This month’s article, the third in our series to honor our veteran members of Branch #191, is to acquaint you (or reacquaint you), with none other than Comrade Alan Whitaker.
Once again, our purpose is partly to recognize them, and let them know we appreciate the years that they served their country during the World War II hostilities.
Comrade Whitaker joined the British Army on Sept. 17th, 1943, at age17. He was posted for basic training to North Ireland. Upon completion, he was then posted to the 4th Field Training Regiment Army Group for 6 months Corps further training, and graduated as a Field Gunner. He specialized in fire control, from Gun Position to Operation Post.
Alan was then posted to holding units, as a replacement & held for embarkation to the 21st Army group in August of 1944, He eventually found himself in Holland with the 18th
Field Regiment between Arnhem & Holland, known as “The Island”. He spent the winter engaged in patrols, in the coldest winter imaginable, spiced up with the Ardens Breakthrough, better known as the Battle of the Bulge. Eventually his unit crossed the Rhine River and on to the Rhur Valley in Germany.
With war ending in Europe, young guys (like him) were drafted to the Far East, in pursuit of insurgents in the northeast area of India. He found the work tedious, & transferred to a Parachute Regiment. He said to himself “why walk when you can fly for free”! He transferred later to the reserve in 1948, and served until his discharge in 1956.
As to his private life, he met and married Beryl; his wife of 62 years. The Whitakers then decided to move to Canada in 1957, landing in Montreal, then lived in Kirkland Lake, Ont. where he worked in the mining industry in heavy construction. They then settled in Vancouver, also in heavy construction. Al & Beryl have two daughters; one a physiotherapist in Texas, and the other in human resources in Vancouver. They also have two sons living in the Greater Vancouver area, who followed their father into the heavy mine construction industry. Al says “they’re all grand kids”!!
Retirement brought them to Vancouver Island and the Chemainus & Duncan area, where they have been avid sailors for many years, but Beryl’s favorite personal past time is playing bridge. When you see them in our Legion Lounge, it will usually be a Friday for the meat draw and maybe a bite of supper. Drop by their table and have a visit; they would appreciate it, we’re sure … and wow … what a military career … Thanks Alan!
January 1, 1926 – June 12, 2012
It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Alan Whitaker at home in Chemainus, holding the hand of his beloved wife Beryl. Always the consummate gentleman, he will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by all whose hearts and lives he touched. He was a devoted husband; Dad to Carolyn (Bob), Anne, Michael (Marg), David (Sharon); Grandpa to Cory, Angela, Trevor, Tyler, Neil, Kelly, Scott; Great-Grandpa to Riley, Nolan, Julia and Friend to countless individuals. The family would like to thank Dr. Manhas and his staff, the community caregivers, and the many friends and neighbors for their overwhelming kindness and support especially during the past few weeks. A service of remembrance will be held on Saturday, June 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm at the United Church, 9814 Willow Street in Chemainus. A reception will be held afterwards at 4:00 pm at the Legion Hall on Chemainus Road. Condolences may be shared online at www.sandsfuneral.com “> www.sandsfuneral.com