Two 100-year-old former POWs both laid wreaths at the Cloverdale Cenotaph on Remembrance Day.
About 500 people joined Legion representatives Nov. 11 to witness the ceremony in Veterans’ Square.
Second World War veterans Hans Andersen and Richmond “Dick” Deck placed wreaths at the cenotaph on behalf of all POWs.
Andersen was captured in 1944 when the 1st Canadian Infantry Division and 5th Canadian Armoured Division fought in Italy along the Hitler Line. He spent one year as POW.
Deck and his entire crew had to bail out of a Halifax Bomber after it got hit by enemy fire over Nazi Germany. The crew were on their way back after completing their 31st bombing mission.
After surviving the jump, Deck spent some time on the ground before he was finally captured by the Germans in January of 1945. Deck’s whole crew was eventually captured, but they all made it home after the war.
After laying their respective wreaths, Deck and Andersen shook hands and posed for a couple of pictures.
“The ceremony was really good this year with the speakers and how it was laid out,” said Andersen, who turned 100 on June 2. “It was quick though. It didn’t last long. It was quite an emotional day.”
Andersen’s wife Midge was happy with the way things turned out.
“It was very, very well handled and wonderful,” she said. “Of course it’s a shame that more people couldn’t come, but that’s the way things are right now.”
She said it was also special that Hans’s two grandsons, Bob and Jim Hook, were able to escort their grandfather to the cenotaph.
She told Legion representatives Hans will be back.
“He plans to be there next year,” she said. “There is no other option. He’ll be there!”
Earle Fraser, service officer for the Cloverdale Legion, said the ceremony went off without a hitch.
“It was perfect,” said Fraser, “and it was very special to have Dick Deck and Hans Andersen as part of the ceremony.”
The 500-or-so people that showed up to pay their respects, formed a horseshoe around the cenotaph that swung from the side of the library, down around the square and over to the other side of the Surrey Archives.
Legion representatives, the RCMP, and other community groups all laid wreaths to honour the sacrifices made by the men and women who served their country. Politicians in attendance included, Mayor Doug McCallum, MP John Aldag, and MLA Mike Starchuk.
The Fraser Blues precision flying team made its rounds on the day, flying over Cloverdale as part of a circuit that included: Cloverdale, Port Kells, Fort Langley, Langley, Murrayville, and Aldergrove. The Fraser Blues team, flying four Navion aircraft, is made of mostly air force veterans.
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