Spr Samuel E. “Sam” Cole (Ret’d)

    • Sapper Samuel E. “Sam” Cole (Ret’d)
    • RCE Badge circa 1937-52
    • Sapper Samuel E. “Sam” Cole (Ret’d)

    We regret to advise of the death of Sapper Samuel Edward “Sam” Cole, (Ret’d) on 29 July 2013 peacefully at home on the family farm in Edam, SK.

    Sam was born in 1919 in Wheeling, West Virginia, USA but his family soon moved to Edam, SK, a place where he spent most of his 93 years. After leaving school, Sam headed west in 1941 to Vancouver, eventually enlisting when conscription was introduced. He reported for military training at Camp Vernon, BC and was sent to Camp Chilliwack, BC where he learned carpentry. He was then posted to the Services and Works Company in Currie Barracks, Calgary AB. At age 23 he volunteered for active service and was assigned to the 20th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers, arriving in England in April 1944.

    After landing at Normandy, Sam’s unit achieved some considerable recognition with their construction of the famous ‘Monty’ Bailey Bridge at Caen. After supporting the Allied advance through France and Belgium, the 20th Field Company was part of an Allied combined engineer effort of thousands of sappers to support a final drive into Germany. With their bridging, rafting and boat equipment they supported the attacking forces by bridging and rafting of the three rivers that barred the way to Arnhem in The Netherlands. Sam's company involved in Op BERLIN, one of two Canadian Engineer companies (the other being the 23th Field Company), participating in the rescue of trapped Airborne Troops from the Arnhem bridgehead on the nights of 25-27 Sep 44. Later in the war, his company made a heroic assault crossing of the Ems River near Leek, The Netherlands.

    After the war, Sam returned to the farm in Edam. He was an active musician playing with the Sam Cole Orchestra at dances, weddings and New Year's Eve Balls. He put his carpentry skills learned in the army to good use by building the original arena in Edem as well as many area homes. One of his proudest moments was the writing and publishing of the book “Bridging Troubled Waters” about his WW II experiences.

    A funeral will be held at the United Church in Edam with participation from the Royal Canadian Legion Edam Branch #106. Donations may be made to The Lady Minto Health Care Centre in Edam or to a Charity of the Donor’s Choice. {dc/gdJan2016kh}