Tangen, Bjarne

Regiment:  8 Canadian Reconnaissance Regiment

Regimental No:  M-103802

Rank:  Lance Corporal

Force:  Royal Canadian Armoured Corp/Canadian Active Service Force

Bjarne met Mary I. Harrison in 1942 on a train headed to Edinburgh.  He was 20 and on leave at the time, and she was 16, travelling to the Scottish city for a vacation with her parents, Thomas and Frieda Harrison. They talked and exchanged addresses and then started writing to each other.  Mary grew up in Northern England and he visited her home in North Shields every leave thereafter.

Bjarne was a wireless operator and was away in France and Germany fighting, and only granted leave every three months.  Bjarne served from 1942 – 1946 and was awarded the Bronze Cross conferred by the Queen of the Netherlands. At the end of the war, Mary didn’t even know if her fiancé was alive as he was part of the D-Day invasion and had been gone nearly a year in the final assault on Germany.  She wrote his mother in Canada, desperate for news, and was relieved to hear he was still alive.  Following the war, Bjarne returned to England. They married on September 1, 1945 and moved to Canada to settle in the Peace Country.

They did not leave for Canada together.  Due to post-war travel restrictions, Bjarne left on a troop ship in November 1945, and Mary came the following summer along with 1,000 other war brides on a luxury liner sponsored by the Canadian government.  The trip across the Atlantic to Halifax took seven days.  Mary then boarded a train to Edmonton, thinking the trip would only take a few hours, but was surprised and upset to find it would take much longer.  She was very impressed with the vastness of the country.  The couple eventually settled on a farm near Hythe, Alberta, where Bjarne was from, and where Mary got her first taste of hockey and rodeo.

Bjarne parents were Olga Nikelina and Olaf Olsen Tangen, from Bardufos, Norway, who married on October 6, 1921 and immigrated to Canada departing Liverpool, England aboard the ship Metagama and arriving in Montreal on July 30, 1927.  They came to the Peace Country with sons Ottar Bjarne, born June 6, 1922 in Malselv, Norway, and John (Jan) born ca. 1924 in Norway.

Bjarne’s siblings included brother, John (Verona Andrews), and sisters, Ruth (Henry) Langerud, Helen (George) Langerud (the first baby born in the district of Poplar Hill), Emma (Robert) McKinnon, and Margaret (Henrick) Solheim.  Olaf filed on NE10-73-9-W6 and ultimately moved into Hythe.  John filed on NW28-74-10-W6.

Bjarne and Mary had four children: George (Coleen Schofield, Dianne Clark), Allan (who died as an infant), Susan (Ron) Babiuk, and Esther (Sonny) Craig.

Bjarne passed away on November 16, 1996 and Mary on March 6, 2008 and both are interred in the Hythe Cemetery.

Source:  Surname Database file, Community Book Pioneer Round-Up Volume II, Peace River Country Land Settlement Database, Ancestry’s Obituary Index, Military Record, Passenger Lists.