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Lest We Forget a publication of

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VIRTUAL 102 YEAR REMEMBRANCE DAY SERVICE Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 59 Moose Jaw 1919-2020 by Invitation ONLY

Service Conducted by Padre Rev Ron Cairns CD (Chaplin, Branch 59) 10:45 10:47

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NATIONAL ANTHEM Invocation: Padre Rev Ron Cairns CD (Chaplin, Branch 59) Message: Captain Linda Tomlinson-Seebach CD (Chaplin, Sask Dragoons) Scripture: Padre Rev Ron Cairns CD Prayers: Padre Rev Ron Cairns CD Last Post: Capt (Ret’d) Rick Elmer CD Moment of Silence - Lament: Piper Michelle Gallagher Rouse: Capt (Ret’d) Rick Elmer CD Act of Remembrance: Padre Rev Ron Cairns CD LAYING OF OFFICIAL WREATHS

Widows and children of Veterans - Memorial (Silver) Cross Recipient Government of Canada Government of Saskatchewan City of Moose Jaw Canadian Armed Forces The Saskatchewan Dragoons Royal Canadian Mounted Police Veterans of Moose Jaw & District BENEDICTION Padre Rev Ron Cairns CD ROYAL ANTHEM DEPARTURE OF COLOURS & GUESTS

This year’s service will be broadcast on YouTube on the Moose Jaw Funeral Home website www.moosejawfuneralhome.com/webcast/ And live-streamed on the Moose Jaw Legion’s Facebook page at ROYAL CANADIAN LEGION - Branch 59 Moose Jaw



Since the pandemic is unlikely to be finished by November, Moose Jaw’s legion Branch No. 59 plans to hold a scaled-down Remembrance Day service that will be broadcast online. In normal times about 4,500 people would pack into Mosaic Place on Nov. 11 to honour veterans and those men who died while serving their country. This year, however, about 25 people — from the legion, 15 Wing, the Dragoons, elected officials, veterans, and other invitees — will gather at the Moose Jaw Funeral Home for a ceremony that will look similar but be shorter in length. The funeral home plans to broadcast the ceremony on its website at www.moosejawfuneralhome.com/webcast, with the video to start at 10:30 a.m. The service will also be on YouTube and linked through Branch No. 59’s Facebook page. There is also the national Remembrance Day service in Ottawa that the Royal Canadian Legion’s national headquarters will show through its Facebook page, beginning at 8:45 a.m. local time. About 150 people are expected to attend that event. Due to restrictions on crowd numbers, Moose Jaw’s legion will not hold its regular open house after the ceremony; the building will be closed. Being forced to downsize the annual service does not sit well with legion first vice-president Sue Knox.

“It sucks, quite honestly,” she said recently. “It’s tough with this COVID, but our priority is to remember our veterans and keep our own people safe during this campaign.” During this year’s ceremony, the legion will not use the large cenotaph that is normally displayed at Mosaic Place. Instead, it will use a small white cross and pre-lay the wreaths. Those representatives in attendance will walk up to the cross, either salute or pay their respects briefly, and then sit down again. After the service, the legion will take those wreaths and lay them at the cenotaph in Crescent Park. Meanwhile, anyone who bought a wreath can lay it at any of the cemeteries or cenotaphs in the city from 12 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 11. The legion will collect the wreaths at the end of the day. “We’re not going to apologize for the way we are doing things,” Knox added, “but certainly the aspect that we can at least have a small ceremony to remember our veterans and the sacrifices that they made is better than not having anything at all.” Anyone who wants to purchase a wreath can call legion Branch No. 59 at 306-692-5453.

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We consider it a privilege to again bring you our annual In Remembrance Magazine, 2020 edition, to commemorate the sacrifices of our war heroes, as well as honour our veterans, peace-keepers, military, and all those who continue to stand against the forces of evil. The stories are very contemplative and although the battles were harsh, there are nuggets of encouragement highlighting the resilience and tenacity of the human spirit despite all hardship. We are living in a challenging season during the pandemic with much time to remember…especially with thoughts of those who fought the fight and lost their lives for our freedom. Unlike the battles of the war years where blood was spilled at the hand of the enemy, the battle against the unseen enemy-COVID-19 in 2020 continues to cause disruptions. Due to the pandemic restrictions imposed, the Moose Jaw Legion Remembrance Day Service regularly held on November 11th will not be a public event this year. A small closed service will be held in lieu and broadcast on YouTube on the Moose Jaw Funeral Home website www. moosejawfuneralhome.com/webcast/ I would like to encourage everyone to honour our fallen, as well as remember The Royal Canadian Legion by buying a poppy or purchasing a membership to the organization in support of local veterans and their families and all the other initiatives they undertake. Poppies are available at the Legion Branch, 268 High Street West. Donations can be made via e-transfer to rcl59poppytrust@gmail.com, or by cheque or credit card by calling the Legion Office at 306.692.5453. “Lest We Forget…We Will Remember Them.”



The Royal Canadian Legion Smaller Remembrance Day Service To Be Held Online This Year Editor's Note Poem "In Flanders Fields" By John Mccrae History Of 'In Flanders Fields' Legion To Rely On Online Donations For 2020 Poppy Campaign Moose Jaw Clubs Dedicated To Serving Veterans Soldier Recieved Presidential Citation For Efforts During Korean War Wounded Return From Overseas In January 1944 Anniversary Of War's End Fills Veteran With Emotions Historic Armoury Building Houses A Historic Military Unit Remembering Pilot Officer Gordon Joshua (Billie) Dennison Author Creates Self-Guided Tour of Former Caronport AirBase Local Soldiers Led The Charge During The Last Hundred Days Of WWII Remembering Private Sidney Haresign Local Organizations Hold Low-Key Decoration Day Services Wearing Red During Pandemic a Way To Honour 75th Anniversary 15 Wing Holds Ceremony To Honour 80th Anniversary, Battle Of Britain Father's First World War Helmet Holds Special Meaning For Son Moose Jaw Heartily Celebrated The End Of War In Europe In 1945 Flying Big Missions And Moving VIPs Were Highlights For Pilot The Royal Regina Rifles Served On D-Day, June 6, 1944 Veteran To Walk 1.5kms To Raise Funds For Juno Beach Centre Alberta Poet Writes Poem To Honour Warship Named After Moose Jaw Soldier's Norwegian Background Landed Him In a Hollywood Movie Second World War Veteran Shares Story Of Service, Loss Of Limb What Is The Difference Between Military Medal And The Victoria Cross Wounded Warriors Hold Wild West Weekend Moving To Canada Was A Shock For English War Bride A Tribute To Stanley Elijah Wood Royal Regiment Of Canada And The Dieppe Raid, August 19, 1942 Two Brothers Died At Dieppe, Wednesday, August 19, 1942 WWII In Italy - Moose Jaw Man Wounded The Canadian Declaration Of War On Germany, September 10, 1939 Dancing, Letter Writing Helped Couple Develop Relationship During War They Were Just Kids - Many Were Teenagers Crests And The Royal Crown Remembering Josheph John Jasper, L-9418


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In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. McCrae’s “In Flanders’ Fields” remains to this day one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypes salient in the spring of 1915.

HISTORY OF 'IN FLANDERS FIELDS' The most popular and most quoted poems from the war, "In Flanders Fields" was written during WWI by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. On May 3, 1915, McCrae was inspired to write it after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. According to legend, fellow soldiers retrieved the poem after McCrae, initially dissatisfied with his work, discarded it. "In Flanders Fields" was first published on December 8th, 1915 in a London magazine. On Saturday November 9, 1918, two days before the Armistice, Moina Michael was on duty in the reading room at the YMCA Overseas War Secretaries’ headquarters in New York—a place where U.S. servicemen would often gather with friends and family to say their goodbyes before they went overseas. After reading McCrae’s poem, Moina made a personal pledge to always wear the red poppy of Flanders Fields as a sign of remembrance and for “keeping the faith with all who died.” As a result of its immediate popularity, parts of the poem were used in propaganda efforts and appeals to recruit soldiers and raise money selling war bonds. Its references to the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers resulted in the Remembrance poppy becoming one of the world's most recognized memorial symbols for soldiers who have died in conflict. In 1920, Anna Guérin—the French Poppy Lady—attended the national American Legion convention as a representative of France’s YMCA Secretariat. She was inspired by Moina Michael’s idea of the poppy as a memorial flower and felt that the scope of the Memorial Poppy could be expanded to help the needy. She suggested that artificial poppies could be made and sold as a way of raising money for the benefit of orphaned children and others who had suffered greatly as a result of the war. In 1921, Madame Guérin visited Canada and convinced the Great War Veterans Association of Canada (predecessor to the Royal Canadian Legion) to adopt the poppy as a symbol of remembrance in aid of fundraising; which it did on July 5th of that year. The poem and poppy are prominent Remembrance Day symbols throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, particularly in Canada, where "In Flanders Fields" is one of the nation's best-known literary works. Today, the Poppy Campaign continues to be one of the Royal Canadian Legion’s most important programs. The money raised from donations provides direct assistance for Veterans in financial distress, as well as funding for medical equipment, medical research, home services, long term care facilities and many other purposes. Take time this year to remember the sacrifices of those who fought and those who continue to fight for our country’s freedom, on Remembrance Day. Attend the local service held here at Moose Jaw at Mosaic Place, on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour. Please be there well in advance to be seated prior to service time.



Pandemic restrictions have prevented Moose Jaw’s legion from conducting its typical poppy campaign in 2020, causing disappointment for outgoing poppy chairman Robert Travale. “It’s a pretty unorthodox year,” remarked Travale, who has been the poppy chairman for the past four years, and at age 73, wants to step back and relax.

He pointed out that the entire campaign would be scheduled in normal times, and committee members would know when and where to do things. This year, everything is “out the window,” and they are taking things day-by-day. “This year, we’re going to concentrate more on veterans who need funding,” he added, compared to regular years where funding would be given to the hospital or other community organizations. The Royal Canadian Legion poppy campaign commenced on Friday, Oct. 30. However, due to coronavirus limitations, Branch No. 59 forewent the campaign this year and have been relying solely on public support through online donations. Residents can donate via e-transfer to rcl59poppytrust@gmail.com or by cheque. “Last year, we had more donations from the

kind people of Moose Jaw,” said Travale. “We don’t expect to get anywhere near that (this year).” The branch has distributed bags of bulk poppies to seniors’ homes, schools, 15 Wing and the Saskatchewan Dragoons, as well as a few other places. Unfortunately cadets were not be allowed to stand outside of stores offering poppies. Organizing the poppy campaign has been a day-to-day process, while the campaign committee met weeks ago to discuss how it would go, explained Travale. “You just expect something to happen. This is why we are being so very cautious about this … I don’t want to risk the lives of my members or the (residents) of Moose Jaw. We pondered over this quite a long time.” Restrictions from Dominion Command and the Saskatchewan Health Authority were also

factors in how the committee approached the campaign. “Dominion said we can’t use cadets for poppy day or seniors who are medically challenged,” he added. However, the legion did erect the annual military display at the Town ‘n’ Country Mall from Oct. 30 to 31. The legion continued to sell wreaths to businesses, families or friends who wanted to purchase one to lay in memory of a loved one or departed veteran and they were placed on November 11th at one of several locations, such as the Crescent Park cenotaph, the cenotaph at A.E. Peacock High School, the cenotaph in the veterans’ section at Rosedale Cemetery, at the Old Moose Jaw Cemetery cenotaph, the wall at the centre drive at the Sunset Ceremony, or a grave marker of their choice.

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Moose Jaw’s Age in Place Residence

MOOSE JAW CLUBS DEDICATED TO SERVING VETERANS If you are interested in supporting Moose Jaw’s veterans, or are simply looking to socialize and have a fun evening, then you should visit the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 59, the Anavets Local No. 252, or the Eagles Club.

For more information, call 306-692-5453 or visit the legion’s Facebook page.

During the pandemic it is largely advisable to call in advance for current information as to hours of operation or scheduled events.

Royal Canadian Legion Located on 268 High Street West, the legion where you can mingle with members, listen to veterans’ stories, or come for the regular suppers. There are also trivia nights, trade fairs and karaoke sing-alongs. The legion’s main priorities focus on veterans’ care and support; promotion of remembrance; veterans’ advocacy; and community service to youths, seniors, citizenship development and Canadian unity.

ANAVETS The Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans offers crib, pool, shuffleboard, bingos, raffles, poker tournaments, paint night, dances and weekly meat draws. There are also suppers held throughout the month. The ANAVETS building, located on 279 High Street West, is a fun and comfortable place to be and accepts everyone in a friendly and inviting environment. Children are also welcomed. If you’re looking to join a group that supports veterans, or simply relax for the evening, the ANAVETS is the place to visit. Call 306-692-4412 for more information.

Eagles Club The Fraternal Order of Eagles is an international non-profit organization uniting fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice, and equality, to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills and promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope. The Eagles stands strong behind the men and women who serve and protect Canada. To show its gratitude, the organization created the Those Who Serve program, offering one complementary year of membership to active and retired law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, correctional officers, active military including reserves, volunteer firefighters and EMTs, and honorably discharged/ retired/inactive military. The organization, located at 561 Home Street West, offers regular dances, suppers, pancakes breakfasts and fall suppers. Its hall is also available to rent. A membership for men is $40 and for women is $25. For more information, contact 306-693-1496, or visit www. foe.com.

A Cenotaph is an empty tomb or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains lay elsewhere, especially commemorating people who died in a war.

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A unit with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) pose for a picture in Korea. Anthony Olden Thomlinson is back row, fourth from left. Photo courtesy Gail Schultz

From France’s bloody shores to Korea’s muddy hills, Anthony Olden Thomlinson was part of a small group of Canadian soldiers to fight in two major wars and earn recognition from a United States president. The Korean War Having fought in the Second World War from 1940 to 1945, the Canadian military recalled Thomlinson after the Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950. He was made a sergeant

of 6 Platoon, A Company, 2nd Battalion of the Prince Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI). The unit reached the front lines in February 1951, where they discovered the country was wet, muddy and stunk. Two months later, they participated in one of the most monumental battles of the war: the Battle of Kapyong. The 700 members of the PPCLI battalion held an important hill that led to Seoul, South Korea, with the Austra-

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Anthony Olden Thomlinson’s family mounted his medals in a shadow box. The Distinguished Unit Citation from the president of the United States — for Canada’s involvement during the Battle of Kapyong in Korea — is the small rectangular bar on top, while the fourth medal from the left features a bar for the Battle of Dieppe during the Second World War. Photo courtesy Gail Schultz

lians nearby. From April 24 to 25, 1951, nearly 5,000 Chinese soldiers attacked the Allied positions. The communists forced the Australians to retreat, leaving the Canadians to face waves of Chinese and engage in hand to hand combat. “The Chinese had tanks … . They wanted to get to Seoul and destroy ’em,” said Gail Schultz, Thomlinson’s daughter, adding the Canadians were not expected to survive. “They were told, ‘We’re gonna bomb the (daylights)


out of this area because there’s too many of this Chinese force.’ … I don’t know how many of them (communists) were left. It was a bloodbath. I think they (the Canadians) were in shock that they (the Chinese) were giving up. Ten Canadians were killed and 23 injured during the battle, while the Chinese lost an estimated 2,000 men. “He lucked out — or lucked in — and got into every battle that you could think of (in

both wars),” laughed Schultz. “But the most impressive was right here — the Korean Conflict and the Battle of Kapyong — where the president of the United States gave the Canadians a (Distinguished Unit) Citation award. We are the only Canadians in history to have ever gotten it. It was a big deal.” The U.S. president awarded the PPCLI the citation — a small rectangular blue flash, or stripe — for their “extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of combat duties.” Thomlinson was released on March 4, 1952, and moved back to Moose Jaw to raise his family at 1070 Connaught Street. In the beginning Born on Jan. 2, 1919 in Rideau Ferry, Ont., Thomlinson later moved west and served with the Edmonton Fusiliers active militia unit from 1936 to 1939. When the Second World War erupted in September 1939, Thomlinson enlisted with the South Saskatchewan Regiment (SSR) in Regina. After training, the army shipped the unit overseas in January 1940. The Dieppe Raid Lance-Cpl. Thomlinson was one of nearly 5,000 Canadians — along with 1,000 British commandos and 50 U.S. Rangers — who participated in the famed Dieppe Raid on Aug. 19, 1942. The Allied high command said the attack was to test new equipment and gain experience for a future large-scale amphibious assault; the real reason was so commandos could capture a machine that would let the Allies read German secrets. After six hours of combat, the battle was over — and nearly 68 per cent of Canadian soldiers were killed, wounded or captured. “Dieppe was a slaughter,” Schultz said. “They not only had (Germans) behind (barricades), but planes were shooting at them (too).” Thomlinson had been shot in the right shoulder and was reported missing in action. The Allies sent boats to pick up the survivors during the next 24 hours. Thomlinson was eventually recovered.

