PORT BLANDFORD, N.L. — Sid Matthews hammered in the very first nail during construction of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 48 in Port Blandford — and he sold the very first beer the moment the bar had opened inside.
Korean War veteran L Cpl Matthews helped start the legion in the community and has been a dedicated member for over 60 years.
In an interview with The Packet, Matthews — who will be 90 years old in February — says he loved being involved, working tirelessly for his legion.
Returning from Korea in the early 50s, Matthews, a Gambo native, settled with his wife Edith in her hometown.
They even held their wedding reception in the legion hall he helped build in 1955.
Regarding his time in Korea, Matthews says he doesn’t like to talk much about his service — however, it doesn’t bother him. He was in the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) while in Korea.
He remarks his two years spent in Germany for training following the war were very pleasant.
“I loved to see the beautiful scenery, and loved to hear the people talk,” he says. “I (would’ve) loved to go there and live there.”
But once back in Port Blandford, Matthews turned his devotion to the legion — never missing a meeting or something to be done. He was the president for many years. Edith was the president of the ladies auxiliary.
“I was involved in the legion in every way,” he says with a smile.
Today, he is the only living veteran of active duty at the Port Blandford branch, with associate and second generation members.
In 2018, Port Blandford erected a new monument which included names of veterans who served in the Korean conflict. Matthews was at the service to unveil the monument.
“They’ve done a wonderful job with that,” he says.
“I think the world of Port Blandford.”
The legion is a centre for activity, and gives back to the community by offering available hall space for events.
Matthews is proud the legion still going strong.
“I wanted everybody to come there and I couldn’t get enough of people (coming there)," he said. "It makes me proud”