Preserving and protecting Chilliwack’s military history

CFB Historical Society offering up time and knowledge to help relive the past at Chilliwack Library, Nov. 10

  • Nov. 6, 2015 4:00 p.m.
Classroom Training for the Officer Cadets was an essential part of their transition to Military life.

Classroom Training for the Officer Cadets was an essential part of their transition to Military life.

Chilliwack’s military history spans back as far as the 1860s, when British troops guarded our borders.

But Chilliwack’s role as a military community was really solidified with the construction of the Canadian Forces Base in 1942. Today, 20 years after the base’s closure, its legacy has remained strong.

And the volunteers at the CFB Historical Society are ensuring that local history will never be forgotten. They’ve amassed about 29,000 military artifacts, countless stories, and a collective knowledge among its 108 members.

But Jim Harris, president of the CFB Historical Society, says they are always eager to learn more. Their goal is to gather, maintain and display archives as a way to preserve, relive and remember our history. And on Nov. 10, they’ll be at the Chilliwack Library to share stories with the public.

They will also be on hand to hear your stories, whether it’s a bit of family history, or sharing military artifacts and badges. Oftentimes, one of the volunteers is able to help fill in the missing gaps about items like medals, or help pin down dates or military genealogy.

And when their own knowledge isn’t enough, they go searching online.

Harris and a team of four other volunteers will be set up with a computer at the library, to help find out more on the spot. It’s a hobby and a passion for Harris, who is open to researching any artifacts or tidbits of information the public brings him.

People should feel free to bring in “pretty well anything at all, because then we all learn,” he says. “I can do the research — and I just love doing it — and I can get back to the person and let them know what I found.”

It’s a service the society provides, in keeping with the intention of preserving history. And the payment?

“We just ask them to pay it forward,” he says. “to do something for a veteran or veteran’s family.”

Harris, like many of the volunteers, is a veteran himself. He served with the Canadian Military Engineers for 34 years, retiring in 1994. He joined the Forces knowing that most of his family members had served, in both the First and Second World Wars. By the time he old enough to sign up himself, he had been orphaned.

“My father died when I was 13, and my mother died when I was five,” he said. “They (the military) became my family, and they still are.”

Interest in the military remains strong in Chlliwack, he said. There are soldiers still returning home from Afghanistan, and their stories will need to be shared as well.

Harris and the rest of the CFB Historical Society volunteers will be on hand at the library, Nov. 10, from noon to 4 p.m. For those who cannot make that time, visitors are welcome to their site at 45905 Hocking Avenue, in the Masonic Hall, every Saturday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.





Just Posted

Rachel is a six month old Labrador retriever cross who was found at large. She is seen here at the Chilliwack SPCA on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Rachel at the Chilliwack SPCA

6-month-old puppy found at large, now at Chilliwack SPCA, needs special home

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Volunteers will gather at South Gate Shopping Centre on Fathers Day before fanning out to help clean up downtown Chilliwack. (Facebook photo)
Kindness Chain Chilliwack Association organizes Fathers Day cleanup

Volunteers will spend 90 minutes fanning out to gather trash in downtown Chilliwack

Folks look through some of the items for sale during the Voice of Hope giant garage sale at 7350 Barrow Rd. in Chilliwack on Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Giant garage sale today in Chilliwack supports Kenyan widows, orphans

Funds go to Chilliwack-based Voice of Hope charity to improve quality of life for impoverished Kenyans

Ben Holwerda of the Chilliwack Spartan Swim Club competes in a swim meet at the Landing Leisure Centre on Feb. 12, 2011. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Chilliwack Landing Leisure Centre to close temporarily for scheduled maintenance

Pools, steam room, and sauna at Landing Leisure Centre closing for maintenance July 19 to Sep. 4

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

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 dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Dock has reportedly been unused for a long time

People in Metro Vancouver can expect to experience a short wave of heat just in time for Father’s Day, according to Environment Canada. (Black Press Media files)
Short-lived heatwave headed for Metro Vancouver this weekend

Temperatures are expected to be up to 10 degrees higher than average Sunday and Monday

Most Read