“Dad thought being in the saltwater saved him,” Karen Roman, another of Thomlinson’s daughters, said. Battle of Normandy It was nearly two years later before the SSR saw combat again. The unit landed in France on July 8, 1944 and jumped into the Battle of Normandy. While fighting in northern France, a grenade struck Thomlinson and gave him severe lung and chest wounds “That’s actually what caused his death at an early age. He passed in ’94. He was only 75,” said Schultz. “But he had really bad lungs from that. … he was injured on the 8th of August and didn’t get to the hospital until the 23rd, and then into a hospital for a month and then back out to service.” After taking six months of leave, Thomlinson returned to help the SSR liberate the Netherlands in April 1945. The Dutch had just survived the Hunger Winter — the Germans took away all their food — and called the Canadians heroes for delivering food packages by land and air. The Dutch government later gave every Canadian soldier a medal to thank them for freeing the country. The Second World War in Europe ended on May 8, 1945. Thomlinson was honourably discharged on June 26, 1945, and, once back in Canada, moved to Moose Jaw. Thomlinson didn’t tell his family much about his war experiences or where he served. When he did, it was usually about the happy moments he had. It would be almost 20 years after Thomlinson’s death before the Department of National Defence released his records. The family received a disk that had 500 pages of information. Using those documents and additional research, the family pieced together their father’s whereabouts in Europe and in Korea, helping them better understand his wartime journeys. Anthony Thomlinson was featured in an army newspaper in 1951, seen here resting in a dugout. Photo courtesy Gail Schultz


WOUNDED RETURN FROM OVERSEAS IN JANUARY 1944 Researched and Written by Richard Dowson, Moose Jaw

During the first two weeks of January 1944, the old Moose Jaw Times Herald carried stories of the return to Canada of servicemen wounded while fighting in Sicily and Italy. Many were from Moose Jaw and area.

No. 1 Canadian Hospital Ship Lady Nelson (DND Photo)

The men were sent home to Canada and other Commonwealth countries to make room

in British hospitals for anticipated casualties from the Allied invasion of Europe. Canadian wounded arrived in Halifax aboard the HMCS Lady Nelson, Canada’s first hospital ship. The second Canadian Hospital Ship was HMCS Letitia. Met by Hospital Trains At Halifax two Hospital Trains greeted the Lady Nelson and her 500 or so wounded. One Train took the wounded from Quebec and Ontario home to their major cities. The second Hospital Train, bound for Vancouver, carried the wounded from Western Canada, dropping through Northern Ontario the western provinces. Wounded servicemen from Southern Saskatchewan disembarked at Regina. Those needing additional medical care went into hospitals in Regina. Others went home.


Please take time to remember the men & women who fought for our Freedom.

The Wounded are often forgotten. As their health improved, they said little of their experiences and yet wounded outnumbered those killed – by about 5 to 1. Aboard a Hospital Train The following is a summary of the January 1944 Moose Jaw Times Herald stories of those wounded fighting in Sicily or Italy or injured in Training accidents in the UK. An unknown staff writer wrote a beautiful summary in the Thursday, January 6, 1944 edition of the Moose Jaw Times Herald: “With Mediterranean battlefields far behind and their hometowns close ahead, the second large contingent of returning Canadian wounded are aboard army hospital trains today." “Men who faced enemy fire and bitter enemy resistance in Sicily and Italy are lying in their cots and through hospital car windows watching with almost unbelieving eyes the Canadian winter countryside – many of them for the first time in four long years.” The first stop on the train home to Western Canada was at North Bay where those who could got off the train – breathed clear Canadian air and wandered about stretching their legs. Then it was back on for more travel. The Times Herald article on Monday, January 10, 1944 described the arrival of the train in Regina:

“Canadian soldiers wounded in Sicily and Italy returned to their native province early Sunday morning. They arrived in Regina in fine spirits, glad to be home...” They were met “… at the station in Regina by military district No. 12 authorities and everything possible was done to add comfort. Army ambulances swung up to the special hospital train which bore red cross markings and Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps letters on the outside of the cars. Several Regina ladies with Red Cross badges carrying magazines and baskets of fruit headed towards the train as it slowly pulled into the station. Most of those returning were casualties from the fighting fronts while others were returned on account of illness.” Some of the Men Interviewed in Regina • Captain F. W. U. Merritt, of the Seaforth Highlanders from Vancouver – wounded in the leg in Sicily – is the brother of Lt.Col. C. I. Merritt, South Saskatchewan Regiment, who won the Victoria Cross at


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Dieppe. Captain Merritt was returning to Vancouver. • Private H. G. Gabbey, Loyal Edmonton Regiment, of Edmonton, wounded attacking a German strong point – staying in Regina • Privates H. A. Mann, Yorkton, injured in Italy when his motorcycle crashed as he was avoiding a mine buried in a road. • Private E. Potzer, Paratrooper, of Yorkton, injured in a training accident in England • Trooper G. Anderson of Winnipeg, Anderson’s tank was hit by an anti-tank shell and set ablaze • Private K. D. Spence of Saskatoon – Spence was hit in the shoulder while operating a wireless set with the Saskatchewan Light Infantry in Sicily. • Sergeant Major H. M. Van Buskirk, 427 Main Street South, Moose Jaw. He was the son of retired CPR Conductor Maxwell Buskirk. His brother Leonard was working in the Lab at Swift’s Meats packing house. “Another Moose Jaw soldier was Sergeant Major H. M. Van Buskirk, badly wounded in both legs by machine gun fire from a Messerschmitt came swooping down on them at a terrible rate of speed. Sergeant Major Van Buskirk enlisted with the 77 Battery, RCA in Moose Jaw September 16, 1939 and went overseas in December of that same year. He was in Sicilian campaign and was in Italy a month before he was wounded.”

Gunner E. W. Burns of Chamberlain, Saskatchewan, returned with the group. He was having trouble with his eyes. • Sergeant N. Leskiw of Moosomin, Saskatchewan returned to Regina on the train. He was wounded in the Dieppe raid in August 1943. • Private Fred Usher, 955 Hastings Street, Moose Jaw, son of Samuel Usher, returned home. • Bombardier R. Mert Beatty, (probably the son of Robert) Moose Jaw, wounded in the pelvis. During the War overseas there were no lights turned on at night. It was total darkness. He is quoted as saying, “I liked the light that shines at night in Canada and sat up all night to watch the lights.” • Private N. J. Gamble of Moose Jaw who was wounded in Sicily. Gamble was a dispatch rider and was shot off his motorcycle while crossing a bridge in Sicily. Private Gamble is a son of Mrs. James Gamble, 414 Fairford Street West. James had been the caretaker at the Orpheum Theatre before his passing. The Bombardier R. Merton Beatty of Moose Jaw Interview Beatty was interviewed and shared his thoughts and experiences in the January 10, 1944 issue of the Moose Jaw Times Herald. He was with the 77th Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery and went overseas in late November,

1939. He was wounded seriously wounded in the pelvis during fighting in Sicily in the summer of 1943. His home address is 162 Hochelaga Street West, Moose Jaw. Here is his description of how he was wounded at it appeared in the Times-Herald: “Our boys mistook the British plane and opened up on it with Bren guns and naturally the pilot came back at us.” He explained: “I was standing near a truck after dinner one day when this plane with British markings went past,” he said. “It went way paying no attention to us until a Bofors (anti-aircraft gun) outfit about 100 feet away from me opened fire on the plane. Apparently the gunners thought it was an enemy machine. “I guess the pilot figured from the gunfire that we were enemies and he turned and came at us. He strafed us with cannon fire. “I couldn’t get under cover quickly enough and I stopped one”

The Private N. J. Gamble of Moose Jaw Interview Private Gamble is believed to be the son of Mr. J. Gamble, 414 Fairford Street West, Moose Jaw Gamble was “… recovering from a fracture of the right leg.” When asked to describe events he said, “Being in action was interesting, but I was really uneasy at times, especially when Jerry dive-bombed us at night after setting fires”. Private N. J. Gamble of Moose Jaw was “… a motorcycle dispatch rider with the Army Service Corps. Gamble was point rider for a tank brigade when hit.” He said, “I don’t know what hit me – the next thing I knew I woke up in a hospital…”


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Airman Allen (Al) Cameron was in London, England on May 8, 1945 when a massive celebration broke out in the capital, as thousands of people took to the streets to celebrate the Allies’ victory over Nazi Germany. After six years of heavy fighting on the seas, on the ground and in the air, peace had once again returned to the European continent. Cameron, then 19 and a leading aircraftman (LAC) with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), had just returned to England with his unit after spending nearly two years fighting in Italy. Their war had ended on April 24, 1945, in the town of Bellaria, about 256 kilometres south of Venice, since the Germans there were on the verge of surrender. There was tremendous relief on that eighth day of May — officially dubbed Victory in Europe Day, or VE-Day — since six years of heavy fighting against the German war machine had finally ended, Cameron recalled. In total, the war killed 450,700 English military personnel and civilians. For Canada, about 45,400 soldiers, sailors and airmen perished during the conflict. Celebrating with the English “You can’t imagine how well the English handled the war in Britain,” said Cameron, now 95. “You never saw an English person (who) was down-hearted. They were all, ‘Get up, get at it and let’s get it done and over with it.’ They were amazing people.” With a chuckle, Cameron acknowledged that he celebrated with the English on that joyous occasion. He and his fellow airmen had plenty of time to celebrate since their unit had been disbanded and they were waiting to go home. They would have roll call every morning to learn whether a ship could take them home. Seventy-five years after the Second World War ended in Europe — it would rage on in the Pacific Theatre until Sept. 2, 1945 — some of Cameron’s memories are still fresh. Yet, as the years have gone by and Remembrance Days and VE-

Days have rolled on, he has had fewer flashbacks to that period. An emotional anniversary

A picture of Allen (Al) Cameron in his post-war uniform, along with medals from his time in the Second World War. Photo courtesy Al Cameron

“The emotion on the anniversary of VE-Day hits me a lot harder now than it used to because I’m starting to realize how many of my buddies and friends … are so few left,” he remarked, pointing out there are about 33,200 veterans still living in Canada. “When you fought together, died together and came home together, the memories are forever close to the surface and are for keeps,” said Cameron, who believes he is the only Second World War veteran left with the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans (ANAVETS) organization in Moose Jaw. “To go to the Remembrance Day services, it’s a lot more emotional because there are so few of us left.”

It is Cameron’s memories that fill him with emotion, he continued. Many of his buddies also survived the war, so they shared beers and jokes whenever they gathered after the war. However, that table became more vacant as his friends died out. “It does bother (me) a bit,” he said, adding he will celebrate VE-Day quietly. For seven years, Cameron sang in a choir at the Remembrance Day services in Moose Jaw but eventually quit since it became too much. He sings at home — something he didn’t think was still possible at age 95 — but it’s tougher than before. One of his favourite songs is the Vera Lynn tune (There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs Of Dover. “It’s quite an emotional song when you have gone through what we went through,” he added. Close calls with death Cameron grew up in Saskatoon but trained as an airframe maintenance technician in Moose Jaw for a few months in 1943. He and his unit eventually went overseas to England before being sent to Italy to battle the Germans. “I almost got killed twice, but the good Lord was looking after me,” he said. The first incident occurred around September 1944 on the east coast of Italy in a town called Rimini. The Canadians were told to prepare for a possible German paratroop drop behind the lines, so everyone was on high alert. Cameron and another airmen were patrolling a road carrying sub-machine guns when the airmen stumbled and dropped his weapon. It hit the ground and unleashed a spray of bullets that passed between the two men, just missing both of them. The Moose Javian’s second close call with death occurred months later after the Allies have moved further up the east coast to another small town. One of the duties of Cameron’s unit was to build runways for the Spitfire fighter planes taking off to battle the Germans. One day Cameron walked to a barbershop only


to find six people ahead of him. He decided to come back and began to walk away. He made it half a block — about the same distance from Mosaic Place to Rosie’s on River Street — before a Spitfire accidentally dropped one of its bombs on the shop. “I spent the next day-and-a-half digging out survivors,” he remarked. Coming home and marrying After the Italian campaign ended in late April 1945, Cameron and his unit went to Venice to celebrate hard “for a couple of days.” They rode the gondolas for 25 lira — about a couple of dollars Canadian — for a few days. However, by the end of the week, the price had skyrocketed to 1,000 lira. After the war, Cameron eventually became an officer — he jumped five levels in rank but joked he lost $6 per hour in pay — and had the title of flight lieutenant. He also married his sweetheart, Yvonne Lenke, whom he had met while training in Moose Jaw. He had taken her to a few shows before he left for Europe. Much to his surprise — but great delight — she began to write him letters and they corresponded during the war. When he returned, he learned she was still single, so they eventually married — they had known each other for about five weeks — and remained married for 69 years. Yvonne died in 2016. Having served in England, Italy, the Netherlands, France and Germany with the RCAF during his career, Cameron transferred to Moose Jaw in 1965 and remained at the airbase until he retired in 1969 after 26 years of service. He pointed out with much pride that, in 1966-67, the airbase had the busiest runway in all of North America since training planes were taking off every few minutes. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.

HISTORIC ARMOURY BUILDING HOUSES A HISTORIC MILITARY UNIT Moose Jaw has deep connections with Canadian military, not just with 15 Wing Airbase, but also with the Saskatchewan Dragoons and the historic armoury building in which the unit resides. The Saskatchewan Dragoons is a primary reserve armoured regiment of the Canadian Army. Their role is that of a reconnaissance squadron. They examine an area in preparation for the advance of a main body of troops. They go forward, sometimes many miles, and gather information on enemy strength, equipment, movements, and intentions.

The dragoons reside in the historic Lt.-Col. David V. Currie VC Armoury building on 1215 Main Street North. The brick structure is a recognized federal heritage building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values. The federal government constructed the armoury in 1907 during the Militia and Defence expansion program to provide permanent headquarters for militia practice and training, and was used as a recruitment centre during both world wars. In 1986, the structure was renamed in honour of David Currie, a local officer awarded the Victoria Cross for courageous action during the invasion of Normandy, France in 1944. Inside the main hall are historic artifacts that help tell the story of the unit, from its earliest days to today as a reserve unit. There are displays dedicated to the unit’s members from the First and Second world wars and important battles such as Vimy Ridge. Scattered throughout the building are pictures of the unit over the decades, along with other fascinating heritage items that celebrate Canadian military history and the boys and men from Moose Jaw who answered the call and served their country. For more information call 306-692-2550.

Military vehicles from different eras sit in front of the historic Lt.-Col. D.V. Currie VC Armoury building, which was constructed in 1907.

They pass this information — together with other helpful information on such things as bridges, blocked roads, and areas of potential danger — back to higher command so the advance can take place as safely as possible. At the same time, they deny such information to the enemy. In the withdrawal, they maintain contact with the enemy while the main body pulls back. Thus, they often speak of their role as “first in last out.” The federal government formed the unit in Regina in 1905 as an infantry regiment, later designating it as the 95th Regiment and then the 95th Saskatchewan Rifles. The Saskatchewan Dragoons perpetuates the 46th Battalion (South Saskatchewan), Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) and the 128th Battalion (Moose Jaw), CEF.

Members of the Saskatchewan Dragoons pose for a picture with their flag during an exercise.

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REMEMBERING PILOT OFFICER GORDON JOSHUA (BILLIE) DENNISON, FROM WILLOWS, SASK. The most popular photographs taken each September are of children going off to school. With Facebook such photos are everywhere.

This is not new. This photo, courtesy of the family and the Canadian Virtual War Memorial website is of little Gordon Joshua “Billie” Dennison. He is down in front, and his older brothers. Little Billie is holding his lunch pale in one hand and a notebook in the other. Like Mom’s today – Dad’s usually don’t get involved – his mother made certain he was dressed in his best

Submitted by Richard Dowson

clean clothes. The white shirt was shiny and bright. Little ‘Billie’ was born July, 1922, so this photo was taken in September, 1928 as the boys headed to Zenith School, part of Zenith School District 2884. In 1925 the school was located at SE 8 Township 8 Range 28, West of the Second Meridian, one quarter from where they farmed. The school burned in 1927 but was rebuilt that year. The little school operated from 1913-1957. His Mom and Dad, Robert Elmer and Hazel Agnes (Trivett) Dennison, homesteaded a quarter at N8-8-28-W2 northeast of Willows in 1912 and added to it. Willows is east of Assiniboia. Older kids went to Readlyn School, a multi room school. Robert and Hazel Dennison After schooling in Readlyn in June 1940, ‘Billie’ enrolled in Aero Engine Mechanics course at the Dominion Youth Training Program facility in Moose Jaw. He found accommodation with a bunch of other young guys in a ‘packed’ boarding house at 81 Athabasca Street West. With the encouragement of local legend A.E. Peacock, he joined the Air Force in January 1941. From there it was further Aero Engine Mechanics

courses in St. Thomas, Ontario. In August 1941 he was posted to No. 5 Bombing and Gunnery School at Dafoe, Saskatchewan, same as Bill Waud of MJ. Many young men stationed in Canada thought he was missing out on the war and he may have been one of them. He re-mustered to Aircrew in July 1943 and attended I.T.S. in Edmonton. He was not successful and was given the choice of going back to his old trade or becoming an Air-gunner. He thought about it over-night and signed up as an Air Gunner. From Edmonton he went to Vancouver and then Mount Joli, Quebec. He left Canada January 20, 1944 and was assigned as a Tail-gunner on Short Stirling Bomber s/n LJ536 with 199 Squadron, RAF, 100 Group. The Squadron’s original role was to drop supplies to resistance fighters. In April the aircraft was reconfigured with ‘Mandrel’ for radar jamming. Sergeant Dennison completed a number of Sorties and was close to completing his tour at the end of September. He was promoted to Pilot Officer September 14, 1944 and looked forward to the End of Tour Leave back in Canada. Pilot Officer Dennison and his seven crewmates died on the night of September 15/16, 1944. They have no known grave and are remembered at the Runnymede Memorial in England.


