Research by Clarence Simonsen This research is dedicated to all members of No. 115 [Fighter] and [B.R.] Squadron which numbered almost 300 Canadians in total. Photos would be appreciated to help preserve their historical past, there out there someplace. Thanks to denial by the U.S. Navy and the Russians, true Canadian RCAF WWII history was […]The Bloody Blenheim (PDF version) — Preserving the Past II
L’Orignal remembers its veterans.
David Christie, born May 6th, 1923 in Dundee, Scotland, arrived in Canada May 18th, 1924 with his parents, James & Davidina Christie. They came second class, with her father, John Cleghorn and her sister Betsy Cleghorn, to Quebec City aboard the Saturnia.
They moved to Smerdon St., Hawkesbury about 1926 when David’s father came to work as a machinist for the Canadian International Paper mill. David attended the old Hawkesbury Public School and High School on Nelson Street.
Too Young to Enlist
In May of 1940, David was 17 years old, unhappy at school after seeing many of his older friends leave to join the Armed Forces. He left school, travelled to Montreal and joined the Army: No 2 sect. 16th Field Engineers. He did his basic training in the Montreal area and at Farnham, Quebec. In August, the recruits traveled by truck convoy from the Montreal area to Debert, Nova Scotia (near Truro) where he worked on the construction of the military base.
David drove a truck and operated a bulldozer and other equipment but before the spring of 1941, it was discovered that he was under age and he was sent home.
Needed on Canadian Soil
In May 1941, he went to work as an apprentice machinist in the CIP paper mill in Hawkesbury where his father worked. By December 1942, he was old enough to join the R.C.A.F. and was sent to Ottawa to take a course in Aero Engine Mechanics at the old Ottawa Technical High School. Since he sent a Souvenir booklet home to his mother from the St.Thomas, Elgin County. No. 1 Technical Training School, he must have spent some time there as well.
David Christie was then posted to # 16 Service Flying Training School in Hagersville, Ont. On September 30th, 1943 as an engine and frame mechanic. While at Haggersville, he worked servicing the aircraft on the ground, doing pre-flight service and fueling. He spoke of driving the fuel truck and being on the crash tender or rescue truck. The main aircraft that he worked on were Avro Anson, the Harvard, and the Cornell.
He told of witnessing a plane crash landing on the runway. Both the instructor and a student were still alive in the cockpit when he arrived with the rescue crew. But while they were running toward the plane with a fire blanket the plane blew up and he and the rest of the rescue crew were sent flying backwards through the air. Both men on the plane were killed.
In March 1945 he was transferred to # 10 E.F.T.S. in Pendelton, Ont. This flying school, a few miles south and west of Plantagenet now home to a glider club, was an elementary flying school. Cornells and other single engine aircrafts were used.
In July 1945, he had volunteered to continue while the war on the Pacific was still raging. He was then sent to C.F.B. Greenwood and stayed on there until the fall. After his discharge on Oct 30th, 1945 he returned to work at C.I.P. Hawkesbury.
Life after the War
By May of 1952 he had begun to build a summer cottage on Lalonde Rd. in Longueuil Twp. off Bay Road that he owned until he moved to Front Rd. L’Orignal in 1972. In 1953, he left C.I. P. and went to become Machine shop Foreman at Canadian Refractories new brick plant at Marelan, Quebec.
In 1956 he married Marion A. Laundry originally from Bancroft Ont. She had come to teach Home Economics at the new Hawkesbury District High School when it opened in 1952. They had three children Jim, Andrew, and Janet.
After he left Canadian Refractories in 1968 he briefly managed Astro Industries, a textile plant in Hawkesbury. By the summer of 1969, he had planned to move to Parry Sound Ont. where he was Maintenance supervisor at an auto parts plant, however he injured his arm in an industrial accident and was unable to return to work.
After considerable rehabilitation he was able to Teach Machineshop part time for Algonquin College who ran adult training programs in the evening at the Hawkesbury High School. In 1972, the family moved from Emerald St. in Hawkesbury to the home on Front Road, L’Orignal where he operated a small machine shop and sharpening service for many years.
He died in March 2001 from complications following surgery for a fractured leg.
From the collection of his son Jim… All scans were done by Ian Walker.
L’Orignal remembers its veterans.
