On November 8, 2020, Indigenous Veterans Day, the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian War Museum honoured the service of Indigenous Veteran Mr. Philip Favel. As part of the ceremony, a portrait of Mr. Favel, entitled Normandy Warrior and painted by Ottawa-based artist Elaine Goble, was unveiled at the Canadian War Museum. Normandy Warrior was generously donated by the artist to the Museum.
At the age of 20, in May 1942, Mr. Favel joined the Canadian Army and chose to serve with the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (RCASC). He conducted his basic training with the No. 121 Canadian Army Training Centre in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan before completing his trades training as a driver.
Mr. Favel served overseas from August 1943 to July 1945, training in England before being sent to France for the Normandy invasion. As a member of the RCASC, Mr. Favel was part of an organization that was responsible for holding, moving, and issuing supplies to the fighting troops. As a driver for the 3rd Division and the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade, he frequently went to and from the front lines to supply the troops with ammunitions and gas. Mr. Favel also served in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
According to numerous accounts of one supply run, his truck’s windshield was hit and smashed but Mr. Favel never stopped or turned back. He always stayed focused on the task at hand. Mr. Favel earned the French Legion of Honor Medal for not only helping an injured person but also for taking care of two children while on task.
After the Second World War and his release from the military in 1945, and for the remainder of his life, Mr. Favel advocated for Indigenous Veterans, who were excluded from the benefits that non-First Nations veterans received after the war.
Mr. Favel died at the age of 98 on January 31, 2021 in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. He is survived by his daughters Bernadette (Favel) Fineday, Juliette Favel, daughter-in-law Mary Favel, numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.