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This is a 199 Squadron Stirling equipment with Mandel. Dennison’s Code was EX-P


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After spending years researching the former Caronport airbase for his book In Plain Site, author Joel From has now produced a self-guided walking tour of the complex for history buffs. No. 33 Elementary Flight Training School (Royal Air Force) was part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan during the Second World War. During the base’s short existence — it operated from January 1942 to January 1944 — it turned out 1,837 graduates, part of the plan’s overall graduate number of 131,553, including pilots, wireless operators, air gunners, and navigators for the air forces of Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Touring the former airbase and its remaining buildings is not a new activity for From, he explained, as he had been giving group tours irregularly for more than five years, while he has also dragged his students around the base with him. “It occurred to me that aviation buffs might want to see what the book is about,” he said recently. “I thought people who read the book could take an hour to see what the base was like.” Chuckling, From acknowledged that while many of the buildings on the base are no longer standing — a few still are — their locations are on the map for peo-

ple to visit. From had help putting the booklet together from Josh Knowles, who assisted with the artwork, while eight organizations from Caronport provided funding. On the front of the booklet is a picture of a Tiger Moth trainer, while attached are five pages containing the 17 locations on tour. Also attached is a map of the base, a map of the runway system, and an additional tour of the Caron cemetery, where 10 RAF airmen are buried. Several residents of Caronport tested the tour ahead of its launch, From said. It took them 45 minutes to walk the entire tour since they live there. For others, it will probably take 60 minutes to make the full circuit. Since there are 17 stops, people can drive from location to location. From has worked out a deal with The Pilgrim Inn in Caronport, where if visitors stay the night there, the hotel will provide the walking tour booklet and map for free; otherwise, the package costs $9.99 plus tax. Tourists could then stroll around the former airbase, while they could also visit the cemetery. “I’m very excited. I’d like to see people, especially those who read the book, to walk through this tour and remember what they read,” he said. “But (at the

same time) it might also bring people to the book.” Now that From has finished creating the tour, he plans to start promoting his book once again and giving presentations about it. He will also continue to respond to people looking for information about relatives who were stationed at the base during the war. During the pandemic lockdown, five people from places such as California, England, Australia and Canada contacted him looking for such information. Depending upon From’s availability, he might be able to offer groups a personal guided tour. Anyone interested in booking a tour should visit the website www.caronairbase.com and click on the “Walking Tour” tab. “I am not aware of anything like this (tour) anywhere,” he added, “especially in Canada.”

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Author Joel From stands next to a cairn that honours the Elementary Flight Training School that existed in Caronport during the Second World War. The cairn is the first stop on From's new self-guided tour of the former airbase. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

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LOCAL SOLDIERS LED THE CHARGE DURING THE LAST HUNDRED DAYS OF WWI After four years of stagnant trench warfare, the Allies burst forth from their lines on Aug. 8, 1918, and began pushing back the enemy, with Canadians — including soldiers from Moose Jaw — at the sharp end of the fighting. The offensive saw Canadians advance 20 kilometres in three days. The Allies launched the offensive without a long preliminary artillery bombardment as per usual, which took the Germans by surprise. This breakthrough was a remarkable development and dashed enemy morale, with the German high commander calling it “the black day of the German Army.” From Aug. 8 until Nov. 11 — dubbed by historians as Canada’s Hundred Days — the Canucks fought in places such as Amiens, Drocourt-Quéant, Canal du Nord, Bourlon Wood, Cambrai, Valenciennes, and Mons. During the last three months of fighting, 6,800 Canadians and Newfoundlanders were killed and about 39,000 wounded. As the battles raged on, Moose Jaw newspapers reported on soldiers who were injured, killed, and missing, along with those who were awarded for their heroism. Soldiers used as a ‘shock unit’ An article from Aug. 8, 1918 with the headline “Moose Jaw men now used as a ‘shock’ unit” indicated the community’s soldiers were honoured by being combined into one large, rov-

Jason G. Antonio, Moose Jaw Express

ing battalion. Reduced in numbers, the men of the 46th, 128th, 210th and 229th battalions were gathered together and, under Col. Dawson, now constituted a shock battalion.

his mail; how dreadfully disappointed he is if there is nothing … ,” the article said. Writing letters was considered a labour of love, while those who wrote would never regret sending letters to their relatives, including to their sons’ or brothers’ friends in the field. One woman was recorded as clipping interesting community items from the newspapers, pasting them onto paper, and sending them with her letters so they reached their destination safely.

Members of the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles return from combat while piled on a tank in this photo from August 1918. Photo courtesy Canadian War Museum

“They are used where they are wanted in the thickest of the fighting and have been chosen for this because of their known bravery in action,” the article said. Keep writing letters An article from Aug. 14 encouraged residents to write to soldiers regularly to keep up their morale and make their lives more cheerful. Publicists explained that writing letters “gladdens a man in the field to receive letters, of the extra ‘pep’ he gets by having cheerful news from the home town; how wistfully he awaits

German soldiers gather together after the Canadians captured them during the Battle of Amiens in August 1918. Photo courtesy Library and Archives Canada

Respected officer wounded One Moose Jaw newspaper reported on Aug. 17, 1918, that athlete, police detective, and “good soldier,” Lt. A.F. (Tony) Townshend, had been wounded on the Western Front. The po-

lice chief reported that he had heard nothing about this, and until he received an answer from England, could not say anything else. Three days later, Townshend’s name was listed in the daily casualty list under “wounded,” although his injury was unclear. Townshend enlisted as a private in 1915 and was commissioned in the 128th Battalion. He went to England as a senior commissioned officer and was later appointed to the provost-marshal’s staff. In May, he travelled to France and joined the 5th Battalion, which was mainly composed of Moose Javians. “Lieut. Townshend has proved himself a good officer and leader of men. His old prowess on the football field — he once played for Hamilton Tigers — stood him in great stead,” the article said, “and there is no finer stone putter in his regiment.” More men join RAF Well-known residents Russell Grayson, Earl Stewart and Charley Andrews, left Moose Jaw for Winnipeg on Aug. 20 to join the Royal Air Force. They were then shipped to Toronto after passing examinations to start their training immediately. Grayson, the son of William Grayson, attended Central Collegiate until June 1918 and played school rugby, baseball and basketball. City electrician badly wounded



Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Fraser were informed around Aug. 20 that their son, acting Lance Cpl. John Fraser, was dangerously ill in the Third General Hospital in Rouen, France, with gunshot wounds to the neck, back, and lungs. Fraser enlisted in Moose Jaw in 1915 and went overseas that fall. “Lance Corporal Fraser was very well-known in Moose Jaw, having been employed as an electrician by the City of Moose Jaw … ,” the article said. “Previous to enlisting, Lance Corporal Fraser was prominent in athletic circles in this city, being a member of the Robin Hood lacrosse and hockey teams, and was one of the most promising hockey players in the city.”

Canadian soldiers check out a captured artillery gun during after a battle in August 1918. Photo courtesy Canadian Army Twitter page

School board secretary injured RAF Lt. C.F. Kempton, the secretary of the Moose Jaw School Board, was wounded in the right collar bone and was convalescing in a Red Cross hospital in Rouen, France. He had mentioned in previous letters that his unit

was subject to regular air raids, so the newspaper article speculated his wound came from a bomb attack. “The wound is not considered in any way serious, and will probably entail only a four or five weeks’ stay in the hospital, during which time he will be unable to use the right arm,” the article added. Popular officer promoted Residents of Moose Jaw learned that Lt. E.R. Hinchey, “one of the most popular of the younger officers to enlist in Moose Jaw,” had been promoted to captain that May, the article said. Hinchey worked for Rex Fruit Company and was an active athlete before enlisting with the first Canadian contingent that sailed to France in 1915. At the Battle of Givenchy that year, he was wounded and later returned to Canada. He was then attached to the 229th Battalion, and in April 1917 was made district intelligence officer. Many wounded, several killed Newspapers began reporting in late August of men who were wounded or killed during intense fighting in northwest France. One article alone listed 16 men who were casualties. Pte. Henry Plume, well-known as a conductor of the electric street railway, was wounded in the right shoulder and admitted to a hospital in England. “Pte. Plume left here early in 1917 … and eventually transferred to the Mounted Rifles, with which unit he was serving when wounded,” the article said. “The wounds are not ex-

At 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, the skirl of the Black Watch bagpipes accompanied a parade of Royal Highlanders down the cobblestone streets of Mons, Belgium to celebrate the Armistice. Photo courtesy Canadian War Museum

pected to prove serious …” Pte. Clarence Chrismas was killed in action on Aug. 9 while fighting in France. Originally a mechanic, he enlisted with a unit from Moose Jaw and then made his way overseas, where he won the Military Medal in 1917. “The news of Pte. Chrismas’s death came as a great shock to his many friends in Moose Jaw. At the time of his death he was but 19 years of age,” the article said. Pte. Columbus Evans, who was born in Kentucky, was killed in action on Aug. 11 while fighting with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles in France. He has served with the American army since he was 19, before leaving the United States for Moose Jaw. He enlisted three days after arriving and travelled to England in February 1917. Wedding day blues A non-battle death was that of Lt. J. M. Cram,

who died when the plane he was flying plummeted 700 feet while training in Toronto, an article from Aug. 27 reported. Lt. Singleton, who was accompanying Cram, was seriously injured on his face and head. Cram, a bank teller, was popular in Moose Jaw and enlisted in the 128th Battalion in 1916 as a private. He was promoted to corporal and then transferred to the 229th Battalion, where he received his officer’s commission. He was later transferred to the 1st Depot Battalion while his unit went overseas. “The sad part of the fatality is that Lieut. Cram was to have been married yesterday to Miss Mida McCulloch,” the article added, “a sister of Lieut. Fred McCulloch, a well-known hockey player.” The Moose Jaw Express thanks the Moose Jaw Public Library for providing copies of the articles upon which this story is based.

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Private Sidney Haresign, (CVWM Photo)

Sidney’s Story Sidney Haresign joined the Canadian Army (Active) in Regina on June 29, 1942 and went overseas in December 1943. He was single and lived with his father, Mr. Ernest Haresign at 919 Fairford Street East, Moose Jaw when he enlisted. The family later moved to 317 Duffield Street West and were living there at the time of Sidney’s death. Sid was born in Moose Jaw, August 16, 1913 and would have been almost 29 at the time of his enlistment in Regina. On Saturday, October 14, 1944 the Moose Jaw Times Herald reported that he was killed in action in action, in Italy. The Herald also wrote, “Private Haresign was educated at the Prince Arthur School and was well known and liked, especially on the east side of the city, having worked with W. Morrison on the water route.” The Heard also reported, “Besides his father, he leaves one brother, LAC Henry Haresign of Souris, Manitoba; and four sisters; Mrs. Ted Bates, Mrs. Mike Hardy, Mrs. Lorne Nelson, all of Moose Jaw, and Mrs. Sam Warren of Hamilton, Ontario; also an aunt, Mrs. J. Dee of Moose Jaw.” Sid was active in the King’s Own Rifles of Canada, a Moose Jaw Militia unit. He did his basic training in Canada and then

went to England where he was assigned to the Perth Regiment. His Regiment was posted to Italy on November 8, 1943. Events Leading to the Death of Private Haresign Private Sidney Haresign and his Perth Regiment (Motor) became part of the 11th Infantry Brigade, 5th Canadian Armoured Division and landed in Italy on November 8, 1943. The Perth Regiment was an infantry Unit attached to the 5h Canadian Armoured Corps. In this photo the ‘Perths’ are on the move with an Armoured Corps Sherman Tank. (Perth Regiment History Photo) They advance on the German Gothic Line during the summer and fall of 1944. Progress was slow with many casualties. Under pressure the Germans finally retreated. Allies entered Rimini on September 21, 1944.

Perth Regiment History Photo

The next plan was to cross the normally shallow Rubicon River and move north against the Germans. The battles leading up to entering Rimini were hard and vicious. The ’Perths’ were then given a rest period before undertaking the ordered to cross the Rubicon River and move north. Torrential rains began September 8 and got worse. By September 25, 1944. The Rubi-

con River was flooded making it impossible to cross. Little creeks overflowed. The tanks bogged down in the mud and standing water. Movement was impossible for the tanks to move. The ‘poor bloody infantry’ could only dig trenches in the mud along the south side of the Rubicon and hope for the best. Rains continued. German shelling began. Trenches filled with water. The date for Sid and the Perth Regiment were to cross the Rubicon River was set for September 28, 1944. They couldn’t. There was mud everywhere. They settled in on the riverbank to wait for better weather and for the river flow to decrease. Bad place to wait. Heavy, overcast weather meant the Air Force could not fly and attack the German Artillery that bombarded the Perth Regiment along the River. The soldiers dug trenches in the oozing mud but had little protection. The damage from the German artillery shelling was devastating. Gordie Bannerman of Moose Jaw and Aneroid describes September 28, 1944 in his incredible memoir available on the Veteran’s Affairs site. Bannerman was with the RCA and their artillery battery was close to the Perths. Bannerman writes, “That evening I was up in the loft of this building when I heard some moaning minnies groan and moan away then explode in the vicinity of Lt. Ross with Fox troop. Lt Ross had a chap wounded this night and a couple more flooded out of a low-lying ditch where they had dug their trench. This happened on September 28th.” Gordie survived the war. ‘Moaning Minnies’ were a German rocket artillery called Nebelwerfer. That night the Perth Regiment took 67 casu-


alties. Private Sidney Haresign and his buddy Corporal Zygmont Kulimowski were killed by shell fire. Other members of his Regimen killed in the shelling on September 28, 1944 were eventually buried in the Cesena War Cemetery, Italy. They were: (Similar Grave References indicate those killed together) Private Sidney Haresign, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan Grave: VII, F, 7 Corporal Zygmont Kulimowski, Rothwell, Queen's Co., New Brunswick Grave: VII, F, 6 Captain Franklin Burns Kennedy, Hometown Unknown Grave: III, G, 6 Lieutenant Frederick James Culliton,, St. Mary’s, Ontario Grave: III, G, 7 Private Joseph Desithe Gerard Hills, Hull, Quebec Grave: III, D, 11 Lance Corporal James John Marrs, Hometown Unknown Grave: III, F, 6 Private Robert George Fasken, Hounslow, Middlesex, UK Grave: III, F, 4 Private Sidney Haresign and Corporal Zygmont Kulimowski were initially buried in the yard of a house at 21 Via Rubicon (a street name). Their remains were later transferred to the Cesena War Cemetery. (See Above for Locations) Flight Lieutenant Rex Probert of Alder Avenue, Moose Jaw was also in the area flying with 417 Squadron, RCAF. He flew his Spitfire as Tactical Cover for the ground troops, when weather permitted. Rex survived the war. The Battle Continued after September 28, 1944 The Perth Regiment pulled back but 48 hours later were again they were ordered across the River. It was impossible. There were another

33 casualties from the German shelling. On October 8, 1944 plans changed. The Perth Regiment retired form their position after suffering more than 100 casualties. The order to cross the River was cancelled for the Perths. Another Moose Jaw Man at the Rubicon Battle

troops fought infantry and shell and mortar fire. Some of our lads as well as the Huns were wounded. There was no way of getting them back. Lieutenant Drynan was in charge of the ‘ambulance train’ including carts.”

German Stretcher Bearers Carrying Wounded Canadian, LAC Photo L/Corporal James Marrs Private Robert George (CVWM Photo) Fasken (CVWM Photo)

Irony of ironies, the decimated Perth Regiment was replaced by Toronto’s Irish Regiment of Canada. The Irish included Lieutenant George Drynan of Moose Jaw and Toronto. A story in the Toronto Telegram newspaper read: “You can’t give Lieutenants George Drynan and Darragh Phelan too much credit for the outstanding work they did in the Rubicon River area and the Company’s advance to the river. They sent patrols across and as much as 600 yards beyond. The

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Lt. Drynan said, “All were carried forward until the engagement was through, and then brought out together. One sergeant had his leg almost blown off. It was hanging by threads. A German stretcher bearer performed the amputation with a knife and bound the stump. He, with the others, was brought out some five hours later. They rode on two (Stuart M3 Light Tank) Honey Tanks of the Canadian Hussars, who were supporting them. “Shortly after the company started to advance, opposition was met from a series of slit trenches. Drynan cleared several trenches by merely snapping his fingers over the Huns.

We’re on this road together.

Out they came, five and six at a time. Drynan never turned a hair.” The reader needs to keep in mind, some of this was meant to keep spirits up back home. There was nothing said about the horrors Private Sidney Haresign, Corporal Zygmont Kulimowski and the Perth Regiment faced. The sad reality of war, no one wins. Men lose lives and limbs. In 1944 Lieutenant Drynan’s parents lived at 1232 Clifton Avenue, Moose Jaw, near McDonald’s, in the home where George grew up. Both Lt. Drynan and Lt. Darragh survived the war. The Italian Campaign was a vicious fight. More than 70,000 Canadians fought through Sicily and Italy. Canadian casualties were 25,264 with 408 officers and 4,991 non-commissioned men killed. A 25% casualty rate. Reference: Photos courtesy of the Canadian Virtual War Museum; the Perth Regiment

History and the Gordie Bannerman Memoir from Veteran’s’ Affairs Canada. Rex Probert reference from previous Dowson research. Lt. Drynan story from the Moose Jaw Times Herald, October 14 and 18, 1944.

Library Archives Canada Photo - Public Domain Italy 1944 - Canadian Wounded

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Decoration Day in Moose Jaw traditionally features all the honour and remembrance one would expect from the city when it comes

to recognizing those who gave their lives for Canada in conflicts before the World Wars.

Sharon Erickson, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #59 Moose Jaw and Don Purington, president of Anavets Local #252 approach the Crescent Park cenotaph.

Sgt. Steven Arens and Maj. Mack Driscoll, commanding officer of the Saskatchewan Dragoons, pause before laying their Decoration Day wreath.

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That means a full-scale military parade to and around the Crescent Park cenotaph by soldiers from the Saskatchewan Dragoons, airmen from 15 Wing, cadets of all stripes and, of course, the Legion and Anavets. But these were not traditional times. With restrictions on gatherings in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the remembrance activities that traditionally take place the first weekend after June 2 – Decoration Day proper in Canada – were put on hold. That included the placing of flags on veterans gravesites and, yes, the entire parade and all the pomp and circumstance it entails.

