I grew up during WORLD WAR TWO. I may have been a child but I understood we were a country at war. Canada was defending democracy. We grew victory gardens. Collected metal. Bought war bonds. And coped with food rationing. I remember the heart-breaking day a telegram was delivered to my Grandmother. The official notification of my uncles death.
That year winter came early to my home town of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. On November 11th, 1945 with my classmates I walked in bitter cold the two miles from school to attend the Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Armouries.
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed:
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home
And think, this heart,all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given,
Her signs and sounds; dream happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
” The Soldier” was written by an English poet, Rupert Brooke (2887-1915). He died in the first world war.
My father-in-law grew up in a quiet town in Southern Ontario. He enlisted and his training as a flight sergeant took place in an equally small town in Saskatchewan. This is where he met and married. He returned from the war to live t he rest of his life in Saskatchewan. He is survived by his two sons.
My uncle, Bertram Henry Henderson grew up in my home town, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. He and his two brothers enlisted in the Regina Rifles. He died in action October 27, 1944. His last letter home was dated October 27, 1944. It was written in the dim light of a candle in a bottle. The letter was in his effects returned to the family.
My older sister and myself with my Uncle Bert shortly before he was shipped overseas.
This document shows the location of his grave in Belgian. It also identifies the family who would be responsible for the maintenance and care of his grave site.
Our Uncle’s grave continues to be looked after by the Belgian Family entrusted in their care more than 70 years ago. Members of that family continue to maintain contact with our family.
My father grew up in a small village in southern England. He fought in the war to end all wars (World War One). When war ended he immigrated to Canada to join his older brothers in Northern Saskatchewan. The only time he talked about the war was to tell us how he had befriended some Turkish prison of war soldiers and they had taught him to make Turkish coffee.
On November 11th we will attend Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ladner village. At 11:00 am we will stand in silence for two minutes remembering those who died for Democracy. The lone bugler will sound “last post” followed by a twenty-one gun salute. Before we depart we will place our red poppies at the base of the cenotaph and bow our heads in respect. We will remember.