Chilliwack part of interactive war memorial

Chilliwack has a place on Heritage BC’s online map of World War monuments and memorials, which was launched Thursday.

  • Mar. 31, 2016 6:00 p.m.
The plaque at the Blue Hydrangea Memorial outside Chilliwack middle school.

The plaque at the Blue Hydrangea Memorial outside Chilliwack middle school.

Chilliwack has a place on Heritage BC’s online map of World War monuments and memorials, which was launched Thursday.

The first 192 war memorial sites submitted to Heritage BC’s Get on the Map project are now viewable on the province’s first interactive, searchable World War Monuments & Memorials Map. This first phase launch, to be followed by over 100 more sites in April, features war memorials from diverse communities, rural and urban, from Dawson Creek to White Rock, from Ucluelet to Sparwood.

Amongst the more unique stories submitted for inclusion was the Blue Hydrangea memorial in Chilliwack. During the Second World War, every time the community was notified of the death of a member of the Airforce in the war, the RCAF Women’s Auxiliary would plant a blue hydrangea bush outside the Chilliwack High School – blue for the Air Force uniform colour. By the end of the war in 1945, there were 49 bushes.

“The plants got neglected over the decades. The high school became a middle-school and when the grounds were altered they were replanted around the flagpole. Only a handful of deteriorated hydrangeas survive there today,” recounts Chief Warrant Officer Reg Dawes of the Royal Canadian Air Force Association.

The local RCAFA office in Chilliwack is now planning the re-establishment of this living, colourful memorial in collaboration with the School Board and middle-school principal.

“School students, aged 12-15, will pass by this memorial several times a day. It’s an important reminder to young people that somebody died for their freedom,” adds Dawes.

A plaque on the site reads: “To the former students and teacher from Chilliwack High School who were killed on active duty with the RCAF and the RAF during WW2. A blue hydrangea was planted near the school as each casualty occurred. These historic plants are taken from the originals.”

Other Chilliwack locations include the Airplane Creek Memorial in the Chilliwack River Valley, and the All Sappers Memorial Park at Vedder Crossing.

The World Wars continue to intrigue us, even generations so far removed. High school students in Armstrong were impassioned by an enthusiastic social studies teacher who organized annual field trips to Europe and battle sites where soldiers of their community had fought and died. This tangible connection to the places and stories of the wars inspired the students to grow and elaborate on Armstrong’s war memorials. The town dedicated a mountain that overlooks their cenotaph as Memorial Mountain in 1998. Later on in the 1990s and 2000s, subsequent classes of students built the Stones of Sacrifice memorial embedded with stones brought back from oversea battlefields.

These stories and another 190 war memorial sites can be viewed on Heritage BC’s World War Monuments & Memorials Map of BC at http://www.heritagebc.ca/war-memorials-in-bc

Just Posted

These three kittens, seen here on Thursday, June 10, 2021, are just some of many up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Three kittens at the Chilliwack SPCA

Kittens were in ‘rough shape’ when they came into the Chilliwack SPCA, now ready for adoption

Jean-Pierre Antonio
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Chilliwack family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A new sign was installed at St. Thomas Anglican Church on Saturday, June 5, 2021 in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Community effort to install new sign at Chilliwack’s oldest church

‘We feel it’s a step in the right direction to bring the church up-to-date,’ says St. Thomas parishioner

Dennis Saulnier rescued his daughters, two-year-old Brinley (left) and four-year-old Keegan, after their truck was driven off the road and into Cultus Lake on May 16, 2020. Reporter Jenna Hauck has been recognized by the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association for her story on the rescue. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Chilliwack Progress, Hope Standard staff take home 7 Ma Murray awards

Jenna Hauck, Eric Welsh, Jessica Peters, Emelie Peacock all earn journalism industry recognition

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

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 million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read