Thursday, September 29, 2011

Creighton, Herbert Leslie

CREIGHTON, Herbert Leslie. Born St. John, N. B., son of H. C. and Ida J. B. Creighton. Educated St. John High School. Employed as clerk by Canadian Express Co., until 1914, when he enlisted with the Canadian Signal Corps as a private, proceeding overseas in 1914; served with Headquarters Signals of 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade for ten months; invalided to England with enteric fever; returned to Front in July, 1916, and served alternately with 1st and 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigades until Aug., 1918; transferred to 2nd Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade as Signalling Sergeant; wounded while serving at Cambria, and was sent to England one month prior to the signing of Armistice; has Military Medal for work on forward telephone lines at Fresnoy; re-entered  employ of Canadian Express Co., as correspondent, Feb., 1919; accepted position in sales department of the St. John branch of Ames Holden McCready, Ltd., Mar., 1920. Address, 187 Queen St., St. John, N. B.

See Prominent People of the Maritime Provinces

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Heroes Remembered, Carl McVicar

Carl McVicar was born in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, on August 23, 1925. His father was a coal miner, who developed tuberculosis during the 1930s, so times were tough. Mr. McVicar left Glace Bay in 1941, at the age of 16. He learned how to work as a wireless operator at a young age. His father was friends with a gentleman who was in charge of Marconi Towers in Glace Bay and Mr. McVicar learned how to work in the radio room during their frequent visits to Marconi Towers. At the young age of 16, Mr. McVicar enlisted with the Merchant Marine and was taken right away, because they were in need of Wirless Operators. He trained with the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals and was sent to Labrador to build stations. After receiving an overseas medal, Mr. McVicar was shipped to Victoria, B.C., for specialized wireless training, then he was sent to Australia and New Guinea, where he witnessed such amazing things as the Enola Gay taking off to drop the first atomic bomb on Japan. He remained in the South Pacific until coming home to Canada after the War was declared over. After returning to Canada, he lived and worked in Toronto, until he returned to the East Coast after one year.

1: Atomic Bomb
2: Japanese Prisoners of War
3: Canadian Prisoners of War
4: No surrender

Heroes Remembered, John Nystad

John Nystad, was born in 1941 in Holland. He never knew his mother as he was separated from her at a very young age during the Second World War and his father, a member of the Dutch Army, ended up being taken as a prisoner of war. As a result Mr. Nystad lived in an orphanage with several other children where they were served one meal a day and shared a bed with five or six others. After the end of the Second World War he was reunited with his father and in 1953 they immigrated to Canada. Mr. Nystad lived in southwestern Ontario until he joined the army and became a member of the Royal Canadian Signals. During his 12 year career in the army he served overseas in Egypt, Gaza and Cyprus and had many jobs ranging from a truck driver to being an electrician.

1: “The Green Line”
2: Heading to Gaza
3: Airborne Jump Training

Heroes Remembered, John Grand

Mr. Grand was born in 1909 in, as he described it, “a small hamlet in the wilderness of southern Manitoba.” His father homesteaded in Manitoba and then Saskatchewan. John Grand described his growing up during the Depression as poor and tough.

Mr. Grand was very interested in electronics as a teenager and held an amateur radio licence. He tried to join the Signal Corps in the 1930's, but was rejected for being “too flat-chested”. He remembers being so poor that he often joined the soup line to get something to eat. His first job was on the assembly line at Canadian Marconi for eleven cents an hour.

He joined the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals when war was declared in 1939. He was first assigned as a radio operator, but when his superiors saw his mechanical skills he was quickly re-assigned as a radio technician. His overseas service included landing at Dieppe, participating in the Normandy Campaign and in the liberation of Holland.

Link Read more.

1: Road to Portsmouth and Dieppe
2: Given Their Orders
3: English Channel Voyage to Dieppe
4: Carnage and Courage
5: Homing Pigeons Carry Message of Losses
6: Back In France - D-Day plus 2
7: A Return To Dieppe
8: War Nears End...in Germany
9: The War Is Over!
10: Cigarettes for a Fine Camera
11: Words to Young Canadians
12: A Plea for Understanding the Cost

