Newest ‘Heritage Minute’ features BC couple who met on VE Day

Newest 'Heritage Minute' features BC couple who met on VE Day
WatchWilfred and Margriet Gildersleeve met on May 8, 1945, and ended up married for 55 years. Their daughter, one of eight children, lives in Comox and thinks the short film that was released Tuesday is a perfect tribute.

Juliana Leahy of Comox has already watched the newest “Heritage Minute” numerous times, but she still shakes her head every time.

She says it’s like watching her parents back then in real-time.

“Every single time it just gets more powerful,” said Leahy. “I just think the depth of the enormity of what actually happened just sinks in deeper and deeper.”

Heritage Minutes, by Historica Canada, are the iconic Canadian film shorts that relive Canadian history and this time it features the story of Leahy’s parents who met after the Netherlands was liberated.

Wilfred Gildersleeve was a Canadian soldier and Margriet Blaisse was a 21-year-old Dutch woman who went out to thank the Canadian men as they came into Amsterdam.

“My mom begged her dad to let her go and meet some of these Canadians and so he was very reluctant but he finally relented,” said Leahy. “They were definitely smitten.”

May 8th, 1945 was Victory in Europe Day. V-E Day. It was the spring of 1945 and the couple married a year later.

He was from New Westminster and they moved to West Vancouver where they raised eight children.

Wilfred and Margriet Gildersleeve were married for 55 years before they both died in 2001.

There were about 1,900 other couples who met as they did at the end of the war.

“Great things can come from horror. There’s beauty in the dark. I think they would be very proud of this moment,” added Leahy.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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