Soldier Spotlight: Arthur “Archie” Calliou

Image: Grande Prairie Friendship Centre Float, 1979 (SPRA

Regiment: British 6th Airborne (Artillery) Division

Archie Calliou was born around 1924 in the Flying Shot Lake district (near Grande Prairie AB.) His father, David Calliou, was of the Cree tribe, and his mother was Clarisse Campbell. Archie had a younger brother, Eddie. When Archie was 16 years old he misrepresented his age and enlisted in service in WW II. His quote from a news article was, “ I joined because I thought Canada needed help and I was scared we’d lose the country, so I thought I’d pitch in but I had to lie.” He was posted in Europe, and he received several medals. He was loaned to the to the British 6th Airborne (Artillery) Division. Archie was an advocate for Canadians and native people, and he described himself as “Canadian”. Founder of the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre in the 1960’s he believed it should be a place for all Canadians. During his life of 74 years, he held many jobs: trapper, farm hand, lecturer, entertainer, and alcoholism counsellor. In 1985 he released his first record, and he played in Nashville in the 1970s with his band, “The Northern Echoes.” He was involved in the Chambers of Commerce in Valleyview and Fort St. John, and in several political parties. In the 1980s he was Sergeant at Arms in the Fort St. John Royal Canadian Legion. Archie was married to Dorothy for 30 years, and they lived in Beaverlodge AB. He died in August 1998 from pancreatic cancer in Beaverlodge.

Source: Where the Red Willow Grew p. 303 (Name in Roll of Honour)
Pioneers of the Peace p. 8
SPRA Family and Personal Life Reference Files – News articles : HT June 30, 1995 and Aug. 19, 1998

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

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