Heroes Remembered, Ronald John Routledge

Mr. Routledge was born September 1, 1920. His father, a decorator by trade, was a member of the Regina Rifles and served in the First World War. Mr. Routledge came from a family of four children. He had three sisters, one older and two younger. His father encouraged him to join the Regina Rifles Regiment cadet program when he was 14. After completing high school, shortly before Canada declared war on Germany, he enlisted with the Regina Rifles. He enlisted with the artillery but soon switched to the Canadian Corps of Signals and trained as a wireless operator. In October, 1941, he and 32 other members of the Signals Corp were told they were headed overseas. They boarded a vessel in Vancouver, not knowing until they were near the Philippines that they were heading for Hong Kong. They eventually arrived in Hong Kong and were assigned to barracks at Shamshuipo. Mr. Routledge was wounded when the Japanese made their first attack on Shamshuipo in December, 1942. After spending time in hospital, he returned to continue his service as a wireless operator. He was taken POW on Boxing Day after the commanding officer of the troops on the Stanley Peninsula surrendered to the Japanese. Following his release at the end of the war, he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM), the second highest award for bravery in the British Empire. Mr. Routledge remained in the army as a career soldier

Link Read more.

1: The Japanese Attack Shamshuipo
2: Hong Kong Falls
3: The Nightmare Begins
4: Tough Japanese Guards
5: Life At Shamshuipo
6: Caught And Tortured
7: The Torture Continued
8: Moved To Stanley Prison
9: Charges of Espionage - Court Martial Pending
10: Hell At Stanley Prison
11: Canton Prison - Worse
12: Little Food Results in Rapid, Large Weight Loss
13: It’s Finally Over!
14: The Return To Allied Care
15: Reunion With The Family
16: Dealing With The Experience
17: His Thoughts About The People Of Japan
18: His Thoughts About The Government of Canada That Sent Them

Heros Remembered, David Loyd Hart

David Lloyd Hart was born in Montréal, Quebec, on July 7, 1917. One of seven boys, Mr. Hart worked as an accountant while he was a student. He spent his spare time with the army reserves and high school cadets. He served with the Fourth Divisional Signals from 1937 and entered active service in September 1939.

With the Royal Canadian Corps Second Divisional Signals, Mr. Hart went to the Dieppe Raid as a sergeant. He was responsible for briefing the men on a ship that they had never been trained on. The ship suffered many bombings and those aboard were expecting to be taken prisoner. However, they were towed from the Dieppe shore by the Navy as the last Allied ship to return. At the end of the war, Mr. Hart had earned the title of Lieutenant Colonel.

When Mr. Hart returned to Canada, he earned his degree in accounting and became a chartered accountant. He joined the Reserve Army 4th Division Signals in 1945. In 1961, he commanded the unit for five years under its new name, 11th Signals Regiment. In 1976, he was made the Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of that same unit, now called 712 Communications Squadron. Mr. Hart is currently living in Saint-Laurent, Quebec, and this will be his fifth trip back to Dieppe.

Link

Link

Heroes Remembered, Fred Pollak

Mr. Pollak was born May 20, 1919, in Vrezno, Czechoslovakia, a small town in the German part of Bohemia. In September of 1938, his family was expelled from Vrezno and had to go inland to Prague. They arrived in Canada as refugees in August of 1939 and lived in Prescott, Ontario. Mr. Pollak eventually joined the Canadian Army, enlisting as a typist. At the end of the war, Mr. Pollak monitored radio transmissions for German traffic and was also employed as an interrogator of war criminals in Belsen.

Link Read more.

1: Decoding German Signals
2: Differentiation of Signals (Part 1 of 2)
3: Differentiation of Signals (Part 2 of 2)
4: 21 Panzer Division
5: Crossing the Rhine
6: Werewolf Operation

Heroes Remembered - Thomas Spear

Thomas Spear was born on October 22, 1896 in Alberta. His father was Reverend David Spear, a pioneer missionary in the Northwest Territories. As a youngster, Thomas often accompanied his father travelling in winter by horse and sleigh. When the First World War started, Mr. Spear was living in Emerson, Manitoba working for the Canadian Pacific Railroad as a telegraph operator. In January 1916 he enlisted in the Canadian Signal Corps and in April of that year sailed aboard The Baltic to England. Before heading to the battlefields of France, Mr. Spear was given additional training. One of the things he had to learn was the Continental Code or semaphore, which had a number of different characters from Morse Code. Mr. Spear was one of the first to learn wireless communication and eventually manned a wireless truck near the front.

Link Read more.

