Barney Baines continues the tradition of selling poppies every year.

Remembrance Day a time of reflection for Barney

Local veteran shares his experiences in the Second World War

Every November, you can bet that rain or shine, Second World War veteran Barney Baines will be standing on the streets of Ladysmith, armed with only a tray of poppies and a reminder of our past.

And like many of his fellow veterans, Baines does not speak a word about the troubling times he faced, times most of us can only try to imagine.

Baines was only 17 when he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. He was working in a Shawnigan Lake logging camp at the time.

“Every time the weekend come, we’d go up to Victoria, there was all kinds of posters and big things floating around; ‘Join up, join up, save your loved ones’,” he said.

Once called to service, Baines was sent to Cornwallis, Nova Scotia for training and drafted onto a corvette ship for convoy duty in the North Atlantic. As an able bodied seaman torpedoman (ABST), Baines spent anywhere from three weeks to a month at sea. He remembers times so cold the crew had to chip ice from the boat to keep it from tipping over.

“Anytime you were at sea, you never got any fresh vegetables or fresh eggs, everything was dried,” Baines recalled. “We got canned mutton, and you’d open that up and the stink would drive you right off the ship.”

While in Ireland, Baines was thrown into the brig for a misunderstanding and rerouted onto a frigate ship on striking force in the English Chanel. From there, they got the signal to go to Norway to route an enemy sub base. He would serve on one more ship before his discharge in 1945.

Baines has lived in Ladysmith for the last 20 years and has participated in Remembrance Day ceremonies for as long as he can remember. He said it is a time of reflection.

“When we’re standing there at the cenotaph, I start to think,” he said. “These people were no different than me, they were doing what they were told, and it kind of gets to you sometimes.”

“I feel sorry for the people that gave their lives, and I’m equally sorry for the people that had mothers and fathers [in the war], they had to endure a lot too.”

Just Posted

Ladysmith Camera Club and Ladysmith and District Credit Union combine forces for calendar

Not one, but two versions produced featuring local photographers and local scenes

VIDEO: Mattress fire at Cowichan Hospital under investigation

The Cowichan District Hospital was locked down on Tuesday afternoon due to… Continue reading

Transport truck driver identified as one victim in double fatal head-on crash

Clifford Bishop, 54, a resident of Cassidy, had been a truck driver since he was 18

Manly will give it another go with federal Green Party

Paul Manly to be acclaimed as party’s Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidate

Volunteers needed for Sunday’s Festival of Lights takedown

Volunteers asked to meet at the 49th Parallel Grocery upper parking lot at 9 a.m.

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of B.C. overpass

Dash cam footage shows vehicle speeding across Brunette Avenue overpass in Coquitlam

Second fatal crash occurs in Alberni Valley

Traffic on Highway 4 is being re-routed as investigators are en route

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Millennial Money: Don’t let Instagram envy get you into debt

A full 48 per cent of U.S. households have credit card debt

Most Read