Kenneth Brind has received the highest honour the French government can bestow upon someone who has served the interests of that country. And it would be hard to think of serving it better than by helping France rid itself of Fascism.
French Consul General for Western Canada, Phillipe Sutter, awarded Brind with the National Order of the Legion of Honour medal this month, recognizing the Second World War veteran for his service to France.
Brind, who is in his 90s now and living at the Legion Manor in Central Saanich, was part of an aircrew that flew 30 bombing missions in 1944 over France during the war. Their job was to bomb German troops, communications and supply lines, as the Allies pushed the Nazis out of France. France has been awarding the Legion of Honour — first created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 — to veterans of the Second World War who are still alive. Fellow vet Reg Price also recently received the medal and was on hand at the Legion Manor Dec. 11 to see Brind receive his.
“We will never forget,” Sutter said during his presentation. “On behalf of France, for those who fought to free our nation from the yoke of Fascism … you are an inspiration.”
Sutter said the Legion of Honour recognizes the sacrifice people like Brind made — and many who did not survive the war — on behalf of France.
“It’s a tribute, too, to Canada’s commitment to the two major wars to strike the European continent. It’s a message of bravery and sacrifice … the sacrifices made by Canada.
“The French people will not forget.”
After the war ended, Brind worked at NORAD, monitoring incoming aircraft and scrambling fighter jets when necessary. After retiring from the Royal Canadian Air Force with the rank of captain in 1968, he worked with the federal government and the Alberta government before becoming a management consultant.
He moved into Legion manor in February of this year, and he has five children with his wife, Mary, who died in 2015. There are also nine grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren (with another due before Christmas). He was an avid golfer until he was 92, when back pain sidelined him.
France is the fourth country to recognize Brind for his service during the war, the others being England, Belgium and Canada.
— with files from Hugo Wong