1: Division Transfer Request
2: German Surrender
3: RCAF Duty
4: Message to Youth

Dad's War by Gord Collett

 There must have been hundreds (if not, thousands) of books written about World War Two by all kinds of writers - Generals, Admirals , Statesmen, Politicians, Historians and Veterans. Most of these have been carefully researched - with details carefully checked - telling about tactics,, international co-operation (or lack of it!!) and adventurous tales of bravery and sacrifice and heroes and stuff.

Please note - if anyone should be looking at this and wanting some reading about any of the above - don’t waste your time and read any further - there is none of that here!! I suggest you go to the Library - they have shelves full of what you want. This is just a lot of disjointed memories that come to mind when I sit back and day dream of days long gone - of people and places and things that wander through my mind. If anyone should read this and disagree with any of the details - you’ll get no argument from me about specific places, or dates or names - it all happened a half a century ago.

Anyway, this is the way I remember it . . .

C. G. C.
Peterborough,
1995

Link .

CFSRSHQ Det Augsburg


CFSRSHQ Det Augsburg began operations on 5 Jun 89 when Maj JE Hueglin and MCpl RM Woodhouse opened an Orderly Room at United States Army Field Station Augsburg, Germany, in office space shared with Mr WC Palen of CSE. It will cease operations during the summer of 1993 when CP02 GW Green closes the office door and departs for Canada.
The short history of the unit is the consequence of unforeseen, rapidly changing international events; coupled with the requirement to reduce government spending.
The international events saw, among other things, the reunification of Germany; the democratization of Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary; and the disintegration of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic. These events, in turn, offered government agencies, in the USA and Canada, opportunities to cut costs by reducing or eliminating European based military capabilities.
While the closure of the unit in the interest of monetary savings is regretted, the fact that it had any history at all is testimony to the success which can be achieved when like minded people and organizations work together in pursuit of a common goal.
The unit, which was established to assist in providing a service of signals intelligence in support of Canada's foreign and defence policies, was first considered during 1987. This visionary event coincided with the visit to Field Station Augsburg of Col NW Van Loan, the Comd CFSRS, and Mr NP Griffith, the Director General Production at CSE. Rumour has it that the effects of drinking German white wine and staying at a Swiss chalet contributed to the occasion.
By Jun 88, a Statement of Requirement (Preliminary) (SOR(P)) had been written and distributed to DGCEO for staffing within NDHQ. By 1 Feb 89 the SOR(P) had been approved at a special Program Change Board meeting. By 31 Mar 89 the Establishment Change Proposal had been approved and Col Van Loan had announced, by message (COMDSRS 254 of 131530Z Apr 89), that the unit had become a reality.
Throughout this period, simultaneous negotiations had been ongoing with Canadian Forces Europe, CFB Lahr, and American entities such as the National Security Agency, the US Army Intelligence and Security Command, United States Army Europe, Field Station Augsburg, and the US Army Community Augsburg.
These negotiations required trips to Lahr and Augsburg Germany, and Washington DC, to discuss the employment of personnel and the provision of a wide range of support such as banking, recreational, and educational facilities; postal, medical, and dental services; access to the post exchange and commissary; vehicle registration and driver's licences; opportunities for civilian employment; quarters and furnishings; ID and ration cards and, last but not least, combat clothing, weapons and ammunition.
By 19 Jul 89, all members of the first contingent of 13 personnel and families, including CP02 BL Cameron, the first Det Sgt Maj, had arrived in Augsburg. Their arrival marked the completion of a major milestone in a project which would see Communicator Research personnel, and their families, working and living in close cooperation with their American Navy, Army and Air force; and British Army counterparts at Field Station Augsburg and within the Augsburg Military Community.
The personnel assigned to the unit staged through Lahr in order to 'clear in' through CFB Lahr, obtain their CFE driver's licence (probably the most dreaded experience of all), insure and licence their automobiles (probably the most expensive experience of all) and, in most cases, experience their first taste of Germany.
Upon arrival in Augsburg, single personnel moved into quarters provided by the US Forces, while married personnel stayed in a local hotel until they secured quarters or accommodation on the economy. Within days of arriving, all personnel were given the opportunity to participate in a US sponsored course designed to acquaint newcomers with the local civilian and military community, and basic conversational German.
During their first year, although they encountered a multitude of minor problems, the experience of living and working in Germany was rewarding.
Augsburg, with a population of some 250,000, and a history which stretches back 2000 years to the days of Caesar Augustus, had much to offer in the way of shopping, entertainment and recreation. In addition the city was an ideal base from which to explore major attractions such as Munich, Berchtesgaden, Garmish, Chiemsee and Neuschwanstein in Germany; and the wonders of Austria and northern Italy. Later, once forbidden cities such as Berlin, Prague and Budapest also attracted visitors; as did Greece, France, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Sweden and the UK. Friendships with Americans, Germans and people of other nationalities were fostered; Canadians began playing on American baseball, volleyball and soccer teams and with German hockey clubs, and dates which started with the 'Donauwoerth Girls' soon switched to romance with American ladies.
By Sep 92 the Det had increased by an additional 11 members and families with CP02 GW Green having replaced CP01 BL Cameron as the Det Sgt Maj; the latter having promoted himself out of the job.
Over the months, countless activities occurred; many of which were unique to Communicator Research personnel and their families. A Memorandum of Agreement with Headquarters United States Army Europe was finally signed; legitimizing the support we had been receiving for some months. Liaison with members of 2 (EW) Sqn continued in order to plan for the possible employment of Det members with the Sqn and assist them in their visits to Augsburg. Personnel participated in ceremonies at the Durnbach War Cemetery and Vimy Ridge, the International Military Pilgrimage at Lourdes , the Nijmegen Marches, visits to 13 (BR) Sig Regt in Bergelin, and courses in Munich and Berlin. Many visitors came and went. Two marriages between American ladies and Canadian gentlemen were consummated. Seven children were born.
In years to come it is hoped that most members of the Canadian community in Augsburg will, for their own personal reasons, look back with fond memories of the time they spent in Germany. Some will have saved money. Some will have travelled. Some will have learned from their experience. Some will have taught others a new or better way to 'get the job done'. Some will have learned to drive a 'stick shift1. Some will have survived the Autobahn even though they were lost at the time. Some will take chains for their van on future ski trips. Some will return to Europe or travel to the US to visit friends they have made. Some will never go to Italy again. All should be better people for the experience.

