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.

Just Posted

Firefighters train for ice rescue

Local emergency personnel get hands-on experience at Idlewild Lake.

WATCH: The top stories in Cranbrook this week

Take a look back at the top stories in Cranbrook between Nov. 11-17.

Forecasters promote avalanche safety awareness

Avalanche Canada advising backcountry enthusiasts to get proper training and equipment.

Oil dumped illegally at Tie Lake Transfer Station

The Regional District of East Kootenay is searching for any information in… Continue reading

Blues guitar wizard returning to Cranbrook

Colin James plays the Key City Theatre in March, 2018

Cranbrook boy, 6, creates blankets for kids

Elias Quick feels everyone deserves a fuzzy blankets, especially at Cranbrook Transition House and Alberta Children’s Hospital

Barra MacNeils’ Celtic Christmas touches down in Cranbrook Nov. 28

The Barra MacNeil’s national Christmas tour makes its way from coast to… Continue reading

Christmas Village 2017 in support of United Way EK

For the second year in a row, the Cranbrook Townsman, Kimberley Bulletin and Black Press are hosting a magical Christmas village in support of the community.

B.C. reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

B.C. groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Report sets exercise guidelines for young kids, including ‘tummy time’ for babies

Kids aged one to four should get at least three hours of physical activity throughout the day

Most Read