Edward Vaughn, 96, was awarded the France Legion of Honour for his service in World War II on Sunday, Sept 29. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

‘I’m just an ordinary pilot,’ insist Vancouver Island vet awarded France’s highest honour

Saanich resident completed 36 successful missions to help liberate France in Second World War

Edward Vaughn, now 96, was a pilot in his early 20s. With sharp night vision, he completed 36 successful missions during the war to help liberate France.

The Saanich Second World War veteran was recently awarded the French Legion of Honour.

ALSO READ: Victoria filmmaker documents stories of Second World War veterans

“I’m just an ordinary pilot,” says Vaughn. “Who knew that I could receive an honour like this? I’m very pleased. I hope the others who fought with me get an award too.”

Born up-Island in Cumberland on Sept. 5, 1923, Vaughn signed up for war on his own at the age of 20. He was trained as a pilot in Alberta and was later sent off to Yorkshire with the Royal Canadian Air Force.

READ MORE: Second World War amputee veteran reflects on D-Day 75th anniversary

“We will never forget those who fought in battle and combat,” says Philippe Sutter, the Consul General of France for Western Canada. “We’ve come to pay tribute to Mr. Vaughn for being an inspiration. France and the other nations he helped liberate will never forget … the dangerous things he accomplished during World War II.”

During one mission, a bomb fell through a wing, taking out an engine and starting a fire on board. Vaughn and his crew were able to fully extinguish the fire and return to the base safely with only three engines.

RELATED: Two local Second World War heroes honoured at Fort Rodd Hill

“There was a crew of seven of us. Some as young as 19 and others who were 28. We became friends and went on to be come officers,” said Vaughn, a Broadmead Care Centre resident for the past two years.

Vaughn has five children, eight grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

“As someone who has taught history, it’s wonderful because I have my dad as living proof of someone who went through that time,” says Gail Krickan, Vaughn’s eldest daughter. “I’m so happy that he has been given this honour.”

The French Legion of Honour is the highest decoration that France can give. It rewards individuals who served France with outstanding achievements. The honour is equivalent to the Order of Canada.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com

 

Just Posted

Environment Canada issues gale warnings for most of Vancouver Island

Gale warnings in effect for most of Vancouver Island and west coast Mainland

Vancouver Island children’s author wins American award for The Moon Watched it All

Ladysmith’s Shelley Leedahl’s book took gold in the All Ages Picture Book category

Vancouver Island-penned musical sluggish and proud of it

VIU theatre department debuts instructor’s original new musical, ‘SlugFest’

Western Speedway racing legend ‘The Flying Plumber’ turns 98

Dave Cooper recalls car crashes, his first win, and more

Attraction in a hurry: Speed dating comes to Vancouver Island

Fresh Connections connecting adults in rapid succession

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Greta Thunberg meets with First Nations chief in Fort McMurray

Thunberg has turned her protest against climate change into a global movement

Canucks hang on for 3-2 win over Rangers in New York

Vancouver scores three times in first period

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

Most Read