Jack Bennett, 95, and several members of his family wandered to a quiet area of the Murrayville cemetery after Remembrance Day services to place flowers on the grave of another veteran and longtime friend.
Bennett was a navigator in a Lancaster bomber during the Second World War and just about didn’t make it home.
“On a bombing trip to Nuremberg, we were hit by anti-aircraft fire and we had to bail out,” he explained about a 1944 flight. “We managed to get over southern France before we had to parachute out.”
Bennett served from about 1942 to 1946, makes a point of going to local Nov. 11 services.
“I came back to Canada in 46 and I’ve been, of course, [attending services] up to right now,” he said.
This year he and family attended the community-organized event at the Murrayville cenotaph.
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The service featured the unveiling of a permanent plaque detailing the impact of war on Langley, with new installations in the Murrayville and Fort Langley cemeteries. More than three dozen men from this community were killed in the First World War.
For the ceremony the Canadian Museum of Flight its replica Sopwith Pup plane at the cemetery, and a vintage aircraft flew over the service. As well a formation team did a flypast.
In preparation for Sunday morning’s service, small Canadian flags were placed on the graves of veterans, a visual reminder to those attending of the many who served and who are no interred at the Murrayville cemetery. Unfortunately, by the time the service happened, many of the flags has been torn off and all that remained were small white sticks.
”Regretfully, someone has taken all the little memorial flags off our veterans’ graves,” emcee Rosemary Genberg noted.
Before beginning the formal program she paid tribute to a local resident who was instrumental in the services last year. Dave Manson was a member of the Retired Veterans’ Association. He collected flags and placed 240 around the driveway last year. He has since passed away.