No 1 Cdn SWS, Type "B"

The Untold Story of Number 1 Canadian Special Wireless Section Type “B”
As told by Mr Ron Gates to Colonel  C.J. Weicker, Director Information Management Requirements

Link

1 Canadian Special Wireless Group Souvenir Booklet



Link

Friday, September 23, 2011

Craine, Bruce, Sgt, M.M. B 32096

Page 192

HISTORY OF THE ROYAL CANADIAN CORPS OF SIGNALS

On the south side of the Scheldt the 3rd Canadian Division had been battling throughout the month of October to clear the area north of the Leopold Canal—the “Breskens Pocket”, as it became known to Canadians. The 7th Brigade crossed the canal on 6 October in assault boats to establish a slender hold on the north side where, against opposition which prevented any sizable expansion, the troops contended during 12 of the most frustrating days of the campaign. Except for the dykes the country was low and flat and men moved as if under observation in a glass bowl. wireless operators could scarcely erect an aerial before it was observed and brought down smallarms fire. No bridges could be built. and the chiet physical contact with the south bank, aside from assault boats, was the brigade telephone line.

At the northeastern extremity of the pocket, the 9th Brigade made preparations for launching a water-borne landing to relieve the pressure on the 7th. Amphibious attacks always presented a challenge to signals, and “L” Section found this no exception. The “Buffaloes” to be used to ferry the troops across the canal from Terneuzen were assembled north of Ghent, so that it was necessary to have a wireless link to control their movement down the canal. 9th Brignde headquarters was at Terneuzen until the Commander crossed over. Artillery support for the assault was provided by the 4th Division’s artiilery with a medium and a heavy anti-aircraft battery under command. The Artillery sent over a tactical headquarters with the assaulting troops, its only communication for fire control of the guns on the east side being wireless. Sgt. B. Craine was N.C.O. in charge of the two wireless vehicles, which drew heavy fire immediately on landing. These mobile stations operated in exposed positions for 10 days during which time, 24 hours a day, the sergeant in charge was on call whenever trouble occurred. That the guns across the Braakman were able to provide immediate support during the critical period of the assault was due in no small measure to this sergeant’s inspiring work with his detachment, and he was later awarded the Military Medal for his part in this operation.

