Terrace B.C. Second World War veteran passes away

Sandy Sandhals was one of four vets here who won the French government's highest honour for his role in D-Day and the Battle of Normandy


The city has lost a veteran who recently won an award for his role in France on D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.

Widar (Sandy) Sandhals, 93, died Jan. 4.

In 2014, he received the French government’s highest honour The National Order of the Legion of Honour for his involvement in the battles and military operations of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy to commemorate the 70th anniversary of those events between June 6 and August 31, 1944.

Sandhals was born in 1922, the middle of seven children, and immigrated to Canada from Norway with his family when he was two-years-old.

They lived in Port Essington and his father had a gill netting boat and fished on the Skeena.

Sandhals worked on fishing boats as far north as Alaska, loved to hunt and fish, and purchased an ocean boat to fish with his family out of Kitimat.

During the Second World War, Sandhals was posted with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders and landed on Juno Beach in Normandy in the last week of June 1944.

He was wounded by shrapnel in the upper thigh and was involved in fighting at Caen and Tilly-la-Campagne.

At Tilly, he was captured and was a prisoner of war for nine months.

He received the 39/45 Star, France-Germany Star, volunteer service with clasp, George VI Great Britain.

After the war, he got his diesel engineer ticket at BCIT and worked on an Imperial Oil tanker that ran from Vancouver to Prince Rupert for six years.

He was chief engineer at the Terrace power plant until Kemano was online and the plant was no longer needed.

Hydro sent him to Sandspit, Duncan, Fort. St. John and then to Terrace where he worked as district manager and area manager until he retired at age 65.

Sandhals was on the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine board for two terms and also served on the hospital board and the library board.

He was president of the Co-op for 20 years until it closed, a member of the legion and the first president of the Lakelse Association.

Mary Ann Misfeldt of the local legion said he and his service to the country will not be forgotten.

I am honoured to have known a gentleman like Mr. Sandhals. He was a quiet man who never ever blew his own horn but there was about him an aura of strength, honour and gentility,” she said.

His service to Canada will never be forgotten nor will his caring for family and friends.”

His family said he had a terrific sense of humour and always was kind and thoughtful, a true gentleman who loved and was proud of his family.

Sandhals was married to his wife Jo for 63 years and they have three children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

There was no service as per his request.