Local veteran Bill Kidd will man one of three tracked armoured Canadian military vehicles in Aldergrove’s upcoming Remembrance Day parade. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

Active veterans in Aldergrove drive to remember

Volunteer veterans with the Museum of Armed Forces gear up for Aldergrove Remembrance Day parade

Several veterans took a conversion course at the Museum of Armed Forces in Aldergrove to refresh their know-how of armoured personnel carriers (APC) they will drive in the upcoming Remembrance Day parade.

All of them sported poppies above their hearts.

A total of 14 M113A3 tracked light armoured vehicles (TLAV), in four different styles, remain on the 15-acre property on 3428 262 St.

Aside from film shoots, the 2001 military vehicles were transferred to the museum from the Canadian military to help educate the public.

Three of the TLAVs will rumble down Aldergrove’s Fraser Highway on Nov. 11. One will be driven by 53-year-old veteran Bill Kidd.

Kidd, who lives locally, first served in the military in 1983 as an impressionable 17-year-old with the 15th Field Artillery Regiment based out of Vancouver.

“I was the first in my family to join,” he said. “After I joined my brother did,” and others in his extended family.

In 1985 Kidd was deployed in Germany for four years as a part of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces during the Cold War. NATO was facing off against a possible Soviet threat from behind the Iron Curtain in what was then the USSR.

By the mid-1950s, it is estimated that 10,000 Canadians were stationed in France and West Germany.

“We lost friends there,” Kidd recalled solemnly. “Some through vehicle accidents.”

Kidd, a retiree since 2005, decided to volunteer to do what he was so fond of during his time serving.

“Driving this reminded me of driving through the streets in Germany,” Kidd explained.

Like many soldiers, Kidd remustered to join the Royal Canadian Air Force as an aircraft mechanic for seven years, where he was deployed to the Afghanistan mission in 2003.

“Remustered means you didn’t have enough the first time around,” chimed in former military medic and current Air Force historian Michael DesMazes of Abbotsford.

Soldiers ‘never the same’

Another veteran in the group, troop sergeant 54-year-old Ian Smith witnessed the ravages of war on many of the soldiers who came back from his regular forces unit in Vancouver.

“We had two of our members seriously hurt in the space of two weeks. One of them almost didn’t come home,” Smith elaborated. “No one really came back the same.”

“The human brain is not meant to see half of the stuff [soliders] do see,” Smith added.

The crew took test runs of the TLAV over hills on a wooded property and down a small stretch of road on 262nd Street beside the museum.

Veteran bombardier of the Royal Canadian Artiliary Darren Kostinuk coached the men.

“I used to drive this in the army,” Kostinuk said, explaining the metrics of its 400-horsepower Detroit distilled turbo-charged engine with a semi-automatic transmission.

The TLAV body is protected with “spall lining” made of kevlar, to prevent soldiers from being “shredded from the inside like cooked beef” when penetrated by bullets, Kostinuk said.

“We used to call this a battlefield taxi,” said a veteran sergeant from the Canadian Army who wished to remain unnamed.

It took troops to the heart of the battle and was used as an essential part of tactical formations to advance upon the enemy, the veteran explained.

The crew, and others, will suit up and march alongside the tracked vehicles starting at 10:40 a.m. on Nov. 11.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Veterans Michael DesMazes and Bill Kidd got together on Saturday morning for a refresher lesson from retired bombadier Darren Kostinuk on the tracked military vehicle they will drive in this year’s parade. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

Just Posted

WEATHER: Showers remain in forecast for Langley

Temperatures will reach a high of 9 C

‘A truly historic day’: Aldergrove celebrates potential new life for downtown core

Along with passing third reading of Janda Group’s redevelopment plan, council approved its parkade

VIDEO: “The boat has gone to boat heaven”

Langley women who lost her houseboat is working to move forward with help from GoFundMe campaign

CONTEST: Centuries old sportswear to be modelled down the runway

Langley Centennial Museum will hold vintage fashion shows on March 15

Rail disruptions expected to continue after new protest sites emerge

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

51 health professionals send letter to Trudeau, Horgan panning northern B.C. pipeline

They point to studies about the health and climate change risks from pipeline

Fake meat and a latte? Starbucks adds Beyond Meat in Canada

The Seattle roaster has talked about introducing plant-based patties in the U.S., but has yet to do so

Groundhogs got it wrong: spring isn’t coming soon, Weather Network says

The only part of B.C. to warm up early will be Victoria

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Pink Shirt Day campaign urges Canadians to ‘Lift Each Other Up’

Annual anti-bullying effort returns Wednesday, Feb. 26

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

Most Read