Archive for December, 2008

Story Ninety-Two: D Day Documentary

This is a 59 minute documentary using original photos and film produced in 1998 by Avion Park

The video has some excellent clips of gliders.


Item Two: Propaganda Cartoon(US)

This is  another version of the Three  Little Pigs  story with the Big Bad Wolf  as  Adolf Hitler,  made in 1942. ,  A  MGM Cartoon called  BLITZ WOLF


This is a 59 minute documentary using original photos and film produced in 1998 by Avion Park

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Story Ninety-One: Canadians Awarded US Military Honours,

vietnam_30_hr_enSource: http://archives.cbc.ca/war_conflict/vietnam_war/topics/1413/

It is a common misconception  that  all Canadians  were anti-war protesters  during the Vietnam war, some were, but  the reality was not much different,  in in fact many  Canadians  volunteered with the Americans  in every one of their conflicts  spanning from the Civil War to present day Iraq.  In the case of the  civil war  Canadians  financed and fought on both sides of the blue and grey.

As stated in a previous story on Canadian POW,  Canadian’s served with American troops and the largest number  was  the Vietnam war which saw action.  It is estimated that as many as 40,000 Canadians  fought during the Vietnam war and 103 remain missing in action to today. Over 100 names are on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington.(The wall contains 60,000 names).  The reason for the loss fatality rates is in part to the vast majority were not engaged in direct fighting but rather  peacekeeping roles. To learn more about the Canadians  who fought in US  wars.  Visit the war memorial in Windsor called the  North Wall.

Here is a site http://www.glanmore.org/cdncas/memorialair.html

Sixty Canadians  have received the Congressional Medal of Honour since the Civil War Names Example -Sgt Peter Lemon, Norwich, Ontario served in the 8th Cavalry, 1st US  Divsion received the Congressional Medal of Honour

Oshawa resident  William Sam Magee received the Bronze Star  and Sliver Star and Gallantry Metal while serving with the First Special Service Force.  He also received the Purple Heart but it was taken back by another US  officer while hospitalized in Italy.

We are seeking names of Oshawa residents who were awarded honours from the US  government.

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Story Ninety-One: 2009 Calendar


Courtesy of William Sam Magee,  a  2009 calendar with pictures from the First Special Service Force,  an elite group of WW 2 Americans and Canadians.

Sam provides an entertaining story of his first dispatch with the force to Kiska

Click on link or icon to view the slideshow

Or you can download it at




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Story Ninety: Canadian Miners at Gibraltar

In 1940 an urgent request was issued by the British Government for hardrock miners to work on the rock of Gibraltar. Canada responded by sending Noranda Mine workers who became part of the Royal Canadian Engineers and began one of the most impressive tunelling work during WW2. The task of the workers was to carve out a cavern in the rock (the whole of Gibralter is less than 3 miles wide)  In fact,, a total of  48 kilometers of tunnels were escavated.


According to Wikipedia, Inside the Rock of Gibraltar itself, miles of tunnels were excavated from the limestone. Masses of rock were blasted out to build an “underground city”.[4] In huge man-made caverns, barracks, offices, and a fully equipped hospital were constructed, complete with an operating theatre and X-ray equipment.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_Gibraltar_during_World_War_II

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Story Ninety: Battle of Bowmanville


U-Boat Commanding Officers imprisoned at the Bowmanville POW Camp:

Left to Right: Horst Elfe (U-93), Wolfgang Heyda (U-434), Friedrich-Wilhelm Wentzel (*),

Otto Kretschmer (U-99), Hans Engel (*), Gerd Schreiber (U-95), Hans Ey (U-433),

Curt von Goßler (U-49), Joachim Matz (U-70), Günther Lorentz (U-63)

German Officers, ‘Prisoners of War’ at Camp 30, Bowmanville

Story One:  Clash between German POW and Canadian Soldiers

October 1942

The infamous ‘Battle of Bowmanville’ – a clash between 150 to 400 prisoners revolted against the POW guards.  German P O W’s and Canadian Army guards which went on for several days in October, 1942, resulting in injuries but no deaths.

Lt.Col. James Taylor had asked German senior officer Georg Friemel to supply 100 prisoners to volunteer to be shackled as part of the ongoing international dispute. When he refused, Otto Kretschmer and Hans Hefele were also asked to provide volunteers, but refused.

Taylor ordered the guards to find 100 officers to be shackled by force, and Horst Elfe, Kretschmer and others barricaded themselves in the mess hall, arming themselves with sticks, iron bars and other makeshift weapons. Approximately 100 Canadian soldiers requisitioned from another base arrived, and together stormed the mess hall using only baseball bats, so the two sides remained evenly matched. After several hours of brawling, the Canadians brought high pressure water hoses and soaked the cabin thoroughly until the prisoners agreed to come out peacefully.

