Patterson, Earl Thomas

Regimental Number: M67466
Rank: Bandsman

Earl, born on May 31, 1918 at Clairmont (Alberta), was the middle child in Ott and Ruby (nee Witherly) Patterson’s family of three children; he had an older brother, Arthur and a younger brother Neil. Earl’s parents were originally from Washington, USA and settled in an area of Bezanson known as Glen Leslie. Earl attended the Somme School where he completed Grade 10 in 1933. From 1933 to 1942, Earl worked on his father’s farm.

In January 1941, Earl enrolled in a 30-day training course at Grande Prairie with the Non-Permanent Active Militia (NPAM). On August 1, 1941, Earl married Charlotte Rush from the Fitzsimmons District. A son, Wayne was born in 1942 followed by another son Robert in 1944.

On February 3, 1942, Earl enlisted with the Royal Canadian Army at Grande Prairie. He was transferred to Edmonton for basic training. Earl was then sent to the Royal Canadian Engineers Training Centre (RCETC) at Chilliwack where he remained until being transferred to Windsor, Nova Scotia in preparation for embarking for the United Kingdom which occurred on September 10, 1943. Upon his arrival, he qualified as a Bandsman, Group “C” with the CERU (Canadian Engineer Reinforcement Unit). He was posted Italy in February 1944 where he remained until November at which time, he was sent back to the UK. On February 2, 1945, Earl was transferred to NW Europe. Bandsman Earl Thomas Patterson served in Canada, the United Kingdom, the Central Mediterranean Area and Continental Europe and received the 1939-45 Star, Italy Star, France-Germany Star, Defence of Britain Medal and the Canadian Volunteer Medal & Clasp. He was discharged on demobilization on December 6, 1945 at Calgary.

When Earl arrived back in Glen Leslie, he bought his first farm (NW 31-71-3-W6) in the area. The family lived on the farm for several years before Earl decided to seek employment with oil companies and moved his family to Grande Prairie. He continued to operate the farm and worked for Johnson Testers for 11 years. In 1970, the Patterson’s sold their home in Grande Prairie and built a new home on the farm. Earl purchased more land and continued to work in the oil industry.

Earl was very musical and had his own dance band for 15 years. Not only did he play the saxophone but the trumpet and clarinet as well. Charlotte and Earl eventually divorced with Charlotte remaining on the farm and Earl moved to Mayerthorpe. In his retirement, Earl and two others played for the seniors in the area who thoroughly enjoyed the music. One of Earl’s favorite songs was “In The Mood”.

Earl passed away on May 30, 2003 and was buried at the Glen Leslie Cemetery.

Contributed by Wanda Zenner

Service File
Smoky River to Grande Prairie
Interview with Wayne Patterson – son