A Victoria veteran received a French Legion of Honour, the highest award for a non-French citizen, for his work during the second World War, helping to liberate France.
Looking at Ted Vaughan you wouldn’t know he’s 95 — although he likes to say he’s in his 96th year with a birthday in September. He has a loud laugh and talks using his hands. Vaughan lives in an assisted living facility where the nurses get after him about not sitting on his walker and having his shoe laces too long.
“But when September comes I’ll be in my 97th year,” he says with a chuckle. “I’m pretty old.”
Vaughan — who is now technically a Knight of France — was a pilot in the 408 Squadron, nicknamed the Goose Squadron, and took part in the bombing on D-Day that would see the allied forced storm the beaches and eventually the liberation of France and Europe as a whole. He describes flying over the English Channel and seeing the waters scattered with boats.
“I’m particularly proud of that one,” he says.
At 18-years-old Vaughan enlisted in the war, originally wanting to join the army, he was convinced to join the air force after seeing how excited one of his friends was to become a pilot.
After the war was over, Vaughan came back to Canada in 1945 with the intent of fighting in India to help aid the U.S. in their fight against Japan. He was on route to base camp in Canada when he heard the news about the atomic bomb being dropped and Japan’s surrender shortly after.
Vaughan was discharged and began studying forestry, eventually becoming a supervisor in the first complete forest inventory of the forest in B.C.
“We managed to train people flying in airplanes and finally in helicopters to do a lot of that work from the air,” he says, putting his piloting knowledge to use. “So now [we] could tell you what species are growing in B.C., where they’re growing and how big they were.”
Vaughan is looking forward to spending his next birthday with his family from all over the Island, along with his grand-children and great grandchildren, with a big party.
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