JOHN ARENDT MEMORIES Kyle Smith and Karen Smith show Charlie Bernhardt of Summerland a book they compiled, detailing Bernhardt’s time in the military in Europe during World War II.

Bracelet returned to B.C. WWII veteran after 73 years

Summerland’s Charlie Bernhardt traded his silver bracelet for food during winter of 1944 to 1945

In the winter of 1944 to 1945, while he was stationed in the Netherlands, Charlie Bernhardt traded a silver bracelet for some eggs and milk.

He gave the bracelet to Bernadina Cornelia Wijers (now Smith,) in Hoog-Keepel. She was 11 at the time.

On Friday, her daughter and grandson traveled to Summerland to return the bracelet to Bernhardt, while she watched via Skype.

It was an emotional moment for Bernhardt, now 96, as he was presented with the bracelet.

“After 73 years, it’s back in these hands,” he said. “And to think you people kept it all this time.”

The family also gave Bernhardt a book they had compiled, detailing his time in Europe during World War II.

The bracelet had been given to Bernhardt by a woman named Daphne, who he met in London in 1944.

The Wijers family moved to the United States in 1948 and eventually moved to Oregon.

In the 1980s, Bernadina’s daughter Karen Smith and her husband found the silver bracelet and tried to find Bernhardt.

The bracelet was inscribed with K37476 Chuck Bernhart, a misspelling of Bernhardt’s last name.

During this summer, Bernadiina’s grandson Kyle Smith worked to find more information about the bracelet.

Using the services of a Canadian military website, he learned Bernhardt was living just 877 kilometres from the family.

Kyle Smith sent Bernhardt a letter and a picture of the bracelet, asking if it belonged to him.

Bernhardt said his time in the Netherlands during World War II gave him an appreciation for the people there.

“The Dutch people strike me as being different,” he said. “They believe in doing things well.”

He added that the return of the bracelet was another example of this character.

 

JOHN ARENDT BRACELET RETURNED Charlie Bernhardt shows the bracelet which was returned to him after 73 years. In the winter of 1944 to 1945, while stationed in the Netherlands, he had traded the bracelet for food.

Just Posted

MP Alistair MacGregor column: Electoral reform proposals come in at 11th hour

The timing is unfortunate because there are some positive elements in the bill.

Robert Barron column: Goodbye to the best man I’ve ever known

Mondays were special because my dad was off on those days

VIDEO: Young QMS cast shines in ‘Giants in the Sky’ musical

Kids find that sometimes being brave is good, but you still need supportive friends

Andrea Rondeau column: The internet has changed how we cover breaking news

If there’s ever anything you think we’ve missed, please feel free to contact us and let us know.

Sarah Simpson column: My history with bees

My dad is allergic to bees.

Trans Mountain pipeline: Is it worth the risk?

Concerns range from the threat of an oil spill to the impact of tanker traffic on wildlife

Federal leaders trade barbs about India trip at press gallery dinner

Justin Trudeau’s infamous trip to India earlier this year was the focus of many of the jabs

B.C. VIEWS: Our poverty reduction plan is already in place

NDP has another promise it needs to appear to keep

WestJet pilot strike averted as parties agree to mediation

Pilots had warned they could go on strike starting May 19

Out of control wildfire prompts restriction around Allie Lake

One of the first large wildfires of the 2018 season is blazing out of control

Passersby help rescue occupants of home as fire breaks out in Courtenay

Coffee run turns into fire rescue for pair of men

Most Read