VIDEO: 36 memorial trees ‘hiding in plain sight’ around Langley

VIDEO: 36 memorial trees ‘hiding in plain sight’ around Langley

Brian Croft is searching for information to locate symbolic maples honouring fallen soldiers

In 1923, Langley residents Dr. Benjamin Marr and Archie Payne spearheaded a project to plant 36 Big Leaf Maple trees in honour of the local soldiers that fought in the First World War and didn’t come home.

Going one step further, streets were named after the fallen soldiers, giving Langley some of it’s most familiar titles such as Trattle, Topping, and Carvolth.

Nearly one century later, most of the trees have gone unrecognized and even neglected – with some possibly having been removed over the years for construction and maintenance purposes.

Brian Croft, a local artist, historian, and former Canadian Forces fighter pilot, said he had heard about the memorial trees over the years through the grapevine and has been working with resident Warren Sommer to unearth the history and location behind the trees.

“Three dozen trees were placed in memory of the gentleman that didn’t come home. Now, about a half dozen of these things are hiding in plain sight,” Croft said. “Plaques used to be on each but not much exits of those anymore.”

Around five trees have been identified – Croft said the only one remaining with a commemorative plaque is on Trattle Street in Fort Langley.

“Some of the trees were replaced and many of them are now in bad shape,” Croft added, hoping the project can not only help bring to light local history but revitalize the plant life.

One is thought to be located at the five corners in Murrayville, another on Glover Road, one in Aldergrove, and the last in Milner near the chapel.

Read More: Langley played a part in Britain’s war in South Africa

“Logically, the memorial trees for each soldier should correspond with the name of their street,” Croft explained, which would narrow down the search to 36 specific areas – many of which are completely covered in old maples.

Croft pointed to the book Roads and Other Place Names in Langley, B.C. by Maureen L. Pepin as a source guide for explaining the memorial project and history behind the city and township landmarks.

But narrowing down the search can only get project so far; Croft said much of the records that would have contained tree locations and information were destroyed decades ago in a fire.

With Remembrance Day up ahead, Croft figured the timing was perfect to open up the memorial tree mystery to residents and even students.

“We remember… we remember… we remember… but, then we also forget,” Croft said, stepping up to help facilitate a ceremony at Alice Brown Elementary School, where his daughter is a teacher.

“We remember with poppies, crosses, cenotaphs, and reading In Flander’s Field, but we can also let kids know the different ways we remember by planting trees,” he explained.

A wall featuring the photographs and names eight local killed in-action soldier’s who fought in the First World War will be displayed at the Alice Brown ceremony.

Pinned next to each one by student volunteers will be handmade trees to symbolically honour the fallen servicemen and also commemorate a local tradition of how Langley has remembered.

Croft is now hoping that residents might be able to shed some light on the memorial tree history, asking anyone who may have information or knowledge of a tree location to share what they know.

People can email warren_sommer@telus.net or call 236-987-1858 if that have anything to share.

The information will be passed on to the Langley Centennial Museum and the Township’s Parks and Heritage Planning departments.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

VIDEO: 36 memorial trees ‘hiding in plain sight’ around Langley

Just Posted

The Pitt Meadows Art Gallery will be running a photography exhibition through February and March.
Pitt Meadows Art Gallery featuring photography

Pros and amateurs submitted their images on a variety of themes

Fraser Health declares outbreak over at Ridge Meadows Hospital. (Google Maps)
Outbreak at Ridge Meadows Hospital declared over

The outbreak was announced at the end of December in an inpatient rehab unit at Maple Ridge hospital

The group opposing CP Rail’s proposed logistics park in Pitt Meadows has gathered signs and other materials to rally opposition. (Special to The News)
STOPCPRAIL group would stop coming rail projects in Pitt Meadows

Council wants to proceed with Harris Road underpass

Maple Ridge’s Lynda Summers took this trio in early January 2021. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)
SHARE: Horses in January

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

Victor Okunev found this abandoned floating dock on the shores of Pitt Lake. (Facebook)
Nature lover takes it upon himself to clean up Styrofoam mess along Pitt Lake

“If you see trash – pick it up!” says Port Moody’s Victor Okunev

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment Mission, has break-out year

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Giants defenceman Bowen Byram has recorded his first NHL career point (Rob Wilton/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants Bowen Byram records first NHL career point with Colorado Avalanche

Player with Langley-based WHL franchise assisted on goal against the Ducks

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Surrey Fire Service responded to a fire in the industrial area of 192nd street and 54th Avenue early Saturday morning (Jan. 23, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey crews respond to fire in industrial area

Fire happened early Saturday morning

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

Most Read