Royal Canadian Legion Branch 242
During the summer and fall of 1952 their were many soldiers from WWII and veterans of previous wars residing in the North Thompson Valley. Eventually a move was initiated by a number of the veterans to form their own branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.
Considering the long drive to the Kamloops Remembrance Day Service; not a 40 minute drive in a good car on a paved road as it is today, but instead, one to two-and-a-half hours, depending where you lived over a very rough gravel, or a very slippery snowy road, we thought it was a good idea.
With a few inaugural meetings, a membership drive (we signed up 43 members, and with the help and sponsorship of Branch 52 in Kamloops, we received our Charter on Feb. 3, 1953.
To start, our meetings were held in the Native Son’s Hall in Louis Creek, where Tolko’s log yard was located. Many discussions took place on the proper representative name for our branch. The final decision was based on the fact we had members from all sections of the North Thompson from Heffley Creek to Little Fort and side valleys as well, so it was decided that the proper name would be Thompson Valley’s Branch, and that hopefully it would remain thus.
Needing a building of our own a deal was made with Pappy Yokum to purchase his building which was then under construction to be a hotel. With the financial help of Manna Salle, and lots of fundraisers, including a fashion show by the men, one at Louis Creek and one at Heffley Creek, all under the direction of Win Randle and others, we were able to make the purchase.
The first Branch president elected was Walter Clayton; E.M. Stick, Clarence Humphreys, Len Sadlier-Brown, and Graham Kinloch all followed Walter.
William Graham, a veteran of the Boer War and WWI, was the first bartender.
Len Sadlier-Brown was the first Service Officer.
In 1955 we were joined by the backbone of any Legion Branch, the formation of the Ladies Auxiliary with Jean Humphreys serving as its first president.
In 1962 it became necessary to expand the building and a basement was also dug. The lower level addition provided the Ladies Auxiliary with a kitchen and banquet facilities.
Further additions to the facility were completed during 1981 to 1982.
After many hours of volunteer labour and donations from the community we finished our building and the rest is history.
Of our 43 original members there is only one of them left – veteran Keith Moore, who has also served as president of the Branch.
Branch 52 was a strong supporter of Branch 242 in our early days, and many fun time were had between the branches, including installations, and a yearly picnic held on property owned by Col. Albert McGowan.
In the beginning we were only able to sell bottled beer, and when Norman Crohn was bartender it was kept in an ordinary fridge. One night he opened the door to get some beer and the shelves collapsed with the weight, there was a river of beer flowing at each end of the bar. A fun time was had by all cleaning up the mess.
The remaining veterans are happy to turn the reign over to the younger generation and hope they will carry on the tradition of supporting those that are left behind and the community as well.
This year the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 242 in Barriere is celebrating 65 years of service to the veterans and communities of the North Thompson Valley.
To mark this milestone anniversary their will be a dinner and dance this weekend on Saturday, June 2, at the Legion. Tickets are $15 per person. Come out and help us celebrate our 65th anniversary!
Pictured above are Legion veterans Sandy Scott
and Keith Moore (r) giving the parade review salute on Remembrance Day, Nov. 11, 2015.