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But that wasn’t going to stop folks from at least making something happen. The Saskatchewan Dragoons were joined by the local Legion and Anavets branches on Sunday morning for a low-key wreath-laying ceremony, featuring about a dozen people in total and a far cry from the hundreds who would take part normally. “We all recognize that safety comes first, and most of our people who come out are in a Decoration Day pre-dates Remembrance Day by decades and was first held on June 2, 1890 when veterans placed decorations at the Canadian Volunteers Monument in Toronto on the anniversary of the Fenian raids. Once Canadian soldiers became more involved in international conflicts – and especially after the Boer War – the event became more celebrated and higher profile. Today, it honours those who have fought for Canada in all conflicts, both before, during and after the First and Second World Wars. While it was naturally disappointing to not have the large-scale event, doing something was heartening for both veterans organizations. “There’s a lot we couldn’t do this year because of COVID-19, so we wanted to do something in partnership with our fellow veteran organization to honour those who came before us,” Sharon Erickson, president of the Royal

Canadian Legion Branch #59 Moose Jaw said. Originally, the Legion and Anavets had expected to be on their own at the cenotaph. But, coincidently enough, the Dragoons were wrapping up their own Zoom ceremony at the same time, adding a little bit of a positive twist to the whole thing. “That’s a happy coincidence and it was meaningful for all of us,” said Maj. Mack O’Driscoll, commanding officer of the Dragoons. “I think that’s something that’s inspiring about the pandemic, that people are finding so many ways to do similar things. It was nice to have our unit members join us from their homes and still honour the sacrifice Canadians made over the many years of conflict.” Decoration Day usually marks the time of year when the Dragoons see their activities begin to wrap up for the summer, especially with many of their soldiers heading out on courses. That gives the event some extra meaning to the reservist group, and an extra reason to take part. “It was really important for our unit to do something, even though it was different,” Driscoll said “It was definitely nice to have everyone come together, but it was certainly important to capture the essence of Decoration Day, which is to commemorate the actions of service members in the past.”

They Liveth Forever


WEARING RED DURING PANDEMIC A WAY TO HONOUR 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF SECOND WORLD WAR'S END, SAYS LEGION It was a strange time for Moose Jaw’s Royal Canadian Legion Branch 59, as the coronavirus prevented the organization from celebrating some important historical milestones and events. It’s a shame that the pandemic has prevented major celebrations from happening to acknowledge the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe that took place on May 8, said legion president Sharon Erickson. Normally a national legion delegation would travel to Europe to take part in activities, but that wasn’t the case this year. The 75th anniversary was significant since most of the one million men and women who enlisted during that war are no longer living, Erickson remarked. However, those who are still living — around 30,000 nation-wide — deserved as much recognition as possible since their contributions

Jason G. Antonio, Moose Jaw Express

count and matter. Saskatchewan Command asked all provincial legions and legion members to honour this milestone by wearing red this past May 8th. Another event that Branch 59 wasn’t able to celebrate this year was Decoration Day in June. This is usually an event when legion members and cadets clean up veterans’ headstones in the cemetery and place Canadian flags beside the plots. Instead, explained Erickson, the legion encouraged people to use Facebook to post pictures of the Canadian flag to acknowledge this day. The organization also encouraged people to post a picture of someone from Moose Jaw who might have served during war. “That’s the only thing that [we could do this year to] honour the people who have served our country so well,” she added.

Participants in a Decoration Day parade across the Crescent Park bridge at the close of the ceremony. File photo

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15 WING HOLDS CEREMONY TO HONOUR 80TH ANNIVERSARY OF BATTLE OF BRITAIN Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence. Hovering there I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air. So begins the poem “High Flight” by Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee Jr., an American who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. Written around September 1941, the poem has since been used to commemorate aviators and astronauts. It has also been used to honour the Battle of Britain, the first major military campaign of that war fought entirely by air forces. Running from July 10, 1940 to Oct. 31, 1940, the offensive saw Nazi Germany attempt to eliminate the Royal Air Force as a preamble to invading Great Britain. More than 100 Canadians from the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) participated in the battle, with 23 dying during the campaign. A total of 574 other airmen from other countries also supported the RAF at that time. The climax of the battle was Sept. 15, 1940, when Allied aircraft repulsed two massive waves of German attacks.

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Afterward, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill uttered his now-famous phrase about the campaign: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

Guest of honour Flight Lt. (ret’d) Al Cameron (seated) reads the Roll of Honour and remembers the 23 Canadians pilots killed during the Battle of Britain. Photo by Sergeant Patrick Porter, 15 Wing Moose Jaw

Canada’s last surviving Battle of Britain pilot was Squadron Leader John Stewart Hart, who died at age 102 on June 18, 2019. On Sept. 20, 15 Wing Air Base commemorated the 80th anniversary of the battle by holding a scaled-down ceremony due to the pandemic. The RCAF and other military organizations normally honour this anniversary on the third

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Sunday of September. Usually, dozens of people would descend upon the base to take part but this year only a handful of people were on hand, with the ceremony livestreamed online. 15 Wing Chaplain Capt. Rev. Eric Davis was event MC, Second World War veteran Flight Lt. Allan Cameron read out the names of the 23 Canadians who died in the battle, and base commander Col. Ron Walker gave a description of the battle. Also during the ceremony, a Snowbird pilot read the poem “High Flight,” Davis read “The Airman’s Prayer,” and members from the Royal Canadian Legion and RCAF laid wreaths. Before the event, Walker explained that his first experience with the ceremony was in 1993 when he was a brand-new lieutenant who had received his wings the previous May. One of his first duties was to act as wing commander for the event. “It was a great feeling,” he said. “It’s one of the most moving ceremonies for me to be there. You feel a great sense of pride in what was accomplished by so few people (who) essentially saved the world and allow us to live the way we do today.” One reason to remember this battle is that the campaign can teach us how so few people can achieve something monumental, Walker remarked. It shows the importance of commit-

ment and standing up for your beliefs, while it also demonstrates bravery and sacrifice. These are values that still resonate today in the Canadian Forces. “We take this as an example of what can be done, and what needs to be done when we’re pushed up against an enemy like that, that is unyielding and unwilling,” said Walker. “We need to do what has to be done. The sacrifice they made and bravery they showed during that time specifically is memorable and inspiring.” One objective at 15 Wing is to provide pilot and officer education, so during his conversations with trainees, Walker attempts to inspire the new pilots to have a sense of duty and loyalty to the RCAF by harkening back to the accomplishments of the past. The fact the Battle of Britain was the first offensive fought entirely by air forces shows today’s students what can be done with airpower, he added. This campaign is a case study of what can be done in the modern world. Gillespie Magee Jr. concluded his poem by writing, Up, up the long delirious burning blue I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace, where never lark, or even eagle, flew; and, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space, put out my hand and touched the face of God.

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A helmet from the First World War holds special meaning for Vern Mittelholtz, whose father wore the battle gear during several major Great War battles including at Vimy Ridge and Hill 70.

Vern Mittelholtz holds the helmet his father Edmon wore during the First World War. The dent on top of the helmet occurred when Edmon fought at Vimy Ridge from April 9 to 12, 1917. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

The helmet has been in the family since Edmon Francis Mittelholtz returned from Europe in late 1917 after being discharged from the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Mittelholtz was born on May 10, 1896, in West McGillivray, Ont., and later moved west to Saskatchewan where he worked as a farmer, according to his attestation paper. The document listed his next of kin as his mother, Elizabeth. He enlisted in Saskatoon on Dec. 18, 1915 and was attached to the 96th Battalion (Canadian Highlanders). The 92nd Battalion (48th Highlanders) later absorbed the 96th Battalion in 1916. The 92nd —a unit that was noted for the kilts its soldiers wore in the trenches — fought in several major engagements during the First World War, including at Vimy Ridge from April 9 to 12, 1917 and later in August 1917 at Hill 70, of which Mittelholtz took part. “He never talked to us about war, but if a First World War veteran came over, we would lay in bed and listen to the stories he would talk about with the other veteran,� son Vern, 95, said recently. “Our bedroom was right next to the living room, so we heard everything that went on.� One story Vern heard was how members of the Salvation Army were the only ones to visit Edmon’s battalion while in England. Edmon, recalled Vern, thought highly of those people over the years. While Vern couldn’t recall a specific story his

dad told about fighting at Vimy Ridge, he does remember his father talking about Hill 70. The Canadians attacked on Aug. 15 and captured many of their objectives, including the high ground. They then held their positions against 21 determined German counterattacks over the next four days. The Canadians lost more than 9,000 soldiers at Hill 70 but killed or wounded an estimated 25,000 Germans. “He said after the slaughter at Hill 70, after the Newfoundlanders were slaughtered and he had to crawl through the corpses, the only reason (Edmon’s) unit got up the hill was because the Germans ran out of ammunition. That was his story,� recalled Vern. Edmon also talked about the kilt he and his men wore while in France. Vern recalls his father saying that as soon as the unit arrived in the trenches, they removed the kilts because they became so full of mud that it was impossible to move. The Great War veteran was discharged in late 1917 and came back to Saskatchewan, where he moved to Aylesbury — northwest of Chamberlain — and became a garage mechanic. The federal government later offered him some land, an offer he gladly took up. That property is still in the Mittelholtz family today. Holding the helmet, Vern pointed to a noticeable dent on the top of the headgear. That dent,

Vern remarked, happened after his father was hit by a piece of shrapnel while fighting at Vimy Ridge. “It (the helmet) means a lot to me. I can’t let it go. It’s going to one of my sons in the army. It’s not going out of the family,� said Vern, who attempted to enlist in the army during the Second World War but was denied since he was a little too young. Vern has never visited Vimy Ridge in France and, he added with a chuckle, is now too old to visit the places where his father fought in some of Canada’s most important First World War battles. Edmon Francis Mittelholtz. Photo courtesy Vern Mittelholtz

We Thank all our Service Men and Women for their Sacrifice   LEGION 2020 • PAGE 23 • WWW.MOOSEJAWEXPRESS.COM


MOOSE JAW HEARTILY CELEBRATED THE END OF WAR IN EUROPE IN 1945 The end of the war in Europe was presumed by late April 1945, but the actual date was not established until the last minute, so festivities in Moose Jaw were arranged on May 5 for the big May 8 event. Men were returning home in large numbers, with the first to have been sent over coming home first. Prisoners of War were also being released from German PoW camps. The Moose Jaw Times Herald newspaper carried a huge section on May 8, 1945 telling the story of the many men and women who “did their part” in the war effort. However, due to COVID-19, it is not possible to access all of that information. Presented are snippets of articles from that time.

Article courtesy of Richard Dowson arranged by Jason G. Antonio, Moose Jaw Express

Wednesday, May 2, 1945 L. Cpl. E. Hunter Tells of Wiles of Enemy Agents Back after long service overseas, a group of 125 veterans arrived in Regina on Tuesday. Representing almost every unit in the Canadian army, with a predominance of men from the Canadian Forestry Corps and the Saskatoon Light Infantry, the soldiers were happy to be home and were enthusiastic of the welcome they received across Canada.

Canadian soldiers in Europe read about the end of the Second World War in Europe in the Maple Leaf newspaper on May 8, 1945. Photo courtesy Juno Beach Centre People in Toronto celebrate the end of the Second World War in Europe on May 8, 1945. Photo courtesy City of Toronto

Many of the returning men saw action in Italy and on the European front. Several had been wounded and were sent back

due to lowered categories. A tale of counter-espionage work, traffic control under fire, and guarding rivers and bridges was told by Lance Cpl. E. Hunter of Moose Jaw. He went overseas with the 113th Field Battery and served with the field security section of the Provost Corps. “It’s a tough business and I’ve seen families split, part of them on one side of a river and part on the other side,” he said. In order to prevent enemy agents passing information back to their intelligence headquarters the civilian population was kept in districts and no interchange was allowed between districts. Agents could not be singled out from the ordinary peasants. They were cleaver and highly trained and used many tricks to dodge the field security section. On one occasion, four agentsthree men and one woman were separated. The woman appealed with great show of emotion to be allowed to join her husband. She was permitted to do so and it was learned later valuable information had passed between them. Sergeant A. B. McCardle of Moose Jaw, one of the eight original members who left with the 77th Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery, when the battery left Italy, was among the returning veterans. The 77th Battery was recruited at Moose Jaw and went overseas in December 1939. Casualties and transfers to other units, dwindled the number of original down to eight. Other Moose Javians who returned included Craftsman H. J. Hunt, 109 Main Street South, Moose Jaw and Sergeant A. B.McCrandle, 636 Second Avenue North East, Moose Jaw. Saturday, May 5, 1945 Final Plans Are Announced for V-E Day Final preparations have been completed for Moose Jaw’s participation in the worldwide rejoicing to be celebrated with the

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official declaration of “V-E Day.” With two alterations, plans as previously arranged will be carried out on that day. The Canadian Legion, who were previously scheduled to perform in Crescent Park, will now hold their V-Day band concert and chorus ceremony in the Arena rink where a platform is to be constructed. It was also announced by VE-Day officials that Lt. Col. A. W. “Pallie” Pascoe has been delegated by Brigadier G. A. H. Trudeau to represent Military District No. 12 at the Moose Jaw celebration. Other army officials are also expected to be in attendance. It was stated that the Young Men’s Section of the Board of Trade and the Princess Patricia Club are sponsoring an “At Home” celebration, which will take place at the Armoury on the night of the official declaration of V-E Day. An orchestra

Flight Lt. Maurice Briggs, and his navigator, Flying Officer John Baker, performed in Moose Jaw in a Mosquito fighter plane to help raise war bonds on May 10, 1945. Unfortunately, a day later, they would die in a fiery plane crash in Calgary. Photo courtesy Richard Dowson

will be in attendance, and tickets are now on sale, and can be obtained from Y.M.S. members or at Eilers in Moose Jaw. Ex-servicemen are to be given complimentary tickets, and the general public is cordially invited. Officials again pointed out that with the announcement of V-E Day, a general holiday will be declared the following day, and again essential industries in the city, such as the bakeries, dairies and so on, are asked to remain open and complete deliveries. A large number of business firms in the city have also expressed the intention of building V-Day floats, and a monster display is expected when the long-awaited announcement is flashed to the world. Wednesday, May 9, 1945 Local Soldiers Are Back Home A number of local soldiers were among a group that returned from overseas to Regina on Monday. Those returning included: Cpl H. L. Riome, Wellesley Park; L/Crp J Yoschuk, 142 Lillooet Street West; Sgt D. R. Greene, Boharm; Pte. L. S. Borton, Tugaske; Pte. D. W. Cheshire, Chaplin; Pte. E. H. Mattacok, 316 Athabasca Street West; Pte. A Napier, 306 Home Street West; Gnr. H. J. Thompson, Tuxford; Pte. W. J. Walters, 1344 Redland Avenue; and Lt. G. C. Russell, Fourth Avenue North East. Thursday, May 10, 1945 Swoosh, Freddie was Here, Swoosh, and He’d Gone “F for Freddie” Mosquito bomber which has made 213 operational flights against the Huns, and which is now acting — with its crew — as a super-salesman for Victory Loan bonds, came to Moose Jaw on Wednesday afternoon, May 9, 1945, astounded the citizens with daring acrobatic flying, and passed on westward to enthuse other Canadians into investing in the best, and buying another bond. In past days airmen have flown at what was called “housetop”

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height over Moose Jaw, but if that was “housetop” then “F for Freddie” was flown at ground top. This deadly little plane almost came to Earth and shook hands with the hundreds who were peering skywards. “Freddie” was something new to Moose Jaw. Many planes have been seen here, but nothing quite like the speed with which it zipped around. It was just a “swoosh” and “Freddie” had gone. People on the streets thought that it literally was going to drop down to the streets. Rooftops were skimmed with inches to spare, and as the trim little ship passed on to open prairie on the south side of the city, Flight Lt. Maurice Briggs, D.S.O., D.F.C., D.F.M., and his navigator, Flying Officer John Baker, D.F.C., and bar, were in their element. They brought the “Mossey” down to grass level and thundered along with the undercarriage practically touching the ground. People standing on First Avenue West saw “Freddie” pass like a flash of lighting and then he could be heard far away to the west. Next moment he was hurtling through the sky headed for the north, and a moment later a glimpse of “Freddie” could be seen as he passed apparently lower than the top of the top of the Y.W.C.A. building. He tore over Alexandra School with inches to spare. Next he was seen flying at anything up to 400 miles an hour down Main Street with just flying room beneath the plane and the buildings, and it could easily be understood why “Freddie” and the hundreds of other Mosquito bombers like him could pinpoint a target and hit the objective with a 2,000-pound bomb right on the nose. National War Finance Committee officials in Moose Jaw and district are hoping that the example of “Freddie” and what he has done and can do will be taken to heart by those who have not yet bought bonds in the 8th Victory Loan and that they will do so without delay.

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It was mid-September 1944 when the Allies launched a joint ground-airborne offensive called Operation Market Garden that they thought could help bring the Second World War to a speedier conclusion. Tasked with transporting a group of British paratroopers into the Netherlands — whose goal was to capture the bridge in Arnhem — was Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot Jack Ambler, who had trained in Moose Jaw from June to September 1943.

