Banners honour Pitt Meadows vets

Old soldiers, veterans see standards installed on city streets

Pitt Meadows borrowed idea of using banners to honour veterans.

Pitt Meadows borrowed idea of using banners to honour veterans.

Faces of local people who served their country will be featured on a new series of banners that will surround those who gather at the Cenotaph at Spirit Square in Pitt Meadows this Remembrance Day.

The banners were unveiled Monday, at 11 a.m. Some were installed at the square as veterans, their families and local politicians watched.

The Pitt Meadows Community Foundation took up the project, which was the brought to the city by Len Walters, husband of Mayor Deb Walters and a community volunteer. He saw it done in the City of Langley, where he works.

“And I knew that our veterans needed to be acknowledged, as well,” he said.

The banners have been done in two colour schemes, with full-colour banners identifying veterans who are still alive, and silver banners with black-and-white photos showing veterans who have passed away.

Watching his banner raised was an appreciative Jack Booth, who lives in a seniors home not far from Spirit Square.

He grew up in New Westminster, and joined the navy at the age of 18, during the Second World War. Among his war medals is the Atlantic Star.

“In the last months of the war, I was on a frigate chasing German submarines,” he recalled. “There were a lot of submarines on the eastern part of the continent, around Halifax and New York and Boston and into the St. Lawrence River.”

The young seaman’s vessel never came under fire, and although there were scary moments, it was also the adventure of a lifetime.

“You’re 18 years old – it’s all a great thing.”

The frigate he served on dropped exploding depth charges at German U-boats, but they never really knew if they hit any.

“We did bring up some oil and pieces of … [debris], but sometimes the Germans would send that up to put us off – to make us stop.”

Booth goes to the cenotaph every year, whether in New Westminster or Pitt Meadows, to honour those who served and sacrificed.

He thinks the new banners will be a great addition to this year’s ceremonies.

“They look very nice, they’re quite an idea,” said Booth. “There’s going to be more of those, you know.”

Len Walters acknowledged that not all the local veterans have been honoured, and he would like to see the project continue, with the support of local fundraising projects.

So far there are seven coloured banners honouring Booth, Claude Parenteau, Jim Boyd, Fred Jervis, Warren Byrnell, Hilson Smith and Harley Edmondson.

The nine silver banners honour C.B. Armstrong, Percy Devereaux, Frank Granger, Wilbert Dewey Rose, John Robertson, Theodore Enge, Spenser Skelton, Robert James Barnes and Isabel Sharpe.