Edith Robbins says her family honours her Second World War veteran father

Edith Robbins says her family honours her Second World War veteran father

Remembrance Day a family tradition

Every year members of the Robbins family gather in the graveyard at Esk’et (Alkali Lake) on Remembrance Day to honour Duncan Robbins.

Every year members of the Robbins family gather in the graveyard at Esk’et (Alkali Lake) on Remembrance Day to honour Duncan Robbins.

“He fought overseas in the Second World War,” said Edith Robbins, one of his daughters. “He was a sniper, but he didn’t really talk about his experiences with us.”

The Robbins are a large family and when they gather at the graveyard, they go around and drum and sing at all the veterans’ grave sites.

“There are seven or eight of them from our community buried here,” Edith said. “We place a Canadian flag at each grave too.”

And when poppies go on sale, members of the family purchase one each to place on Duncan’s grave too.

Last year, Edith’s daughter Christine decided to take Remembrance Day one step further.

Using an historical photograph of Duncan in uniform that her uncle Basil has in his possession, she had 200 buttons made up featuring Duncan with the words: “Lest We Forget, Duncan Robbins.”

She sent the buttons home to her mom at Esk’et and 150 of them were distributed.

Christine remembers honouring her grandfather when she was a child.

“Even though I live in Vancouver now, I take my daughter to the Squamish Reserve on Remembrance Day every year. It is something everybody in the Robbins family takes part in,” she said.

When Duncan was alive he would dress up too — in his best leather jacket, she added.

In 2011 a new cenotaph was erected at Esk’et.

Fred Robbins, who was chief at the time, placed a brass plate on the newly-built cenotaph with the names of Duncan Robbins, Mabel Belleau, Tony Harry, Adolph Johnson, Francis and Garnet Squinahan and Charlie Sampson.

Edith said her dad said when he was riding in a jeep one time during the war and the jeep rolled over on him.

“He complained about his legs because the roll bar landed on them. He had a scar on his neck too, but I don’t know what it was from,” she recalled.

According to Veterans Affairs Canada, at least 3,000 status (treaty) Indians—including 72 women—enlisted, as well as an unknown number of Inuit, Métis, and other Natives. The actual numbers were no doubt much higher.

Duncan’s name does appear on an Aboriginal Veterans Honour List. However, other than his band and heritage, and the fact he served in the Second World War, under the heading rank/division/unit and regiment, are the letters “tbd.”

When he returned from the war, Duncan worked building fences on various ranches in the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

“Our family moved around to different areas like the Gang Ranch, Lac La Hache or whatever,” Edith said.

Duncan was born on May 2, 1920 and lived until April 5, 2013.

Just Posted

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

(File photo)
Firearms investigation on Winger Road the result of increased gang activity: RCMP

When police attempted to stop a vehicle, it sped away

Shearwater is located in the Great Bear Rainforest on the West Coast of B.C. (Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association photo)
Heiltsuk Nation buys historic Shearwater Resort and Marina

Chief Marilyn Slett said Heiltsuk Nation has always valued its relationship with the company

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Tinder, an online dating application that allows users to anonymously swipe to like or dislike other’s profiles. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. man granted paternity test to see if Tinder match-up led to a ‘beautiful baby’

The plaintiff is seeking contact with the married woman’s infant who he believes is his child

Most Read