Find­ing love in tur­bu­lent times

Our Canada - - Commemorating Our Men And Women In Uniform - Jean Humphreys, Kam­loops, B. C.

War was im­mi­nent when Ken Foote ( my dad) was fin­ish­ing high school in West Van­cou­ver in 1939, so in­stead of carv­ing out a civil­ian ca­reer for him­self, he de­cided to join the army. Af­ter ba­sic train­ing, he was posted to Yorke Is­land, up the west coast of Bri­tish Columbia, at the en­trance to John­stone Strait, where a gun em­place­ment and fort were be­ing set up as part of the West Coast de­fences. En­durance, mil­i­tary skills and re­source­ful­ness were learned there, and close friend­ships formed. Even­tu­ally, Ken was sent to Esquimalt, B.C., where he took the of­fi­cers’ train­ing course, and was then posted to Van­cou­ver, where he was in-

volved with ra­dio op­er­a­tions. While there, he met Mary Wood (my mom), a Saskatchewan farm girl who had joined the Cana­dian Women’s Army Corps. They got en­gaged in De­cem­ber 1943.

The Bri­tish Army was in dire need of re­place­ments, and so Ken and a num­ber of oth­ers were slated to go there. First, he was sent to Shilo, Man., for more ar­tillery train­ing.

Sweet­hearts Ken and Mary were wed in June 1944, and in Au­gust he was posted to the front via Eng­land. Ken also served in France and Bel­gium, be­fore be­ing sent to Arn­heim, Hol­land, where the noted of­fen­sive was in progress.

His group was sta­tioned in a church ceme­tery of all places and, dur­ing skir­mishes one day, Ken was edg­ing around the cor­ner of the church at the same time as a Ger­man sol­dier came around the next cor­ner. In the ex­change of gun­fire that en­sued, Ken was hit in the ab­domen by two bul­lets, one ex­it­ing near his spine. The out­look was grim, but an army doc­tor op­er­ated on him in the church base­ment, re­mov­ing the re­main­ing bul­let and sta­bi­liz­ing him enough so that he could be trans­ferred back to Eng­land for fur­ther med­i­cal pro­ce­dures. He was even­tu­ally evac­u­ated home on a hos­pi­tal ship.

Af­ter his re­cov­ery, Ken and Mary made their home in Kam­loops, B.C., where he worked at the lo­cal ra­dio sta­tion. Even­tu­ally, he and Mary set­tled back on the coast, where Ken ca­reered with the UIC (now part of Ser­vice Canada). They adopted six chil­dren over the course of 13 years.

Ken served in the re­serve army for some time af­ter the war, along with many fine vet­er­ans who were also good friends. Upon re­tire­ment, he and Mary en­joyed trav­el­ling, which in­cluded a trip back to Hol­land and the ar­eas where Ken had seen ac­tion.

Ken passed away in 1996 and Mary, in 2007. They are re­ally missed by our fam­ily.

Re­mem­brance Day is al­most here once again, a time to re­mem­ber those who sac­ri­ficed so much for the freedom we en­joy to­day. Many never came back, and those who did are be­com­ing fewer each year— they all are truly spe­cial peo­ple. We must never for­get.

Above: Jean’s par­ents, Ken and Mary, in uni­form.

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