The Hawkesbury ROYAL CANADIAN LEGION, branch 472 George Vanier by its formal title, is located on Nelson St. in Hawkesbury; the impossible-to-miss clue that you are at the right place is the vintage kaki army jeep parked on its front lawn.
The branch received its official colors from then Governor General of Canada Lord Alexander on September 4, 1950, the first branch to ever receive its colors from a Governor General. Within an area of 100 kilometres in Ontario and Quebec, there are over 50 branches of the Royal Canadian Legion; in Canada, over 250,000 members belong to 1350 branches, reach across our vast country and abroad and connect us to our past, our present and our future, supporting and caring the men and women who have served or are currently serving in Canada forces around the world and locally as they did and still do during forest fires, floods and pandemics.
While on the premises last week in preparation for an upcoming event, we were happy to see that formal re-opening is already under way: the Crazy Legs dance group was preparing for a line-dancing class that afternoon! Darlene Sauvé, a member of the Legion’s administration, confirmed that musical performances had restarted as per pre-Covid routine and that public events were being booked; the Legion’s famous monthly Smoke-meat suppers are again available starting on Friday, November 29th. On Saturday October 13th, as part of Hawkesbury’s ‘Cafés du maire’, a celebration of ‘La semaine nationale de l’immigration francophone’ will be held with guest speaker Muriel Mben promoting her most recent novel ‘La fumée qui s’échappe du feu des marmites’, followed by a musical performance by ‘Les Crooneux’ celebrating French language artists and songs.
More On That Cute Little Army Jeep…
JEEP is today a registered trademark; the term dates back to the late 1930s and was originally used by US military to designate a half-ton truck; when a new quarter-ton manufactured by Willy’s-Overland was later brought into service, the company insisted that the name ‘jeep’ be applied to their product as well; so thus the name stuck and eventually became synonym of the ‘lighter’ truck. When the United States began production of the Willy’s-Overland quarter-ton 4X4 truck, Canada tested both the Willy’s and the Ford GP, and then chose to order 5,000 custom Willy’s MB jeeps and nicknamed it ‘the Blitzbuggy’. The company produced over 640,000 of its Jeep during the war: simple, tough, versatile, reliable: General Eisenhower listed the Jeep as one of the four decisive weapons in Allied victory, alongside the bazooka, the DC-3 airplane and the atom bomb. In those war years, Canada’s automotive production focused more on larger and heavier army vehicles. After World War II, many jeeps were disposed of or stored until re-used in the Korean War, mostly as personnel carriers on which stretchers could be fitted to be used as field ambulances; they could also be used to tow or transport light cargo. Then after, they became vintage items, a favorite for collectors on auction markets and specialized on-line resellers; and prices may be a bit hefty for ‘as is’ vehicles!
The Jeep design is a classic, perfect marriage of function and elegance; in 1951, the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA) displayed the Jeep as one of the best ones representing automotive design. Have a look at the packaging crate in which those vehicles were delivered (attached photo): smart use of every square inch of space! As per information on Hawkesbury’s Royal Canadian Legion Facebook site, the one displayed on their front lawn is ‘a 1953 Willys M38-A1 Army Jeep as used in the Korean War; it underwent a complete body restoration by Hawkesbury Branch member Jack Hume who put over 200 hours of time in the project’ and has become since a proud reminder of those sad days of war.
100th Anniversary Of The Poppy!
It was in July 1921 that the Great War Veterans Association, which later became the Royal Canadian Legion, adopted the Poppy as the flower of Remembrance. It was Madame Anna Guérin, later christened ‘The Poppy Lady from France’ who had the original idea to adopt the distribution of the Poppy on Armistice Day as a way to raise money for Veterans’ needs and to remember those who had given their lives at war; since then, every year, from the last Friday of October to November 11th, millions of Canadians wear a Poppy to honour Canada’s own Veterans: this is a local initiative conducted by local branches in cities, towns and communities. This year’s official campaign will be launched on Friday, October 29th. In recognition of the Poppy 100th anniversary, one hundred pieces of digital Poppy artwork will be created and auctioned off to highest bidders.
To remember is to honour.