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Veteran of WW2 Italian Campaign honoured with Regimental coin

Posted: November 5, 2019

Veteran of WW2 Italian Campaign honoured with Regimental coin

 Marshall with Major Roy Van Den Berg during the presentation of the
Hastings Prince Edward Regiment Regimental coin, and below with Dartnell.
Ninety-seven-year-old Orval Marshall received a Regimental Coin from Major Roy Van Den Berg, Commanding Officer of the Hastings Prince Edward Regiment, this past summer for his service in the Italian Campaign during the Second World War.
It was a chance meeting at the Henderson 215 Legion that made the presentation ceremony possible and alerted the Hasty P's, as the Regiment is fondly called, to Marshall's very existence.
Paul Dartnell, who coordinated the Legion's Wall of Remembrance, had worked on a display of the Italian Campaign as part of the Honour and Remembrance series.  One Saturday, he noticed Legion member Orval Stephanson and another gentlemen looking at the display.
Dartnell, a former police officer, was curious why Stephanson's friend, who Dartnell did not know, was so fixated on the display.
"This gentleman is watching the movies and looking at the memorabilia with great interest.  So I went over to Orval Stephanson and said 'why is he so interested in this'?  And Orval said to me, 'because he was there'," Dartnell said during the presentation of the Regimental coin.
A 2010 newspaper article from the Belleville Times said the Hastings Regiment was rededicated a monument and the last two survivors from the campaign would be present.  Orval Marshall was not one of the two pictured, so Dartnell set about righting a wrong.
He contacted the Regiment and told them about Marshall and after a couple days they got back to him and thanked him for bringing Marshall to their attention.
It was an emotional presentation for Dartnell, who got choked up a couple of times while talking about his new friend who served his country all those years ago and was about to receive a long-overdue award.
"Normandy was big, Europe was big, but the Italian Campaign was not as well known by Canadians," Dartnell said.
Major Van Den Berg made his way to Manitoba to present Marshall with the Regimental coin, and he too was emotional.
"I just want to say that this is incredibly important to meet a member of my family, we're not related by blood but we're related by service.  And it's incredibly important as with all our families that we know where we come from.  Our family doesn't just grow because one person does something.  It is a group effort", he said.
Van Den Berg said the Hastings Regiment is what's known as a county regiment, meaning its members came from six counties, and were mostly farmers and trades people who volunteered their services to defend their country.
"Over the span of the Second World War, 2,000 volunteers were raised from ... the six counties they grew from and they fought incredibly hard through the Italian Campaign and through Northwest Europe, accumulating more battle honours than any other Canadian regiment in the Second World War," Van Den Berg said.
Marshall was humble in his acceptance of the Regimental coin, and thanked Dartnell and everyone involved in arranging the honour.
Van Den Berg too was thankful for Dartnell's actions, saying the Hasty P's were "incredibly excited", to learn of a third Italian Campaign survivor.  He said it was men like Orval who built the regiment's reputation and presenting the coin was significant to each and every member.
"It was something that was important for us to do ... our motto is 'once a Hasty P always a Hasty P'".


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