Richmond’s oldest D-Day veteran, Len Rigg, has died on the age of 101.
Rigg, who was among the many tens of hundreds of Allied troops who stormed the seashores of occupied France in June 1944, handed away peacefully at Richmond Hospital on Aug. 11.
In a number of interviews over time with the Richmond Information, Rigg -who lived most of his latter years on the Maple Residences in Steveston – instructed of being loaded onto a prepare as a 28-year-old to the south coast of England with different younger servicemen.
Upon arrival, they boarded boats to cross the English Channel and land on the closely defended seashores of Normandy.
Rigg’s group headed to Arromanches-les-Bains – code-named Gold Seaside — the place the occupying German forces had been ready to unleash the total fury of conflict on them.
The duty on that day for Rigg, who was within the British Military’s Corps of Royal Engineers, was to assist clear mines so the forces might land and get sufficient of a foothold to advance and break by way of the German defences.
He was one of many lucky ones to outlive amid the harrowing losses suffered in the course of the assault and he later made his method throughout Europe and was among the many Allied Forces to participate in a victory parade in Berlin, as soon as the conflict had ended.
Nonetheless, it wasn’t till a lifetime later that Rigg acquired recognition for his efforts within the conflict.
Due to his household in Richmond, Rigg, on his 100th birthday in December 2016, acquired the Legion of Honour medal from the Consul Common of France, Jean-Christophe Fleury, in a particular ceremony surrounded by household and buddies at ANAF Unit 284 in Steveston.
“It was a fantastic day…”stated Rigg on the time. “It was good to get the popularity. And to have so many individuals there, that was particular.”
The medal is awarded in recognition of private involvement within the liberation of France in the course of the Second World Struggle.
Rigg’s household utilized for the medal about two years prior after studying a few ceremony in Downtown Vancouver by the French and Dutch governments, who had been recognizing different veterans who helped liberate their nations.
“I’m very proud and honoured of my father…” stated Kathleen Walters on the time, one among Rigg’s 5 kids.
In 1956, Rigg and his late spouse, Kathleen, determined to maneuver their younger household to Canada when the cotton trade died down in Lancashire, England, taking with it a lot of the related jobs.
They ended up selecting Yellowknife as a result of he had lined up a job there. However after two months, he headed for the Decrease Mainland and settled in Richmond in 1962.
Rigg is survived by three daughters and two sons. He had 10 grandchildren and 4 nice grandchildren.
His household is holding a celebration of life on Saturday, Sept. eight at four p.m. at Admirals Stroll, 7631 Steveston Hwy.
In lieu of flowers, donations could be made to the Salvation Military Hospice, 6460 No. four Rd.
Rigg instructed the Information a couple of years in the past how he recalled the prepare he was in simply previous to D-Day stopped about 15 yards from a small armada of troop-carrying touchdown craft on the wharf that might ferry Rigg and his fellow troopers throughout the English Channel.
“That they had locked the rear door of the prepare, so there was just one method out and that was in the direction of the boats. There was no escape,” he laughed.
Previous to boarding the boats, every of the troopers was given a shoebox-sized, cardboard container that was full of rations designed to final 24 hours. Among the many gadgets inside was a particular tin of Campbell’s Soup.
“You’d by no means imagine this, and I’ve by no means seen it since. However in the course of the tin was a candle. You lit it, and by the point it burned all the way down to the underside it was able to eat,” Rigg stated, including it didn’t make the soup too scorching, however sufficient to make it palatable.
“I believed it was a fantastic thought and that after the conflict you’d see that in every single place,” he stated. “However I by no means noticed one other one.”
Crossing the English Channel was incident-free because the waters had been comparatively calm. However once they landed on the seashores of Arromanches-les-Bains, Normandy, the total fury of conflict was unleashed on them.
“The primary man I noticed get killed simply earlier than we bought off the boat was a dispatch rider (messenger) on a motorcycle,” he stated.
“He was using throughout the sand on the seaside and hastily he went straight up within the air, each him and the bike. He had hit a mine.”
Rigg knew a factor or two in regards to the risks of mines. Initially, he was assigned to a Bailey (pontoon) bridge unit.
However as soon as he had completed his coaching, he turned in poor health and was in hospital for 2 weeks. When he emerged, he was despatched to a different unit as a mine-layer and clearer. That was to be his process on D-Day.
“Once I found that, I believed to myself, what have I accomplished now,” he stated. “On my method over on the boat, I believed to myself that I’ll by no means see England once more.”
However he did. He survived D-Day and was among the many Allied Forces to participate in a victory parade in Berlin, as soon as the conflict had ended. “All the massive pictures had been there,” he stated, “Stalin, Churchill and Montgomery.”
With recordsdata from Philip Raphael/Richmond Information