Calgarian receives keepsake commemorating father's service
A chance encounter with a framed tribute to a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force killed in action during the Second World War had led to a reunion of sorts.
After receiving a heads-up from family members, Wendy Cote went to the Royal Canadian Legion #284 to see a framed placard dedicated to her father, Warrant Officer Class I Wireless Operator Air Gunner Frederick Albert Larsen. The tribute has been on the walls of the Legion for years.
“My aunt and uncle are members of this legion and they come to seniors’ dinner here once a month,” explained Cote. “They noticed my dad’s picture there.”
Larsen was killed in action during a night operation in Germany on January 6, 1944 at the age of 28.
Cote brought a camera to the Legion to take photographs of the father she never met as she was born while Larsen was fighting overseas but she is now the rightful owner of the tribute piece.
“The lady here very nicely let us take it off the walk and take pictures and I said ‘Oh, I’d love to have it’.”
The Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation, an organization that attempts to put a face to fallen soldiers, arranged for the gifting of the print of Frederick Alberta Larsen, which had been funded by Teamsters Local No. 362, to his daughter.
“I really don't have much from my dad or much information,” said Cote. “The Legion's going to help me now find some more stuff about him.”
Cote says she has learned of her father’s bravery from family letters. Larsen was severely injured after being shot down during combat. He survived the incident and, after rehabilitating in England, returned to service before making his final sacrifice to his country.
The Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation has created an online memorial to Larsen on its website, where his memory is honoured in a biography alongside tens of thousands of Canadians who served their country. The information compiled from paper records and cenotaphs is shared with school children across Canada.
“I have so little to remember my dad by, I have his medals and I’m going to have a shadow box done and I’m going to hang this very proudly in my home.”
Prior to his service, Larsen farmed outside of Calgary