I was waiting for Ralph’s permission to post this. Ralph never replied. I don’t think Ralph would mind if I go ahead and post this.
Ralph wrote me and told me more about Bernard Vilandré.
Thank you for your reply.
I once had pictures of Bernard and I together during the 1980s and 90s but lost in a fire…he loved to talk about politics and how lucky I was to be young and no nothing of war.
He was a terrific guy…who did the right thing and never complained about having gone overseas…or having been captured etc…he only said it was the right thing to do to stop Hitler.
You can see in the Course 6 photo he was a big guy…he was built like John Ferguson of Montreal Canadians fame. When he shook my hand, it disappeared in his…he was the strongest man I have ever met in my life. He died November 30, 2005 age 87 years old. He was reasonably healthy up until he died even though he smoked…cataract surgery and both knees replaced. He was married to Mary Brennan, Ottawa they never had children and were madly in love with one another. They doted on one another. His wife Mary predeceased Bernard and buried beside him at St. Isadores Roman Catholic Parish, 1135 March Road, Kanata, Ontario.
After the war he worked in the Federal Civil service until retirement. I first met him in 1982 he had just retired. Bernard was a humble, non assuming guy with a great big laugh, who liked cellar cool beer (English style from being Overseas) or rum and coke with lime. His gravestone makes no mention of his sacrifice or contribution…a real shame.
I had a photo of a Spitfire in action with his signature but it too went up in flames…hope you like the story…
Next time I am in Kanata, I will stop by and visit the Priest and give him a copy of the photo and tell him of this story and the information on his being shot down etc. So thank you!
On another note my grandfather was overseas WW1 CEF Company B Haldimand and is listed as having fought at Vimy etc. He died Xmas morning 1967 at Sunnybrook Veterans Hospital, Toronto. You can imagine Xmas was never the same for my Mom after that…
My uncle Donald (mom’s brother) went overseas 1939 age 16 and came home 1946. He was in an artillery unit. Worst he saw and (was listed missing in action 3 times) Ortona, Italy…to quote him, “if you needed anything, a rifle, ammo, helmet,coat, something to eat, you just picked it up off a dead guy, the dead guys always had a full pack on, they were too slow” “All I carried was a rifle and ammunition the whole time” If you know the TV show “Sergeant Bilko” starring Phil Silvers in the 1960’s that was Don.