FOCUS ON SENIORS: Capturing memories

News Mar 13, 2015 by Brian Shypula Brant News

Russell and Ina Langdale walked up together at a ceremony honouring Second World Veterans at their retirement building.

It was fitting, because it was the war that brought together the young Brantford wireless operator and Scottish schoolgirl.

Glasgow-native Ina was a lieutenant-admiral in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, the female auxiliary of the Royal Air Force. She said she signed up to serve at age 18.

“I was a schoolgirl,” she said.

Russell joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1939. At age 21, the wireless operator was the oldest member of the medium bomber crew flying out of Wick, Scotland.

Ina, 89, recalled meeting her future husband for the first time.

“We both landed in the same station,” she said.

They hitched a ride on the same transport.

Russell, 95, smiles as he says Ina was beautiful. They’re approaching their 70th wedding anniversary.

The couple would settle in Brantford in the spring of 1946. Ina travelled ahead of her husband on a ship of war brides. She met her in-laws for the first time and moved in with them to wait for her husband to be discharged.

Russell grew up on Marlborough Street in Brantford, where his dad ran the candy store across the street from Central School.

They had two children: son Keith and daughter Sandy Hobbs.

“Out of that we got four grandchildren and out of them we’ve got 10 great-grandchildren. And they’re fantastic kids, they really are great kids,” Ina said.

Hobbs travelled from the Ottawa area for Saturday’s ceremony.

Brant MP Phil McColeman and other dignitaries presented 30 veterans with commemorative lapel pins and certificates. The limited editions pins, based on the Victory nickel, were created to mark the 75th anniversary of Canada’s engagement in the Second World War.

Seasons Bell Lane hosted the ceremony, which included a handful of the retirement community’s residents.

Five-year-old Seasons Bell Lane has 25 townhomes for seniors living independently and 120 suites in the main building, which feels a bit like a cruise ship or resort with meals, housekeeping and activities provided.

Its residents include 15 to 18 veterans – about 10 per cent of the entire population.

Seasons Bell Lane paid tribute to its veterans by publishing a book, When They Were Soldiers, prior to Remembrance Day last year.

“It’s got some beautiful pictures of the veterans who live in our home and it has their stories,” said Jodi Meier, general manager at Seasons Bell Lane.

The book was the idea of activities co-ordinator Lori Donaghy. Each veteran received a free copy of the hardcover, coffee table-style book and others are available for purchase.

“I think the company (Seasons) has decided to start doing that in some of our other properties as well because it’s gone over really well. It’s a beautiful book, our residents love it,” Meier said.

There are 10 Seasons developments in Ontario with another two under construction.

Each veteran is shown in a photo from the war years and a current photo, accompanied by a story about their service.

Of course, the Langdales are found on back-to-back pages.

Russell enlisted in 1939 and served six years in the RCAF.

Hobbs said her father’s planes went down at least three times.

Once was on the coast of Portugal as the medium bomber crew tried to elude a German Messerschmitt Me-109 fighter.

“They’re too much to fight with, not in the type of aircraft we were in,” Russell said.

The crew was taken in and hidden by the underground in the neutral country.

Russell got out of Portugal and back to England on a commercial flight, posing as a salesman with a fake passport and ID.

Another time, his plane was forced to ditch in the Atlantic Ocean after running out of fuel. A fishing vessel picked up the crew and took them to land.

“You didn’t have time to be afraid. You had to make a decision quick and you did it,” he said. “You’d think about it afterward and say you were lucky.”

Ina wasn’t on the original list at the ceremony. She was added quickly after remarking she was a veteran too.

She said she was proud to have her name called.

“I was surprised that they called my name before Russell’s,” she said.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Capturing memories

Book tells war stories of Seasons Bell Lane residents

News Mar 13, 2015 by Brian Shypula Brant News

Russell and Ina Langdale walked up together at a ceremony honouring Second World Veterans at their retirement building.

It was fitting, because it was the war that brought together the young Brantford wireless operator and Scottish schoolgirl.

Glasgow-native Ina was a lieutenant-admiral in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, the female auxiliary of the Royal Air Force. She said she signed up to serve at age 18.

“I was a schoolgirl,” she said.

Russell joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1939. At age 21, the wireless operator was the oldest member of the medium bomber crew flying out of Wick, Scotland.

Ina, 89, recalled meeting her future husband for the first time.

“We both landed in the same station,” she said.

They hitched a ride on the same transport.

Russell, 95, smiles as he says Ina was beautiful. They’re approaching their 70th wedding anniversary.

The couple would settle in Brantford in the spring of 1946. Ina travelled ahead of her husband on a ship of war brides. She met her in-laws for the first time and moved in with them to wait for her husband to be discharged.

Russell grew up on Marlborough Street in Brantford, where his dad ran the candy store across the street from Central School.

They had two children: son Keith and daughter Sandy Hobbs.

“Out of that we got four grandchildren and out of them we’ve got 10 great-grandchildren. And they’re fantastic kids, they really are great kids,” Ina said.

Hobbs travelled from the Ottawa area for Saturday’s ceremony.

Brant MP Phil McColeman and other dignitaries presented 30 veterans with commemorative lapel pins and certificates. The limited editions pins, based on the Victory nickel, were created to mark the 75th anniversary of Canada’s engagement in the Second World War.

Seasons Bell Lane hosted the ceremony, which included a handful of the retirement community’s residents.

Five-year-old Seasons Bell Lane has 25 townhomes for seniors living independently and 120 suites in the main building, which feels a bit like a cruise ship or resort with meals, housekeeping and activities provided.

