Archive for the ‘Photostories’ Category

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





Read Full Post »

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



Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

Story Eighty-Seven: War Brides

Canadian War Brides

Oshawa and in other parts of Canada saw an influx of  Warbrides,  the Canadian Government established the Canadian Wives’ Bureau, whose job it was to assist the wives of Canadian servicemen and their children, and to make arrangements

World  War One

The Department of Immigration and Colonization repatriated over 54,500 soldiers’ dependents to Canada in all. Approximately 17,000 returned to Canada between July 1917 and November 1918. After the armistice a further 38, 748 came to Canada by the end of 1919. Those who travelled between 1917 and mid January 1919 were not given free transportation but were offered a special rate on a secure ship. By the end of 1919 they could be reimbursed for their passage based on 3rd class rates by applying to the government.

World War Two

During the Second World War, there were an estimated 48,000 war brides and, when the war ended, most of these young women and their children (nearly 22,000) followed their husbands to a new life in Canada.

These war brides were mostly from Britain, but a few thousand were also from other areas of Europe: the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy and Germany.    94% of the brides  came from Britian.   Interesting  the US  had 41,502  War Brides in comparison

Source:   http://www.geocities.com/us_warbrides/WW2warbrides/facts.html

Oshawa War Bride  Story:  Mrs. Stauffer (Martha McLachlan)


To listen to CBC  radio archive  reports



Each of the new War Brides  were issued  an English to Canadian-English Glossary


Watch and listen to   Soundslide




Read Full Post »

Story Eighty-Six : War Posters


Canadian war posters during World War II were works of art, both colourful and dramatic They were distributed widely in movie houses, buses, billboards, etc Providing an insight in the attitude of the times

Produced by the Bureau of Public Information and the Wartime Information Board (WIB),

The slideshow is complimented by the  famous  and inspiring radio broadcast by PM Winston Churchill to inspire the English listeners.  Interesting his  comment of the Empire(AKA Canada) “supported by the English Navy”  will come to the rescue… just in case.

For other famous  radio clips  see this site


Audio Soundslide



Read Full Post »

Story: Eight-Four Aircraft Restoration


The preservation of military  aircraft is both  an  expensive undertaking and a  labour of love.  Only two Lancaster Bombers  are certified to fly in Canada  they have been restored which  are the BOBM and the Mynarski Memorial Lancasters.  Only four exist in the world.

The Avro Lancaster was a heavy bomber introduced in 1942 and used by the RAF and RCAF and 7,377 were built at a cost of 45,000  pounds

Listen to BBC  Broadcast aboard a Lancaster over Berlin

It delivered 608,612 tons of bombs in 156,000 sorties ued mainly at night and is famous for the Dam Busters precision bombing.(  See  Story Sevety Two: Engineering feats


The Malton  Ontario plant produced the Lancaster B X a  total of 430 units using Packard built Merlin engines.

See:   http://en.wickipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Lancaster

for more information


CanadianWarplane Heritage Museum

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum is a living museum featuring the aircraft used by Canadians or Canada’s Military from the beginning of World War II up to the present. The Museum’s collection includes aircraft that really fly and several that remain on static display and are interactive workshops.


Canadian Warplane Heritage
9280 Airport Road
Mount Hope, Ontario
L0R 1W0

Contact: museum@warplane.com
Phone: (905) 679-4183

Fax: (905) 679-4186


A short slideshow of the Liberty Belle  B17 bomber which has been restored and is flying in various parts of the US demonstrating the “Fighting Fortress”  capacity


Read Full Post »

Story – Eighty One: Hongerwinter or Hunger Winter of 1944-5 in Holland

Emergency Food Drops

April 29 to May 8th, 1945



The harsh winter of 1944-45, is known by the Dutch as the Hongerwinter (‘Hunger Winter’). A number of factors combined to create the Dutch famine which impacted 3.5 million people.  By April 1945 about 20,000 Dutch people had died of starvation.

  • Netherlands was one of the main western battlefields
  • the winter of 1944-45 was unusually harsh
  • widespread dislocation and destruction of the war
  • the retreating German army destroyed locks and bridges to flood the country
  • agricultural land ruined by the flooding
  • transport of existing food stocks difficult due to damage to transport infrastructure
  • They lived on Tulip bulbs and anything they could find. hongertochten, as they were called

Operation Mana- British and Canadian

April 29  1945 involved 242 Lancasters to drop the food and 8 Mosquitoes to mark the drop zones.

During the next week over 3,000 sorties were flown dropping some 7,000 tons of food to the Dutch.

Operation Chowhound- US

May 1  flew 2200  sorties by the American Air Force

Total: 11,000 tons of food were dropped in the ten days of the operation

Listen to CBC  Reporter relay the story of the Dutch famine




Watch Audio Soundslide



Read Full Post »

Older Posts »