A convoy of military vehicles commemorating the 70th anniversary of the construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942 made Ashcroft its first stop on 28 July.
The convoy, organized by the Western Command Military Vehicle Historical Society, ill be visiting Legions and communities between now and Aug. 19 as it makes its way towards its ultimate destination of Delta Junction and Fairbanks, Alaska. Along the way, the group aims to raise public awareness and remembrance of our veterans, as well as mark the 70th anniversary of the 2,200 km highway, built in an amazing seven months during the height of World War II.
David Beale, vice president of the WCMVHS, said that the main chapter of the club is in Vancouver, with members all over BC, Alberta, and Washington State. David King, who had traveled from his home near Everett, WA to join the convoy, proudly displayed his 1942 WLA Harley-Davidson motorcycle, complete with vintage ammunition bags for storage, a 48-star American flag, and a machine gun scabbard containing a Browning submachine gun (replica) and World War I trench knife (genuine).
Dwayne McNee of the Lower Mainland is making the journey in his original 1948 Willys Jeep. The Willys Jeep is the iconic vehicle of the Second World War, and McNee described the vehicles as “workhorses”, which could be – and were – modified by the men using them to suit the terrain and climate in which they worked.
Among the other vehicles on display at the Legion were a 1944 field artillery tractor, used for hauling cargo; a 1943 American signal van; and a 1943 C-15 Australian signal truck, which its owners had shipped over here.
From Ashcroft the convoy was going on to Clinton, 100 Mile, Williams Lake, and other Interior cities before arriving in Dawson Creek – Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway – for the official kickoff of the tour on Aug. 4. A much larger U.S. convoy, arranged by the Military Vehicle Preservation Society, will also be departing from Dawson Creek on that day. The WCMVHS tour is sponsored in part by Veterans Affairs Canada and the Royal Canadian Legion.