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

VIDEO: Olympic medalist teaches swimming in Hope

Brent Hayden fondly remembers local swim meet from his youth

VIDEO: LEGO fundraiser builds playground purse

Inspired families built LEGO creations, helped Silver Creek build playground

PHOTOS: 100 years and counting for Boston Bar school

Boston Bar Elementary-Secondary School celebrates Centennial with a bang

Sunshine Valley songbird releases EP

Fifteen-year-old Ashley Pater has been singing and performing since age 9

Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for Agassiz-based SAR team

Eight-metre Spirit of Harrison rescue vessel was stolen Friday night, found Saturday morning

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Pro-Trump protest sign with F-word is OK, court rules

Judges say Ontario man can protest publicly, even using vulgar language

Chilliwack’s Spirit Abreast team searching for new paddlers

As dragon boat season approaches, breast-cancer-focused team holds annual meet and greet

Body of missing Australian woman found in Whistler lake

RCMP say they do not suspect foul play in Allison Raspa’s death

VIDEO: Police officer looking for distracted drivers gets hit by truck

Road safety investigator clipped by trailer while patrolling busy intersection

YVR wants you to help name three new puppies

Say hello to the Vancouver Airport’s new assistance pups

COLUMN: Fundraiser helps Abbotsford family fulfill $100K goal for BC Children’s Hospital

Five years after setting their goal, Team Miracle Maya surpasses their target

Speculation tax causing concern at Cultus Lake, Harrison Hot Springs

Recreational property owners face hefty bill for 2019 for what some call a ‘wealth’ tax

Suspect who attacked autistic man in Ontario could be from B.C.’s south coast: police

29-year-old man was sent to hospital with serious injuries

Most Read