The Hanna Royal Canadian Legion Branch #25 celebrated it’s 80th anniversary on Saturday, September 14 at the Legion building.
Veterans, Legion members and Hanna locals alike were on-hand to view a wealth of World War II memorabilia on display. Art and writing submitted by local youth was also exhibited; each piece paying homage to Canadian soldiers of past and present.
Displays, historical artifacts and informative conversation was paramount through the afternoon. At five in the evening beef on a bun was served and the band, Yesteryear entertained the crowd.
Branch 25 received their charter on April 10, 1933, with the Ladies Auxiliary following suit November 1934 and remaining operative with the Branch until 2005. The history of the legion spans decades of social goodwill and service to the community and country. The branch saw 545 Hanna locals served during the second World War, with 29 lives lost in battle during that time.
Additional altruistic measures include the Poppy Fund, which provides aid to veterans and their families, and donations to the Legion which support the local hospital, lodge and seniors.
The Legion building itself was constructed in stages, with the basement built in 1924, upper floors in 1926, and a new entrance, stage and kitchen added after WW II. The building hosted many social activities during it’s early years – from bingos to wedding receptions – and the Sea Cadets met regularly at the premises until the mid-1960s.
The hall still plays host to bi-weekly bingo, and the main hall is still rented out to functions. As of 2011, Branch 25 was 110 members strong.
Memorial quilt donation
A Memorial quilt recognizing Canadian Veterans was donated by Hanna local Corinne Hewitt of H. Corinne Hewitt Quilt Patterns and Fabrics.
Hewitt’s other artistic fabric donation hangs proudly in the upstairs pub/diner.
She says this quilt began as a general homage to soldiers, but slowly evolved into a Remembrance Day quilt.
“I contacted the national defense for a photo of a soldier, and they gave me a lot of photos I could look through on the internet, and [ultimately] they gave me permission to use the one on the quilt,” says Hewitt. She notes the final image was a collaborative creative work between her and her children, aged between 18 – 20.
“On Mother’s Day I asked them ‘could you draw a picture of a soldier, a cross, and a poppy’ and how you see it,” she says, “So using all four of their ideas – because I have four kids – I came up with that idea [for the quilt].”
She says doing quilts for the Legion is a natural extension of helping out as part of the community, and cites familial ties as well. “My grand-dad was in World War II,” she says, “that’s one reason why it means a lot to me.”