Port Alberni’s veterans: then and now
Winnie Koal was in the RCAF. She worked on a radar scope, reading the locations of flights. In 1954 she went to Germany after learning to be a switchboard operator.
SUBMITTED PHOTO Winnie Koal in 2019. SONJA DRINKWATER/ Alberni Valley News Bill Cherwak joined the Royal Canadian Navy and served as an ERA in Canada, United Kingdom and Korea. Bill Cherwak in 2019. SUBMITTED PHOTO David Cyr was a dispatch rider in the Canadian Army and served in Korea, Japan and Canada.
SUBMITTED PHOTO Dave Cyr in 2019. SUBMITTED PHOTO Lloyd Dool joined the Royal Canadian Navy and served on the east coast of Canada in ship repair.
SUBMITTED PHOTO Lloyd Dool in 2019. SONJA DRINKWATER/Alberni Valley News John Hartt joined the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, 2nd Airborne Division and served in the Paratroop Battalion.
SUBMITTED PHOTO John Hartt in 2019. SONJA DRINKWATER/ Alberni Valley News Bill McCulloch joined the Canadian Army and was a tank driver in Sicily, Italy, Belgium and Holland. SUBMITTED PHOTO Bill McCulloch in 2019. SONJA DRINKWATER/Alberni Valley News Thomas Price joined the army and was a sergeant with the Calgary Tank Regiment. Tom was a tank commander 1941-1945 serving in England, Sicily, Italy, France, Holland and Belgium. Tom Price in 2019. SONJA DRINKWATER/ Alberni Valley News Robert Watson joined the British Army and served with the Royal Signals from 1943-1950. He served in England and Egypt as a wireless, high speed operator. SUBMITTED PHOTO Robert Watson in 2019. SONJA DRINKWATER/Alberni Valley News
The number of Port Alberni’s veterans of the First and Second World Wars, and campaigns such as the Korean or Vietnam wars, are dwindling.
When we see these veterans in uniform, be they members who saw battle, supported their brethren or entered areas of conflict on peacekeeping missions, we see the way they are today: navy blue blazers, chests full of medals, faces lined with character.
Freelance writer and photographer Sonja Drinkwater approached eight veterans of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 293 and asked them to share a photo from when they served with Canada’s military, as well as a description of their role.
She then took a photograph of the veterans in the summer of 2019, as they are now.
They all serve one or more roles with the Legion.