English-born pilot Jack Ambler graduated from No. 32 Secondary Flight Training School in Moose Jaw in 1943. His picture and other personal possessions — including his training flight log book — reside at the Western Development Museum as part of its aviation exhibit. Photo courtesy Karla Rasmussen

After graduating and receiving further training on DC-3 transport aircraft, his first mission was on Sept. 10, 1944, when he and other members of 48 Squadron began delivering supplies to the newly-freed Belgian city of Brussels and nearby airfields. On Sept. 17, Ambler’s crew took part in Operation Market Garden as part of an armada of aircraft towing Horsa gliders and carrying paratroops to Arnhem. However, their Dakota aircraft — dubbed “Oor Wullie” — had fuel trouble halfway across the North Sea, explained Ambler’s daughter, Jacqueline. They were towing a glider with a jeep, six men and a small field gun. “Both engines cut out and they were forced to lose altitude and the glider had to release from the tow rope and go down in the sea,” she said. “They frantically worked on the fuel system wobble pump, and at about 500 feet above the sea, they were able to get one engine going and stay in the air.” The transport crew managed to get their second engine running and, after ensuring the glider crew was safe in the water, returned to base and an unhappy debriefing. By Sept. 25, the operation had failed and the British paratroopers were fighting for their survival. Ambler’s crew took part in two resupply missions to relieve the beleaguered troopers.

On the first mission, anti-aircraft fire hit Ambler’s transport plane — they were the first resupply plane to reach the city — and it lost an engine, but the crew managed to drop the supplies before heading back to base in England, Jacqueline said. During the second trip, an enemy fighter plane caused troubles for the transport crew, but they avoided any serious issues. Ambler’s crew later learned that the supplies had fallen into German hands, as the enemy had overrun the drop zones and communications problems prevented the ground forces from providing an update about the changes. Throughout the 10-day operation, 48 Squadron flew 111 sorties — more than any other Dakota squadron — and towed 52 gliders while making 59 supply runs. The unit lost seven planes, 14 men died, four were taken prisoner and 10 escaped and returned to duty. Of the 11,920 British paratroopers who took part in Operation Market Garden, 1,485 died and 3,910 were evacuated across the river, leaving 6,525 as prisoners of war. Hence, the airborne part of the operation came to be known as “A Bridge Too Far.” To the Far East By August 1945, the war in Asia was coming to an end, but Ambler and his new crew were ordered to report to the Far East for further missions. They hitched a ride on a Stirling

bomber, which took them from England through the Middle East to India, before they ended up in Mingaladon, Burma. Their goal in the Southeast Asian country — now known as Myanmar — was to fly supplies into the jungles by dropping bags of rice to the starving people hiding from Japanese soldiers. Life at the airbase was anything but comfortable. Crews had to beg, borrow and steal supplies to create suitable living, eating and washing venues. Ambler’s crew built their bathtub by creating an earthen berm lined with black tar paper. They also constructed an adjacent shower by supporting a two-gallon can on four bamboo poles and piercing the bottom with a nail. Meanwhile, the Sergeant’s Mess was a bamboo-walled dining area with no insect screening, which gave mosquitos, flies and other unrecognized creatures full access to the food. The Moose Jaw-trained pilot’s first flight out of Mingaladon was a check flight to Bangkok, Thailand. The crew returned to the airbase with several former POWs who had worked on the infamous Burma Railroad — also known as the Bridge over the River Kwai. This was the first leg of their journey back to England. “… he told me he couldn’t figure out how any of those poor men survived, as they were skin


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and bones when they were brought on the plane … (it was) a sight he said he would never forget,” recalled Jacqueline.

Retired airmen Stan Mellor, Bill (Yorky) Lynch, and Jack Ambler gather for a picture in England in 2012. Ambler trained as a pilot in Moose Jaw during the Second World War. Photo courtesy Jacqueline Ambler

In February 1946, Ambler’s crew and others made weekly flights to drop bags of rice to the starving hill tribes in the low mountains between Burma and Thailand. The planes made several passes to drop the rice bags, each of which weighed 80 lbs; a full planeload would usually drop 5,000 lbs. Meanwhile, each crew had to regularly flight test aircrafts grounded for maintenance or repairs. During one test, Ambler’s crew performed the usual test procedures when they collided with a large bird. It hit the root of the starboard wing, which began vibrating immediately.

The crew made an emergency landing and taxied to the parking area, where airframe mechanics assessed the damage. The issue was a break in the main spar of the wing, so repair required a complete wing replacement. One of Ambler’s final responsibilities in Southeast Asia was in March 1946, when he had the honour to have Jawaharlal Nehru as a passenger on a flight to Singapore, Jacqueline said. Pandit Nehru, as Ambler knew him, eventually became prime minister of a newly independent India later that year. Ambler finished in Burma in March, and by July 1946, he was back in England after a 29day boat ride. He eventually married Anastasia (Nel) Berbenak — a woman he had met at a dance in Moose Jaw — in October 1947. Community service After settling in Regina in 1967, Ambler became involved in the United Way for 35 years, helped found the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation, and volunteered for numerous charitable causes throughout his 90 years. Although he never sought recognition for his volunteer work, he received many awards for these efforts, said Jacqueline. Some awards he won included the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal, the Canada 125 Commemorative Medal, the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, the Memorial Medal of Honour from the Netherlands’ Airborne Commemorative Foundation, and the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs Commendation

for Volunteer Work with Veterans, which hangs at 15 Wing airbase. He also received the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal in 2009 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. “He always felt that the veterans were important as it was because of them we have the freedoms we hold dear,” his daughter said. Ambler was also part of the Saskatchewan War Memorial Project committee that designed and built the Second World War memorial, which sits on the provincial legislature grounds.

Jack Ambler (seated) gives a talk at the Hartenstein Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek, The Netherlands in 2012 about his experiences in the Second World War. Photo courtesy Jacqueline Ambler

Returning to Europe Ambler returned to Europe several times to participate in Liberation Day ceremonies held each May in Holland. During the 65th anniversary ceremony in 2010, he was pre-

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sented to the Queen of Holland and asked to lay a wreath on behalf of veterans. In 2012, Jacqueline accompanied her father to Europe, where they drove to places in the Netherlands, Belgium and France where he had flown during the war. “It was a great trip, and because dad wore his medals during the days marking the liberation, he was treated like royalty,” she recalled. During a trip to the Hartenstein Museum, the daughter of the woman who was known as the Angel of Arnhem — for caring for wounded Allied paratroopers and hiding them in her home — recognized Ambler from a previous trip and invited him and Jacqueline to her home to see where her mother had hidden the soldiers. At trip’s end, Ambler and Jacqueline visited the pilot’s former crewmen in England, who had remained friends after the war. “I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much as when they were retelling some of their escapades during the war,” she added. Jack Ambler died in 2013 at age 90 and resides in the Rosedale Cemetery with his wife.

THE ROYAL REGINA RIFLES SERVED ON D-DAY, JUNE 6, 1944 Researched and Compiled by Richard Dowson, Moose Jaw

For the invasion of Normandy – called Operation Overlord – Canadian troops coming ashore were organized into the 3rd Canadian Division and the Division was divided into Brigades and Brigades are divided into Battalions. The Regina Rifles were part of the 7 Infantry Brigade that included: 1st Battalion, The Royal Winnipeg Rifles 1st Battalion, The Regina Rifles Regiment 1st Battalion, The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Vancouver Island) 7th Infantry Brigade Ground Defence Platoon (Lorne Scots)

The 3rd Canadian Division - Colour Patch

War Diaries Royal Regina Rifles Regiment June 5, 1944 1000 All Craft Underway – Weather Cool and Cloudy – Sea None to Smooth Landing Zone near Courseulles Sur-Mer, Normandy, France June 6, 1944 Operation Overlord 0010 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion

dropped inland 0100 Bomber Command bombing the Normandy Coast until about 0500 – overcast weather meant fighter cover not possible on June 6, 1944 The 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and the 2nd Canadian Armourded Bridge would be landing on an eight Km stretch between the villages of (from left to right – facing the beach) Saint-Aubin, Bernières, Courseulles-sur-Mer and Grayesur-Mer and La Riviere. The length of beach was code named “Juno” and it was divided into sections. The voyage in larger ships across from England was rough and most men got seasick. The LACs hung from davits on the troop transport ships and were lowered close to shore and the men climbed down and into the LACs for the run to the beach where they exited on bow ramps. The 8th Brigade would land at Saint-Aubin at the left of the Regina Rifles at 0810. Assault Begins Time: 0630 First landings on beach planned 0700 Troops Landing along the Normandy Coast – some delays 0735 First Canadians Land – Royal Winnipeg Rifles and the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada (There were delays – many landed 30 minutes later) Royal Winnipeg Rifles aboard LCA (Landing Craft Assault) head for Juno beach - June 6, 1944. The LCAs were carried on the troop ship and lowered close to the beach. They men

Juno Beach showing Landing Sections LAC reference number PA-132651

climbed down into them. Each carried a Platoon of 31 with 5 extra spaces. Most of the soldiers are wearing the new Mk III helmets (turtle helmets) - better protection for the side of the head. War Diaries – Regina Rifles - Continues Time 0805 Regina Rifles Regiment lands on NAN Green Beach, Courseulles Sur-Mer, Normandy, France. A Coy first in at 0805 – then B Coy at 0815; C Coy at 0835

rescued by the RN and others swam to shore. Major John Vernon (Jack) Love of Yorkton was killed when his LCA hit a mine and expled a mine about 250 yards from the beach landing area. He was the son of John Norman and Ethyl Annie Love and is buried at Bény-sur-Mer Canadian war cemetery near Reviers, Calvados, France.

CVMW News Clipping LAC Photo reference number PA-132790 LCA (Landing Craft Assault) going ashore from HMCS Prince Henry off the Normandy beachhead, France, 6 June 1944 – Assumed troops are Regina Rifles

War Diaries Continued 0830 A Coy report being held up by heavy fire 0855 Two LCAs (Landing Craft Assault) ferrying D Company troops from ships to shore strike mines 250 yard from shore – blown up – Major J.V. Love, Company ‘D’ Commander is killed as is Lieutenant R. B. Murchison, the Signals Officer and a number of Other Ranks. Some were LEGION 2020 • PAGE 28 • WWW.MOOSEJAWEXPRESS.COM

Jack was born in Napinka, Manitoba on August 8, 1918 and was enrolled in pre-med classes at the University of Saskatchewan when he enlisted in Regina, June 1, 1940. He was part of the Canadian Officer Training Corps while at University. He was married to Margaret (Ferguson) Love, the daughter of Dr. George Ferguson of Fort San Tuberculosis Sanatorium at Qu’Appelle. Lieutenant Robert Bruce Murchison was born November 29, 1920 at Saskatoon, the son of Gordon and Edna Virginia Murchison. He was married to Mary Florence Murchison of Ottawa, where he enlisted October 9, 1941 Ottawa,

Ontario, directly from school and was eventually assigned to the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals. For the Normandy Invasion he was assigned as the Signals Officer to Regine Rifles. War Diaries Continued 0900 Command Group with Lt. Col. F.M. Matheson, R.D., touch down 0930 ‘D’ Coy consisting of 49 all ranks under command of Lieutenant H. L. Jones begin advance against Reviers 1000 Bn. HQ at (number) A Coy in particular still engaged in heavy fighting on the beach and behind the beach

1100 Bn HQ moves to new location – Civilians of the village of Courseulles Sur-Mer, Normandy, France greet troops with flowers – Many a bottle of wine was dug up and presented to the troops who at the moment had a more serious task at hand 1215 ‘C’ Coy reports bridge at La Riviere clear 1330 Bn. HQ moves to La Riviere 1550 Bn. HQ arrives at La Riviere 1555 Queens Own Rifles of Canada report they have taken Magny and advancing on Easly 1800 ‘B’ Coy and ‘C’ Coy support 5 Squadron, 6 CATR to Fontaine-Henry – ‘C’ Coy instructions were to bypass Fontine-Henry and proceed to La Fresne Gamilly 1850 5 Squadron report withdrawing of Tanks – 6 knocked out by 88s 1900 ‘B’ Coy at Le Fresne-Camilly

1950 ‘C’ Coy at Le Fresne-Camilly 1950 Objectives Reached 2100 Consolidation for the night 2115 ‘B’ Coy – subjected to heavy fire – Major F. L. Peters, “B’ Coy Commander killed – and Lieutenant G. D. Dickins killed END of reporting for June 6, 1944 – The Regina Rifles were on the move just after Midnight, June 7, 1944 and continued advancing. Note: Lt. Glenn Dodsworth Dickin and Maj FL Peters were killed by mortar fire just outside the church in the village of Fontaine-Henry. A Moving Tribute to 'B' Coy, Royal Regina Rifles The following Story appears in the New York Times on June 9, 2004, the 60th anniversary of the Normandy Landing. Although the writer never knew the names of the Canadians killed there, piecing it back together two of them were Major Francis Lionel Peters and Lieutenant Glenn Dodsworth Dickin of ‘B’ Coy, Regina Rifles. The other name remains unknown – for now. A memorial to all the ‘Farmer Johns’ who fell on June 6, 1944.

Major Francis Lionel Peters Born: May 17, 1916, North Battleford, Saskatchewan. He enlisted on July 4, 1940, at Saskatoon. Son of Sidney George and Lillian May Peters, of North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Husband of Wilma D. Peters, of North Battleford Major Peters graduated in Commerce and Finance at the University of Alberta and was on the staff of Sterling Hardware and Millwork in Saskatoon when he joined the active military.

“D-Day / 60 YEARS LATER: Sacrifices in Normandy live on in the European memory” By David Stafford, International Herald Tribune June 9, 2004 “It is a pretty place called Fontaine-Henry, its houses built of a warm golden stone, and on one side of the village green a memorial to the dead of World War I.” “Not many places move me to tears. But this is one, because I know what happened here. On the evening of June 6, 1944, as dusk fell, a

22-year-old Allied soldier, along with two members of his company, walked up these steps looking for German snipers. He had landed at dawn with the first invasion wave, survived the hail of bullets across the beach, helped clear a small coastal town of enemy troops, then moved steadily along narrow Norman lanes toward his regiment's target for the night. “He was almost there. But as he topped the steps he was hit by mortar fire, and he and his comrades died instantly in the hail of shrapnel that still pockmarks the wall. “They were Canadian prairie boys from far away who had taken their first steps on European soil just earlier that day. All were volunteers, and not one was over 25. No one there knew them before, nor afterward could they say they had ever met them. But when darkness came, women from the village emerged from their houses and covered their bodies with fresh-cut flowers. The next day, tenderly wrapped by the women in their best household linen, they were temporarily buried in the churchyard, and then, when peace finally came to Europe, transferred to a military cemetery a few miles away. They still lie side by side, in a row of white crosses, along with thousands of other young men from overseas who died on D-Day and in the battles that followed. It seems even now as though their hands can touch.” Reference: https://www.nytimes. com/2004/06/09/news/dday-60-years-later-sacrifices-in-normandy-live-on-in-the-european. html

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Lt. Glenn Dodsworth Dickin; Born: January 20, 1922, Manor, Saskatchewan; Enlistment: October 3, 1941, Regina, Saskatchewan He was the son of George Dodsworth and Martha Amelia (Christopher) Dickin and is bured in the Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian war cemetery, Calvados, France

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Second World War veteran Jim Parks has kicked off a walk to honour the 45,000 Canadians who died in the war by raising funds for the Juno Beach Centre (JBC) in France. Parks, 96, began his walk on Oct. 8 in Mount Albert, Ont. He is the official ambassador for the Remembrance Day Races, a virtual run/walk event to raise funds for the JBC, Canada’s Second World War memorial and museum on the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy.

Jim Parks, a Second World War veteran from Ontario, plans to walk 1.5 kilometres to raise funds for the Juno Beach Centre in France. Photo courtesy Juno Beach Centre

Starting at his branch No. 382, Parks, a former marathoner, decided to take on the JBC’s Strongpoint 1,500-metre distance, named for the German strongpoint and the 1,500-metre stretch of beach that Parks’ battalion, the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, had to overcome on June 6, 1944. While cold rain and hail cut short

the first leg of his planned distance, he will continue his walk of remembrance with his family's support as Nov. 11 approaches. Centre in a ‘rough spot’ “The Juno Beach Centre has steadily grown over the years,” Alex Fitzgerald Black, historian, author and manager of outreach and operations of the Juno Beach Centre Association, the charity in Canada who operates the JBC, said in a news release. “We welcome about 100,000 guests every year, totalling over one million since opening our doors. Many people across Canada will remember the JBC as the site of last year’s official commemorations marking D-Day’s 75th anniversary. It was also featured on the Amazing Race Canada, where Jim greeted the contestants on the beach.” However, the Juno Beach Centre is in a rough spot due to the coronavirus, Fitzgerald Black continued. The building relies on revenue from areas such as the museum boutique to help fund its operations. The JBC had to close for three months earlier this year and it doesn’t anticipate returning to its normal visitor numbers for several years. The funds raised through the Remembrance Day Races will help the centre recover the revenue it lost during the pandemic, while the centre will continue to work to ensure people such as Parks and his comrades are honoured and remembered, she added. Register for the run The Remembrance Day Races are open for registration until Saturday, Nov. 28. There are three distances from which participants can choose: the Strongpoint 1,500 metre, the Juno Beach 8K — the length of the Norman beach code-named Juno — and the Remembrance 21.1K — named in honour of the 21,000 Canadian and British troops who landed at Juno Beach on D-Day.

Participants receive a race kit from the JBC’s race partner, VR Pro, that includes a commemorative medal modelled after the same medal Parks wears to mark his service in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany.

The Juno Beach Centre in Normandy, France. Photo courtesy Juno Beach Centre

It also includes the choice of a neck gaiter or face mask designed for the races, remembrance items from the Legion, a commemorative D-Day map, a Juno Beach coin and more. Race kits will be mailed to participants upon registration. Racers can also set up their fundraising page where people can sponsor them. Visit www.events.runningroom.com/site/17167/virtual-remembrance-day-juno-beach-event to register for the run/walk. Visit www.runningroom.com/dashboard/giving/?raceId=17167&eventId=50553&memberId=BGEKOQBgVjBTOgMwVWA%3D to sponsor Jim Parks and his goal of raising $5,000 for the JBC.

