Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) veteran, Ferdinand Labrie, who lives in Duncan will receive the highest French honour for his service in the infamous Dieppe Raid.
On Thursday, November 17th, Labrie will be presented the rank of ‘Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour,’ from Vancouver’s Consul General of France, Mr. Nicolas Baudouin, in Duncan.
In addition to friends, family and fellow veterans, Duncan’s mayor, local councillors, MLAs and MPs will all be in attendance for the ceremony.
He is being awarded this honour because this year marks the 80th anniversary of the Jubilee Operation, better known as the Dieppe Raid which took place in 1942.
The Dieppe Raid was a failed operation led by Canadian infantry that was meant to be a morale boost to Allied forces in the Second World War.
Insufficient naval and air support as well as mounting casualties on the beach raid caused a retreat. In total about 3,700 of just over 6,000 Canadian soldiers were killed, wounded or became prisoners of war.
Labrie’s story began in April of 1940. He joined ‘Le Regiment de Maisonneuve’ on the east coast of Canada and was stationed in the United Kingdom.
He was present at the Dieppe Raid of 1942 but his Brigade Reserve Regiment never made it ashore to fight. Labrie’s role in his unit was a cipher specialist in regimental intelligence.
Labrie and his regiment did land on Juno Beach shortly after D-Day on June 12th, 1944.
He came home to Canada from the war in January, 1946. At that time he was only one of two from his original regiment to return to Canadian soil.
Now, Labrie is being given the ‘Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour,’ which is the highest national order the French have to offer. This distinction shows the impact he had and the gratitude that France wishes to pass along to him.
November evokes the duty to remember, with #RemembranceDay in just a few days.
Do you know a Canadian veteran still with us who fought on French soil to liberate our country ? Contact us, he could be eligible for the Legion of Honor, the highest distinction in France. pic.twitter.com/W4DA5TYzhU
— 🇫🇷🇪🇺France Ouest Canada 🇨🇦 (@ConsulatFRAVan) November 1, 2022
“Through Veterans like Mr. Labrie, France remembers the sacrifice of all Canadians who came to liberate it,” said Vancouver’s General Consul of France in a statement. “The people of France will never forget.”
The order was first given in 2014, which marked the 70th anniversary of the Normandy and Provence landings.
In recent years, it’s been given to veterans to show France’s deep appreciation to Canadians who gave their lives in the name of French liberation during the Second World War.
A total of 1,154 medals have been awarded to Canadian soldiers by France. This includes 232 medals for BC veterans.
France’s ‘Legion of Honour’ was actually created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte. Created initially to reward citizens for their merits without consideration to their hereditary or social status.
The medal awarded to a Knight of the French Legion of Hounour like Labrie, is a five-armed cross with a V-shaped cut-out at the end of each arm, generally surmounted by a wreath of laurel leaves.