Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lest We Forget

Today is Remembrance Day and I am thinking of some special people in our family. My husband's father, Frank J. Rapp, was an officer during the Second World War. Unfortunately, I never really got to know my father-in-law as he was already quite ill when I started dating my husband. Frank died before our first child was born and that has always been a source of sadness and deep regret for my husband. He would have loved for his father to meet our children. 

From all the stories I have heard over the years, Frank was a wonderful father and doting grand-father to the older kids in the family. Apparently, he is also the person from whom my husband inherited his legendary sense of humour. 

This is my father-in law arriving in Utrecht, Netherlands, as Commanding Officer, Signals,
1st Canadian Armoured Brigade. He landed in Sicily, continued in the campaign in Italy, then Holland and Europe, after serving in the Far North  before the war. While he is no longer with us, we think of him often, and while our kids never met him, they have been hearing stories about Grandpop and his sense of humour since they were little.

But the story doesn't end there. My mother-in-law, Helen Rapp, also served during the war. At 15, she left her hometown of Shumacher, Ontario to work in a munitions factory in Hamilton. At only 16, she pretended to be 18 so she could join the Canadian Women's Army Corp. In other words, she was one of the original bomb girls! Pretty brave don't you think?
Helen Rapp, in 1944, as a Sergeant Major in the Canadian Women's Army Corp. This is where she met Frank as she was in charge of the office at Army Signals when he returned from the war to take command.

And the story continues. A few years after Frank passed away, Helen met Jerry Bowen, a veteran of the Navy during World War Two, and of the Korean War with the Vandoos. He is a fellow volunteer at the Canadian War Museum. You can certainly see how they feel about each other and we are so happy to have him
 in our family as stepdad. Thanks to our kids, he has always been known as Grand-Jerry. 

And there you have it, in a few words I have tried to capture a small part of the story of the people I am thinking of today: Frank, Helen and Jerry. A sincere thank you to them and their fellow veterans for their bravery and sacrifice. 


  1. I love this. Grandpop was a great person, I will always remember him reading (the friendly Giant) to me when I was over. Granny and GrandJerry..... well what more could you ask for in grandparents and role models.

  2. Thanks, Kelly. Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Very interesting. And yes indeed, a sincere thank you to them and to all veterans.
    ~ Valérie