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Parks’s experiences Parks enlisted at age 15 and landed on D-Day when he was 19 years old, the news release said. Seventy-six years ago, he would have been engaged in battle to take the Leopold Canal in the borderlands between Belgium and the Netherlands. At the Leopold, he and his comrades helped secure one of the most important Canadian-led victories of the war. In an environment characterized by flooded fields and elevated dykes, they endured the mud and cold to defeat German forces along the Scheldt Estuary. This year Parks has chosen to commemorate Remembrance Day by sharing his story and walking to raise awareness of the Juno Beach Centre’s cause, reflect on his remarkable war experience, and pay tribute to those lost in the war 76 years ago. His goal is to raise $1 for every Canadian soldier who lost his life and was laid to rest in Normandy's cemeteries. “We have 5,200 good Canadian soldiers buried in Normandy,” said Parks. “Regular Canadians — fathers, uncles — (who) are over there 3,000 miles away. We don’t get to see them, so it’s important to bring it forward, to bring the memories back to Canada and show them what this walk is for.” Vivid memories Parks has returned to Normandy several times since the war, most recently in 2019, for the 75th anniversary of D-Day at the Juno Beach Centre. The building stands in almost the same spot where he came ashore that June 6, 1944.

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“When I am at the Juno Beach Centre, I can look over towards the (Seulles) river and I can tell you exactly where I landed,” Parks said. “I was almost right in front of where the Juno Beach Centre is now.”

A troop of Canadian soldiers floats toward Juno Beach on June 6, 1944 during D-Day. Photo courtesy Juno Beach Centre A young Jim Parks in 1941. Photo courtesy Juno Beach Centre

One of the most harrowing memories Parks shared about his D-Day experience is when he came upon his wounded comrade, Cpl. William John Martin, lying on Juno beach. Despite the machine gun fire, Parks stopped and held Martin in his arms as the young soldier took his final breaths.

“I do a lot of talks now, and I always stress the importance of remembering the people who gave their lives,” said Parks. “This walk is a walk of remembrance. It brings up a lot of memories for me. They become very vivid. When people are doing their own walk of remembrance, I want them to take the time to think about the reason they are walking. They are walking for all the Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice.” The Juno Beach Centre is grateful for the support it has received from Canadians, along

with people from France, Belgium, German, the Netherlands and Australia who have registered for the run, said Fitzgerald Black. “It is a testament to the importance of the JBC to people all over the world who recognize the important role Canadians played in the Allied victory,” she added. “We are especially grateful to have the support of Jim, because he is the reason the JBC exists, the reason we do what we do.”

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ALBERTA POET WRITES POEM TO HONOUR WARSHIP NAMED AFTER MOOSE JAW “HMCS Moose Jaw” By Garth Ukrainetz Poet Laureate of the Blackmud Creek --------------------------------------------------------------------The bull Moose is king of Saskatchewan A charger with monsterous rack Like Samson in battle with jaw bone in hand HMCS Moose Jaw attacked

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The U-boats were always a worry With the sonar the boys listened close And Moose could smell danger when enemy near For the scent of the Nazi was gross

In winter ol’ Moose Jaw was covered With a blanket of ice froze to deck With axes and hammers the crew chipped away Lest the ice cause the warship to wreck In port there was rest and reflection Weary sailors would dream of back home Where the whiskey jacks fly through the moonshine In the tunnels of old Al Capone

Though a Moose is a peace loving animal It will fight to the death if need be¹ You’ll be rammed and be smashed into pieces If you mess with a Moose family Now the darkness of Hitler was spreading But Canada stood with the light The mightiest Moose in the world answered call With the Battle Atlantic to fight A vessel well built in Lake Huron 5 guns and 200 feet long And 90 brave men kept the ship on good course Through an ocean they did not belong The Moose helped protect merchant convoys They sailed with supplies, then returned To help Churchill fight back against Hitler While London and Liverpool burned

On gun shield a picture was painted² Hero Moose chasing Hitler away With U-boat impaled in big antlers above For Adolph, a really bad day

HMCS Moose Jaw was one of 123 corvettes that served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. It was also the first ship in the RCN to sink a German U-boat. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Off south Greenland coast Moose discovered A wolf pack so quiet and still The guns were all jammed, so Moose charged and rammed It was Canada’s first U-boat kill In rough ocean spray, men were sea sick All the food in the mess deck was slop The swaying of hammocks rocked sailors to sleep From the bottom of waves to the top


We will Remember them...

The 6th day of June was the D-Day And thousands of ships sailed with Moose The largest invasion the world’s ever seen All the forces of freedom let loose Then after the war finally ended The wolves of the sea ceased to roam And Moose returned home here to Canada To Saskatchewan, swampy sweet home --------------------------------------------------------©2020 Garth Paul Ukrainetz Reprinted with permission

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I dedicate this poem to my father, Paul Ukrainetz, the moose hunter of the family. In celebration and remembrance of the 75th Anniversary of the end of The Battle of the Atlantic and the Second World War 1945 to 2020 “Lest We Forget�

The shield art on HMCS Moose Jaw depicts a moose chasing after German leader Adolf Hitler. Photo courtesy Pinterest

An Alberta poet has written a poem about HMCS Moose Jaw, the first warship in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) to sink a German U-boat in the Second World War. Garth Ukrainetz, poet laureate of the Blackmud Creek in Edmonton, has written “HMCS Moose Jaw� to highlight its wartime exploits. The fact his father was also a big moose hunter who grew up in the moose capital of Hudson Bay, Sask., and had an extremely close encounter with a charging animal were also inspirations to write the poem about the mighty moose —

both ship and animal. You can see Ukrainetz read his poem on YouTube under the title “HMCS Moose Jaw.� Canada produced more than 330 warships of various types during the war, including 123 corvettes, of which the Moose Jaw was one, he explained. The fact it was the first ship to sink a U-boat in the RCN was a badge of honour. The warship displayed the characteristics of a moose during its career, he continued. After being launched in April 1941, it rammed the rocks in the harbour of St. John’s, NFLD a couple of times while passing through; it even ran aground at one point. Its most moose-like characteristic was in how it sunk the German warship. Moose Jaw was training near Greenland on Sept. 10, 1941, when it received orders to proceed west to escort a convoy coming from Canada. A U-boat wolf pack was waiting for the convoy, so Moose Jaw happened to come upon the submarines from behind. Since most of the Canadian seaman were rookies, they were inexperienced in using the ship’s weapons. The four-inch deck cannon jammed, while the machine guns also seized up. The ship had to rely on its depth charges and on ramming. Through his research, Ukrainetz, 50, discovered Moose Jaw came up alongside U-501 and both cruised parallel to each other. Some German submariners actually jumped onto the ship since they thought both would collide. The Canadian corvette veered away before steering back and ramming into the sub, sinking it. The convoy would have been slaughtered if Moose Jaw and other ships didn’t show up, said Ukrainetz. Many lives were saved due to the bravery of the warship. By escorting the convoys to Britain from Canada, Moose Jaw was instrumental in ensuring the United Kingdom had the supplies to fight the Third Reich. “I like to do a lot of research before I write (poems),� Ukrainetz


explained. Besides information on the ship, he also learned more about moose, including that they are solitary animals and have antlers that help them hear better. Ukrainetz thought about writing the poem on Moose Jaw last year; once he began, it took him two weeks to complete. He brooded over his lyrics for three days to ensure everything was in place and the rhyme was perfect. “I change things to make it flow much better. That’s kind of typical of being a poet, is I think you got to be a bit obsessive with your lyrics,â€? he chuckled, “because words are quite important in poetry, especially in my type of poetry. It’s quite tight ‌ and precise in terms of its metrics. So I have to ensure every word counts.â€? The poem turned out better than expected, Ukrainetz said. He was uncertain he could even write one about HMCS Moose Jaw since there wasn’t much information on it. Ukrainetz thinks residents of Moose Jaw will be thrilled with the poem, especially since many people probably don’t even know a warship was named after the community. Even people who grew up here have probably forgotten about it. The Alberta-based poet has written plenty of poetry over the years, but lately, he has focused on writing about Canadian warships from the Second World War. While some communities in Canada have been ambivalent about his efforts to honour a ship named after them, Ukrainetz remarked that people in Saskatchewan are interested in his work. “Saskatchewan people are proud of their ships,â€? he added.





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SOLDIER'S NORWEGIAN BACKGROUND LANDED HIM IN A HOLLYWOOD MOVIE Norvald Flaaten never expected to appear in a movie when he enlisted with the army during the Second World War, but the movie’s subject and what he had to do were too good to pass up. “I was walking from my barracks to the mess hall carrying our mess tins,” he recalled. “And the sergeant-major hollered, ‘Hey Flaaten, I want to see you.’ Now, when a sergeant-major hollers at you, you have to watch out. “The first thing that came to my mind was, what have I done wrong now? I thought I was going to get balled out. But (the sergeant-major) said, ‘Flaaten, when you finish your lunch, you report to the director of the movie. He has something to tell you.’ I was quite surprised about this. The sergeant-major had good news for me.” The movie was being filmed near their location of Camp Colwood, Vancouver Island. After finishing lunch, the then-22year-old reported to director John Farrow to learn his role in the 1942 movie. The film was called Commandos Strike at Dawn. It was about a widower (not Flaaten), who, after seeing the atrocities committed by the Nazis on his peaceful Norwegian fishing village, escapes to Britain and returns later leading a commando force. The fictional commando force included soldiers from Britain — with Canadian soldiers acting as extras — leading the charge and recapturing the village. The director had a special job for Flaaten — whose background is Norwegian — that would happen at the end of the movie. “He (the director) said, ‘At the end of this movie, I want you to pull down the swastika (flag). Pull it down roughly, ruffle it

Jason G. Antonio, Moose Jaw Express

up and throw it on the ground. Then pick up the Norwegian flag, unfold it very carefully, tie it on to the rope of the flagpole and hoist it up slowly. While you’re doing this, I will have the camera on you taking your picture.’”

Twenty-one-year-old Norvald Flaaten in uniform, after signing up with the Canadian army in 1941. Picture courtesy Norvald Flaaten

So Flaaten did as he was instructed and rehearsed the shot a few times before going back to Camp Colwood for more training. Commandos Strike at Dawn was released on Jan. 27, 1943, across Canada, the United States and later in England. By then, Flaaten’s training had shifted to Regina, where he had first enlisted in 1941. While walking in downtown Regina, Flaaten came across the movie in a theatre and stepped in to watch the film me. “My relatives down in Minnesota went to see it when they heard it was going to be there,” Flaaten said. “My uncle said he sat through it twice it was so interesting.” It would be 1943 before Flaaten and other soldiers finally saw action. Their destination: Kiska, a small island in the Aleutian Island chain near Alaska. The Japanese had invaded Kiska on June 6, 1942, and its smaller island cousin Attu the next day. Flaaten was attached to the Rocky Mountain Rangers battalion, part of the 13th Canadian Infantry Brigade of the 6th Canadian Infantry Division. This group numbered roughly 5,300 Canadian soldiers. The battalion left Vancouver Island on July 12, 1943, and landed in Kiska on Aug. 15. “Lo and behold, somebody had warned the Japanese we were coming, and they made their escape before we arrived,” Flaaten recalled. “They lived underground in most places on Kiska. And we went underground where they had lived and found some kettles of rice on the stoves, which they had been boiling. And this rice was still lukewarm. So you can tell how close we were to meeting up with the Japanese.” Although the Canadians didn’t see any combat with the Japanese invaders, they still felt the occupiers’ effects. Many sol-


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An older Norvald Flaaten stands beside his TV, with a scene from the movie Commandos Strike At Dawn on the screen. In the scene is Norvald himself, ripping down the Nazi flag from the pole and preparing to hoist up the Norwegian flag. Norvald was one of hundreds of Canadian army personnel who acted as extras (representing the British) in the film, which was filmed in Saanich, British Columbia, Canada. Picture by Jason G. Antonio

diers were killed by mines or “booby traps” left behind by the fleeing enemy, including one of Flaaten’s friends, who stepped on a mine in front of him while on patrol. “It was quite depressing up there because there was no civilization. All we saw was blue fox and some hawks, crows and eagles flying by ... . So we spent six months in desolation,” he said. “We were happy when the Americans brought some movies up. We could actually see people moving and playing in the movies. And that was very, very cheerful.” After their six-month stay on Kiska, the Canadians sailed back to Victoria in January 1944. After more training — Flaaten became a certified driver mechanic — the troops sailed to Rayburn, England, on May 25, 1944, where they joined their

respective battalions. Flaaten joined the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada (based in Winnipeg, Man.), part of the 6th Brigade of the 2nd Canadian Division. The other two “sister” regiments of the Brigade included the Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal (based in Montreal, Quebec.), and the South Saskatchewan Regiment. Nearly two weeks later, the opening of the second front took place: D-Day, June 6, 1944. The Queen’s Own did not participate in the initial landings but instead landed on July 7, 1944, at Graye-sur-Mer. Upon landing, Flaaten was immediately made a driver of a Bren Gun Carrier since he was a driver mechanic. There were a couple of times when Flaaten had close encounters with enemy fire. During one occasion, Flaaten’s company took refuge in a vacant farmhouse, where they came upon porridge that they decided to eat for breakfast. They had no milk, but they spotted a herd of dairy cows grazing nearby. Since Flaaten was familiar with milking cows, he volunteered to take a four-litre pail to get some milk. “I had milked half the pail when a colt came over and scared the cow away, and that was the end of my milking,” he continued. “I had enough milk, so I picked up the pail and started toward the house. “I had walked about 500 yards back to the house when a large shell landed and exploded right where I had been sitting. They were aiming at me because they had seen me and thought they could get rid of the cattle and soldiers. So I have loved horses ever since. That was a good colt.” For his efforts in the war, Flaaten received the Volunteer Medal and Clasp, the Defence of Britain Star, the France and Germany Star, and the European King George VI medal. A movie poster for Commandos Strike At Dawn.


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SECOND WORLD WAR VETERAN SHARES STORY OF SERVICE, LOSS OF LIMB On Remembrance Day this year, many Canadians will be reflecting on the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Among those will be war amputee veteran Bob Gondek, of Toronto, who also carries a physical reminder of that pivotal time in history. At the age of 96, Bob can still vividly recall serving alongside the Allied Forces with the 2nd Polish Corps during the Italian Campaign. “We were climbing a hill, heavily laden with equipment carried by mules,” says Bob. “Germans were above and could easily see us. Their machine gun fire pinned us to the ground. We had to deal with completely unknown terrain and extreme darkness. Finally, I found a soft spot where I could seek temporary shelter. In the morning, I realized I was laying on corpses, buried in shallow graves.” In 1944, Bob was based outside Loretto, Italy, when heavy gun fire broke out. “Without any order, I crawled up to them [the enemy] and threw a grenade,” says Bob. “I acted instinctively.” After a short period of silence, the enemy began firing mortars. “I remember an explosion and the smell of gunpowder,” he says. “I then realized that my weapon was gone and, in the place where my hand held the machine gun, there was nothing – I had lost part of my left arm below the elbow. I felt like I was dying because my whole life flashed before my eyes.”

Submitted by Leah Cameron, War Amps

Bob also had extensive injuries around his leg and hip and spent five months recovering in the hospital. He was awarded the Virtuti Militari, the Polish equivalent of the Victoria Cross, for his valour in destroying two enemy machine gun nests. He also received the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restitua from Poland, the Cross of Valour, Merit Cross, Second Corps Army Medal and Monte Cassino Commemorative Cross. In 1954, Bob immigrated to Canada where he became a member of The War Amps, an Association originally started by amputee veterans returning from the First World War to help each other adapt to their new reality as amputees. Bob has dedicated a lifetime of service to The War Amps, holding various positions within the Association. He also became an inspiration to other amputees, showing them that an amputation is not a barrier to living a full and active life. “You have to teach by example,” says Bob. “I don’t have an arm, but I enjoyed playing golf.” Over the years, Bob has helped educate the younger generation about the horrors of war by going to schools and giving speeches to students. For the last 50 years on Remembrance Day, he has also laid a wreath to honour his comrades. “I’m grateful that I have been able to take part in these ceremonies. It’s important to me that I pay

tribute to my fellow veterans and all those who lost their lives,” says Bob.

Veteran Bob Gondek will reflect on the 75th anniversary of the Second World War’s end this Remembrance Day. Gondek served with the 2nd Polish Corp during the Italian Campaign, and in 1944, outside Loretto, Italy, heavy gunfire erupted, leading to him losing the lower part of his left arm. He immigrated to Canada and became a member of The War Amps, which began to help amputee veterans of the First World War. Gondek has placed a wreath in memory of his comrades at Remembrance Day services during the last 50 years.

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The War Amps is a Canadian registered nonprofit organization, established in 1918 to meet the needs of war amputees. The charity provides financial and advisory services to those who have lost a limb or total eyesight in military service during war and to provide similar services to Canadians who have undergone amputations. Today, the Association continues to serve them, and all Canadian amputees, including children. The Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program provides financial assistance for artificial limbs, regional seminars, and peer support. It is funded solely through public support of the Key Tag and Address Label Service and does not receive government grants. Through CHAMP, the War Amps tradition of “amputees helping amputees” will continue long into the future.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE MILITARY MEDAL AND THE VICTORIA CROSS? To answer a fairly recent inquiry by a Caronport resident as to the significance of the Military Medal in comparison to the Victoria Cross, here is some information we found to answer your question. The Military Medal (MM) was a military decoration awarded to personnel of the British Army and other arms of the armed forces, and to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, below commissioned rank, for bravery in battle on land. The award was established in 1916, with retrospective application to 1914, and was awarded to other ranks for "acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire". The award was discontinued in 1993 when it was replaced by the Military Cross, which was extended to all ranks, while other Commonwealth nations instituted their own award systems in the post war period.