During the First World War, L’Orignal and the region saw many of their youth leave their family homes and their jobs in order to enlist in the army, the navy, air force and merchant marine. Some joined out of patriotism others felt obligated and still some young people saw it as a job opportunity. We must remember that in 1939, Canada was barely out of the Great Depression; employment opportunities were scarce and poorly remunerated. Enlisting in the military represented, for many, the sole avenue to earn a salary.
Whatever the reason for the enrolment, young people never expected to experience as much drama at sea, in the air or at the front. The majority of the our local veterans served overseas and some others stayed on this continent where their services in a multitude of war related positions, were essential to the war effort.
Next year being the 40th in business for CANAV Books, I’ve started on a history of our operation. Who knows where it might end, but every book publisher needs to do this – there’s always an important story to be told. Too bad, however, but few in Canada have bothered. Guess why? It takes somebody […]40 Years for CANAV Books (Part 1 August 2020)
Remembering Course 35B recruits training to be air gunners. This photo is part of the collection of Lloyd Stanley Lafoy who survived 35 operations with three different squadrons.
From the collection of Lloyd Stanley Lafoy who was a rear gunner with 425, 429 and 426 Squadrons. This photo part of his collection was taken at No. 7 Bombing and Gunnery School in Paulson, Manitoba.
Lloyd Stanley Lafoy survived the war, and his grandson shared that photo with all the names written on the back.
(1) Bartlett, J.L.A.
(2) Godin, J.J.R.T.
(3) Campbell, D.E.
(4) Procter, C. H.
(5) Arnold, W. H.
(6) Lanegraff, W. E.
(7) Melancon, J. H. J.
(8) Pearce, G. S.
(9) Taylor, G. A.
(10) Annis, L. D.
(11) McDonald, G. M.
(12) Thompson, L. H.
(1) Madof, W. D.
(2) McLeod, R. K.
(3) Dahl, C. W.
(4) Kelly, J. F.
(5) Patten, G. W.
(6) Leone, N.
(7) Castling, D. H.
(8) Johnson, E. W.
(9) Lake, J. W.
(10) Labow, J. I.
(1) Niven, C. M.
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PO3 Robert J. Ritchie Link https://militaryhallofhonor.com/honoree-record.php?id=159301 Excerpt and photo from bio written by Pierre Lagacé (special contribution) 75 years ago on August 5, 1945 Robert J. Ritchie was an aboard USS Bullhead. His mother was a Gold Star Mother. Robert’s brother William had been killed on September 22, 1944 in Veghel, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands. Robert’s mother […]
These PDFs files are part of Alfred Kühn’s collection of memorabilia. His son Manfred has been sharing most of all he has about his father who was a sailor aboard the T24.
Interesting little known fact from WWII
This post is in response to a suggestion I received from Pat at e-Quips.
In the closing months of World War II, heavy losses and depleted fuel stocks kept many of Japan’s remaining combat aircraft grounded and warships in port, awaiting an anticipated amphibious invasion. Starting in July 1945, Allied battleships embarked on a series of naval bombardments of coastal cities in Japan in an effort to draw these forces out to battle — with little success.
However, a week before the battleships began lobbing their massive shells, a legendary U.S. submarine toting a rocket launcher began its own campaign of coastal terror that foretold the future of naval warfare — and also engaged in the only Allied ground-combat operation on Japanese home-island soil.
Submarines still made use of deck guns during World War II, most of them ranging between three and five inches in caliber. These…
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Here’s one of the vintage b/w photos that I took at the Lancaster retirement weekend at Downsview on April 5, 1964. That’s search and rescue FM104 in the foreground with “long nose” reconnaissance KB976 beyond.
Aviation fans everywhere love the Avro Lancaster. Canadians had begun crewing on Lancasters with RAF Bomber Command as soon as the “Lanc” began operations late in 1941. The distinct RCAF bomber group formed a year later (No.6 Group) was flying Canadian-built Lancaster Xs by war’s end.
Today, I’m looking back to April 4/5, 1964 in RCAF Lancaster history. That was somewhat melancholic, being the week the RCAF retired its Lancasters. For the occasion, Lancasters KB882 and KB976 (both the long nose, Arctic reconnaissance version) and FM104 (search and rescue version) had starring roles at RCAF Station Downsview in Toronto. Many RCAF veterans attended to honour their beloved “Lanc” and walk around it on the ramp…
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