A Remembrance Day roundup of some of the best stories from Black Press newspapers across B.C. of the service of local veterans.
During the Second World War, Len Mulholland was a British special operative working in occupied Holland with the Dutch Resistance to organize air drops, sink ships and destroy trains. The Nelson veteran recounts his amazing exploits with the Nelson Star‘s Greg Nesteroff.
Langley veteran Bob Crerar survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, and went on to serve in Korea. He recalls his service as a war medic in an interview with Brenda Anderson in the Langley Times.
“Another plane come right over our fo’c’sle, and I looked up at it and I could see that big meatball on the side, and I knew that it was the Japanese, and it was the real McCoy… And I can remember now looking there, and looking at the pilot. And the pilot was looking right at me — honest to gosh.”
“I think Canada has a legacy there. We built a dam down there, we spent millions of dollars in education, in Polio eradication, and to enable the security environment to allow for the building of many hundreds of schools.”
Tank crewman Pat Patterson served in Korea with the Lord Strathcona’s Horse armoured regiment and recalls the human horror of the conflict in an interview with Chris Bush of the Nanaimo News Bulletin.
“The smell of Puson? You could smell it before you got there. There was a huge refugee camp there and there must have been a million people living under scraps of wood, chunks of tin, canvas, anything. There was no sewage for them. It was just a dreadful mess and an eye-opener when you think of what those people were going through.”
Canadian veterans who served in Afghanistan say they are being short-changed compared to veterans of earlier wars. Neil Corbett of the Maple Ridge News reports on a group mounting a class action lawsuit to fight the lump-sum payouts now provided by Ottawa’s Veterans Charter.
“I don’t like to slam the government. I’m very disappointed,” said Doug Schneider, who quit the Conservative Party after seeing how modern veterans are being treated.
“It’s very surprising to me that the Conservatives are doing this. It blew my mind.”
Henry Birkland worked in the Sheep Creek gold mines in the Kootenays before serving as an RCAF Spitfire pilot in the Second World War. Shot down and imprisoned at POW camp Stalag Luft III, he put his digging skills to work excavating the tunnels that would become the path to freedom immortalized in The Great Escape. By Greg Nesteroff of the Nelson Star.
Vernon’s Dick Green served in the Second World War aboard destroyers as an anti-submarine detection. His biggest day of action was aboard the HMCS Algonquin on D-Day. But he was also decorated by Russia for helping shepherd supply convoys on Murmansk Run. By Cara Brady of the Vernon Morning Star.