Archive for March, 2017

  • Vimy Ridge Day Candlelight Vigil 2017

    Branch 15 will hold its annual Vimy Ridge Day Candlelight Vigil on Sunday, April 9.  Please click the heading to see the advertisement for details on call the branch at 604-853-1711.

    2017 Vimy Ridge Day Advert cr

    Also for a larger pdf file of the advert, please click the following link:

    2017 Vimy Ridge Day Advert


  • George Ferguson and Roy Garrett Obituaries

    poppy-originalTwo long term branch 15 members passed away this week, long time former Mayor George Ferguson on March 7 and President, Past President and Life Time Honorary President of Branch 15, Roy Garrett on March 6.  They were friends also.

    Both obituaries appear in The News on page A28 of the Wednesday, March 15 edition, also accessible on-line by copying and pasting in your web browser the following link:

    They are also in the on-line obituaries section by copying and pasting in your web browser the following link:

    Focusing on Roy Garrett, not mentioned in his obituary was that his father served in World War One and was decorated.  At Remembrances Day and Vimy Ridge Day Candlelight Vigil ceremonies in Abbotsford, Roy would wear his father’s medals inside his Legion jacket (until Parliamentary Bill C-334 allowed descendants and relatives to wear such medals outside the uniform).

    It was always greatly appreciated that Roy would come to every Remembrance Day Ceremony and the Vimy Ridge Day Candlelight Vigil to place a candle for the “World War One Casualties from Abbotsford”.  Roy attended the latter event every year, in the last few years being brought by one of his daughters, Irene or Doreen.  We made the distance for him to place the candle as short as we could, to the north west corner of the cenotaph, and his dedication to be a constant attendee was greatly appreciated.

    As the obituaries state, George Ferguson’s Anglican Church of Canada service will be held on Saturday, March 18 at 11:00 am at the Tradex Centre; Roy’s Funeral service will be on Sunday, March 19 at 1:30 pm at Henderson’s Funeral Home, with a reception to follow at Branch 15.


    Roy Garrett Obituary

    Published  by courtesy of The News.



  • Abbotsford Legion Celebrates 90th Anniversary

    Branch 15 of the Royal Canadian Legion in Abbotsford celebrated its 90th birthday on Friday, March 3.

    (Left to right) MLA Simon Gibson, Legion President Brian Mills, Mayor Henry Braun, Councillor Sandy Blue, veteran Cyril Holbrow, veteran Dan Norgaard and veteran John Molnar.

    (Left to right) MLA Simon Gibson, Legion President Brian Mills, Mayor Henry Braun, Councillor Sandy Blue, veteran Cyril Holbrow, veteran Dan Norgaard and veteran John Molnar.

    The village of Abbotsford was incorporated in 1924 and the Abbotsford Legion, Abbotsford-Sumas-Matsqui Branch No. 15, to be exact, was given its charter on March 3, 1927. Hence our Legion is probably the oldest continuous organization in Abbotsford.

    At the celebration, Mayor Henry Braun gave the opening address, commenting on the presence of Simon Gibson MLA (representing the Government of BC), Tricia Taylor, assistant to Darryl Plecas MLA, Councillor Sandy Blue, and welcomed the members of Legion branch 15 at the 90th birthday of the branch. He commended the Legion on being active in helping to build the community.

    2017 Legion 90th (5) CR2


    He looked at the table at the model of the iconic Legion building that was at the Five Corners, and recalled that he used to hang out there as a teenager. He commented on all the work that the Legion has done in the community and in the country and in the lives that veterans have sacrificed for our freedom, values, way of life and our security.


    2017 Legion 90th (4).Disc_SnapshotDSC_0003

    Mayor Braun stated that the Legion plays a vital role in helping us remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice when we gather at Thunderbird Square every Remembrance Day. It was an honour and a privilege to meet here with the people from the branch and hear the stories.

    He praised the branch for its support of veterans, our youth and those of low incomes. And also with the social activities like the monthly Fish and Chips, the Sunday Breakfasts and the other social activities.

    Today was a good opportunity to let the members know that we are grateful for your work and wish you the very best as you continue your excellent work in your community and in the country.

    “Enjoy this milestone and thank you for inviting me.”

    Simon Gibson said that he was pleased to be present representing Christy Clark, Premier of BC, and commented on the “quality” of the members present. He mentioned that his father was in the Royal Navy during World War II and was in submarines. His father was once in a war situation in a squad of six submarines and only his father’s vessel returned to base, the others were lost. Otherwise he himself would not have been here today.  2017 Legion 90th (10) CR

    He referred to the book written by long time Legion member, Cyril Holbrow, a decorated World War II veteran, which had discussed the time of 90 years ago, and encouraged us to read the book.

    Simon related that he had been to the branch on several occasions and always found it a friendly place to visit, and talk to people, something he has always enjoyed. He stated that the Legion has an important role and needs more younger people which he realized was a challenge – a marketing challenge.

    He mentioned the cost of war and that Canada has been in several; that all persons that didn’t return are rightly called ”Our Glorious Dead” as our Cenotaph states.

    Model of Cenotaph made by Cyril Holbrow

    Model of Cenotaph made by Cyril Holbrow

    These persons gave their lives so that we can have the freedom that we enjoy today, so that the Mayor and I can come here and speak freely. In the countries of the World today (something like 270) many don’t have the freedom that we have and we should never take this for granted.

    Our ancestors, relatives, friends gave their lives to make our democracy possible. And this is continued today for the citizens who will come along next. Simon thanked us for inviting him and said he would return in another 90 years if invited!

    Brian Mills, Legion President, thanked Mayor Braun and Simon Gibson for their remarks and best wishes. He also thanked those members who had prepared the branch for this gathering and celebration and indicated that there would be refreshments coming shortly. He then invited Cyril Holbrow to say a few words.

    For an impromptu speech, Cyril gave a very interesting account of the different early Legion buildings and an account of his life from enlistee to a serving Canadian Signals Officer in World War II. His account of sailing in the convoy to England and then his experience in going to Normandy soon after D-Day, and in the French towns of Caen and Falaise during the invasion were both humorous and gave an insight into some of the horrors of war.   A video of his talk follows:

    Cyril Holbrow Talk – early Legion buildings and, mostly, World War II experiences.  This is followed by Brian Sims thanks to Len and the others who prepared the branch for this afternoon.

    As explained by Cyril in the video,  the original Abbotsford Legion building was just down the road from where the present building is. Then that building was moved to near Five Corners and raised up so that the Fire Department could use the space below the building to park their fire trucks. The raised building was used by the village of Abbotsford for its offices. Then the Legion got their iconic building at Five Corners, the model of which was on the table and was referred to by Mayor Henry Braun earlier. The branch at its Five Corners location was a very busy place. “In those days there were lots of veterans and members. There was a large hall at the branch which was always occupied and in operation with dances, socials and was often rented out. It was the focal point of the town” Cyril told us.2017 Legion 90th (6).Disc_Snapshot

    After Cyril’s talk, the refreshments were soon served followed by a handsome birthday cake for the Legion’s 90th Anniversary.DSC_0004