A Port Alberni veteran has received a rare honour from France for his war service in the 1940s.
Sid Morton earlier this year received a letter from the Ambassador of France to Canada proclaiming him a Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour, by order of the president of the Republic of France. Morton, 97, received the honour on July 27, 2020.
Morton was among the thousands of Canadians who fought in the Second World War and contributed to the liberation of France.
The letter delivered to Morton was accompanied by an insignia that represents the highest national order of France “and attests to your courage and devotion to the ideals of liberty and peace.”
Born in Winmer, Saskatchewan, in 1923, Morton was the youngest of three boys and a girl to parents of English descent. His father died in an accident when Sid was only two and a half years old.
After the passing of its patriarch, the family moved to Saskatoon where Morton attended King George School.
He enlisted in the Army in 1942 at the age of 19 and received military training in Ontario before he was stationed in England for more training, this time in the Regiment of First Hussars. On D-Day he saw no action until six days after the invasion.
Followed D-Day, he was sent to France as a troop reservist. There he was a vehicle co-driver. “From France, our unit was sent to Holland for the liberation of that country and stayed there almost until the end of the war,” he recalled. “After the war officially ended, I was back in German soil as part of the Allies’ occupation forces.”
In 1947 Morton returned to Canada—to Langley, B.C.—as a civilian and got married the following year.
His service to the country did not ended there because in 1952 he rejoined the Army and became a Signals Operator. He trained and worked in various points of the country, including Ottawa.
Soon after, he returned to Germany for two years, this time as part of NATO to deal with defence and security-related issues during the post-war years.
Morton worked and retired in the Alberni Valley. “I started as a letter carrier in Langley, but I was transferred to Port Alberni in 1973. I continued working until my retirement in 1986. Dave, one of my sons, was here. His wife Gail was a school teacher.”
These days Sid Morton is seeing daily taking walks around Kitsuksis Dyke and Bob Dailey Stadium in Port Alberni.
“I feel the need to continue exercising in order to keep myself active. As a letter carrier I used to walk for miles every day so I got used to it.”
“Through you, France remembers the sacrifice of all of your compatriots who came to liberate French soil.”
—Kareen Rispal, Ambassador of France to Canada