McLaughlin, Earl “Hap”

Regimental Number: M31379

Earl McLaughlin was born in 1917, the third oldest son of Ira & Nellie McLaughlin of Grenfell, Sask. Earl attended school in Grenfell until the age of 11. In 1928 him, his older brother, two sisters and mom moved to the peace country where his dad and one other brother were already building a home for the family on land in Bezanson. After their move another girl was born in 1932 and the family was complete. The family farmed and used their thrashing machine to help out other farmers in the area, their 1530 tractor was used in the area breaking and clearing land. When WW2 began Earl and older brother Neil joined the army.

Aug. 3, 1940 Earl joined Edmonton Fusiliers CASF in Edmonton, Alta. Later sent to Patricia Bay where he did training and helping other men train, he attended special motorcycle course and completed class 2 driver, track class 3 M/C. Was employed in carrier platoon as a driver and qualified driver instructor. Most of his training was done in Patricia Bay; Port Alberni, BC; Long Beach, BC; Courtney BC and Sidney. He was in Woodstock, Ontario for Combined Operations School of Instruction Jan/43. Promoted to L/Cpl Jan/43.

Earl was recommended for discharge due to his injuries received as a child, burn to left axillary region & arm and also loss of tips of two fingers on right hand in a saw sharpening incident as a young man. Jan.25, 1944 Discharged from #13 District Depot C.A. He received two metals, Canadian Service Medal and The War Medal 1939-45.

Earl returned from the war in 1944, at that time his dad had decided to go deeper into politics and was elected into the legislative assembly as a Social Credit Candidate. Dad had decided to let Earl take over the farming on SE 12 72 3W6.

Nov. 6, 1950 Earl married Myrtle Ford (Thorpe) and with Myrtle’s two son’s Brian (8 years old) and Lynn (6 years) they continued on the farm. Earl put the farm into beef cattle instead of Holsteins his dad had raised. Over the years his herd grew and more summer pasture was needed, it was then they had found pasture across the river, crossing these cows turned into a yearly cattle drive that everyone looked forward to, lots of work preparing before and enroute. Chasing cows, fixing fences, boating calves across the river so the cows would follow and then tubing bulls across without drowning. At the end of the day it was time well spent, lots of laughs and experiences to share.

Earl and Myrt bought more land around their place for hay and pasture. They bought the adjoining quarter to the home place and also NE 7 72 2W6 and SE 7 72 2W6 which is now known as Rio Bend Estates. This was later sold in 1993.

Brian and Lynn enjoyed farm life, it certainly had its ups and downs but lots of stories. In May 1968, Lynn was in a boating accident on the Wapiti river, his body was never recovered and no sign of it was found. This was a terrible blow to the McLaughlin family but the community and family helped them get their crop in that year which they were forever thankful for.

Brian married Colleen (Head) in 1965 and made their home in G.P. they added 3 boys to the family, Brad, Reid and Monty. Brian passed away of ALS in 2015 and Monty was in a terrible car accident and died in 2009. Earl & Myrt lived on the farm until their passing, Earl in 1988 and Myrtle in 1993.

Written by Janet Laverick