By Lucie Roy
Morinville – The presentation held on Remembrance Day in Morinville was for a 65 year service pin for 96 year-old Charter member Charles Pelletier. Pelletier was also awarded a Certificate of Merit, which read, “For establishing the Branch and providing continuous commitment of support and inspiration to RCL Br. 176 Morinville by 65 years of outstanding loyalty and dedication.”
At the end of WWII Charlie was shipped back to Canada on the Queen Mary and returned to Morinville Jan. 1, 1946. He joined the Legion in November of that year. His sister, Evelyn was also a member of the newly formed #176 Branch. He was elected President in 1949, the year the original Legion hut was built. The ‘hut” was opened that year in time for the November 11 Remembrance Day ceremonies, roofed but not shingled. The shingling was finished in the snow in December. His first wife Barbara, was active in the Ladies Auxiliary and served terms as president and vice-president. A cookbook fundraising project Barbara spearheaded was dedicated in her honour when she passed away June 30, 1957 during her term as ast-president.
Charlie served a second term as President in about 1953 and was an active member until retiring in 1980. Charlie and his present wife, Dorothy, enjoyed 25 years of traveling, visiting old friends and making new ones and pulling their trailer to California and Arizona for the winters.
Charles August Pelletier joined the Army in 1942 and was attached to the Royal Canadian Ordinance Corp (RCOC) In the fall of that year he was transferred to Barryfield as a driver instructor. From there he was shipped overseas in 1943, assigned to 34 Light Aid Detachment (LAD), part of the Royal Canadian Electrical Mechanical Engineers(RCEME) attached to 14 Field Artillery Regiment. He took part in the Normandy invasion landing and served in France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland and Germany.
Charlie drove a wrecker tow truck affectionately named “Babe” and recovered damaged vehicles and equipment from the battlefield before the enemy could get them. One night he was recovering a 25-pounder gun. His helper crawled over the gun in the dark and hooked up the winch. They started winching in the gun but found it was getting heavier and heavier then finally it pulled smoothly. When they got the gun back to the shop they discovered a hook and cable dragging behind it. An enemy wrecker had hooked the gun at the same time but Charlie’s winch had more power. So rather than lose their truck, they cut the cable.
Holland has always been a special memory for Charlie as it has for many Canadian soldiers. The people of Holland were very grateful to the Allies, welcoming them into their homes to share their meals even though they had very little, and the Canadian soldiers were very good to the people. Holland homemakers had learned to use whatever came their way to the fullest. A family that Charlie knew with two little girls had acquired some blankets and the mother made snowsuits for the children from them.