Lance Corporal Hector Leonard Waite

Lance Corporal Hector Leonard Waite

Hec Waite returns home to Youbou from World War II

one of the first Youbou causalities to be sent home from fighting fronts during WWII

In June 1944 the Industrial Timber Mill (ITM) at Youbou began publication of a monthly newsletter called the ITM Bulletin. It was sent to every employee including former employees who were in the Canadian Armed Forces.

The publication was presented in a professional style and covered interesting articles about the mill, the people who worked there as well as news about the community of Youbou and its residents. It occasionally featured stories of the Cowichan Lake area. During WWII, it made a special point of including any and all news and information of the many local men and women who were serving their country, at home and overseas.

When British Columbia Forest Products took over the mill in 1946, the bulletin name was changed to UBO Bulletin. For 12 years these important recordings of local history continued until its last edition in May 1952. Today they are considered one of the main (and best) sources of Youbou’s recorded history. The following articles are all excerpts from the Bulletin.

It was reported that “Youbou resident Hector Waite, former ITM employee and our first returning war casualty, returned (to Canada) in January 1945. He was expected (to be ready to go) home from Shaughnessy Military Hospital in Vancouver about May 1. Mrs. Waite informs us now that her husband is able to get around in a wheel chair and that he is looking forward to taking his 30-day disembarkation leave sometime in the near future.

The Bulletin further reported “When hospital ship Lady Nelson docked in Halifax the third week in June, a large number of war causalities had arrived back in Canada. Among these were 37 men from points in B.C. One of these men was Hector ‘Hec’ Waite of Youbou. On hand to greet him on his arrival in Vancouver was Mrs. Waite.”

“Waite was one of the first Youbou causalities to be sent home from fighting fronts during WWII. Wounded in action in France on August 28, 1944, he was sent to No2 Canadian General Hospital in England for treatment. On arrival in Vancouver he was transferred to Shaughnessy Military Hospital to have a cast removed from an injured limb.”

Hec Waite eventually returned home to Youbou where his wife was waiting for him. The Waites, who lived in Youbou for the rest of their lives, had several children including daughters (the late) Andrea Bates and Jeanette Lundgren.

The following words are the heartfelt thoughts and feelings of Jeanette Lundgren:

“Lance Corporal Hector Leonard Waite (rifleman), was born May 10, 1916 and died November 21, 1995. He was wounded in France and returned home via Red Cross ship and train.

“While Dad chose never to speak about the war, I can only imagine how terrifying it must have been. . . then to be wounded and returned home in a body cast on a ship that could have been bombed. We are so proud of him and all the veterans who sacrificed everything to bring peace and freedom to us all. Thank you and  rest in peace Dad.”