A letter of thanks from Canada

Edition 26 April 2018, by Nadine Bujold

I wanted to write about my grandfather Florian Patrick Pattenaude who went by the name of Pat or Patrick. He was born in May, 1920 in a very small one road town in Marquette Manitoba, Canada and as an adult later moved to New Westminster British Columbia. He was a very hardworking man who loved his family, baseball and played on a team as well as later in life joined a bowling league. He was working in a lumber mill when Canada got involved in World War 2, he volunteered and was sent overseas. He fought in North Africa, France, Italy, Belgium and eventually Holland where he was involved in the liberation. In Canada you did not have to go to war it was all voluntary, so when asked why he volunteered, he said “I wanted my future children to grow up in a free country” So knowing that he may not come home was I’m sure scary for him but freedom was more important.

Like many veterans he never talked much about the war, but if he did say anything it was to talk about Holland and the wonderful people. He said that as he marched into the city after the Canadians had driven the Germans out, he had never experienced such joy and thankfulness from the Dutch people, an experience he carried with him all of his life. He would talk fondly of the people and how they were trying to give the Canadian soldiers everything that they had left which was not much at all and sometimes only a hug, which he said meant the world to him. My grandfather had a few days of rest in the city when he was there and stayed with a doctor, his wife and daughter. Unfortunately he couldn’t remember their names as many years had passed and all his mementos that he brought back from the war were stolen off the train he was on that was bringing him home. He only remembered that the daughter was about 13 or 14 years old at the time. Not very much to go on to try and find them. It was always his dream to go back to Holland to see the beautiful people and experience a more peaceful time but unfortunately he never got there. As I got older and unfortunately my grandfather had been gone for some time, I wondered about the his time in Holland and how I would like to follow in his footsteps and experience the kindness of the Dutch people and honour his memory but attending the Remembrance of the Liberation in Apeldoorn on day. It is my hope that in 2020, my family and I will be able to come to Apeldoorn and represent my grandfather and experience the beautiful city of and its people in a time of peace.