Deer Lodge Centre resident and Second World War veteran Cpl. (Ret.) Ian Wilson received the Legion of Honour, France’s highest national distinction, at a special presentation on Saturday, June 15.
Wilson is a decorated Veteran whose extraordinary wartime story began 75 years ago. Originally a Virden farm boy, he served in France as part of the RCAF’s No. 411 Spitfire Squadron on a base not far from Juno Beach. While serving overseas, he met his future wife Betty, a private in the Royal Air Force. Both now live at Deer Lodge Centre. They are one of Canada’s last surviving Second World War Veteran couples.
Mr. Bruno Burnichon of the French Consul in Winnipeg presented the Legion of Honour to Wilson in recognition of his contribution to the defence and prosperity of France. The award was instituted in in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte.
After the presentation, Mr. Wilson celebrated his 100th birthday at a special luncheon with family and friends.
Deer Lodge Centre has a long and proud history of caring for Veterans. Its motto, Making Lives Better, reflects this history—from 1916, when a military convalescent hospital was established for returning WWI soldiers, to today, as military personnel and Veterans continue to be treated alongside a large population of patients and residents from the broader community. Today, Deer Lodge Centre is a progressive, 418-bed long-term care and rehabilitation facility providing a variety of in-patient, out-patient and outreach programs for all members of the community.