Image: The Lindsay School (district #3898), named after the local pioneer George Lindsay, was opened in 1921 in the Bezanson area. In 1955 the name of the school district was changed to Bezanson School District. Taken ca. 1950 (SPRA 063.02.053.02)
Regimental Number: M605141
On September 10, 1920, Vern became the 7th of 15 children born to William Jr. and Vera (nee Ames) Ford. He had seven brothers; Harold, Fred, Charles, Ross, Harvey, Henry, and John and seven sisters; (one died at birth), Evelyn, Myrtle, Elsie, Ellen, Verna and Janet. The Ford’s were living at Brookdale which was near Brandon, Manitoba when they decided to move to the Peace River District. William sold the farm in Manitoba in 1920 and subsequently filed a homestead application on land in an area of Bezanson known as Lindsay.
Vern was known as a quick-witted and mischievous youngster. He attended the Lindsay School where he completed Grade 8 and worked on the family farm.
Vern was called up for service under the National Resources Mobilization Act on January 9, 1942 in Grande Prairie. He was transferred to various locations for training: Dundurn and CFB Debert in Saskatchewan; Chilliwack, Nanaimo, Terrace and Vernon in BC as well as CFB Shilo in Manitoba. He was granted permission to marry Miss Patricia Dorothy Brown on July 24, 1942. They lived in a rented cottage at Cultus Lake, BC for two years before Pat returned to Bezanson. In April 1943, Vern became a “Qualified Pioneer Group C” with the RCE. In January 1944, Vern successfully passed courses to become a Qualified Driver Class III. Vern was transferred to Calgary in May 1944. During the period of time he was in the service, Vern was granted several “farm leaves”. Private Vernon Leslie Ford served in Canada and received the War Medal 1939-45. He was discharged on demobilization on January 30, 1946 at Calgary.
Vern returned to Bezanson where Pat had built a little house. Vern purchased a ½ section of land from the Ford Estate and farmed with his brother, Harold, for many years. Pat and Vern had three children; Sylvia, Wayne and Gilbert. It was Pat’s dream to own a café so with the assistance of her twin brother, Paddy, the “Truckers Inn” was built next to the Co-op Store at Bezanson in 1955. It was well-known for its chicken and turkey dinners along with scrumptious milkshakes. Unfortunately Pat suffered from ill health and had to sell the café. Vern found employment driving the BA Fuel Truck in Valleyview. Pat and Vern eventually built a new house on their farm and Vern drove the BA Fuel Truck in Grande Prairie. In the fall of 1962, they sold the farm and bought a house in Grande Prairie. Vern died suddenly in December of 1962 and was buried at the Glen Leslie Cemetery. Pat subsequently married Gordon McIntosh from Dimsdale.
Written by Wanda Zenner
Smoky River to Grande Prairie History Book
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.