Commemorative weekend to honour Hedley's first war vets | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Penticton News

Commemorative weekend to honour Hedley's first war vets

The Hedley Boys — 17 men from the community of Hedley signed up to serve in the First World War on the same day.
Image Credit: Contributed/Andy English

PENTICTON - The community of Hedley is planning a commemorative weekend to honour their First World War vets.

The event is planned for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 22 to Aug. 23. This year the focus is on the Hedley Boys, a group of 17 men who all signed up the same day in August 1915, a year after the war broke out.

The Similkameen community sent a total of 65 men to serve in the war, during a time when only 1,000 people lived in the community.

Hedley residents Andy English and Jennifer Douglass have spent 18 months researching the lives of the Hedley First World War vets. Part of their research involved finding out what motivated the Hedley Boys to sign up well into the war, when the harsh conditions of the trenches were already known.

According to the two researchers, a speech given by a local old timer the night before the boys enlisted changed the course of their lives.

The community hopes to raise funds to restore the Hedley cenotaph in time to commemorate the end of the First World War in 2018.

Close to 50 descendants from across the country are expected to honour the men during the two-day event, which includes a lecture and slideshow on Aug. 22 from 10 a.m to noon, a cenotaph service at 1:30 p.m. and historic Hedley bus tours at 3:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m at Hedley Museum.

A dedication of World War One Hedley soldiers honour roll takes place at Grace Church on Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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