Link Canadian Army Overseas Honours and Awards Citation Details

DHH - Citation Details
Last Name: Craine
First Name: Bruce
Medal Type: MM
Month Awarded: November
Year Awarded: 1944
Rank at time of award: Sgt
Corp: 2 Cdn
Division: 4 Cdn Armd
Brigade:
Unit: H Tp Sigs 4 Cdn Armd Div Sigs
Sub-Unit:
Remarks: 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lt Col Clifford David Clive

Service from 1939 to 1945 and 1949 to 1957: Born in Neepawa, Manitoba in 1915, Clifford David Clive worked for Phonola Radio, in Kitchener, Ontario, before the war. He enlisted as a Sigmn and was posted to 1 Corps Sigs ( Barriefield), Kingston, Ontario,  in 1939. In 1940 he was posted to 1 Corps Sigs (O/S), Aldershot, England. He undertook wireless training at Aldershot and studied captured German wireless equipment.  In 1941, as a Sgt, he was involved in innovative ground-to-air wireless training with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Later that year, he underwent officer training in England (Oct 41 to Jun 42) and  graduated as a Lt. In Apr 43, after time spent with 1 C.S.R.U., he was posted  to 2 Cdn Inf Div Sigs, by way of  2 Cdn Corps Sigs. In Apr 44 he was posted to 1 Cdn L of C Sigs, 2 Coy, 16 Med W Sec. Following the D-Day invasion, and the subsequent capture of Cherbourg, France, he was sent to help the Americans put the French telephone system back in operation. In April, 1945, he participated in the move of a portion of the 1st  Czechoslovakian  Armoured Brigade from the area of Dunkirk, France, where the formation had been besieging the city, to Klatovy, Czechoslovakia. There he encountered members of the Russian Army and Germans who wished to surrender. He arrived back in Canada in Jul 1945 and was S.O.S. in Aug 45. Civilian life seemed quiet and adjustment was difficult. In 1949 he joined the Scots Fusiliers of Canada, a militia infantry unit converted to artillery. He attended the militia command and staff course; was promoted to lieutenant-colonel; and retired in 1957.

Adapted from his Service Record  Link and the Military Oral History collection Link

Notes from the 1 Canadian Line of Communications Signals War Diary Entries:
19 Apr 44, TOS from 2 CID Sigs, posted to 16 Med W Sec, Lt Clive
24 Apr 44, to be A/Capt, 16 Med W Sec.
29 Jun 44, disembarked France, 16 Med W.
26 Aug 44, Movement Schedule, 16 W/T, 22 pers, 6 vehs, Capt Clive.
3 Nov 44 to 4 Dec 44 attached to 21 Army Gp Sigs, Capt Clive.
2 Dec 44, visited 16 W/T det at Boulogne.
4 Dec 44, Capt with seniority from 23 Sep 44.
1 Feb 45, ceased attachment to No 1 Tank Tptr Coln (BR), wef  14 Jan 45.
4 Feb 45, OC 16 W/T Sec, visited "ROVER" det, at VALKENSWAARD, with 5 Cipher Sec pers.
31 May 45, No. 1  Repat Draft, Capt Clive, 16 W/T, 3 NETD/4 CBRBn.
9 Jun 45, Capt Clive, returned to Canada on rotation leave.
NETD, Non-Effective Transit Depot?


Read more about the 1st Chechoslovakian Armoured Brigade
Link and Link

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sigmn Bill Bushell

Bill Biggs

"At age 17 I joined the RCCS in Toronto in January 1942. After medical and being outfitted and spending a few weeks at the Horse Palace at the CNE I was sent to North Bay, Ont for Basic Training. A few months there and then to Vimy Barracks at Kingston, Ont for advanced and Wireless Operator Training. The advanced part was the early morning rises and doing the obstacle course before breakfast. Then drill, drill, drill, both on the square and in the class room. Finally passed and moved across the road to Barriefield into tented camp posted to 6th Light Anti-aircraft Unit. Then weeks of waiting until around 2 AM one day all Hell broke loose and we were uprooted, marched down to the station onto trains and we were on our way to – as we found out – Halifax."

Read more: Link

Beyond the Call. Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, Brigade Headquarters, "C" Force, Hong Kong and Japan, 1941-1945

Beyond the Call. Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, Brigade Headquarters, "C" Force, Hong Kong and Japan, 1941-1945, was recently published by the HKVCA. Here, author Burke Penny writes about the research and writing process, and provides a few excerpts from the book. The Sai Wan Bay War Cemetery is situated on the northeast side of the island of Hong Kong, a short distance from the bustling city of Victoria. The graves of two hundred and eighty-three Canadian soldiers are located here, including five members of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals. It is quiet and serene with dramatic rows of white grave markers stretching on and on down a slope towards the sea, against a panoramic view of distant wooded hills. Further south on the island on the Tai Tam Peninsula is Stanley Military Cemetery. Twenty Canadians are buried here including four Signals. The graves are located on a hillside flanked by grassy slopes with flowering shrubs and ornamental trees. The peace and tranquility of these two sites belie the events of December, 1941 when the island hills were the scene of fierce and bloody fighting as the days of the battle for Hong Kong raged on.

