A Remembrance Day Dream Come True

Jamie Heap
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River Hebert woman who had seven World War II veterans between her immediate and extended family will visit Ottawa on November 11.

Ninety-three-year-old Irene Richards, who had seven members of her immediate and extended family serve their country during the Second World War, will be travelling to Ottawa with two daughters and one granddaughter to watch the Canada’s signature Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Parliament Hill. She is pictured holding a photo of one her four World War II veteran brothers as well as some of her River Hebert Legion Ladies Auxiliary membership cards. She has been a member since 1954.

RIVER HEBERT-Thrill of a lifetime. That’s what ninety-three-year-old Irene Richards is calling her trip to Ottawa to witness Canada’s signature Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

“It will be a thrill to be in Ottawa for Remembrance Day, though I am torn about what’s going on up there,” said Richards, referring to the Senate scandal. “This shouldn’t be happening. It makes you wonder what the truth really is,” she added.

Red Chamber scandal aside, Richards has her Ottawa trip itinerary all mapped out.

“We fly out of Halifax early Sunday morning,” stated Richards, who will be accompanied by daughters Margaret Bentley, Beth Baker and granddaughter Heather Hoeg, Baker’s daughter. “We will be staying in a hotel right across the street from Parliament,” added Richards. “We will be flying back on Tuesday.”

Richards’ other daughter, Charlene Greer, will be staying behind to lay wreathes.

Growing up, Richards was one of nine children who survived childbirth. Four of her brothers served their country during World War II: Darrell Wolfe, Donald Wolfe, Arnold Wolfe and Murray Wolfe. All four of these brothers, husband Charles Richards and his two brothers, Clarence and Edmund, have passed away.

“During the war, it was a very hard time to be at home,” stated Richards. “All we had to listen to was the BBC News. We had practically no news like we do today to know what was going on over there. Once and awhile, we’d get news of those who died, such as Harold Jowett, George Glenwright and Dick Phillips,” she said.

The news wasn’t always bad. “We got word about Doug Johnston and how he had been taken a prisoner of war,” said Richards. “He was in the Air Force. He escaped and came back,” she recalled. “People were always under tension all the time, worrying about their sons, brothers and husbands. It was a nerve wracking time.”

In 1954, Richards became a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League, forerunner of the Royal Canadian Legion. Richards has received a mother of pearl and a 50th anniversary service pin.

“I think that it’s a blessing to still be able to remember as I do,” stated Richards. 

Organizations: Day Dream, Royal Canadian Legion, BBC News British Empire Service League

Geographic location: Ottawa, Canada, Halifax

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  • Margaret Bentley
    November 07, 2013 - 07:24

    Lovely article about my outgoing and young - 93 year old mother, thank you! She is a wealth of information from a long healthy life, I cherish everyday that we have her.

    • Dorothy (Landry) Verwey
      November 07, 2013 - 09:54

      A wonderful article about a very special lady. Growing up I had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with Irene and her family and from that time come some of my fondest childhood memories. I visit her everytime I am home for a visit and look forward to our long "chats".