WWII veteran gets his due
Receives French medal for service in Second World War
Tuesday, Mar 22, 2016 06:00 am
SON OF HONOUREE
George Arden received a special honour at Sunrise Village this month for his service in the Second World War.
Arden, 94, was the recipient of the Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour.
It is France's highest honour, bestowed on veterans who helped liberate the country during the Second World War.
Olds mayor Judy Dahl presented Arden with his medal on March 11 at Sunrise Village.
"He was very thrilled. He didn't think there was going to be that many people there," said his son Dale.
"My father is sort of representing all the others who aren't still around to accept the awards. At least in his mind, he did nothing out of the ordinary. He lived long enough to get the awards. We're all very proud of him and I think it's a great honour."
Dale works for the Department of National Defence and one day, received an email stating the French government wanted to hear from anybody who knew veterans that served in France. He filled out the paperwork needed for his father to receive the recognition.
Dale adds his father doesn't talk about his wartime experience.
Arden lived most of his life in southern Alberta, residing in Medicine Hat, High River and Turner Valley.
He joined the army in 1942, taking a driver mechanic course.
Drafted overseas to Aldershot, England, he was an instructor in waterproofing vehicles.
Once assigned to the Argyle and Sutherland Highlander Infantry, Arden served as an infantryman, Brann gun carrier driver and truck driver.
He returned to Canada on compassionate grounds. His brother had been wounded in the war and his father died from cancer before he made it home in 1945.
After the war, Arden and his brother Frank operated a garage business.
He married Frances (Frankie) Thompson in 1952 and adopted her sons from a previous marriage, Richard and William. They had two more children: Dale and Evalynn.
George and Frankie Arden and have lived in Sunrise Village for just over 10 years.