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They sat in the front row, of course. Nineteen elderly, white-haired, frail men. Seated behind them were wives, children, grandchildren, smiling proudly, some in tears. As the French Ambassador stood before each man to read his name and bend to pin the medal on their jackets, they tried to stiffen shoulders and backs as though still in uniform. A few struggled to their feet to stand at attention.
Some 70 years ago, during the Second World War, these men were among the thousands of young Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen who took part in the D-Day Normandy landings and liberation of France.
The Ontario government plans to further honour Canada's fallen soldiers by planting 117,000 trees along the Highway of Heroes beginning in 2016.
The province announced it will place one tree along Highway 401 between Trenton and Toronto for every soldier who has been killed serving Canada since Confederation.
Cranbrook Daily Townsman
Though 70 years have passed since the end of the Second World War, the memories of that global conflict still remain with Canadian veterans who served.
Lee Brown, a Cranbrook, B.C., resident who entered the military when he was underage six months shy of his 18th birthday, trained and served as an air gunner on a Lancaster bomber.
Brown enlisted in 1943 and was shipped over to Europe early the following year, where he was part of a crew that did bombing missions on Nazi targets mainly in Germany and up the coast of Finland.
The Fraser Blues are a familiar sight to thousands of Langley residents, especially those who attend any annual Remembrance Day ceremonies.
For the past 15 years, without fail, a flight of between eight and four Navion aircraft have flown past local cenotaphs.
Group leader George Miller and fellow pilots Guy Miller, Ray Roussey, and Clive Barratt were up again this year, flying over six cenotaphs from Abbotsford to Surrey, including three in Langley.
"We have not missed a Remembrance Day yet," said Miller, despite ugly flying weather some years.
"All men on duty," the speakers blare.
We look at each other in mock despair,
Op's on again, there's work to do,
It'll be early morning before we're through.
The kites stand out on dispersal line,
Black silhouettes. There, that one's mine.
Pembroke Daily Observer
One of the most daring raids in the history of warfare began as an agenda item more than a year before Germany invaded Poland initiating the Second World War.
Air Vice Marshall W. Sholto Douglas, assistant chief of the British air staff, convened a meeting of the Royal Air Force Bombing Committee in 1938. His planners were challenged to consider the vulnerability of the German economy.
Dominique Lemaire always felt a heaviness when he looked at the leather helmet from the Second World War.
It came to his father in the days when planes, men and bombs fell from the sky. In the early hours of June 13, 1944, a Royal Canadian Air Force bomber was shot down on the outskirts of Foncquevillers, the village where both his parents grew up. How did his father, a member of the French Resistance, come to own it? Dominique never knew.
By the autumn of 1947, members of the Royal Canadian Air Force thought their service to the country was complete.
They helped defeat Germany two years earlier, clearing the skies over occupied Europe. Many of their number were not returning, among Canada's 45,000 dead in the Second World War.
One more mission remained, this time requiring them to shoot pucks — not bullets.
Lorna Collacott can keep a secret.
The British girl didn't tell her parents about her true wartime duties. She didn't tell her husband, even though she met and married the bomber mechanic from Windsor during the Second World War. She didn't tell her four kids.
Half a century passed before Collacott mentioned her secret work coding and decoding messages for the Battle of the Atlantic.
"You were told to keep your mouth shut," the 90-year-old Windsor woman says in her matter-of-fact way.
Defence Watch has been running a back and forth debate on the F-35 between defence analyst Richard Shimooka and Alan Williams, the former ADM Materiel at DND, who signed the original MOU committing Canada to the research and development aspect of the F-35.
Richard Shimooka recently had an opinion piece in the National Post arguing that the F-35 is still the best bet for Canada.
It is my hope that fellow RCAF Association members in the Clearwater and Tampa, FL, areas can join us on Jan. 11th, 2016, to honour those Floridians who volunteered with the RCAF and RAF during the Second World War. The Royal Canadian Legion Post 144 plans to host the event during their meeting at the American Legion Post 7 facility in Clearwater, FL. Canadian Forces personnel from around Florida will attend. Karl Kjarsgaard, who is a Board Member of Bomber Command Museum of Canada and the Director of Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada), will be speaking and displaying Bomber Command Museum's transportable memorial. We will also have representatives or members of the Civil Air Patrol (U.S. Air Force Auxiliary) and Florida Aviation Historical Society. Hopefully, RAF, USAF and other officials will agree to attend. The building's occupancy capacity is 225 persons. The two plaques that will be dedicated can be seen here and here. Note that Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) donated the aluminum for the RCAF crest. The metal was obtained from a downed Halifax bomber. I will update everyone again once additional details become known. Mr. Dann Oliver (RCL Post 144 & RCL Eastern Division, U.S.A.) and I are planning and coordinating.
The following links provide additional information:
The Royal Canadian Legion Post 144
American Legion Post 7
Bomber Command Museum of Canada
Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada)
John T. Stemple, M.A.
P.O. Box 3893
Winter Haven, FL 33885
Telephone: (863) 291-3190
A reunion cruise has been set up, to reunite former serving members, civilian staff and dependents who had the great fortune to be part of #1 Air Division in Europe.
The cruise will be aboard the Holland America ship, MS Nieuw Amsterdam — a highly-rated and new ship in their fleet. We will depart from Ft. Lauderdale, FL on April 10, 2016 — sailing through the Panama Canal on her way to Vancouver, B.C. The cruise length is 20 nights. The ports of call will be:
Cruising Panama Canal
Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica
Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala
Puerto Chiapas, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
San Diego, California
As with all Panama Canal cruises — the ship will book up quickly — so the recommendation is to book soon to avoid disappointment. Already a core group are booked and ready to enjoy the companionship, the memories, wonderful weather, the ports and all the great amenities of life aboard a beautiful ship.
Visit our website!
Or, see us and join us on Facebook — #1 Air Division (Europe) Reunion — 2016
For further information, contact Gary Arnold — firstname.lastname@example.org
The Toronto Garrison Officers' Ball 2016 will be held on Saturday, April 2nd, 2016, at the Allstream Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto. This annual event is the highlight of the Garrison's social season and it may be of interest to the membership of the RCAF Association. Subscription pricing ranges from $125.00 to $175.00 per person, and based on previous years, we sell out quickly. Please visit www.torontogarrisonball.ca for additional information.
408 Goose Squadron Association
Come out and celebrate the 75th anniversary of 408 Squadron!
The 408 Goose Squadron Association is proud to celebrate the 75th Anniversary and Reunion of the formation of 408 Squadron on the weekend of June 24-26, 2016. Register now for the early-bird rate!
Click here to view the event poster.
Click here to learn more about the event.
|Serving you with mounting military medals and framing of RCAF memorabilia for 20 years
50 Minthorn Blvd.
Suite 800, Thornhill, Ontario L3T 7X8