Richmond “Dick” Deck was back in Veterans’ Square on Remembrance Day this year.
The WWII airman and former POW laid a wreath at the Cloverdale Cenotaph on behalf of all prisoners of war.
It was the 101-year-old’s second year in a row laying a wreath.
Deck said he was “a little late,” to the ceremony Nov. 11 and was whisked through the barricades by the police “like a VIP.”
“It was kind of funny,” said Brian Deck, Dick’s son. “We got the royal treatment and even got to park right next to Mayor Brenda Locke’s car.”
Dick said he was impressed by the number of people in attendance on Remembrance Day, after laying a wreath last year in a service that was closed to the public and to the many regular participants that took part this year.
“It was quite cold that day, too,” Dick said. “The delegations just kept marching in—the RCMP and others, the Scottish ones with the kilts way up past the knee in their bare legs. They must have been very cold.”
Earle Fraser, the service officer for the Cloverdale Legion, accompanied Dick to the cenotaph to lay his wreath.
Dick became a POW in 1945 when his plane was shot down over Nazi Germany. He and his whole crew had to jump out of their Halifax bomber, a plane they affectionately called “Easy,” when a German Junker sprayed one of their wings with machine gun fire, engulfing it in flames.
After surviving the jump, Deck spent some time on the ground before he surrendered to the Germans. Deck’s whole crew were eventually captured, but they all made it home after the war.
“The ceremony was fine, but it was a little lengthy,” the 101-year-old added with a laugh. “There were a lot of wreaths and a lot of clapping.”
Brian said there was a lot of clapping for Dick when he stood up to lay his wreath.
“People were happy to see dad,” Brian added. “There was a lot of applause while he walked up.”
Hans Andersen, the other 101-year-old WWII POW scheduled to attend to lay a wreath, did not show up to the ceremony due to some medical issues, Fraser told the Cloverdale Reporter after the ceremony.
Dick said he plans to be back in Cloverdale next year to lay a wreath again.
“I try to keep going,” Dick said. “I’ll be there if I’m able. What I can’t do, I can’t do, but what I can do, I will.”