Fallen veteran honoured posthumously

Posthumous Diamond Jubilee Presentation

On 20 July 2012 at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt Wardroom, Commander Maritime Forces Pacific Rear Admiral Bill Truelove presents the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to Dolly Desjarlais, who accepst the award on behalf of her late husband Leonard “Len” Desjarlais.











It was an emotional moment for Dolly Desjarlais July 20 when she accepted the Diamond Jubilee medal on behalf of her husband Leonard.

Only weeks before, Leonard Harry Desjarlais lost his battle with cancer. He was 80 years old.

RAdm Bill Truelove presented the medal to Dolly, Leonard’s wife of 53 years, and Norval, his younger brother, at the Wardroom. 

“Very few Canadians will be honoured with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal, and Leonard deserved it on many levels,” said RAdm Truelove. “With this medal, we are honouring a great leader, a great Canadian, and a great veteran.” 

Leonard served in the 3rd Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry from 1951 until 1964. He fought in the Korean War, most notably during the counterattack at the Battle of the Hook in May of 1953.

After retiring from active service, he became a member of the Korean Veterans Association of Canada and the National Aboriginal Veterans Association. Last April, Leonard escorted a fallen comrade for burial in Korea. It was this dedication to his comrade, his fellow veterans, and the First Nations communities that earned him the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal.

In recognition of Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th year on the throne, the Government of Canada unveiled the Diamond Jubilee medal. The medal recognizes significant contributions by Canadians to their communities.

Leonard is survived by his wife, Dolly, his children Len Jr, Marvin, Michael, and Corinne. He also leaves behind five grandchildren, Morgan, Graham, Isiah, Anna Jean and Kasinda and one great grandchild, Ryder. He is survived by his brothers Norval, Lawrence, Renee, Roy and his sister, Patricia.

Shawn O’Hara, Staff writer

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