Archive for November, 2008

Page One



Oshawa Veterans were immortalized in the comic book called True Comics in a story called  Fredericks Freighters,   This comic version was not produced as one of the famous Canadian Whites which  were replacements comics  during  World War 2 while their was an embargo of US  comic books into Canada by the Canadian government.

Frederick’s Freighters is  a story about Brig Gen Robert T Fredrick who commanded the First Special Service Forces published by True Comics, 1941-1950, 84 issues, colour adventure story genres.


True Comics, No 52, (Sept 1946)

5 pages

Call no PN6728.1P3T7no.52

The comic strip details the concept, training and deployment to the foot o Mt. La Denfsa a Nazi stronghold at the Anzio Beachead.

Herbie Comics

Herbie by Bing  Coughlin and published in the Maple Leaf Magazine was Canada’s answer to Bill’s Mauldin’s  Willie and Joe comic that was published in the Stars and Stripes, Herbie  never “spoke ” in any of the cartoons .  He was voted Man of the Year in 1944 by the Canadian Troops


Resource: Herbie and Friends, Cartoons during Wartime  Barry Rowland, 1990


In interesting American comic strip from WW 2 was called Up Front by  Bill Mauldin  which ran in the US  Stars and Stripes GI publication about Joe and Willy which were two regular US soldiers during WW 2

Link on story on NPR



Willie & Joe: The WWII Years
by Bill Mauldin
Fantagraphics, 307 pages (Vol. 1), 385 pages (vol. 2)

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Story Fifty Eight Canadian Nurses: Angels of Mercy

Blue Birds

Source http://digitalcollections.mcmaster.ca/content/%E2%80%9Cangels-mercy%E2%80%9D-canada%E2%80%99s-nursing-sisters-world-war-i-and-ii

Canadian nurses totally 3,000 served in WW 1,  4,000 in WW 2 and Korean War   and 900 are currently serving in Afganistan

During World War II and after, of the 15,000 female volunteers with the Canadian Red Cross Corps, 641 served overseas in Africa and Europe. They drove ambulances—often in blackouts, supported patients and assisted staff in military hospitals. In London, they staffed four “Maple Leaf” hostels and two canteens as well as assisting civilians in England. A number of volunteers served as welfare officers with military hospitals in the United Kingdom, Italy, northern Europe and  parts of Africa. Other activities included helping with the rehabilitation of the war-blinded and coordinating the distribution of Red Cross parcels to prisoners of war.


No 1 Canadian General Hospital
Nursing Sisters’ Theme Song

In my sweet little Alice Blue gown,
When I first came to Birmingham town.
I had had a bad trip, in a nasty old ship
And the cold in my billet, just gave me the pip.
We came out to nurse our own troops,
But were greeted with measles and whoops.
Now I’ll be a granny, and sit on my fanny,
And keep warm with turpentine stupes.

In my sweet little Alice Blue gown,
When I return to my home town
They will bring out the band, give the girls a big hand,
Being a nurse in the force, I’ll be quite renowned.
And I’ll never forget all the fun,
That I had, since I joined Number One
I was happy and gay, to have served with MacRae
In my sweet little Alice Blue gown.

Anne Shawcross  was  a Canadian Nurse who served in WW 2

Pending Audio Posting

A  US  Promotional video from WW 2  providing great documentary footage  demonstrating  field hospitals etc



Nicholson, G.W.L. Canada’s Nursing Sisters (Toronto:
Samuel Stevens, Hakkert, 1975)

MacDonald Cooper, Louis, Wartime Letters Home (Toronto), 2005

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Story Fifty Seven: Christmas Memories during WW 2


Christmas was a difficult time for the soldiers and their stories retell the memories of those days while serving during WW 2.  W Sam Magee relays a story of his first Christmas in the Military at the Toronto Mess and the second story is during the Italian campaign

Story One: First Christmas Memory

Story Two: Christmas during the Italian Campaign

Story Three:  Apple Cider provided to American Soldier at Christmas Dinner in Grandville, Nova Scotia

Story Four: Goodbye Shadows

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W. Sam Magee recounts a series of stories being stationed with the First Special Service Force which was assigned the task of invading Kiska in the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska during WW 2

Kiska-Little Kiska                      August 15-19, 1943

Story One:  Fishing

Story Two Training

Story Three: Invasion of Kiska Island

Click to see and listen to Sam’s  story at Kiska


Watch and Listen to Audio Soundlide

To download the zipped file  click  below.  After downloading the file, click on file, unzipped file, open the index.html file to run the flash video



Japanese Zero Plane

21_nimitz_subTwo Man Japanese Submarine

Story Four West Coast Rangers

This is story about Canada Military Train that patroled the West Coast from Prince Rupert, British Columbia



Audio and story on  Canada No 1 Amoured Train



1. Stan Cohen, The Forgotten War, A pictorial History of the WW in Alaska and NW Canada, ISBN 0-933126-70-9

2. Online Resource  on the First Special Service Forces

click on below


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FSSF Association certificate

William Sam Magee served in the First Special Service Force during WW2, commonly called the Devil’s Brigade. Served and decorated at San Nicoli, Italy with the Sixth Company for gallantry on June 1, 1944.

For detailed information see:


A  list of fourteen veterans from Oshawa that served in this group

Louis J Black
A.H. Best
B.E. Brown
Graham W. CLapp
W Fraser
W (Bill) Harding
Jack Logeman
Jim Lakus
W. Sam Magee
Colen Parkes
R G Tanner
J.T. Tullock
A.A. Waller

Transcript of  the presentation by Pres. Ronald Reagan address to the Canadian Parliament on March 1981 to honour the First Special Service Force.

“In the Second World War there was something called the First special Service Force-a unique international undertaking at the time.  This force  was composed of Canadians and Americans distributed equally throughout its ranks, carring the flags of both nations.  They served unders a joint command, were taught a hybrid close-order drill, and trained together as paratroopers, demolition experts, ski troops and, then as an amphibious unit

The First Special Service Force became famous for its hih morale, its rugged abilities, and tough tighting in situations where such reputations were hard-earned.  Alerted to their availability, General Eisenhower requested them for special reconnaissance and raiding operations during the winter advance up the Italian peninsula.  They were involded int he Anzio Beachhead campaign in Italy and were at the spearhead of the fores that captured Rome.

The First Special Service Force  made no distinctions when it went into battle-its men had the common cause of freedom at their side and the common denominator of courage in their hearts. They were neither Canadian nor American.  They were in General Eisenhower’s term, liberators.”

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Story Fifty-Four: You must be Positive

Successful leadership  brings together during  war and during peacetime  the individual, the team and the task together according to William “Sam” Magee


W. Sam Magee talks the importance of  Leadership during the war and the importance of being positive in the battlefield.  Also a story by a British RSM Finney   spoke on leadership at Camp Borden who was a lance-corporal for 13 years,  who was promoted to RSM during the war

Story One: Leadership

Story Two: Bevin and the RSM  Finney at Camp Borden

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Story Fifty Three: W Sam Magee Medic on the Fly


Sergeant W.G. Grant, who has broken his leg, receives assistance from Captain Colin McDougall (left) and Private M.W. Treganza, Bayeux, France. More than 18,000 Canadians were wounded during the 10-week Normandy campaign, over 5,000 of whom died.

Source NFB


WW1  Canadian Medic Madge

Canadian Uniform Medic Badge

William Sam Magee relays  a personal story on him becoming  a  medic with very little training,  Interesting tidbit, contrary to movie depictions of Medics during the heat of battle was the fact that injured soldiers  called the Medic’s name rather than the famous cry of  “MEDIC, MEDIC”  when they were hit.

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