Red Deer veteran will be in France for D-Day to say his ‘goodbyes’ to Canadians that didn’t make it back

75 anniversary of battle

The last time Red Deer’s Richard Krepps was in France, the country was at war.

Krepps, who goes by Frank, hasn’t been back to France since the Second World War. But on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the central Albertan is in France, as one of the 36 veterans in the Canadian delegation.

For Krepps, D-Day means remembering all the Canadian soldiers that did not make it back.

“In my heart, all of our boys that didn’t come, that’s D-Day for me,” he said. “I’m going over there to say my goodbye.”

During the trip from June 3 to 9, he will participate in several D-Day ceremonies around Paris and Normandy, and visit cemeteries and bridges that the engineer helped build back in the day.

“I’ve always wanted to go there – I have never seen Paris,” he said, adding Holland has also been on his list of places to visit.

The Red Deer veteran is looking forward to attending all the ceremonies, “but it’s when I hit the beach… I lost a lot of my buddies there. It’ll be tough,” he said about his trip.

The Canadian delegates are invited to the Juno Beach Centre for a visit on June 5 and at the ceremony on June 6.

Krepps remembers arriving in Normandy after D-Day because the Germans kept “shelling.”

“We were supposed to be there for D-Day.”

The captain of the convoy ship was scared and docked about four feet in the water, Krepps said in a recent interview. Which means Krepps, a dispatch rider, had to get himself and his motorcycle on to the beach.

Upon docking, Krepps remembers seeing dead bodies and describes the scene “a bloody mess.”

He remembers fighting and losing his buddies and riding his motorcycle alone.

“They called me hell on wheels,” the 96-year-old said with a chuckle, adding he never rode again once he came back to Canada in 1946.

Krepps grew up on a Saskatchewan farm. He enlisted in the army in 1941, as an antidote to the Great Depression. His two brothers and a sister had also decided to serve overseas.

At the time, he was an adventure-seeking 17-year-old who was game for anything. He became a dispatch motorcyclist entrusted to carry important messages for the Royal Canadian Engineers, B Company.

Krepps remembers fighting the Germans for the Caen-Carpiquet Airport in the Normandy region.

“Germans had it, so we took it, but they came back again and they outnumbered us, so they took it, but we fought like hell and took it back again.

“Canadians were good fighters. Our troops were so good nothing could stop us.”

Another Alberta veteran, William Hargen Wilson from High River, is also part of the Canadian delegation. The Winnipeg-born veteran began his military career in December 1942 with the Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve and prepared for duty at sea.

Known during the war as Tug, and later as Captain Bill, he retired from active service in 1979, having reached the rank of captain in the Royal Canadian Navy.



mamta.lulla@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Class of ‘69 recognized

Rimbey and District Oldtimers Association holds 64th reunion

Fun for the whole family

Grand opening for Liberty Hall coming soon

Council approached about changes

Looking at changes to outdoor arena at Rimbey Christian School

Buck Lake/Alder Flats one step close to new fire hall

County of Wetaskiwin council approves purchase of necessary land

Raptors announcer credited with calming massive crowd after shooting

Matt Devlin, the Raptors’ play-by-play announcer since 2008, was praised for preventing panic from spreading

Sexting teens at risk of harms including depression, substance use: study

Use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana were also found to be associated with sexting

Deadline for cabinet to decide future of Trans Mountain expansion is today

International Trade Minister Jim Carr described the decision as ‘very significant’

UPDATE: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Feds announce $50M strategy to fight dementia

Emphasis is on prevention and and supporting caregivers

Federal Liberals’ plan to help first-time homebuyers to kick in weeks before election

Ottawa to pick up 5% of a mortgage on existing homes for households that earn under $120,000 a year

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

Most Read