Aug. 29, 1918 – Nov. 11, 2006
Saturday, at the end of Â a fruitful life Carl, with characteristic humour and dignity foughtÂ the final battle. Britten went on permanent leave this Remembrance Day Nov. 11th, 2006 at 13:40 hours, at Chilliwack Hospital. He died peacefully in the company of family members.
Career soldier, Carl Matthew Britten, Warrant Officer Class I, Royal Canadian Engineers was born in Poirierville, Cape Breton, NS, August 29, 1918.
Britten joined the army on May 1, 1939, training at Valcartier, Quebec. With the Royal Canadian Regiment, he departed from Halifax on December 23, 1939 on the first Canadian troop ship. He served in six theatres of war including Sicily, Italy, France and Germany and was wounded twice.
In Italy, he suffered a head wound, recovered in France and was sent back to Italy where he continued to serve in a leadership role.
A sergeant in Britain at war’s end, he campaigned vigorously to get his men back to Canada in a timely fashion.
In the end he was one of the longest serving Canadians overseas in World War II.
He stayed in the service and after postings in Halifax and St. John was sent to fight the Fraser Valley flood in 1949. Soon after, he was transferred to the Royal Canadian Engineers, Camp Chilliwack where, except for a year in Hanover, Germany (’53), he served until 1961.
During his tenure he was promoted to senior instructor, a role he relished.
A master at skills-based training, his innovative methods were passed on to military instructors and members of his family.
After postings to Vancouver and Lethbridge, he was honourably released from the army and the family moved to Abbotsford where he became a gentleman farmer. Britten Properties on Nelson Avenue in Abbotsford is named after him.
While in Britain, Carl had met and married the love of his life, Margaret Pyle of Redhill Surrey. She and their first child crossed the Atlantic to Nova Scotia before the end of the war. They had seven more children: three born in the Maritimes and four in Chilliwack.
Raising and taking care of their large family was an important part of Carl and Margaret’s life’s work.
Preceded by his darling Margaret, Carl is remembered for his lively discussions, sense of justice, humour, and love for his children, their spouses and offspring. His eight children Jo (Ewart Blackmore), Patrick (Linda Merry), Jaki (Rick Johnson), Diane, Ron (Shirley), Pam, Mike (Karren) and Barb (Mike Gillespie) will sorely miss him. He was cherished too by his 15 grandchildren: Jaki (Yersin), Kathi (Tyler), Jamie (Joe), Jeff, Brent, Carlton, Erin, Chris, Kathryn, Spencer, Lyndsey, Freddie, Jeremy, Carla and six great grandchildren: Kate, Tristan, Kylie, Jordan, Justin and Maya. He was loved and held in high regard by many friends, including extended family members Ron Leith, Rick Lyoness and Sandy Weipert.
The Britten Clan of Arichat, Cape Breton including his siblings Roma (Charles), Frank (Muriel), Lorna (Willard) and their children & grandchildren and those of deceased sisters and brothers Norma (Wilbert), Edna (Chester) and Ralph (Edwina) appreciated his visits.
The family wishes to thank the public health nurses, the Fraser Cheam home support workers in Agassiz, the doctors and nursing staff at the fourth floor surgical unit at Chilliwack Hospital and his family doctor – Dr. Sean Larsen. We also want to thank Pam Britten, Brent Leith and particularly Diane Britten Leith for taking such good care of our father, enabling him to stay in his home.
A Celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, November 18, 2006, 2:00 pm, at Woodlawn Mt. Cheam Funeral Home, 45865 Hocking Avenue, Chilliwack.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, Covenant House or a charity of your choice.