Bowser remembers

The number of Second World War veterans continues to dwindle, but not their support

Two veterans share a smile at Bowser ceremony on Friday.

Two veterans share a smile at Bowser ceremony on Friday.

Veterans from Bowser, the surrounding area and as far away as Alberta converged at the cenotaph Friday for the annual service of remembrance for Canada’s war dead.

They weren’t the only ones who showed up however. The Legion grounds by the cenotaph were packed with family members and ordinary Bowser and area residents who braved blustery and sometimes drizzly skies to pay their respects and let the veterans know their sacrifices were appreciated and not forgotten.

Zone padre Brian Kirby led the prayers after a rousing rendition of the national anthem. Veterans, their families and various service groups and businesses then laid wreaths at the Cenotaph.

As is becoming more and more frequent across the country, it proved a challenge to find people who had actually served in the Second World War.

Bill Fawkes was one of those who just missed active service because of his age.

“I was in the RCAF, but  I didn’t fly,” he said. “I joined up just before the end of the war,” he remembered. “I was really young, about 17 or 18 and I was in there for six months and then they sent me my discharge papers.”

In that same envelope however were the papers calling him up for service with the army.

“We were going to go to Japan,” he said. “However, I was working on the farm, producing food for the war effort, so I was deferred and never went. I wish I had stayed in.”

Bud Moutain also didn’t serve. He was in Bowser on behalf of his father, Tom, who served in the First World War.

“He joined when he was 15. He lied about his age,” he said. “It caught up with him when it came time for his pension though.”

His father served in France during the Great War and suffered a gas attack, an attack that eventually claimed his life. He died of lung cancer in the 1960s.

Andrew Watson did serve during the Second World War however, but he wasn’t from Bowser.

Watson, who was posted to Canada, England and finally Europe, fought with the Royal Scots Infantry.

The Edmonton, Alberta resident was on hand at the ceremony as he visited his daughter, Catherine Watson. But even as the ranks from that horrific conflict continue to dwindle, the packed turnout in the little community goes to demonstrate that while many — or even most — of them may be gone, they are not forgotten.

 

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