The Military Medal was established on 25 March 1916. It was awarded to other ranks including non-commissioned officers and warrant officers and ranked below the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Awards to British and Commonwealth forces were announced in the London Gazette, but not honorary awards to

By Moose Jaw Express Staff

allied forces.[ (Lists of awards to allied forces were published by The National Archives in 2018 and are kept in country specific files. When the medal was first introduced, it was unpopular among regular soldiers wrote Military Medal (MM) and Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) recipient Frank Richards who stated "the Military Medal, which without a shadow of a doubt had been introduced to save awarding too many DCMs. The old regular soldiers thought very little of the new decoration". Both the DCM and the MM attracted a gratuity and the decoration allowance of an extra sixpence a day to veterans with a disability pension. However, the allowance was only awarded once even if the recipient was awarded more than one gallantry award. The ratio in the First World War was approximately five MMs awarded for every DCM. From September 1916 members of the Royal Daval Division, serving on Western Front alongside the Army, were made eligible for military decorations, including the Military Medal, for the war's duration. It could also be awarded to members of the Royal Air Force for gallant service on the ground. Eligibility for the MM was extended, by a Royal Warrant dated 21 June 1916, to women whether British subjects or foreign, with the first awards gazetted on 1 September 1916. Since 1918 recipients of the Military Medal have been entitled to the post-nominal letters "MM". Eligibility was extended to soldiers of the Indian Army in 1944. The Military Medal was discontinued in 1993, as part of the review of the British honours system, which recommended removing distinctions of rank in respect of awards for bravery. Since then the Military Cross, previously only open to Commissioned and Warrant Officers, has been awarded to all ranks.[14] The MM had also been awarded by Commonwealth countries but by the 1990s most, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, were establishing their own honours systems and no longer recommended British honours. *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Medal The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. It is awarded for valour "in the presence of the enemy" to members of the British Armed Forces. It may be awarded posthumously. The Victoria Cross (VC) is a military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the British armed

forces. A small number of Commonwealth countries still participate in the British (Imperial) honours system and would still be eligible to make Victoria Cross recommendations for their service personnel but none of these countries have ever been awarded the Victoria Cross. The last occasion a Commonwealth country was awarded the Victoria Cross was in 1969 during the Vietnam War and today all Commonwealth countries whose armed forces had been awarded the Victoria Cross under the British honours systems have their own honours systems and their own orders, decorations and medals. The Victoria Cross takes precedence over all other British orders, decorations and medals and may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and although civilians under military command are eligible for the award none has been awarded since 1879. The Victoria Cross has often been presented to the recipient during an investiture by the British monarch. The last award of the reign of King George VI and all awards of the reign of the present Queen with the exception of the two posthumous awards to the Australian Army during the Vietnam War have been presented by Queen Elizabeth II. The VC has been awarded on 1358 occasions to 1355 individual recipients. For a short time in the middle 1800s, the VC was awarded for actions taken not in the face of the enemy. Six were awarded at this time for actions taken not in the face of the enemy. Until 1921 the Victoria Cross could not be awarded to women, and to this day no VC has been awarded to members of that gender. Most Commonwealth countries have now created their own honours systems. Since 1991, three Commonwealth countries; Australia, Canada and New Zealand have created their own operational gallantry awards. Recipients are described in the following list by nationality (birthplace) or (citizenship) or (country of service) or (uncertain). * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Cross



commented, “I was extremely emotional leaving the ranch. It was beyond therapeutic and extremely helpful for myself going through my particular situation…I thoroughly enjoyed my time and appreciated the importance and attentiveness I also need to bring to myself.”

Under the direction of Wounded Warriors Weekend Foundation Director of Outdoor Adventures, John McCullough, in collaboration with Jorstad Performance Horses owner and trainer, Gail Jorstad, the inaugural “Wounded Warriors Wild West Weekend” is in the books. The Wounded Warriors Weekend Foundation is a Canadian non-profit charity organization which helps veterans and serving members who have their lives irreparably changed by either physical and/or mental health issues. The Wounded Warriors Wild West Weekend combined the therapeutic benefits of horses with ranch experience. On Thursday, October 1st, three wounded warriors arrived at JPH to experience ranch life. The warriors learned to feed, water, groom, work the horses from the ground, saddle, ride

and cut steers on horseback.

The warriors enjoyed home cooked meals, daily trail rides, and nightly campfires. They were treated to a trip to the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa and ended the weekend with a trail ride up into the Dirt Hills, the World’s largest “glacier push” hills. When asked their overall opinion of the “Wild West Weekend” experience, one of the warriors

Many individuals contributed to the success of the weekend. We would like to acknowledge and thank Gail and Jordan Jorstad for their instruction; Amanda Bartel for her cooking and so much more; Brent Horn of Wainwright, AB (horse, heel-o-matic, meal and roping instruction); Jessica Jelinski (horse and meal); Garry Nelson of Coronach (horses and hauling); Lazy J Trading Co. for the “wild rags” at the

discount; Apple Saddlery for the totes; Brenda and Ed Duncan for the use of their beautiful RV; Vaughn and Dallas Warken of Big Beaver for their wonderfully cooperative steers; Alan, Logan, and Jessie Young of Midnight Sun Ranching for hosting the final trail ride on their property; and finally the Wounded Warriors Weekend Foundation and Sask Lotteries for their financial support. If you would like more information on the Wounded Warriors Weekend Foundation or would like to donate, please see woundedwarriorsweekend.org or wwweekendfoundation@ gmail.com


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Veronica Moore, 97, holds a picture of her first husband, Cpl. Gordon Hughes, who served with the Canadian army’s 8th Reconnaissance Regiment during the Second World War. Moore was born in London, England. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

Nearly 48,000 English and European girls became war brides after marrying Canadian servicemen during and after the Second World War, with 43,454 women and 20,997 children later coming to Canada to start new lives. Veronica Moore is one of those war brides — and likely one of the few still living. “It’s all right to get to my age and you can still call yourself a bride,” joked Moore, 97. Life in London Born Veronica Josephine Smith on May 6, 1923 in London, England, Moore was 16 years old when the Second World War erupted in September 1939. She began training as a nurse that year, and in the spring of 1940, she was transferred to another hospital for more comprehensive training. Those early years of the war were the worst, she said. The hospital in which Moore was training was a few kilometres from the coast and German pilots would regularly strafe nurses and doctors outside while flying onward to bomb London. Nursing then was not your typical 9-to-5 job, Moore continued. She worked 12-hour shifts six-and-a-half days a week and lived in residence with other nurses. “I remember we had fun whenever we could and managed to keep a great sense of humour in the most difficult of situations,” she said, noting several memories have stuck with her. On one occasion, she went walking after a night of heavy bombing, when she saw standing in the rubble of a home a man who had just lost his family.

“He was yelling at the top of his lungs and shaking his fist at the sky, saying, ‘I’ll never eat another German sausage again,’” she recalled. During another incident, Moore was standing at a bus stop after a 12-hour shift. When she was about to board, the conductor said the bus was full and she had to wait for the next one. She watched the bus drive away, only for a silent V1 flying rocket “Buzz Bomb” hit the vehicle. “I knew then the real meaning of fate,” she added. A village dance Moore was 20 when she met Gordon W. Hughes, 22, at a village dance in December 1941. Hughes was a corporal in the Canadian army’s 8th Reconnaissance Regiment and was stationed nearby. After more than a year of dating, they decided to marry. However, the rules for marrying were strict during the war. They had to wait six months before they could even plan their wedding. Moore and Hughes were married on May 1, 1943 in Kenton Roman Catholic Church. Only a few people attended the wedding, while there were no frills or anything fancy. Moore wore a gown that her friend had worn a week earlier, while friends and neighbours donated the flowers. The wedding also took place during a heavy air raid. “It was our wedding, and after all we had gone through, even the bombing wasn’t going to stop it,” Moore said. The wedding party initially rushed for shelter but decided the wedding should continue, so they ignored the sirens and finished the ceremony. Luckily, the air raid was nowhere near them. Afterward, they celebrated at the home of Moore’s sister, Margaret. The wedding cake was iced with melted chocolate bars, which Canada had sent to England with regular supplies. Beginning a new life The couple had a brief honeymoon before Moore returned to the hospital and Hughes returned to camp. In September 1943, he shipped out and later fought in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, Belgium, and Holland during the next two years. He eventually returned to England, but only for five days before being shipped back to Canada. Moore applied to join Hughes; her application was approved in March 1946, and she and thousands of other war brides left on the ship Aquitainer. After landing in Halifax, N.S., Moore took a train to Moose Jaw and arrived on March 28, 1946. Hughes picked her up and drove her to Chaplin, where he was the postmaster. “I thought I’d come to the ends of the earth,” Moore recalled. “No sewer, no water, no nothing.” That winter of 1946-47 was one of the worst on record, but Moore still thought it was wonderful to sleep in a bed instead of an air

Veronica Smith and Cpl. Gordon Hughes pose for a picture after marrying in May 1, 1943 in Kenton Roman Catholic Church near London, England. Photo by Carol Bachiu

raid shelter. However, memories of air raids still haunted her, as she would constantly wake whenever big trucks travelled on Highway 1, thinking they were attacking planes. The couple — who had two children — enjoyed 10 years together before Hughes died from cancer at age 36 on April 25, 1957. Moore eventually became the postmistress in Chaplin and held that position until 1967. She later married Marlin Moore on Sept. 23, 1967 at Zion United Church in Moose Jaw, and they moved into Moose Jaw nine years later. Veronica and Marlin were married for 40 years before he died on Dec. 13, 2007. “I think I am one of the last war brides there are. I don’t know anyone (else) … ,” added Moore. “I think I’m pretty lucky to still be alive. I think I’ve (still) got my marbles. I’ve had a long life. I travelled a lot (and) I met many interesting people.”

After 74 years of living in Canada, Veronica Moore’s family has grown to include many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Photo by Jason G. Antonio


The Visit Moose Jaw Board would like to

thank our veterans for their service.

We will never forget...

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Moose Jaw Exhibition Company 250 Thatcher Dr E Moose Jaw, SK S6J 1L7 (306) 692-2723

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Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa 24 Fairford St E Moose Jaw, SK S6H 0C7 (306) 694-5055

Mosaic Place 110 1st Ave NW Moose Jaw, SK S6H 0Y8 (306) 624-2040






Moose Jaw, SK • 306-693-5835



A TRIBUTE TO STANLEY ELIJAH WOOD Photos and memorabilia shared by son George Wood of Moose Jaw

Wood's fur-lined aviator glasses, along with all of his medals.

X marks Wood as part of the R.A.F. Seaplane Station, Dundee; February 1919

Stanley Elijah Wood Served overseas in WWI in the 10th Battalion. In January of 1915, Wood enlisted in the 50th Overseas Battalion that served in Canada, England and France. He was discharged from the service by reason of being appointed Flight Captain in the Royal Air Force on April 16th, 1918 at the age of 24 years 4 months.

We Will Remember Moose Jaw

Formal Discharge Papers from the Army.

In memory of those who had the courage and devotion to fight for our country. We will never forget your sacrifice.

For all your plumbing, heating and air condition needs. 219 Fairford St W, Moose Jaw 306-694-4100 24/7 Emergency Service



I normally write about Saskatchewan men and women in World War Two. This time the story is about my Uncle, Sergeant Alex Sinclair, Royal Regiment of Canada a Saskatchewan buddy, Private Robert Arthur Wignes, of the Humbolt District. Alex’s family were from Scotland. I think he was born there in 1916. The family moved to Canada when he was young. Alex had an older sister, Kath, and a younger brother Robert. It seems his mother died in the 1930s and he and his brother Bob were ‘raised’ by their sister Kath. She was a secretary with Bell Telephone in Toronto. She never married, was smart with her money and invested wisely. The kids were raised in Toronto through the Great Depression. In 1943 Alex’s father Robert is living in Apartment 4, 40 Doel Avenue, Toronto, now part of Dundas Avenue East. Alex joined the “Toronto Royals”, the Royal Regiment of Canada in 1939. By 1942 his bravery, determination, and natural leadership ability propelled him to the rank of Sergeant. Uncle Alex married a favorite aunt, my mom’s sister Sarah in 1951. At age 15 I was kicked out of school and considered a juvenile delinquent. My Mom tried to give me to a passing band of Gypsies. When that failed I was sent to Sudbury, Ontario to live with my Aunt, Uncle and two cousins. Alex was nice to me – but he was terrifying. He often flew into unpredictable bouts of anger. He could be very violent. He experienced loud nightmares. I kept my mouth shut and did as I was told. I got work running a marina on the French River and moved out. Today we call Uncle Alex’s condition PTSD. While I lived with my Aunt and Uncle, Alex often brought ‘Old Army Buddies’ back to the house after the Legion closed. My job was to open and serve beer. These Army guys talked about their experiences among themselves. I listened.

Uncle Alex occasionally talked about the August 19, 1942 Dieppe Raid. He was taken prisoner at Puys and spent three and one half years as a prisoner of war. Veterans Affairs Canada notes, “Of the 554 members of the Royal Regiment of Canada who embarked on the raid, 227 died in or as a result of the raid (212 on August 19th)— more deaths than any other unit involved. In addition, 136 were wounded and 264 became prisoners of war (POWs). Only 65 made it back to England. They were wiped out.

This is a Royal Regiment of Canada photo of the boys training in England. I think Alex is the one holding a cup and looking directly at the camera.

Landing at Blue Beach, August 19, 1942

Alex did not have to go on the Dieppe Raid. A friend, another Sergeant had just got married and asked Alex to trade places. Always caring, Alex did. It was the biggest mistake of his life. Alex, one of 554 members of the Royal Regiment of Canada, three platoons of Canadian

Black Watch and a few guys from the Royal Canadian Artillery who landed on Blue Beach. On August 21, 1942 Ross Munro, Canadian Press War Correspondent filed an article about the Dieppe Raid. He went to Puys with the ‘Toronto Royals’ The plan was to land before daybreak and under the cover of smoke. On the way over, Munro writes, “We came under fire first at sea when the German E-boats made a futile attack on our fleet of small craft on the east flank of the main flotilla.” The delay meant it was fully light and the smoke had dissipated when they landed. Munro writes, “… the grimmest and fiercest engagement of the Dieppe raid… (was fought) by the Royal Regiment from Toronto who fought a tremendous action on a small gravel beach. “I was with them when their landing craft crunched onto the shores of France; with them for part of that terrible fight. “The Royals’ target was a beach at Puys, one mile east of Dieppe. There is a break in the gleaming white cliffs at this point and a small valley slopes from the sea to the town a quarter mile inland.

“The beach was strongly defended. On top of the cliff were several quaint French house which had been fortified. Two concrete pillboxes were on the slope. A considerable Ger-


man force was in position here …”(Photo of gun slits 2008 by J-P Dowson) To immobilize the German guns, the men had to cross the open stony beach, scale the heavily wired ten-foot sea wall, and run up the slope. Munro writes, “As soon as the ramp at the bow of our boat fell fifteen Royals rushed the beach and sprinted up the slope, taking cover along the cliff side. “I saw a dozen Royals to the right running like deer for the top of the slope. Two fell but the rest rushed on, firing Sten Guns as they went. “They disappeared over the hill and others from the second raiding party followed. We could hear the battling in the direction of Puys and realized men were trying to relieve the pressure on the beach by shooting up the German defenders from behind.” Alex made it over the sea-wall and up the slope, twice. When he returned the second time the situation was hopeless. This photo shows Blue Beach and the ‘slope’. A grey concrete gun emplacement can be seen on the hill just below and left of the house. Soon enough Ross Munro’s Landing Craft took on a few passengers and backed off the Puys beach. He made it back to England.

Surviving on the Beach Alex said he was on the beach talking to an officer when the officer’s head disappeared. All the officers were killed except one. As Senior NCO, Alex became second in command. Of the 556 Toronto Royals who landed, 212 were killed on August 19, 1942. Others died of their wounds. Asked how he survived Alex said because he was a ‘little guy’, five seven, he piled bodies up for protection and got under them until fighting ended.

Prisoner of War Camp Stalag VIIIB/344, Lamsdorf, Poland Alex escaped twice from the POW Camp during the first year of captivity. It is pure conjecture – I was not able to confirm this, but it is believed he escaped both time with fellow RRC member Private Robert Wignes, B-67003, POW# 25264 of the Humbolt, Saskatchewan District.

German photo of dead Canadians, many of Alex’s friends, at Puys, (Dieppe) August 19, 1942.

SVWM Photo

The soldier were shot by machine gun and mortar fire from enemy guns on the upper slope. Those not killed, like Alex Sinclair and Robert Wignes, were taken prisoner. The seriously wounded were sent to the hospital in Rouen, France. Those able to walk were marched away. Uncle Alex and Aunt Sarah Returned to Puys My Aunt told me that when they reach to walkway above the beach Alex asked to be alone. He sat on a bench overlooking the beach at Puys and cried for more than an hour. It was a cathartic experience. He came to grips with the nightmare of war that haunted him for so many years. Veterans’ Affairs had programs for men like Alex who were prisoners of War. He finally took advantage of them. Soon after the Puys trip he got sick. Alex died in Sudbury, Ontario in 1987.

