MP Mark Warawa and Township Mayor Jack Froese were on hand to present Joe Odin with the French Legion of Honour. (Special to the Langley Advance)

Langley man decorated for role in landing crafts on D-Day

French Legion bestowed its highest honour on Canadian war veteran Joseph Odin of Langley.

At age 22, Joseph Odin was on a landing ship tank (LST) off the coast of German-occupied France, trying to get as many Canadian soldiers as possible onto Juno Beach.

One of the vivid memories of that historic Second World War battle in June 1944 was manoeuvres Odin and the rest of the LST team would take while under fire.

Dropping anchor a few hundred yards off shore, then going full speed towards land, they’d get as far onto the beach as possible, load off troops, then pull back out into the water as fast as they could by reversing the anchor winch.

At age 95 now, Odin’s recollections of those times are rather limited, but he has shared them with his son, Wayne, who retold the story after his father, who served with the Royal Canadian Navy, was decorated last week with one of Frances’ highest honours.

“He did mention one time, they were doing this manouvre [when] the ship did strike a mine in the water, causing the stern of the ship to lift out of the water. [Suffering] no real damage to the ship, they returned for more troops,” Wayne recounted.

During a special ceremony at Chartwell’s Langley Gardens in Walnut Grove last Wednesday, the French Legion of Honour was bestowed on Odin.

“I really don’t think he realizes the magnitude of this honour,” said Wayne.

The son was on hand, with Odin’s 94-year-old wife of 72 years, Helen, for the presentation.

“He did say that it was nice,” though, Wayne said, recounting his father’s reaction following the presentation.

This award actually does hold even more special significance for the Odin family, his son elaborated. One of Odin’s grandson, 32-year-old Johnathon Guendouz, is currently serving as a captain in the French Foreign Legion.

The only other honour given to Odin was the distinguished service award presented for his efforts in the navy during the Second World War.

His actions, manning a landing craft on D-Day at Juno Beach, helped lead to the liberation of France. It had an enormous impact on the country and other nations around the world, said Langley-Aldergrove Member of Parliament Mark Warawa, who was joined by Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese, in helping present the award to Odin.

Immediately after the war, Odin returned back to New Westminster (where he was born in 1922), and went to work first at Fraser Mills sawmill in Coquitlam and later as a tradesman for the New Westminster school district.

Odins have three children, Wayne, a brother in Maple Ridge, and a sister in France. They also have eight grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

He retired from the school district, but Wayne recounted, how his father was too bored to stick with retirement and went back to work – again as a tradesman – for Kwantlen College for several more years.

Two and a half years ago, Odin and his wife decided to downsize and move closer to family, opting to relocate from White Rock to Langley Gardens.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

rhooper@langleyadvance.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

 

MP Mark Warawa and Township Mayor Jack Froese were on hand for a special presentation to Second World War veteran Joe Odin on Wednesday. Odin’s wife, Helen, was also in attendance, along with their son, Wayne. (Special to the Langley Advance)

Just Posted

Proudly Surrey modifies child-care policy

Slate wants to use school board property for child-care spaces

Surrey school board wants to expand French Immersion program

District had to close program at Cougar Creek Elementary due to low enrolment

VIDEO: Scarecrow festival kicks off in Port Kells

Fourth-annual event will be on until Halloween

Delta to craft whistle-blower policy

The policy is meant to increase public trust and create support for staff in questionable situations

White Rock rail forum leads to renewed calls for relocation

Upgrading safety is not enough say local politicians

VIDEO: North Delta Studio Stomp back for sixth year

The annual art event has local artists opening their studios to the public this weekend

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Remainder of Vancouver Whitecaps season filled with ‘must-win’ games: coach

With Vancouver currently sitting four points out of a post-season spot, each contest is crucial

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Most Read

l -->