The Wik Family
as told by son Henry
Lars was born in Sweden and was a carpenter by trade. He was married and had two daughters, Ena and Fay, before coming to Canda and settling in Melville, Saskatchewan. Two sons, Gus and Henry, were born there. For a time they lived in Camrose, Alberta, where Lars worked in a carpenter shop. A daughter, Betty, was born there. He then got a job at a sawmill in Everett, Washington, for a few years.
Henry was just ten years old when the family _ moved to Kimberley in January, 1924.They lived in a house on the creek, just below the Sullivan Hotel. There was no water in the house so they got it from a stand pipe at the Hotel. Henry's memories of those early days was the way he earned his spending money. He packed beer bottles in barrels for shipment back to the brewery. He would work at the Sullivan or the North Star or the Kimberley Hotel. He would walk all the way up to the Top Mine and collect all the empty bottles around the bunkhouses and haul them all back downtown - anything to make a dime. Harry (Blind) Morrison was one man he worked for, and the kids would marvel at how accurate he was at making change when he couldn't see.
In 1932, he got a job with the C.P.R. around the freight sheds and he can recall shovelling coal for twelve cents a ton. In 1936he got a job underground with the Company.
His father was employed as a carpenter at the Mine and helped build many of the houses on McDougall Townsite, including McDougall Hall. Lars passed away in 1943 while Henry was overseas. His mother lived unti1 1958.
Henry joined the R.A.F. Fighter Squadron and was shot down in August of 1942, during the Dieppe Raid. He was captured and spent thirtytwo months in a German P.O.W. camp, Stalag 8B. He was one of over twelve hundred Canadians in this camp which housed three thousand five hundred prisoners. Fourteen of those months he spent in chains. When the Russians started to invade the territory, he was among the prisoners that marched from January 21st to April 12th. Their feet were wrapped in gunny sacks as their shoes were long gone. The last three months were a farce really. Twelve weeks and one thousand miles later, they met up with an American force, spearhead of General Patton's army. The German guards were so jittery that Henry and some of his buddies made their escape and were rescued by the American Army. This was on the day Franklin D. Roosvelt died. Henry says there must have been millions of people on back roads trying to escape the invasion.
When Henry was just eleven, someone gave him a pair of skis and he would ski all over town. He became very good at it and has trophies to show for his cross-country prowess. He used to spend many hours hiking and fishing around Kimberley. He thought nothing of hiking into Skookumchuck Falls, a distance of about twenty miles, and catching his limit of fish and hiking back out again the same day. It was his excellent physical condition that kept him alive during his internment in the war. He would walk as much as possible and even switch identities with prisoners on work parties to get more exercise. Besides, those on heavy duty work got more rations.
Henry returned to Kimberley in 1945. He did not go back to work for the Company, but bought a timber limit up Matthew Creek and went into the sawmill business, where he worked for the next twenty years.
He married Eva Kerluke from Creston in 1949 and they have seven children, five girls and two boys: Dale, Donald, Carmen, Pam, Douglas, Lise and Corinne.
Ena Wik married Fred Walton who worked for the Company at Riondel. They had no children. Ena passed away in 1968. Fred is retired and living in Victoria. Fay was married in Kimberley, but later moved to Trail and now lives in Vancouver. She had two children. Gus was an electrician at Trail for awhile, then worked for Boeing Aircraft. Most of the time he was a construction worker and moved around a lot. He is now retired and lives in Cranbrook. He married a Vancouver girl and they have five daughters and one son.
Betty was killed in a car accident when she was only seven years old.
Henry sold out his timber limit and retired from heavy work in 1965. He bought a half interest in the Viewpoint apartments in Swan Subdivision.
Henry's daughter, Dale, published an English-Inuit Magazine at Rankin Inlet in the North West Territories and is also connected with a C.B.C. news crew in that area. Her husband teaches school and they have two children.
Donald has a Litho-Printing establishment in Cranbrook. He married Brenda English of Kimberley and they have one son and one daughter.
Carmen married Ron Lancaster of Cranbrook. She is now teaching in a private school in Victoria. Pam works for her brother, Donald, in Cranbrook, as does Douglas. It has grown into a large demanding business.
Lise and Corinne are still attending school.
Henry resides at 100 Johnson Street, a very unique address as it is the only house on that street. It is tucked away at the extreme limit of Upper Blarchmont, and is perched on the hill overlooking Lower Blarchmont. Henry is still a going concern, keeping busy at many things. Fishing he says is not what it used to be.