Vet­eran vis­its Val­our

School pur­chases com­mem­o­ra­tive brick at Juno Beach Cen­tre Me­mo­rial on be­half of Sec­ond World War vet Bruce West­garth

The Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE - STEPHEN UHLER

PETAWAWA – Petawawa’s Val­our JK–12 School re­mem­bers.

On Fri­day morn­ing, the stu­dent body as­sem­bled in the gym­na­sium to take part in a Re­mem­brance Day ser­vice, where they rec­og­nized, re­mem­bered and com­mem­o­rated the sac­ri­fices of Canada’s soldiers past and present.

A multi-me­dia and bilin­gual pre­sen­ta­tion touched on a num­ber of mile­stones, in­clud­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of the end of the Bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele; the role of women in the First World War, in­clud­ing those who served or had fam­ily mem­bers serv­ing get­ting the right to vote in 1917; and the role of In­dige­nous soldiers in the con­flict.

Other el­e­ments in the cer­e­mony in­clud­ing the march­ing on of the colours, ac­com­pa­nied by bag­pipes and drums, and a mo­ment of si­lence in com­mem­o­ra­tion of the fallen.

Con­tin­u­ing a tra­di­tion, Val­our School has been hon­our­ing vet­er­ans by pur­chased a com­mem­o­ra­tive brick on their be­half at the Juno Beach Cen­tre Me­mo­rial for Cana­dian soldiers.

The Juno Beach Cen­tre is lo­cated in Courseulles-sur-Mer on the his­toric beach of the Cana­dian D -Day land­ings of June 6, 1944. The cen­tre helps to give vis­i­tors a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the con­tri­bu­tion Canada made to the Sec­ond World War.

Juno Beach Com­mem­o­ra­tive Bricks can be pur­chased at www. junobeach.org for $500.

This year, the JK-12 school rec­og­nized War­rant Of­fi­cer Bruce West­garth (re­tired), a 93-year-old vet­eran of the Sec­ond World War. The Petawawa res­i­dent landed at Juno two weeks af­ter D -Day, serv­ing as a gunner and ra­dio op­er­a­tor in an ar­moured scout car with the 17th Duke of York Hus­sars.

Dur­ing his ser­vice in France, Bel­gium, Hol­land and Ger­many, West­garth was knocked out of his ar­moured car three times, the third time res­cu­ing the driver who was un­able to get out by him­self.

He re­turned to Canada Dec. 28, 1945, then re-en­listed in 1947 with the Royal Cana­dian Dra­goons, re­tir­ing as a war­rant of­fi­cer in the 1970s. Three of his broth­ers – Orville, Arthur and Carl – all served over­seas, and his fa­ther was wounded at Vimy Ridge in the First World War.

In 2014, the French govern­ment honoured West­garth along with other vet­er­ans by mak­ing him a Knight of the French Na­tional Or­der of the Le­gion of Honour.

With his wife, chil­dren and grand­chil­dren in at­ten­dance, West­garth was pre­sented a wooden replica of the Juno Brick by Gary Serviss, Val­our teacher and or­ga­nizer of the Re­mem­brance Day ser­vice. He said he felt honoured by the recognition.

“This is some­thing I never ex­pected,” he said. “It was great to do this in front of my fam­ily.”

West­garth said he re­turned to Juno Beach once, when he was over in Europe dur­ing the 1995 com­mem­o­ra­tion of the 50th an­niver­sary of the lib­er­a­tion of Hol­land. SUh­ler@post­media.com

STEPHEN UHLER/DAILY OB­SERVER

On Fri­day morn­ing, War­rant Of­fice Bruce West­garth, a Petawawa Sec­ond World War vet­eran, ac­cepts a wooden replica of a com­mem­o­ra­tive brick bought in his honour at the Juno Beach Cen­tre from Gary Serviss, a teacher at Val­our JK-12 School. Each year, the school rec­og­nizes a vet­eran this way as part of their Re­mem­brance Day ser­vices.

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