Langley Cadet dinner using scrounged and ugly foods

The 2777 Seaforth Highlanders Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps (RCACC) Langley hosts an Ortona dinner each year.

Ugly food will be on the menu for a dinner commemorating a Christmas meal by Canadian soldiers during the Second World War.

The 2777 Seaforth Highlanders Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps (RCACC) Langley, is using scrounged food to recreate the famous Ortona dinner this coming Sunday.

“However, unlike the officers who had to find and probably source the black market for supplies during that battle, we’re benefitting from the generosity of DeLorme Food Services and the hard work, initiative, and generous spirit of the Fraser Valley Permaculture Guild’s farm to food bank philosophy and gleaners,” explained Capt. Mark Iredale.

The guild is donating imperfect or ugly vegetables that would normally go into soup stock.

Cadets at the dinner will learn how in the midst of this fierce Second World War battle the Canadian officers, determined to provide a good Christmas meal for their men, scrounged table linens, china dishes, beer, wine, roast pork, applesauce, cauliflower, mashed potatoes, gravy, chocolate, oranges, nuts, and cigarettes.

Canadian troops advancing along Italy’s Adriatic coast were tasked with securing the village of Ortona, not realizing the town was considered an important German winter defence line held by Hitler’s elite paratroopers. It took the mostly young Canadians eight brutal days just to fight their way into Ortona where the battle became even more deadly.

The German paratroopers had skillfully ensured their infantrymen and snipers had cover in ruined buildings from heavy artillery and easily destroyed Canadian Sherman tanks, killing many of the Three Rivers Regiment. A basement loaded with explosives was remotely detonated, claiming the lives of all but one member of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment. To survive, Canadians began “mouseholing” from building to building using demolition charges to blast through interior walls so they weren’t fighting on the streets. They would then clear the enemy one room and one house at a time before repeating the process into the next house.

In the midst of this brutality, the Canadian soldiers ate their festive meal in shifts before going back into battle. An Anglican military padre named Major Roy Durnford prayed with the men and an organist played “Silent Night” while the men ate in shifts before returning to the battle. A CBC Radio journalist was present to record the event, which was reported back home. German soldiers later reported they could hear the Canadians singing the Christmas carol. Two days after Christmas the Germans withdrew and the Canadians had achieved their objective, but it cost the lives of hundreds of men.

“Part of the Army Cadet program is teaching cadets about Canadian military history,” said Iredale. “The Ortona Dinner teaches them so much about the harsh realities of war, in all its complexities, by bringing the history to life with bits of history, memories of soldiers read out throughout the meal, and an empty table set in memory of fallen comrades adjacent to the head table.”

The cadets will also have a chance to learn about the food guild which will have a display at the dinner.

“We really appreciate the support of local families, businesses, and groups like the Fraser Valley Permaculture Guild (FVPG) who support our cadet events like the Ortona dinner so that our fundraising dollars stretch for training for cadets. Using the ugly food from the guild is new this year, and really a great teaching moment for the cadets that relates to today as well as to Canada’s military history,” Iredale added.

The FVPG Farm to Food Bank initiative collected over 53,000 pounds of produce from local farms in 2015 that otherwise would have been thrown away or left to rot. That’s enough to feed 29,444 people a full day’s portion of fresh vegetables and fruit. The guild will have a display at the Ortona Dinner so that cadets and guests can find out how people are working to combat hunger and stop food waste.

The DeLorme family has a long established relationship with the Seaforth cadets in Surrey and Langley and Mrs. Dorothy DeLorme is fondly considered to be the mother of the local cadet corps. The DeLormes have donated the pork roasts for this year’s dinner, at which they are special guests, in memory of Mrs. DeLorme’s late husband John (“Jack”) DeLorme, who served with the Loyal Edmonton Regiment and was one of the soldiers at Ortona during Christmas 1943.

Find out about cadets at www.2277rcacc.com.

Just Posted

Backlog reduced at Langley adult day program

Wait list goes from months to weeks

Artisan cheesemakers forming BC association

Milner Valley Cheese is part of an effort to increase awareness of BC’s artisan cheese offerings.

LETTER: Fort Langley driver lobbies for roundabout signalling

ICBC rules call for drivers to signal when exiting roundabouts.

South Langley community group wants to talk innovative housing

Brookswood-Fernridge Community Association invites people to a meeting about the future of housing.

GREEN BEAT: Opening ‘new roads’ in Langley makes cycling safer

HUB Langley pushed to ‘UnGap the Map’ and create more bike infrastructure throughout the community.

Edmonton judge rules Omar Khadr’s sentence has expired

Eight-year sentence imposed in 2010 would have ended last October had Khadr remained in custody

Norway opens probe into why cruise ship ventured into storm

The Viking Sky was headed for southern Norway when it had engine problems on Saturday afternoon

B.C. river cleanup crew finds bag of discarded sex toys

Chilliwack volunteers stumble on unexpected find while removing 600 lbs of trash from riverway

Crash threatens Vancouver shipyard’s schedule for new coast guard ships

The delivery of the vessel was already years overdue

Fired B.C. farmland commission chair backs NDP rule changes

Richard Bullock agrees with Lana Popham, ALC records don’t

Kamloops chamber of commerce director let go after controversial Facebook posts

Facebook account had derogatory comments about Muslims, Justin Trudeau

B.C. RCMP officer cleared after Taser incident seriously injures woman

Woman with knives refused to comply with orders therefore officer used appropriate level of force

‘Bikinishe’ swimwear retailer prompts Better Business Bureau warning

Watchdog has gotten dozens of complaints about company, which has been using fake Vancouver address

Fraser Valley Thunderbirds advance to BCMML final

T-birds eliminate Okanagan Rockets, take on Cariboo Cougars in final this weekend

Most Read