Since the weather failed to co-operate, for the second straight year the Remembrance Day services in Port aux Basques were held at St. James Elementary School. Despite the high winds, bitter cold and scattered showers, the gymnasium was packed tight for the ceremony.
As he did last year, Rev. Clayton Billard served as master of ceremonies and led attendees through the service and through the laying of 45 wreaths.
One of those in attendance was Korean War veteran Bud Murphy, who served for almost two years.
“I was in the Armoured Corps,” recalls Murphy. “We had to do everything for the tanks then.”
That including loading the artillery, maintenance and driving.
Murphy jokes that when he wasn’t busy with that he liked “chasing the women over there.”
On a more somber note, the veteran admits that for him Remembrance Day ceremonies are very sad.
“We lost 533 United Nations troops over in Korea,” he said.
This year the Canadian Rangers Channel Patrol was also in attendance. The Rangers tend to rotate their Remembrance Day ceremony attendance around the region they serve, and last year they attended services in Codroy Valley.
“Our area of responsibility goes from La Poile up to St. David’s,” explains Ranger Derek White, who hails from Codroy Valley.
White joined the Channel Patrol about 10 years ago, drawn to the Rangers largely because of its wide range of outdoor activities.
“They do an awful lot of survival, navigation of the land, they do search and rescue,” says White. “Rangers are all around the outside of Canada. We ring Canada. We’re basically Canada’s fence, so I’m a fencepost.”
White’s family has a history of military service.
“My father went overseas in the Second World War. I have family that’s buried at Beaumont-Hamel,” he said. “I lost two uncles in the Second World War. My son (Christopher) served two tours in Bosnia.”