Two central Alberta veterans who landed on the Normandy beaches on D-Day and fought throughout Europe have passed away.
Red Deer’s Richard Franklin “Frank” Krepps, 98, passed away on June 25 and Joseph Harold Young passed away on July 7.
Krepps told the Advocate in 2018 he left Canada to serve overseas in 1941 and fought throughout France, Holland Germany. He was only 17 years old when he joined up, having lied about his age.
The Saskatchewan-born man was a motorcycle dispatch rider who delivered orders for the Royal Canadian Engineers and landed on D-Day.
“I was scared, I was alone. I had the loneliest job there was,” he told the Advocate.
On one of his missions, he was hit in the eye by shrapnel and woke up in a British hospital, not having any idea how he got there.
At the time of his passing, Krepps was the oldest surviving D-Day dispatch rider.
A celebration of Krepps’ life attended by an honour guard will take place on Friday at 2 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion’s Red Deer branch.
Krepps, who had two sons and a daughter and was predeceased by his wife Eleanor, will be buried in his birthplace in Brock, Sask. on July 25.
Young, 102, enlisted in 1941. A farm boy from near Carrot River, Sask. he was lured by the promise of adventure.
“I’d never been anywhere, never seen anything,” he told the Advocate in April 2019, shortly before celebrating his 100th birthday.
He and his pals enlisted in the 8th Reconnaissance Regiment of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division and landed in France on D-Day.
“They told us it was the suicide outfit,” recalled Young, who lived in Red Deer.
The soldiers’ main mission was to seek out enemy units and report back on their positions and their strength. They mostly travelled in armoured cars and other light armoured vehicles.
That was a big part of the attraction for Young and his friends. “We thought there wouldn’t be as much walking, you see.”
During the war, Young was badly injured by shrapnel in his back and spent six months recuperating.
Young was married for more than 70 years and had 11 children, 31 grandchildren and 42 great grandchildren. A celebration of his life was held at CrossRoads Church on Wednesday.