Island vet receives French Legion of Honour medal

SAULT STE. MARIE—Kenneth Hocken, formerly of Swift Current, was presented with the French Legion of Honour medal earlier this month at a special ceremony held at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 in Sault Ste. Marie (where he now resides) for his part in liberating France in WWII over 70 years ago.

“I am very honoured,” Mr. Hocken told The Expositor last week. “It brought up a lot of memories—memories of what I went through and what I saw in France. It means a lot that they (the French) gave me this award.”

The 91-year-old explained that he served as a tank driver with the Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment, a Canadian armored unit.

“I started off servicing the tanks,” said Mr. Hocken. “Eventually I began driving.”

Born in Parry Sound, Mr. Hocken moved to Swift Current as a boy, attending school in Little Current and eventually working at his father’s Swift Current mill.

After the war, Mr. Hocken moved to the Sault and married his wife Dora (nee Ferguson).

“We were pretty excited when we learned Ken would be getting this award,” shared Dora. “The French embassy wanted to send someone, but couldn’t. It was such a huge honour and Ed Pigeau, the Royal Canadian Legion Dominion vice-president, presented the medal and there was a very nice ceremony.”

Mr. and Mrs. Hocken were joined by their large family of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren for the medal presentation.