Mission’s Albert Wells is now a Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honour.
The 99-year-old, Second World War veteran received the honour from the Government of the Republic of France.
Last Thursday, at Chartwell Cedarbrooke Retirement Residence, Wells’ friends and family came out to celebrate the honour.
Dignitaries representing all three levels of government came out to pay their respects.
Wells was born on October 16, 1915 in the Venables Valley (10 miles outside of Ashcroft).
He worked in construction – building bridges – and the lumber industry. He met his wife Dorothy while working in Colemont.
During the war, he was initially posted in Vernon, where he completed basic training. It was discovered by higher-ups that he had experience and knowledge of safety, mine rescue, blasting and timbering, so he was assigned to the Engineering division in Sardis.
Wells became skilled in infantry and military bridge production, and ultimately found himself assigned to the 6th Field Company of Royal Canadian Engineers after a year and a half. It was with the 6th that Wells landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day in 1944.
After his service in France, Albert was sent to Belgium, and then onto Holland.
When asked about his service medals, Albert says that prior to the Republic of France awarding him Knighthood, he had a series of “ordinary” service medals which most Canadian vets would likely have. He said he’s not sure why he is receiving this highly esteemed award. He joked that they may have “pulled his name from a hat.”