JOHN ARENDT                                MEMORIES                                Kyle Smith and Karen Smith show Charlie Bernhardt of Summerland a book they compiled, detailing Bernhardt’s time in the military in Europe during World War II.

JOHN ARENDT MEMORIES Kyle Smith and Karen Smith show Charlie Bernhardt of Summerland a book they compiled, detailing Bernhardt’s time in the military in Europe during World War II.

Bracelet returned to B.C. WWII veteran after 73 years

Summerland’s Charlie Bernhardt traded his silver bracelet for food during winter of 1944 to 1945

In the winter of 1944 to 1945, while he was stationed in the Netherlands, Charlie Bernhardt traded a silver bracelet for some eggs and milk.

He gave the bracelet to Bernadina Cornelia Wijers (now Smith,) in Hoog-Keepel. She was 11 at the time.

On Friday, her daughter and grandson traveled to Summerland to return the bracelet to Bernhardt, while she watched via Skype.

It was an emotional moment for Bernhardt, now 96, as he was presented with the bracelet.

“After 73 years, it’s back in these hands,” he said. “And to think you people kept it all this time.”

The family also gave Bernhardt a book they had compiled, detailing his time in Europe during World War II.

The bracelet had been given to Bernhardt by a woman named Daphne, who he met in London in 1944.

The Wijers family moved to the United States in 1948 and eventually moved to Oregon.

In the 1980s, Bernadina’s daughter Karen Smith and her husband found the silver bracelet and tried to find Bernhardt.

The bracelet was inscribed with K37476 Chuck Bernhart, a misspelling of Bernhardt’s last name.

During this summer, Bernadiina’s grandson Kyle Smith worked to find more information about the bracelet.

Using the services of a Canadian military website, he learned Bernhardt was living just 877 kilometres from the family.

Kyle Smith sent Bernhardt a letter and a picture of the bracelet, asking if it belonged to him.

Bernhardt said his time in the Netherlands during World War II gave him an appreciation for the people there.

“The Dutch people strike me as being different,” he said. “They believe in doing things well.”

He added that the return of the bracelet was another example of this character.

 

JOHN ARENDT                                BRACELET RETURNED                                Charlie Bernhardt shows the bracelet which was returned to him after 73 years. In the winter of 1944 to 1945, while stationed in the Netherlands, he had traded the bracelet for food.

JOHN ARENDT BRACELET RETURNED Charlie Bernhardt shows the bracelet which was returned to him after 73 years. In the winter of 1944 to 1945, while stationed in the Netherlands, he had traded the bracelet for food.

Just Posted

Seafest is underway with a sunfest theme from June 11 to 13 in Prince Rupert. Alex Hoogendorn vice president of Prince Rupert Special Events is creating sunny times making feature for the decorating contest with his son Caleb Hoogendorn on June 4. (K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Seafest 44 plans a sunfest June 11 to 13 in Prince Rupert

All events in festival are COVID-19 safe, social distancing and health protocols approved by N.H.A.

Relay for Life will be held virtually on June 12. Donations and registered teams are decreased in numbers this year, but there is still time to register. Cancer survivors, Isaac Mastroianni and his dad Mark Mastroianni, wear their Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life survivors shirts. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
A lifeline for many, Relay for Life now needs community support

Prince Rupert is one of just four cities in B.C. with teams registered the June 12 event

Coho is one of many fish species that will benefit from a project to assess fish passage in the Falls River Watershed and offer options for improved connectivity and habitat restoration. The project will be delivered with funding from the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program announced on June 8. (Photo: supplied by FWCP, istock, M.Haring)
More than $2.1 million for Northcoast fish and wildlife projects

Falls River Watershed SE of Prince Rupert to have fish passage and habitat study

Taylor Bachrach, NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley addresses Parliament on June 7, in call for the federal government to stop fighting Indigenous children in court and to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action. (Image: supplied from Facebook)
NDP motion calling for immediate reconciliation action passes

Skeena-Bulkley MP Taylor Bachrach addresses federal Parliament

Salmon Arm ICBC Service centre. Lachlan Labere/ Salmon Arm Observer
Backlog: New drivers travel from as far as Prince Rupert for road test in Salmon Arm

Salmon Arm man unable to get his road test until late November in Kelowna

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read