In 2013, Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site began a campaign to share the stories of hometown heroes leading up to Nov. 11.
Liking the campaign the Fort Langley National Historic Site turned to its staff and volunteers and asked whom they honour for Remembrance Day. See the campaign online at Facebook: www.facebook.com/FortLangleyNHS or Twitter: @FortLangleyNHS
Here’s a selection of responses.
* Marv Woolley, historic site volunteer
“I wear a poppy to remember the people that have served to defend and maintain our freedom.
“My grandfather, Harold Woolley, would have been in his early sixties when he served during World War II. He wanted to ‘sign up’ and of course my grandmother protested. Ernest told his mother not to worry, ‘they will never take him, Mom, he’s too old’, apparently not too old to serve in the armory in Vancouver, preparing supplies and coordinating shipments.
“I particularly remember the many relatives who have served:
• Grandfather and his brother, Hayden and Ray Williams, 143 Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Forces, WWI,
• Uncles Norm and Ralph Williams, served in the Royal Canadian Navy, WWII,
• Grandfather Harold Woolley and Uncle Ellis Woolley, who served in the Army, Second World War,
• Uncle Ernest and Aunt Irene Woolley served in the Royal Canadian Navy, WWII, Korea and more.”
* Bruce Mavis, historic site volunteer
“I wear a poppy because my grandfather’s brother fought in World War I, my dad’s brother fought in World War II, and my dad’s cousin J. E. Doan was one of the first casualties in WWII.”
* Bays Blackhall, lifelong Fort Langley supporter and volunteer at the historic site
“I wear a poppy and keep it in view all year around as we lived through World War II. My very dear, engineer father served in both world wars and subsequently worked as an administrator in Veterans Affairs when he helped a great many broken veterans return to a better life.”
* Bruce Thomson, historic site volunteer
“I wear a poppy to respect and honour those men and women of our armed forces who gave their lives during the First, Second, and Korean Wars. My grandfather was with the Royal Artillery in the First World War and my father was with the Royal Air Force in the Second World War.”
* Mary Benson, historic site volunteer
“I wear a poppy because my Grandfather served in WWI and my Dad served in WWII and the Korean War. I wear a poppy for the losses they suffered as a result of serving their country. I wear a poppy out of respect for their courage.
“My Grandfather Major John R. Benson (JR) served in WWI. My father was born after he had left for war and did not even meet him until he was three and a half year old. JR was in the trenches, a victim of mustard gas. He was in charge of the horse trains that would supply the front lines and return injured at the end of the tour. He returned severely shell shocked, and spent the rest of his years in a logging camp by Gold Bar. He sent money to my grandmother, but she raised five kids basically a widow to war.
“My father, Naval Officer Commander Patrick C. Benson, was the first Canadian to be commissioned as an officer in the Royal Navy. He had to be an officer or my grandfather would not allow him to marry my mother. So he went to England and served in the British Navy to become an officer, then for Canada once we entered the war.”
* Cassie Barton, historic site volunteer
“I am very proud to wear a poppy for a number of reasons. Ottawa was my home town and while in primary grade King George VI and Queen Elizabeth came to Ottawa to dedicate our National War Memorial. I was there! I was a regular force member of the RCAF for six years. While stationed in Ottawa, with RCAF, I was fortunate to be on parade at National War Memorial on Remembrance Day two years in a row. I was then posted to NATO bases in England and France for three years. I was awarded a NATO medal.
“My uncle was a Canadian Army signalman who served in Italy and then Holland at the War’s end. Thankfully he returned home unhurt.
“My husband, Ted, who unfortunately passed away December 2015, was also an RCAF regular force member for 10 years and a reserve RCAF cadet officer for four years. He was awarded a NATO medal as well as a long service medal. I still belong to an ex-RCAF Airwomen Group.”
* Don Lott, historic site collections officer
“This November, I remember my father, Lt. Col. Walter John Lott, who served in the military from 1938-1976, and my brother Maj. John F. Lott, who served from 1960-1972. These are pictures of my dad, who was first trained as a surgical assistant.”
* Hazel Gludo, historic site interpreter
“This November, I remember my uncle and others from Kwantlen who were in the wars.
“Every year we make a wreath to place on the cenotaph. I make the cedar roses that go on our wreath.
“It’s a sad day, but it’s a good day to get together and to remember.”
Hazel Gludo spent her career as a licensed practical nurse using her hands to help others heal.
Now the retiree’s hands fashion roses from cedar bark, something she said helps her heal.
The Kwantlen First Nations elder took up working with cedar several years ago as she worked to reconnect to her culture and heritage.
She is among the Kwantlen members who take part in Remembrance Day services at the Fort Langley cenotaph. KFN and many other groups lay wreaths as part of Nov. 11 services. But the Kwantlen wreath to remember and honour the war dead and those who served is decorated with the tree of life.
“We call cedar the tree of life,” Gludo said.
She fashioned roses from cedar strips that are used on the KFN wreath – 11 roses to be specific.
“We’ve had a few of our First Nations that were in the wars,” she said, including her great grandfather, Alfred Gabriel.
Gludo works about 18 hours a week as an interpreter at the Fort Langley National Historic Site.
“I really enjoy working at the fort,” she said.
For her, it’s a chance to walk in the footsteps of history. She is the great, great granddaughter of Narcisse Fallardeau. Hudson Bay Company records show he was born in Quebec in 1818 and died in 1888.
He worked for HBC from 1837 to 1863 in a position called middleman. He was the steward for James Yale.
Fallardeau married a Kwantlen woman (Tlhepartenate. She was called Helen or Elen, depending on historic documents.)
They had six girls and two boys.
Gludo said her coworkers at the fort make the experience of working there worth it.
“It’s family to me,” she commented.
She noted that another benefit of the job is meeting the people who visit the site.
“We have met people from all over the world,” Gludo noted.
She particularly enjoys sharing local history with kids.
The national historic site plays host to school groups from around the Lower Mainland and as far as Vancouver Island and Kamloops.
She has also worked in the schools.
She encourages the young people she meets to have a hobby and keep their hands busy.
In addition to the sense of accomplishment in creating something, working with one’s hands can be therapeutic.
Gludo, a residential school survivor, has found working with cedar to be healing.
Gludo was visiting Hawaii when she was given roses made from palm trees. She traded for cedar roses she had with her.
Since then she’s kept her hands busy with orders and requests from, family, friends and beyond as well as teaching cedar weaving courses.
She even receives orders for roses to be used in traditional First Nations weddings.
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