past are living out their lives in care facilities across this Island and I often think of some as The Forgotten Ones. Most are veterans who live in these facilities because they can no longer manage their lives without assistance or because their loved ones can no longer manage their care. There are also those who sit in their rooms, some in wheelchairs, some sit in the lobby, by the front door, waiting for visitors. Some,

THE POPPY CAMPAIGN in Courtenay was launched recently to remind us about The Forgotten Ones.

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A day to remember ... Thank you to those who have fought and sacrificed for our freedom.

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vehicle, or a young nurse taking a soldier’s pulse. So, if you know a veteran whose home is a care facility, show him/her that they truly are precious. Visit them, listen to them, talk to them, and show them that you really care. Like treasures, they need to be seen, heard and loved. As living treasures, they must not be put away and forgotten. Your reward may only be a smile, but what a smile it will be! J.E. Landry lives in Comox.


20

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

REMEMBRANCE DAY

COMOX VALLEY RECORD

All Quality Foods Stores will be closed Friday, November 11, 2011. We offer apologies to those who are inconvenienced by our stores closing, and hope that our decision is in line with the Royal Canadian Legion’s message to “Take time to remember”. Once again this November 11th, Canadians around the world and here at home will gather and pause in silent remembrance. Many of us will continue the tradition of attending organized services designed to ensure the families and peers of the fallen know the immeasurable value of their loved ones’ service and sacrafice. This year’s ceremonies will likely be tinged with sorrow for the loss of many good Canadians from recent conflicts, yet carry a sense of relief that many more are returning

safely home. We all owe these Canadians a debt of gratitude now and in the future. At Quality Foods, we feel it is important to take the time to honour our Veterans, past and present who gave their service, their future and their lives so that we may all live in peace. For us, Remembrance Day is more than honouring those who sacrificed their futures and their lives for all Canadians; we need to also guard wisely against the spectre of a dark history repeated, and help our young people to remember.

At the 11th hour of each November 11th, Canadians across the nation pause for two minutes of silent remembrance for those who served our country, and still serve today. “For the Fallen” They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them. - Laurence Binyon, 1914


CVRN111109_RemembranceDay