Vagn Tørbjørn Moller Andersen
24 June , 1926 – 23 June , 2019
VAGN TØRBJØRN MOLLER ANDERSEN
Businessman, stock promoter, hobby gardener, farmer, welder, WW II veteran with the Scottish Paratroop Regiment and resistance fighter with the Danish underground. Spent his early years growing up in Aarhus and Copenhagen as well as Venezuela.
First born of 8 siblings to parents Jens and Katrina. Predeceased by all.
Born 24/6/26, Odder, Denmark.
Prior to WW II, Vagn emigrated with his family and also other Danish family units to Venezuela, South America. He enjoyed his time and life there as he often would reminisce. However, the family returned to Denmark shortly before the start of WW II. The war caused the end of his schooling and education as an apprentice machinist/welder and he joined the Danish Underground Resistance against the invading Germans. As a known resistance fighter, he was hunted by the Gestapo. As a fugitive, his mother, father and other family members were arrested and beaten in the futile attempt to extract information on his whereabouts. Eventually, he was able to escape by small boat (Genoa II) to neutral Sweden and then onto England. He then joined the Scottish Paratroop Regiment known as (First Foot) of the Second Battalion.
Training with the Royal Scots was intense as it involved very high standards for the paratroopers. (* of note…. From an initial group of 3500 volunteers, only 500 men were accepted for paratroop training).
He enlisted 9/5/46 and commenced the difficult training on 16/5/46.
His army # is 14196944.
As described by a British army historian, the training with the Royal Scots was:
“DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE A SPIRIT OF SELF-DISCIPLINE, SELF-RELIANCE AND AGGRESSIVNESS.”
(I am sure this training regimen shaped his future life in many ways.)
While serving with the Royal Scots, he was deployed in Italy (Operation Slapstick) and landed in Taranto. He spent time in Italy and southern France including the Toulon Southern Transit Camp where he underwent more training. He was also deployed on the island of Malta. (he stold stories of the poor flea infested dogs on the island and how they were unhappily thrown into and washed in the salt water of the Mediterranean Sea).
Notably, Vagn rarely mentioned anything regarding his service in the war.
Towards the end of WW II he was hospitalized with an infection at CANTERBURY HOSPITAL in England. It was there that he met a nurse whom was attending to him. Her name was Margaret Thurmann. They later married in 1949. The union produced 3 male children: Oscar, Martin and Clifford.
- Vagn and Margaret lived temporarily in England and then Copenhagen, Denmark where Oscar and Martin were born. Later, Clifford was born in Vancouver, B.C.
In 1956, Margaret, Oscar and Martin Emigrated from Southhampton, England to Canada (Halifax) on board the SS. Stavangerfjord. After disembarking, they travelled by train to Vancouver to be later joined by Vagn. After a long train journey on the Canadian Pacific Railway they arrived in Vancouver on June 15/1955. Nearly penniless, Margaret sent a telegram to V.T.M.A. in Shoreham by Sea England from 1612 Victoria Drive, Vancouver, B.C. “EVERYTHING ALRIGHT, DOLLARS PLEASE.” Not enjoying the life in Canada, they returned to Denmark. However, after a short while, the family re-emigrated back to Canada (this time on the SS. Seven Seas) landing in Montreal. Vagn found work in Vancouver as a machinist/welder repairing commercial fishing boats etc. He told stories of having to endure nasty working conditions in the smelly fish holds and engine rooms. Margaret worked initially at Edith Cavell Hospital as an R.N.
In 1961, the family moved to Yarrow, B.C. and lived on a small farm that was the home of the “BLUE RIBBON HATCHERY” which was a goose/duck hatchery and farm. Vagn supplemented his income as a temporary Yarrow dyke walker (Vedder River) during spring flooding seasons. He also worked temporarily as a transport truck welder. This welding job proved to be monumental for his future career and life. While welding a flat-deck transport, the stand it was on collapsed and crushed Vagn’s hands. This left him unable to do manual work for a long time, and after rehab, he branched out as an (*award winning) life insurance salesman.
This line of work introduced him to many contacts in the Vancouver business community and especially the fledgling Vancouver Stock Exchange. V.S.E.
In 1971, he invested in a newly formed oil and gas exploration company (GIANT REEF) Not long afterwards, while drilling for oil/gas in Grizzly Valley of the Monkman Pass area of B.C., a producing oil/gas well was discovered. This bonanza started his new and profitable career as a V.S.E. Stock promoter. In this line of work, he formed many small mining exploration companies that operated in B.C., Alta, Yukon, N.W.T. and Quebec. One notable success was a gold (sluicing) mine in the Chilcotins of central B.C.
As a businessman, he also branched out into diverse manufacturing ventures in furniture items and also the Alzner orthotic foot arch support. Travelling extensively for work and pleasure, earned him many financial and cultural contacts worldwide. Vagn joined the “VANCOUVER CLUB” (exclusive men’s club) and before his resignation in 2016 was the longest running member of the club.
As an occasional hobby, Vagn enjoyed fishing for Salmon/Halibut/Cod with his favourite guide who operated out of Bamfield on Vancouver Island. Vagn enjoyed classical literature, music and art.
Vagn was generous to family and friends and *the Evangelist Billy Graham, as well as Saint Mother Teresa of the Sisters of Charity in Calcutta. While not overtly religious, he was a perennially generous contributor to the Billy Graham Crusades, to the point of receiving personal correspondence from Billy Graham. He also received a letter of recognition from Saint Mother Teresa regarding the generous contributions he had made throughout the years.
A funny story comes to mind from Vagn’s time. As a farmer in the small religious community of Yarrow, B.C.:
- One day, a local Yarrow Minister visited the family home. The Minister knew Margaret Andersen as a regular parishioner of the Alliance Church. The Minister spoke with Vagn and remarked that he had not seen him at Sunday Services. Vagn replied that he did not go to church because “I cannot understand the Bible and all the big words in it” Some days later the same Minister returned carrying a large book. He presented it to Vagn. It was a “Children’s Bible” complete with colour pictorial Biblical Scenes. - This Ministerial act of generosity and faith did not however cause Vagn to attend church services…. LOL
While not occupied in his business ventures, Vagn enjoyed gardening and (with the expert Horticultural assistance of Mr. Berry Belec) developed and planted at his home in South Surrey, a find ½ acre garden with many interesting trees, shrubs and perennial plantings before being robbed of his physical and mental health.
Vagn’s last years were spent gardening, family dinners and enjoying his 4 grandchildren. (Cade, Wyatt, Michael and Peter) and two great-grandchildren (Chase and Brooks).
Vagn Tørbjørn Moller Andersen
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27 June 2019
I am thinking of your family during this difficult time. My most vivid memory of Vagn is touring his wonderful garden. As an avid gardener myself, I was so impressed with the plant collection and design. I also was blown away by his collection of Galle glass. He very kindly took the time to give me an assessment of a tiny bud vase I own that was in my grandmother’s possessions. He and Margaret were always gracious hosts, including the time we called them on the spur of the moment when we happened to be in Vancouver with our two young children!