VIDEO: 36 memorial trees ‘hiding in plain sight’ around Langley

Brian Croft is searching for information to locate symbolic maples honouring fallen soldiers

In 1923, Langley residents Dr. Benjamin Marr and Archie Payne spearheaded a project to plant 36 Big Leaf Maple trees in honour of the local soldiers that fought in the First World War and didn’t come home.

Going one step further, streets were named after the fallen soldiers, giving Langley some of it’s most familiar titles such as Trattle, Topping, and Carvolth.

Nearly one century later, most of the trees have gone unrecognized and even neglected – with some possibly having been removed over the years for construction and maintenance purposes.

Brian Croft, a local artist, historian, and former Canadian Forces fighter pilot, said he had heard about the memorial trees over the years through the grapevine and has been working with resident Warren Sommer to unearth the history and location behind the trees.

“Three dozen trees were placed in memory of the gentleman that didn’t come home. Now, about a half dozen of these things are hiding in plain sight,” Croft said. “Plaques used to be on each but not much exits of those anymore.”

Around five trees have been identified – Croft said the only one remaining with a commemorative plaque is on Trattle Street in Fort Langley.

“Some of the trees were replaced and many of them are now in bad shape,” Croft added, hoping the project can not only help bring to light local history but revitalize the plant life.

One is thought to be located at the five corners in Murrayville, another on Glover Road, one in Aldergrove, and the last in Milner near the chapel.

Read More: Langley played a part in Britain’s war in South Africa

“Logically, the memorial trees for each soldier should correspond with the name of their street,” Croft explained, which would narrow down the search to 36 specific areas – many of which are completely covered in old maples.

Croft pointed to the book Roads and Other Place Names in Langley, B.C. by Maureen L. Pepin as a source guide for explaining the memorial project and history behind the city and township landmarks.

But narrowing down the search can only get project so far; Croft said much of the records that would have contained tree locations and information were destroyed decades ago in a fire.

With Remembrance Day up ahead, Croft figured the timing was perfect to open up the memorial tree mystery to residents and even students.

“We remember… we remember… we remember… but, then we also forget,” Croft said, stepping up to help facilitate a ceremony at Alice Brown Elementary School, where his daughter is a teacher.

“We remember with poppies, crosses, cenotaphs, and reading In Flander’s Field, but we can also let kids know the different ways we remember by planting trees,” he explained.

A wall featuring the photographs and names eight local killed in-action soldier’s who fought in the First World War will be displayed at the Alice Brown ceremony.

Pinned next to each one by student volunteers will be handmade trees to symbolically honour the fallen servicemen and also commemorate a local tradition of how Langley has remembered.

Croft is now hoping that residents might be able to shed some light on the memorial tree history, asking anyone who may have information or knowledge of a tree location to share what they know.

People can email warren_sommer@telus.net or call 236-987-1858 if that have anything to share.

The information will be passed on to the Langley Centennial Museum and the Township’s Parks and Heritage Planning departments.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Filming applications ‘coming in slowly’ to the City of Surrey

Netflix cancels ‘Sabrina’, but filming manager says new calls coming in to film in Cloverdale

‘Did anything good come out of my son’s overdose death?’ – South Surrey mom

Maggie Plett says action still needed on recovery homes

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

JULY 11: B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance

Sources receives $70K from SurreyCares

Funds will help with warehouse space for food programs in Surrey, White Rock, Langley

Rooftop hatchlings ‘a nice addition’ to White Rock RCMP operations

Pair of seagull chicks hatched in ‘fenced playground’ on July 2

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Man shot dead in east Abbotsford suburbs

Integrated Homicide Investigative Team called to investigate

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read

l -->