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

Mixed emotions on Surrey’s Strip as homeless begin moving into modular units

Some in the area are hopeful as 160 transitional homes open, while others say the plan is ‘containment, not a solution’

Surrey mayor’s state of city address back on at Sheraton

New date for mayor’s fourth annual address, hosted by the Surrey Board of Trade, is September 19

Body of young man who drowned in Chilliwack Lake recovered

Searchers find 18-year-old from Surrey seven days after he disappeared

Surrey’s first rainbow crosswalk is installed

The $8,500 crosswalk is complete in time for Surrey Pride festivities at Holland Park later this month

EDITORIAL: All children created equal

There are still some who justify President Donald Trump’s treatment of migrant children

VIDEO: In Surrey, ‘The Magic Flute’ opera has makings of ‘modern-day superhero movie’

Show director Dolores Scott raves about young talent in weekend production at Surrey Arts Centre

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of B.C. couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Five B.C. families stuck in Japan as Canada refuses visas for adopted babies

Lawyer points to change in American policy around adoptions from Japan

It may be ‘lights, camera, action!’ for talented B.C. doctor

Rob Forde is waiting to hear if he’ll become The Basement Doctor in his own reality show

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Most Read

l -->