During later incidents in the battle which spanned several days, Volkmar König was wounded by gunfire and another bayoneted, and a Canadian soldier suffered a skull fracture from a thrown jar of jam. After calm had returned, 126 of the prisoners were transferred to other camps.

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowmanville_POW_camp


The buildings were first put in place in 1925 as the Home of Delinquent Boys. They then became Camp 30 for German prisoners of war as these began to accumulate in Canada.

After the war, they reverted to Ministry use again as the Pine RIdge Training School.

Story Two: Escape Plan

In the fall of 1942, Officer Kretschmer, nicknamed the Atlantic Wolf, devises an escape plan that would allow four officers, including himself, to escape from the camp. The other three are also submarine officers: Kapitänleutnant Hans Ey of U-433 sunk on November 16,1941, Horst Elfe of U-93 sunk on January 15, 1942 and Joachim von Knebel-Döberitz, executive officer. In a L’Action catholique article published in 1957, Krestchmer explains how he came to choose Pointe Maisonnette as the rendezvous point.

The escape from camp was planned through a tunnel whose exit is fairly far outside the camp and the barbed wire. To fool the guards, they dig three tunnels at once. After four months, two of the tunnels are abandoned so that efforts can be concentrated on the third one. More than 150 men work on the tunnels, taking turns on night and day shifts. Some men prepare the materials required for the prisoners’ escape, such as dummies to substitute for the escapees, false identification papers, civilian clothing and goods.

One week before the date set for the escape, plans are abruptly changed because of two incidents. One night, while the prisoners are sleeping, the ceiling above which they piled the earth from the tunnel caves in. The earth removed from the tunnel is hidden in the dormitory ceilings. The guards, alerted by the racket and intrigued by the quantity of earth fallen from the ceiling, begin looking for its source. As camp authorities did not discover the third tunnel, Kretschmer, faced with the urgency of the situation, decides to take action the same night. However, on the day he proposes this, a second incident occurs which puts an end to the four German officers’ escape plan. While a prisoner digs close to the camp fence to fill his flower boxes with earth, the earth beneath his shovel gives way, uncovering the third tunnel’s exit to the guards. The prisoners who were to escape are arrested and put under close watch.


Wolfgang Heyda, another officer incarcerated at Bowmanville, proposes his own escape plan,  based upon is arguments on the presence of the German submarine off Canadian shores.   Heyda makes his way to Bathurst, New Brunswick, on September 26, 1943. He then continues on foot until he reaches the rendezvous point of Pointe Maisonnette

Shauenburg commander of U-536 heads for the Canadian shores to arrive in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on September 16, 1943.  Unfortunate for Heyda  is he  is captured and the UBoat U 536 escapes  the Canadian Navial search to be  sunk on November 20, 1943.

Further Reading

Rodney Martin, Silent Runner- Wolfgand Heyda, Uboat Commander,  ISBN 0-970651-0-2  or  Email  elmtree55@sbcglobal.net

For more  details see source:

Source http://www.mnq-nmq.org/english/vivez/impacts/operation.htm

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Story Eighty-Nine Children Evacuation and Canada


Over 7,700 children were evacuated from Britain to Canada for the duration of the war. Eighty percent were private evacuees sent abroad by wealthy families or sponsored by companies, service clubs, and institutions; they were accompanied by some 1,500 mothers

In 1939 with war about to break out, the government expected major air attacks on all Britain’s cities, and that this bombing would pave the way for a German invasion. The government felt it needed to get at least the children out of the city and into the safety of the countryside. Plans for the evacuation of school children began in July 1939 before the outbreak of war. Mass evacuation began on September 3rd 1939 the day that war was declared. Children, mothers and expectant mothers were moved out of the danger areas and into the relative safety of the countryside, to places in Kent, Sussex, Wales, Devon, Cornwall, and many other areas. Children returned to school from their summer holidays and suddenly found that they were all about to move to a different part of the country.

Most London children were evacuated through their schools.

Altogether 827,000 school children were evacuated along with 103,000 teachers and helpers. 524,000 children under the school age went with their mothers. 12,000 pregnant women also left the city to protect their unborn children.

London was bombed every night that September by an average of 200 planes each night. The devastation was immense. However on the 14th November, Coventry suffered the worst raid of the entire war. Over 400 bombers dropped more bombs (incendary and high explosive) than any part of London had experienced in one evening. Southampton, Liverpool, Bristol, Birmingham, Sheffield and Manchester all suffered smaller scale destruction.

