Diederich, Henry

Rank: Private

Henry Diederich was born in Luxembourg on November 17, 1927. He was raised on a farm in Bezanson Alberta with his sister Annie on land their Dad and Uncles homesteaded after immigrating from Luxembourg across the Edson Trail in 1915. Henry spent 7 years at the Peace River Mission and then schooled in the Bezanson area, attending the East Kleskun School for elementary/junior high and the Lindsay High School for Grade 9. He then farmed with his Dad Michael Diederich and Uncle Joe Diederich until enlisting in the army. Henry, wishing to serve his country during WWII, enlisted on December 21 1944 at Depot #13 Calgary, Alberta at the age of 17 as a member of the Canadian Army, Regiment # 319295, military #M4786. After training through quarantine due to a mumps outbreak at Calgary Depot #13 a broken ankle took Henry from Calgary Depot to Gordon Head, British Columbia for rehabilitation. From there Henry took further training at Saskatoon Saskatchewan Military Vocational Training School, then on to Hamilton Ontario, and Woodstock Ontario. During this time he completed training as Rifleman in Canadian Infantry Corps and Military Vehicle Operation in the Vehicle Infantry Corp. His next transfer and final training was to be for dessert training in Arizona, when WWII ended. Just prior to his 18th birthday, Henry was discharged, October 11, 1945. Henry returned to assist his Dad and Uncle with the farming in Bezanson. He enjoyed playing baseball, and played for Bezanson Men’s for a number of years. On the rare occasion Bezanson did not have a team, Tyke Ames and Henry played for Clairmont Men’s team. Henry also worked for Bruce Hollingworth in a Railroad Tie Mill north of Sexsmith Alberta making 16 foot ties. As well he hauled lumber for Charlie Lept and for Moon’s Mill. It was at Moon’s Mill that he met Myrtle Sloat, also working there, and this beautiful brunette swept him off his feet. They were married June 29, 1950 and spent their honeymoon tenting and canoeing on the Wapiti River. They continued to live in Bezanson for another 17 years; their 5 children were born during this time. Here they grain farmed and raised up a herd to purebred Charolais cattle through artificial insemination. Winters Henry worked in the bush for Cyril Binks and then Norton Brothers. They sold the farm and moved to a quarter in Dimsdale in 1967. Henry then worked off the farm more than on for Norton Brothers and Thrifty contracting in lumber and road construction industries, while Myrtle looked after the farm and the home front.

Once they both retired, Henry & Myrtle had lots of good times quadding and travelling with family and friends discovering the trails, hills mountains nearby. Myrtle and Henry retired to an independent living facility, Dieppe Manor in Grande Prairie in 2013. Myrtle passed away May 4 2017. Henry is presently 93 years old, continues to live at Dieppe Manor, and continues to go quadding.

Written by Donna (Diederich) McNally – daughter January 2021

Along the Wapiti p. 412 – Name in WW II Veterans list; p. 419 – Photo; p. 142; p. 142
Smoky River to Grande Prairie p. 129 Family story and photos.
AGS Website – Obituary Index (Myrtle)