Robert was born in Humbolt October 16, 1918 and grew up on a farm south of Humbolt. He moved to Ontario during the Depression and found work as a sailor on the Lake boats. He enlisted in Toronto on September 13, 1939, a week after war was declared. The Escapes According to the SVWM Bio by Blair Neatby, the first escape was on October 10, 1942 from Lamsdorf, Poland POW Camp. Robert, and one assumes Alex, were captured on October 16, 1942. The plan was to go to neutral Turkey. They probably went in the wrong direction. The second escape occurred April 17, 1943. They hopped an ammunition train. Alex was captured and returned to the Camp. Private Wignes was shot and killed. The bullet wound was near his heart. He then fell under the train. According to a Military Police account conveyed to family by Camp Leader S. Sherriff,

RSM, “The dead man escaped from the P.O.W. Camp and was trying to reach safety (going south). At some railway station the fugitive swung on to the moving train and travelled with it. Either a soldier or a railways guard saw the fugitive and fired a shot through the door at the intruder. The escapee fell from the train as a result of the shot, and came to fall on the railway lines. He was run over by a moving train whereby both legs were severed from his body.” Private Wignes died on or about April 17, 1943 at Ryczow, Poland and was buried in the local cemetery. He was later moved to Kracow Rakowicki Cemetery, Poland, about 257 Kilometres south-west of Warsaw. They travelled about 150 Km south of the POW Camp. Robert was a Metis. Following his second escape Alex was assigned to a job in a Silesian coal mine. Alex Sinclair – POW and Miner After the War Uncle Alex worked as a miner in a Nickle Mine at Sudbury, Ontario. He often joked that he began his mining career while a POW. Like many POWs he was assigned to a Working Party and worked underground in a coal mine in Silesia. Conditions were terrible. The mines were dark, damp and wet most of the time. The timber support beams kept falling; there were rock falls and regular power outages. Third Escape Third time lucky. Alex, their German Guard, a New Zealander and a Brit escaped on the Death March. Death March The Russian Army was advancing west. On January 22, 1945 thousands of POWs left Stalag VIIIB/344 for a march west to get away from the Russians. They walked through four-foot snow drifts in bitter cold with little food. Those who fell were shot on the spot; their bodies left to freeze. It was a nightmare. Alex’s German Guard was from New Jersey, USA. He’d gone home to Germany before the war to visit family and was forced into the


Army. He was very protective of Alex and the Group he guarded. When Hitler Youth attacked them he chased them off. It was obvious to the Guard that the War was lost. Alex, a New Zealand buddy and a Brit talked the Guard into escaping with them. He agreed on the condition he be turned over to the Americans. It was agreed and off they went. The Guard was turned over the to Americans near the Rhine River. In 1956 Alex and my Aunt visited the Guard and his family in New Jersey. They continued to write each other. As part of their escape they ‘acquired’ a German ambulance and ‘booty’ to go along with it. The plan for Alex and his buddies was to get enough money to move to New Zealand and a new life. When the ambulance ran low on fuel they were going to put gasoline into it but it ran on Diesel. American soldiers mixed gasoline and oil together and sent them on their way. Westbound traffic across the Rhine was for only one hour a day. The fuel mixture made the vehicle underpowered, but they got across the Rhine. Unfortunately, the British Army was there to greet them and that was the end of their escape plans. Alex spent six months in a British hospital recuperating. Back in Canada Alex got his back pay from when he was a POW and headed to Vancouver – then Alaska and then, broke, back to Toronto for a loan from his sister Kath. He met my Aunt in 1950. They had a son who he named Robert, probably named after his ‘escape buddy’ Robert Wignes. Jobs and opportunities weren’t good in Toronto. After 2 weeks in the slammer for Impaired Driving Alex went to Sudbury and, because of his German Coal Mine experience, got a job as a long hole driller in a nickel mine. My Aunt and two cousins followed and they settled in Copper Cliff, which is where I first met him.

TWO BROTHERS DIED AT DIEPPE, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19, 1942 Submitted by Richard Dowson

Courtesy of CVWM

Brothers Melville and Earl Beatty of Carlyle, Saskatchewan served with the South Saskatchewan Regiment. Both were killed at Dieppe, Wednesday, August 19, 1942. L12993, Private Melville Douglas Beatty was born in 1919. He is buried in the Dieppe Canadian war cemetery, Hautot-sur-Mer, Seine-Maritime, France

Royal Canadian Legion Carlyle Branch #248

L12903, Private ‘Walter’ Earl (Squeak) Beatty was born in 1920. He has no known grave. In 1979 the boys mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Beatty of Carlyle, Saskatchewan was the Silver Cross Mother. The following is courtesy Veterans Affairs Canada 1979 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother – Eliza Beatty

“Mrs. Eliza (Elizabeth) Beatty of Carlyle, Saskatchewan, was the 1979 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother. During the national Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa on November 11, 1979, she laid a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial on behalf of all mothers who have lost a child in military service to Canada.

“Mrs. Beatty, née Keal, was born on July 25, 1891 in Saskatchewan. In 1911, she married Walter Wellington Beatty and together they raised seven children: Keal, Erma, Lois, Thelma, Melville, Earl and Reginald. Reginald, who also served in the Second World War survived, returning home. “Mrs. Beatty was widowed in 1967. She died in 1985 in Saskatchewan.”

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WWII IN ITALY - MOOSE JAW MAN WOUNDED Submitted by Richard Dowson

This wonderfully socking account of being wounded appeared in the Moose Jaw Times Herald, on Saturday, January 27, 1945 Headline “Dull Shock and You Black Out,” Says Signalman McKay “When a soldier gets hit by shrapnel, ‘There is a dull shock and then you black out,’ says Signalman W. G. McKay of 1036 Donald (Probably McDonald Street) Street, Moose Jaw, who was one of a party of returning servicemen from overseas who reached Regina on Friday. “And Signalman McKay should know for he experienced a sledgehammer blow when wounded in an Italian ditch trying to escape dive bombers. “This Moose Jaw soldier was a member of the 1st Canadian Division Signals with the Canadian Army in Italy. Bomb fragments struck him in the left thigh and the chest and he was in hospital for a long time after that. ‘They take good care of you there,’ said Signalman McKay, referring to hospital treatment. “Regarding the dive bombers which proved his undoing the soldier said, ‘I saw three of them come screaming down out of the heavens. I tried to get into a ditch like the others. I made two leaps and a bound and was caught in mid-air. We were repairing some wireless equipment when Jerry spotted us, dropped in on a visit and tried to lay some eggs on us. It’s strange, I didn’t seem the least bit frightened. I just figured this was it and headed for the ditch.’” Editor At the time he was wounded the 1st Canadian Division Signals (Royal Canadian Corps of Signals) was on the Adriatic side of northern Italy and participating in ‘Operation Olive’. They began attacking the German ‘Gothic Line’, a string of heavily fortified defences along the northern part of Italy, in

September 1944. He was probably wounded in the early fall of 1944 during the advance on the Gothic Line. By January 1945 the fighting slowed until a new offensive was started in the spring along the Senio River where Canadians took heavy casualties. Canadians who fought through Italy were often called, “D-Day Dodger” because they did not land and fight through Europe. It was a tongue in cheek comment. Everyone knew the fight though Italy was a vicious, searing affair. In the early stages of the Italian Campaign Fight Lieutenant Rex Probert of Alder Avenue, Moose Jaw, was flying a Spitfire against the Germans and Italians. His was one of the first fighter aircraft to land in Sicily. He shot down one Italian airplane and he, himself was shot down, landing in the Mediterranean. He was rescued by a single engine flying boat called a Walrus. Lucky Wilson, who lived in Moose Jaw in his later years, was with the armoured division in Italy before being transferred to Holland theatre, as were many other Moose Jaw veterans.

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Taken at the Moro River (1943) during an earlier battle. The crossing was built by the 3rd Field Company of the Royal Canadian Engineers. (DND Photo)


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Great Britain and France declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939. Canada did not. The following is a description of how Canada declared war and entered World War Two. As an independent country and member of the British Commonwealth, Canada had its own procedures for deciding if it would go to war. On September 7, 1939 a special session of the Parliament was called to debate the question of whether Canada should declare war on Germany. On September 9, 1939 the Canadian Parliament approved the decision to go to war against Germany. One more step was needed for the decision of Parliament to come into

force. The structure of the Canadian government required the approval of King George VI, King of Canada. That approval was sought and read in part, “… a state of war with the German Reich has existed in Canada as and from September tenth.” King George VI approved the document. This may all seem peculiar today, but the process of Government is critical to democracy. The United States of American, in the fall of 2020, is experiencing challenges to the structure of their Government. Following established Process and Procedure are critical if a democracy is to work.

Remembrance Day Lest We Forget



A shadow box highlights Jack Ambler’s Second World War career and his later participation with the Masons. Photos courtesy Jacqueline Ambler

While Moose Jaw-trained pilot Jack Ambler participated in some of the most important missions of the Second World War, his most successful accomplishment was marrying the girl he met during a dance at Temple Gardens Mineral Spa. Born in Tong, Bradford, Yorkshire, England, Ambler was 20 years old when he sailed to Canada on March 24, 1943, to participate in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). Ambler’s first training stop was Calgary, where he learned to fly famous trainers such as de Havillands. After graduating on June 8, 1943, Ambler ravelled to Moose Jaw to start at No. 32 Service Flying Training School. This was a Royal Air Force-run (RAF) school situated seven kilometres (four miles) south on a gravelled Highway 2. The trainees — from Britain, France, Belgium, Holland and Norway — were trucked out to the flight school and thought they were riding over a road made from logs laid side by side. Life in Moose Jaw was enjoyable for the recruits, who were permitted to leave the base in the evenings and weekends. A city bus ran into town regularly, while many men visited the Temple Gardens dance hall. Early on, Ambler met Anastasia (Nel) Berbenak, a young woman who had emigrated from Ukraine with her family in the 1920s. “His mom had told him as a young man that he had better learn to dance because you could tell how good a young lady was by how she danced, so he took dance lessons for a year as a 16-year-

old,” daughter Jacqueline Ambler told the Express. “Dad always said that he knew he was going to marry her after their first dance.” The couple danced together often and spent many hours together on weekends. River Park was a favourite place to spend Sunday afternoon, as the Moose Jaw River had a large beach while there were canoes to rent for upstream trips to Wellesley Park.

Jack Ambler and his new wife Anastasia (Nel) Berbenak pose with family and friends for a picture after their wedding in Bradford, Yorkshire, England on Oct. 4, 1947.

Final exams and flying tests were completed during the last week of September 1943, with trainees receiving the coveted pilot’s wings if they passed. On Sept. 30, the recruits formed up on the parade square and given the results. “Dad and many others were ecstatic when they received their pilot’s wings. They were no longer cadets, but fully-fledged pilots,” Jacqueline said. Some pilots chose to train as flying instructors, others were posted to bombing and gunnery or navigation schools, while most graduates were sent to Moncton, N.B. to head back to England; Ambler went with the latter group. A Friday evening was devoted to saying goodbye to friends made while in Moose Jaw. Ambler arranged to meet with Berbenak to say farewell with a promise to write, as they had become close during his four months of training. “However, he thought they both knew that if all went well, they would be back together again when the war was all over,” said Jacqueline. “It was

one month short of four years before they were to see each other again.” Ambler left Moose Jaw by train on Oct. 1, 1943, and boarded the troopship Aquitania, which took five days to cross the Atlantic Ocean and dock in Liverpool. After more months of training, Ambler’s career as a transport plane pilot began in September 1944. He and his squadron eventually ended up near Mingaladon, Burma (now Myanmar) in September 1945, after the war had ended. They delivered food to starving tribes and helped fly out prisoners of war. Social life at Mingaladon (now Rangoon) was almost non-existent, as there was no Sergeant’s Mess in which to socialize. The dining area was a bamboo structure with no windows or doors. There was also no bar, as the rationed supplies came in once a month and were normally consumed in under two days.

Jack and Nel Ambler on their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997. The couple went on to have 64 years of wedded bliss.

However, it was always a day of celebration when the camp mailman, Yorkshire-born Bill Lynch, stood at the entrance to Ambler’s “office” — his tent — and hollered out, “Bundles from Berbenak.” Everyone in camp knew that Ambler had received a parcel from his Canadian girlfriend, including cigarettes and other goodies. “This occurred at least twice a month and he was popular for at least a few hours,” said Jacqueline. “Parcels from Britain were rare because of short-


The Ambler family, including in back Dawn, Anastasia (Nel), and Jack, Sr and in front Jack Jr. and Jacqueline.

ages of the necessities there, so treats from Canada were a very valuable commodity.” Ambler proposed to Berbenak by mail from Burma and sent her a ring he had purchased in India; they continued to write afterward. After being discharged from the air force, he took the RMS Orduna on June 15, 1946, and arrived in Liverpool, England, 29 days later. He could not attain passage to Canada since English war brides were taking up space about transport ships, so he asked Berbenak to come to England to marry him. She agreed on two conditions: that she took care of the finances and that they returned to Canada within two years. He agreed, and they wed in 1947; 18 months later, they took the HMS Queen Mary and arrived in Canada in 1949, where they lived in Moose Jaw, had three children, and remained until 1962. The family later moved to Regina in 1967 for work. The couple enjoyed 64 years together before Nel died in 2011; Jack lived to age 90 when he died in 2013. They rest together in the Rosedale Cemetery.

THEY WERE JUST KIDS MANY WERE TEENAGERS D-Day, June 6, 1944 – the invasion of continental Europe at Normandy has been researched and reviewed often. The ‘Infantrymen’ were just kids. Most never appreciated the danger and assumed if someone was going to died – it would not be them.

Library and Archives Canada Photo

They were just like the young guys seen today at the Mall – in a Bar or at a Rider game. Not much has changed. They sought adventure – hoped for the best and did what was expected of them – fight and die, if necessary. These are two typical ‘kids’ of the 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade (RCIC) hamming it up aboard their Landing Craft (Light) at Southampton, England

Moose Jaw Express.com 32 Manitoba Street West Moose Jaw, Sask S6H 1P7 306 694 1322 www.mjvexpress.com editor@mjvexpress.com

Compiled by Richard Dowson, Moose Jaw

on June 4, 1944. They were ready for the invasion of France – not a care in the world. On the left, Private Art Robertson, Nova Scotia Highlanders, holding a Bren-gun. His buddy Kenny Mardon, Highland Light Infantry of Canada holds a Sten Gun. They are ‘horsing around’. Each carried a Lee Enfield 303 when they landed at 11:00, June 6, 1944. They were able to land on Juno Beach without firing a shot. They moved inland. Things changed. On June 8, 1944 at 0500 Kenny Mardon and his unit, the Highland Light Infantry from Waterloo County, Ontario, readied themselves for an attack on the small Normandy village of Burton. They were assisted by Tanks from the Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment. They attacked the 25th SS Panzergrenadier Regiment, a radical NAZI Hitler Youth Regiment. The short, bloody battle cost the Highland Light Infantry 262 casualties, of which 62 died on the battlefield and several died of wounds later. Eleven of the 15 Sherbrooke tanks were knocked

With special thanks to our advertisers who made this publication possible and in acknowledgement and with special thanks to all those that have contributed to this issue: Publisher: Robert Ritchie - rob@mjvexpress.com Editor: Joan Ritchie - editor@mjvexpres.com Sales: Wanda Hallborg - sales@mjvexpress.com Bob Calvert - sales@mjvexpress.com Gladys Baigent-Therens - sales2@mjvexpress.com Steve Seida - Special Sales


Private Kenneth Mardon, # D/139018, age 19, 9th Infantry Brigade, 1st Battalion, The Highland Light Infantry of Canada, was wounded and evacuated Contributors: to England. He died of his wounds July Jason G. Antonio, Scott Hellings, Ron Walter, Joyce 12, 1944 and is buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey, UK; 52 D Walter, Larissa Kurz, Richard Dowson, Bill & Ann Heselton (2012 copy) 10. His Platoon Sergeant in the Highland Light Infantry, Sergeant Herbert ‘Bert’ Designer: Edward Francis of Galt, Ontario, was Sandra Stewart wounded in the same battle and died the next day. He is also buried in the The contents of this publication are the property of Moose Jaw Express. Reproduction of any of the contents of this publication including, but without limiting the generality of the following: Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey photographs, artwork and graphic designs, is strictly prohibited. There shall be no reproduction There is no record of his buddy Art without the Express written consent of the publisher. (rob@mjvexpress.com) Robertson. It is assumed he survived All ads are published in good faith without verification, and the Moose Jaw Express does not under any circumstances accept responsibility for the accuracy or otherwise of any ads or messages the war. in any of the publications editions.

CRESTS AND THE ROYAL CROWN Compiled by Richard Dowson, Moose Jaw

Canadian organizations, like the RCMP and the Military, always have a crown on the top of their identifying crest. Few realize there is a Queen’s Crown and a King’s Crown. Today, the Canadian Head of State, represented by the Governor General, is Queen Elizabeth II. Current crests display the Queen’s Crown like this on the RCAF Queen's Crown Crest.

During World War One and Two the Canadian Head of State was a King so the Crest had a King’s Crown, like this one on the WW II RCAF crest.

King's Crown



Submitted by Helen Whitfield

Joseph John Jasper L-9418

Joseph John Jasper L-9418

My dad, Joseph John Jasper enlisted on April 7, 1941. His duties were as a driver and mechanic. He served in England, Italy and Holland. Dad only told me the lighter stories of his experience during the war; this is one of his stories. This story took place at a movie cinema, somewhere overseas. A comedy was playing. Dad had a very distinctive laugh. When the movie ended, Dad walked out of the theatre, standing there was Archie Minelli, a neighbour from home, Archie said. “I knew that had to be you Joe, as I could hear your laugh, and sure enough it is you.” Dad’s discharge was January 31, 1946. He returned home to farm in the Briercrest/Tilney area.


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