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Royal Canadian Legion Hall- Erickson.

ROYAL CANADIAN LEGION ERICKSON BRANCH NO. 143

History by Jocelyne Steele Photography collection by R.H. Bob Kingdon

The Canadian Legion Erickson Branch of the British Empire Service League, was formed in 1939, and received their Charter on June 29th of that year. Charter members were Cdes. Wm. Taylor, Nels Bergstrom, W.D. McKay, R.S. Chaple, G.W. Bruce, E.W. Miller, E.C. Weston, Knut Peterson, Harold Taylor, T.P. Chambers, T.H. Simpson, R.J. McKenzie, W. Miller, Dr. E.J. Rutledge and Neil McKinnon.

Cde. W. Taylor was President and Cdes. R.J.

McKenzie was Secretary-Treasurer for the first seven years. Other first year members were Cdes. Wm. English, A. English, V. Sanderson, Dan Wallstrom, T. Holmlund, W.E. Turner, R.G. Fletcher, W. Parker, F. Johnstone and Robert Brandon. Cde. T. Holmlund is a Life Member of this branch and he and his wife Amanda reside in the Parkland Home. Membership fees were $2.00 then and per capita tax was .45<1:. On Friday Oc­ tober 27th the first joint meeting with the Ladies Auxiliary was held, with the ladies providing lunch. J .A. Sogren made the frame for the charter. Donations were made to the Red Cross to buy blankets, and to an am­ bulance fund, also to the local restroom.

On November lIth, 1940, members of the Legion of the Erickson district held their first church parade to the Lutheran church. Visitors were present from Crawford Park, Wasagaming, Onanole, Sandy Lake, Rackham, Hilltop, Scandinavia, Clanwilliam, Rapid City and Minnedosa. About one hundred persons, Legion members and their wives marched in body from the hall to the church, where Rev. Richard Odelberg took charge of the service. (Taken from Minnedosa Tribune).

During the war years barn dances, teas, picnics etc. were held to supply money to buy articles for boxes for the boys overseas, ably assisted by the Ladies Auxiliary. In 1941, a Remembrance Day Service was held by Rev. Thomas Payne. Christmas parcels were sent to service men. The rent paid for dances held in Scandia Hall was $6.00.

The first correspondence in regard to rehabilitation of returned men was received in 1942. Delegates expenses to

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the Dominion Convention in Winnipeg amounted to $25.00. The first appeals for help for ex-servicemen came from Cdes. Allen Roy Sigurdson and Archie Canada.

A motion was made that any members who owned a Legion badge and cap and not wearing them at meetings would be fined .05<1:, the money to be used to buy cigarettes for the boys overseas. Olav Olson made a flag staff for the branch that year.

In 1943, Lloyd Hemmingson joined the branch, the first veteran of World War 2 to do so. Pilot Off. Fred Wickstrom, Pte. Mike Kozak, Pte. W.E. O'Brien, and Sgt. O. Haralson were reported killed in action.

In 1944 some veterans were coming home and the Legion helped them get re-established in civilian life. In 1944, seventeen new members joined the Legion.

On August 14, 1945, citizens of Erickson and District turned out in masses to the "Welcome Home" social held in the community hall in honor of fifty local servicemen recently returned to the district. Mr. E.L. Johnson, President of the Erickson Rehabilitation Committee assisted by Mrs. R.J. McKenzie and Mrs. Val Bizco presented each of the guests of honor with a small token of appreciation from the community. The "Welcome Home" address was delivered by Dr. E.J. Rutledge, M.L.A.

Since the social fell on V.J. day, a monster bonfire was built on the street close to the hall and following lunch the party gathered around the blazing fire. The evening concluded with a dance with music provided by Mutter's Melody Makers.

On October 14, 1945, guests of honor at Erickson's Second Welcome Home, 41 veterans met in the Lutheran Church, where they were presented with monogrammed wallets and welcome home certificates. Addresses were heard from Dr. Rutledge and Rev. C. Sevig. Again on December 26, 1945, a welcome home in the form of a whist drive and dance was held for 50 more returned personnel who received wallets and certificates. R.J. McKenzie gave the address of welcome and made the presentations assisted by Mrs. Val Bizco and Mrs. L. Miller. (Taken from Minnedosa Tribune).

In 1946 the members started discussing the building of a Legion Hall. It was decided to get a permit from the Park to take out 12,000 feet of lumber, at a cost of $15,000 per 1,000 feet. This was done but the lumber was later sold to members W.T. Turner, J. Cutter (J.C. Farm Machine) and to the Elphinstone Legion.

A motion was made to change the meeting date to the first Tuesday of the month, which is still in effect. A decision was made to look into buying the Hostel from the Park, at a cost of $300.00. The hostel was officially opened June 15th, 1943, and for three summers it was used by service men and women from many Allied countries. Legion and Auxiliary members from Crawford Park, Onanole and Erickson were hosts and hostesses there.

The main part of the building was moved on to the property on Main Street, purchased by the Branch. Mrs. O'Neill of Onanole bought one wing and Mr. Doan the other. Cdes. W. Miller and P. Vaughan loaned the Branch the money to buy the building, the cheque was sent to War Services March 22nd, and the loan was paid