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Veteran’s Night at Lakefield Historical Society: Morin, Payne and Harvey immortalized

by Patricia Heffernan

It was an exceptional turnout at the Lakefield Legion on Thursday, September 27 for the meeting of the Lakefield Historical Society for which the theme was “Veteran’s Night”.

The memory of Eddy Morin, one of Lakefield’s late members of The First Special Service Force (FSSF), a deadly World War II Canadian-American covert unit which earned the nickname “The Devil’s Brigade” by the German army, was at the heart of the evening.

Lakefield Historical Society President Derry Wilford and Vice President Neil Wasson welcomed brothers Joe and Ted Morin, Lakefield’s Wilson Family and many friends and guests for the unveiling of a beautifully framed collage, orchestrated by the Lakefield Historical Society, which showcases important memorabilia acquired and earned through Eddy Morin’s courageous service in during W.W.II.

This portion of the special evening was prompted last Remembrance Day by the significant donation of Eddy Morin’s F.S.S.F. tunic by his son, Joe Morin, into the care of Kevin Heffernan for the Lakefield Historical Society.

Kevin recalls that the donation of the tunic was brought about by Joe’s desire to help break the relative silence which prevailed globally and locally regarding The Devil’s Brigade and the critical role played by its members in World War II including his father and his father’s friend, Tony Schiarizza, also a late Lakefield member of the F.S.S.F.

Neil introduced special guest Bill Huycke of Vimy Ridge Gallery in Buckhorn who was responsible for the handsomely framed tribute in memory of Eddy Morin.

Also responsible for the creation of a trio of similarly framed collages in memory of three additional Lakefield veterans, Bill assisted with the unveiling of tributes for the late Percy Payne, Romaine (Millward) Payne and Hugh Harvey.

Neil credited Lakefield’s Don Webster with the remarkably generous gift of the three collages to the Lakefield Historical Society and explained that, due to ill health, Don was unable to attend the grand unveiling he meticulously planned and funded.

Neil welcomed Bill Huyke and his wife, Carol, who have operated Vimy Ridge Gallery for over 20 years and invited Bill to share his immense knowledge on “all things military”.

Bill provided the audience with fascinating and little known details of Canada’s rich military history including an overview of the gripping experience that was Eddy Morin’s as Master Sergeant with the feared “Devil’s Brigade”.

Through his informative and stirring presentation, Bill’s passion for honoring and remembering Canadian veterans was evident and moving.

His hope is for all Canadians to continue to nurture a sense of pride and a deep appreciation for our courageous veterans, their immense war contributions and our country’s rich heritage.

The next meeting of the Lakefield Historical Society will be held on Thursday, October 25 at 7 p.m with guest speaker, Sid Dunning, who will share the stories of several of our local World War II veterans. Please note that the society’s new, regular meeting location is The Royal Canadian Legion in Lakefield. Everyone is welcome.

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