In the period of the Blitz (Autumn 1940 – Summer 1941) over 43000 civilians were killed including almost 5500 children. Over 190,000 bombs were dropped and nearly 1.25 million homes in the London Region alone were damaged

Source: ‘We Remember the Blitz’: compiled by Frank and Joan Shaw:
ISBN 1 872779 00 X

Life during the Blitz for Children is well depicted in the movie  Hope and Glory

Government  Initiatives, CORB,   despatched 2,664 children, who became known as ‘Seaevacuees’, over a period of three months.

Canada received the bulk of them – 1,532 in nine parties.

Three parties sailed for Australia, with a total of 577 children, while 353 went to South Africa in two parties and 202 to New Zealand, again in two parties.

Between 21 July and 20 September 1940, 16 voyages were made carrying 2,664 children to new lives in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa

Read a story of a girl from Grimsby, UK  who along with her two sisters  stayed in Montreal ,   story from the WW 2 BBC  series,  it is  calledEvacuation to Canada 1940 – 1945  by Marjorie Smith

The  evacuees  were not all treated  well  by their relatives  or  foster parents  and  a number  of  stories  are told on the BBC  People’s  War  site  which includes over 14,000 memories


Oshawa Author:  Brian Perks

A  local  Oshawa resident  Brian Perks  published his  own memories of his   experience , he  also provides an engaging presentation for children  in Oshawa schools of  the emotional pain  of separating parents from young children.


Oshawa  based  writer  Brian Perks, author of  The Plight of the Wartime Child Evacuees, One  Boy’s  Story,


YouTube Video

Watch Audio Soundslide



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Story Eighty-Eight: Prisoners of War


Approximately 9,000 Canadian soldiers, airmen, naval sailors and merchant seamen were captured by the enemy and held as prisoners of war (POWs) during the  Second World War.

The first Canadian POW  was  Flying Officer Alfred B. Thompson of Penetanguishene, Ont., who had joined the RAF in 1937  and was  captured on Sept. 9, 1939

1,946 who were captured during the raid on Dieppe in 1942 alone


The Great Escape

One of the most famous was  Flying Officer Clark Wallace Floody of Chatham, Ont. who  was a Spitfire pilot with No. 401 Sqdn.

A Canadian Flying Officer, Clarke Wallace Floody, was called the architect of the “Great Escape” – perhaps the most famous POW escape of the Second World War in which 76 Allied prisoners escaped Stalag Luft 3, a German POW camp in 1944. After he was shot down over France, Floody was captured and put in the camp. While imprisoned, he used his pre-war mining experience to help survey, design and engineer three tunnels, nicknamed Tom, Dick and Harry, which were built as possible escape routes. Harry— the tunnel the men eventually used for the escape—was more than 100 metres long and was 10 metres underground.

Extensive story found at Legion Magazine by Hugh Halliday



Philip Lagrandeur, We Flew, We Fell, We Lived

Hong Kong Prisoners of War

Oshawa’s  veterans who were POW  in Hong Kong included: Jack Arthur, Edward Bolton, Henry Galbraith, William Lee, Edward Lott, Jeffrey Marston, Fredrick Mason and Mathew Murray.  A  PDF resource kit is available created by History teacher, Flora Fungfrom Oshawa Central Collegiate Institute Oshawa, ON  see resource http://www.hkvca.ca/teacherszone/index.htm

Important to note that two Canadian Nurses were POW in Hong Kong, these nursing sisters, Kay Christie  of Toronto and May Waters of Winnipeg.  they were the only Canadian Women as POW’s

Canadians in Buchenwald Concentration Camp

Twenty-Six Canadians among a total  of  142  airmen which were  British, American, Australian and New Zealand airmen, spent several months in Buchenwald Concentration Camp in eastern Germany in the summer and fall of 1944.

A rarely seen documentary from PBS on the conditions of the concentration camps.  Nazi Germany killed 11 million people in the various camps.

Caution:  Video is very graphic


No information on the cities of origin of these Canadians

A NFB  movie  by Director  Michael Allder produced  a  movie detailing their trails  and tribulations  called ”  The  Lucky Ones” in 1994.


Watch Soundslide



To read various  POW  stories  visit


Interesting educational video produced by US Airforce  teaching the soldiers how to escape


POW  and board game  Monopoly

According to the recent newsletter from the War Grave Photographic Project

http://www.twgpp.org,  January 2009  newsletter

Only recently in 2007  this story has been declassified in the UK which reported  that the Waddington company produced speciality pieces for the popular board game to include a  silk map, various currencies and a compass.  Apparently  1/3 one third of the 35,000 POW allies  who escaped used this popular game

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