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Reuniting After so Many Years

Heroes Remember

Reuniting After so Many Years

In 2004, the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, we went to the school house. It was a marvelous experience. It was open. But we got a driver there that could speak English and he took us to where I wanted to go and we ended up at this school. And it was open, I went in. I asked, through the driver, you know, if I could speak to the children because I was here during the war. So I told them what went on, I had a few pictures and little flag pins, I was handing them out. Told them all that went on there, they were just thrilled. She had them turn around and sing O’Canada to us in French. Well, we just stood there and the tears rolled down our face. Then I took the kids out and told them what happened about the sniper and what not in the steeple. And about the grave that was there and about a British soldier. And you know I kept them up to date about what was going on. And one of the young boys was so impressed, Christopher Collette’s son, and he just was so impressed with what I told them, you know. And apparently I was the first Veteran to come back there and then they started learning about what I would be doing in that area. So when the schoolhouse was closed, the young fellow said to his dad, I wonder if we could name that for Bud. So his dad, being Christopher Collette, Westlake Brothers guy, he went with the mayor and all that paraphernalia and all that they go through, and they were going to name it after me. So then, of course, we went to the ceremony. So when we were going through the building after it’s been inaugurated, the flag dropped and so on there was a lady standing with the mayor and she had this bouquet of flowers. And part of the ceremony of the building to me was giving this bouquet to Rosey. And I thought this woman might have been the mother or a relative of the grave in the church yard. There is a solitary grave of an Englishman like a lonesome star in a field of French graves. So inside the building that we went in, we went in and then the lady, she approached Rosey, she said, “I wonder if he knows anything about my sister?” And Rosey said, “What about your sister? Did your sister die, was she killed?”, “Yah.” So she started telling Rosey. Rosey said just a minute. So she came over to me and she said “Bud, you gotta talk to this woman.” I said, “Why?” She said, “She’s the sister of the little girl that died in your arms." Sixty six years ago, at that time, it’s seventy now. So I went over to her and we had a big Belgium chap, he could speak English and also French. So I said, “Tell her not to say a word. Let me tell my story to see if it’s the same woman.” So I told my story and he said, “Bud, afterwards there wasn’t a dry eye in this place. I was even there watching the German fighter when you told the story.” Anyway, she agreed to everything and of course we broke down and we cried and Rosey, she’s a very emotional person too, you could see it on her face the emotion that existed then when she saw the reconciliation that I was giving the woman after that period of time. So we’ve been friends since, you know.

Mr. Hannam shares the emotional encounter with the sister of the little girl that died in his arms.

Bud Hannam

Mr. Bertram “Bud” Hannam was born in Toronto, Ontario May 27, 1925. Having parents that immigrated to Canada in early 1912, and growing up in time of depression Mr. Hannam holds great admiration for his father, considering him his hero working as a prospector and providing so well to his family during very difficult times. Later in life Mr. Hannam moved from Toronto, to Montreal then settled in Ottawa. He decided to join the service after receiving his education. Initially joining with the Cameron Highlanders Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Mr. Hannam’s service as an infantryman would be short lived knowing that the life in the infantry was not for him. A new opportunity came for Mr. Hannam when he joined with the 23rd Field Ambulance as a stretcher bearer also providing him with a better chance to get overseas. Overseas, June 1944, a part of the D-Day invasion, on 2nd wave, Mr. Hannam served as stretcher bearer caring for the wounded. In honor of his service to our soldiers and the French people, almost 70 years later, Mr. Hannam is recognized for his service and presently has a school house/library named in his honor in the small town of Basly, France, the former casualty clearing station where he cared for the casualties during this invasion. In the town of Basly, to this day, Mr. Hannam is considered a true hero for the care he provided during Canada’s wartime. Mr. Hannam resides in Ottawa with his wife Rosey who has been an inspiration in keeping the honor of his service alive.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 2, 2014
Person Interviewed:
Bud Hannam
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Stretcher Bearer

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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