VIDEO: 36 memorial trees ‘hiding in plain sight’ around Langley

VIDEO: 36 memorial trees ‘hiding in plain sight’ around Langley

Brian Croft is searching for information to locate symbolic maples honouring fallen soldiers

In 1923, Langley residents Dr. Benjamin Marr and Archie Payne spearheaded a project to plant 36 Big Leaf Maple trees in honour of the local soldiers that fought in the First World War and didn’t come home.

Going one step further, streets were named after the fallen soldiers, giving Langley some of it’s most familiar titles such as Trattle, Topping, and Carvolth.

Nearly one century later, most of the trees have gone unrecognized and even neglected – with some possibly having been removed over the years for construction and maintenance purposes.

Brian Croft, a local artist, historian, and former Canadian Forces fighter pilot, said he had heard about the memorial trees over the years through the grapevine and has been working with resident Warren Sommer to unearth the history and location behind the trees.

“Three dozen trees were placed in memory of the gentleman that didn’t come home. Now, about a half dozen of these things are hiding in plain sight,” Croft said. “Plaques used to be on each but not much exits of those anymore.”

Around five trees have been identified – Croft said the only one remaining with a commemorative plaque is on Trattle Street in Fort Langley.

“Some of the trees were replaced and many of them are now in bad shape,” Croft added, hoping the project can not only help bring to light local history but revitalize the plant life.

One is thought to be located at the five corners in Murrayville, another on Glover Road, one in Aldergrove, and the last in Milner near the chapel.

Read More: Langley played a part in Britain’s war in South Africa

“Logically, the memorial trees for each soldier should correspond with the name of their street,” Croft explained, which would narrow down the search to 36 specific areas – many of which are completely covered in old maples.

Croft pointed to the book Roads and Other Place Names in Langley, B.C. by Maureen L. Pepin as a source guide for explaining the memorial project and history behind the city and township landmarks.

But narrowing down the search can only get project so far; Croft said much of the records that would have contained tree locations and information were destroyed decades ago in a fire.

With Remembrance Day up ahead, Croft figured the timing was perfect to open up the memorial tree mystery to residents and even students.

“We remember… we remember… we remember… but, then we also forget,” Croft said, stepping up to help facilitate a ceremony at Alice Brown Elementary School, where his daughter is a teacher.

“We remember with poppies, crosses, cenotaphs, and reading In Flander’s Field, but we can also let kids know the different ways we remember by planting trees,” he explained.

A wall featuring the photographs and names eight local killed in-action soldier’s who fought in the First World War will be displayed at the Alice Brown ceremony.

Pinned next to each one by student volunteers will be handmade trees to symbolically honour the fallen servicemen and also commemorate a local tradition of how Langley has remembered.

Croft is now hoping that residents might be able to shed some light on the memorial tree history, asking anyone who may have information or knowledge of a tree location to share what they know.

People can email warren_sommer@telus.net or call 236-987-1858 if that have anything to share.

The information will be passed on to the Langley Centennial Museum and the Township’s Parks and Heritage Planning departments.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

VIDEO: 36 memorial trees ‘hiding in plain sight’ around Langley

Just Posted

Stephanie Higginson, president of the B.C. School Trustees Association, says people need to focus their attention on the upcoming byelection in Chilliwack. (BCSTA image)
‘Let’s not talk about Barry’ says BCSTA president on Chilliwack trustee

Higginson says impending Chilliwack byelection will require ‘laser focus’ to ensure balance of power

New Chilliwack Chief Ray Fust.
Chilliwack Chief Ray Fust in the mix for Swiss U20 roster spot

Fust is hoping to make the team that will compete in the World Junior Hockey Championships

An employee at a Chilliwack McDonald’s location tested positive for COVID on Nov. 21 (File photo by The Associated Press)
Employee tests positive for COVID-19 at McDonald’s restaurant in Chilliwack

One case was detected at the Vedder Road location, which briefly closed its doors

Asbestos bag from 2011. (Chilliwack Progress file)
New limits coming for asbestos at the Bailey Landfill in Chilliwack

Restricted to 20 bags per day per property because they don’t have capacity for larger loads

Cascade Falls Regional Park is one of several Fraser Valley parks that saw record usage during the summer of 2020. (File photo)
Residents flock to Fraser Valley parks amid pandemic

Some trails saw usage double during summer months of 2020

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest, B.C. premier tells Penticton girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Most Read