Its residents include 15 to 18 veterans – about 10 per cent of the entire population.

Seasons Bell Lane paid tribute to its veterans by publishing a book, When They Were Soldiers, prior to Remembrance Day last year.

“It’s got some beautiful pictures of the veterans who live in our home and it has their stories,” said Jodi Meier, general manager at Seasons Bell Lane.

The book was the idea of activities co-ordinator Lori Donaghy. Each veteran received a free copy of the hardcover, coffee table-style book and others are available for purchase.

“I think the company (Seasons) has decided to start doing that in some of our other properties as well because it’s gone over really well. It’s a beautiful book, our residents love it,” Meier said.

There are 10 Seasons developments in Ontario with another two under construction.

Each veteran is shown in a photo from the war years and a current photo, accompanied by a story about their service.

Of course, the Langdales are found on back-to-back pages.

Russell enlisted in 1939 and served six years in the RCAF.

Hobbs said her father’s planes went down at least three times.

Once was on the coast of Portugal as the medium bomber crew tried to elude a German Messerschmitt Me-109 fighter.

“They’re too much to fight with, not in the type of aircraft we were in,” Russell said.

The crew was taken in and hidden by the underground in the neutral country.

Russell got out of Portugal and back to England on a commercial flight, posing as a salesman with a fake passport and ID.

Another time, his plane was forced to ditch in the Atlantic Ocean after running out of fuel. A fishing vessel picked up the crew and took them to land.

“You didn’t have time to be afraid. You had to make a decision quick and you did it,” he said. “You’d think about it afterward and say you were lucky.”

Ina wasn’t on the original list at the ceremony. She was added quickly after remarking she was a veteran too.

She said she was proud to have her name called.

“I was surprised that they called my name before Russell’s,” she said.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Capturing memories

Book tells war stories of Seasons Bell Lane residents

News Mar 13, 2015 by Brian Shypula Brant News

Russell and Ina Langdale walked up together at a ceremony honouring Second World Veterans at their retirement building.

It was fitting, because it was the war that brought together the young Brantford wireless operator and Scottish schoolgirl.

Glasgow-native Ina was a lieutenant-admiral in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, the female auxiliary of the Royal Air Force. She said she signed up to serve at age 18.

“I was a schoolgirl,” she said.

Russell joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1939. At age 21, the wireless operator was the oldest member of the medium bomber crew flying out of Wick, Scotland.

Ina, 89, recalled meeting her future husband for the first time.

“We both landed in the same station,” she said.

They hitched a ride on the same transport.

Russell, 95, smiles as he says Ina was beautiful. They’re approaching their 70th wedding anniversary.

The couple would settle in Brantford in the spring of 1946. Ina travelled ahead of her husband on a ship of war brides. She met her in-laws for the first time and moved in with them to wait for her husband to be discharged.

Russell grew up on Marlborough Street in Brantford, where his dad ran the candy store across the street from Central School.

They had two children: son Keith and daughter Sandy Hobbs.

“Out of that we got four grandchildren and out of them we’ve got 10 great-grandchildren. And they’re fantastic kids, they really are great kids,” Ina said.

Hobbs travelled from the Ottawa area for Saturday’s ceremony.

Brant MP Phil McColeman and other dignitaries presented 30 veterans with commemorative lapel pins and certificates. The limited editions pins, based on the Victory nickel, were created to mark the 75th anniversary of Canada’s engagement in the Second World War.

Seasons Bell Lane hosted the ceremony, which included a handful of the retirement community’s residents.

Five-year-old Seasons Bell Lane has 25 townhomes for seniors living independently and 120 suites in the main building, which feels a bit like a cruise ship or resort with meals, housekeeping and activities provided.

Its residents include 15 to 18 veterans – about 10 per cent of the entire population.

Seasons Bell Lane paid tribute to its veterans by publishing a book, When They Were Soldiers, prior to Remembrance Day last year.

“It’s got some beautiful pictures of the veterans who live in our home and it has their stories,” said Jodi Meier, general manager at Seasons Bell Lane.

The book was the idea of activities co-ordinator Lori Donaghy. Each veteran received a free copy of the hardcover, coffee table-style book and others are available for purchase.

“I think the company (Seasons) has decided to start doing that in some of our other properties as well because it’s gone over really well. It’s a beautiful book, our residents love it,” Meier said.

There are 10 Seasons developments in Ontario with another two under construction.

Each veteran is shown in a photo from the war years and a current photo, accompanied by a story about their service.

Of course, the Langdales are found on back-to-back pages.

Russell enlisted in 1939 and served six years in the RCAF.

Hobbs said her father’s planes went down at least three times.

Once was on the coast of Portugal as the medium bomber crew tried to elude a German Messerschmitt Me-109 fighter.

“They’re too much to fight with, not in the type of aircraft we were in,” Russell said.

The crew was taken in and hidden by the underground in the neutral country.

Russell got out of Portugal and back to England on a commercial flight, posing as a salesman with a fake passport and ID.

Another time, his plane was forced to ditch in the Atlantic Ocean after running out of fuel. A fishing vessel picked up the crew and took them to land.

“You didn’t have time to be afraid. You had to make a decision quick and you did it,” he said. “You’d think about it afterward and say you were lucky.”

Ina wasn’t on the original list at the ceremony. She was added quickly after remarking she was a veteran too.

She said she was proud to have her name called.

“I was surprised that they called my name before Russell’s,” she said.