Although I couldn’t talk with my uncle Don, who was the initial inspiration for the book, . It was their words and shared memories that strengthened my commitment to push ahead with the project. I owe them a great deal – just for that alone. Unfortunately, many of these fine men are no longer with us. Only Gerry and Wally will be able to read the book that they all helped to create.


On October 28, Captain George Billings called his Signals section together on deck for the first time. He introduced himself as a graduate of Kingston Military College and told them he had just returned from service in Britain. The group of thirty-two soldiers facing him represented various parts of the country: nineteen were from B.C., six from the prairies, three from Ontario, and four from Quebec. Four of them were still in their teens, most in their early twenties, and only three were over twenty-five. All but five were single, although a few had left special girlfriends behind. About half had served in the armed forces, either with militia units or the Active Service Force, for at least two years; only a few had less than a year of service. So although the young men had not trained or worked together as a complete unit, for the most part they were well trained and had gained considerable experience in their specialties as operators, dispatch riders and linemen. (From Chapter 2: Destination: Hong Kong, page 48)

During the months and years to follow, four would be killed in action, two would succumb to wounds received in battle, and three more would die from illness while being held as prisoners of the Japanese. Nine of the thirty-three would not make it back to Canada. Six of the men spent the rest of the war after the battle in Hong Kong. Eighteen were sent to Japan where they worked in mines, shipyards, foundries and on the docks. Their camps had names such as Kawasaki 3D, Niigata, Sendai, Ohashi, Narumi, Suwa, and Sumidagawa. How any of them survived the beatings, poor food and terrible conditions of the camps was a constant amazement to me.

We were housed in these two barn-like huts built mostly of bamboo. Each had a wide centre aisle running the full length with sliding doors at each end. There were no partitions. Ten bays ran crossways from side to side. Each half bay had two sleeping platforms for fourteen men. Built two feet off the dirt floor and divided by a five-foot space. In it stood a long rickety table on which we marked our numbers for our rations. The platforms were made of tatami matting, divided by inch-wide wooden slats into sleeping spaces 37 inches wide and 7 feet long. A waist-high shelf ran along the back of the "beds." We were issued a bowl, four wood-fibre blankets that held no warmth, a small round hard pillow and a cotton bedsheet. (Will Allister, from Chapter 5, Prisoners of War – 1943, page 182)

After a while, the cast was taken off and my arm was put in a sling. I was put on work detail clearing six inch thick ice from a road. We did this with pick and shovel. I used my right arm, which was in a sling, to hold the pick and with my left arm, I would swing the pick. I used the same method for the shovel.

All this time, the only shoes I had were pieces of straw and rags wrapped around my feet. One day, we were notified that shoes would be available at our place of work the next day. I went to regular work that day to get a pair of shoes. I got the shoes, but I was told that since I could walk to work, I would be on regular work detail at the foundry, from then on. (Rolly D’Amours, from Chapter 6, Prisoners of War – 1944, page 238)

We had chicken feed for food, mixed with some white rice. For soup we had the tops from the vegetables….It was so hot in the mine that we wore only a mine belt….

[They] were always slapping us around for no good reason. They used to tell us the mine was dangerous then grin at us and give us a few kicks and punches and tell us to get to work. (Jack Rose, from Chapter 7, Prisoners of War – 1945, page 293)

Thursday, October 4. In Vancouver, Mrs. Douglas received a telegram from the Director of Records in Ottawa: K34017 Signalman John Taylor Douglas has now arrived San Francisco is enroute to Victoria BC and is expected to arrive there fifth October, 1945.

A newspaper article, filed from Oregon, listed some of those on board the nineteen car train and provided a few details. Acton, D’Amours, Dayton, Douglas, Dowling, Jenkins, Keyworth, Kurluk, Naylor, Rose and Speller were the Signals on board. (From Chapter 9, Coming Home, page 343)

Burke Penny

Donald A. Penny, Royal Canadian Corps of Signals was Burke Penney's uncle.
Burke Perry  was fortunate to be able to speak with the seven members of the Hong Kong Signal Corps who were still alive when he began my research. He pays tribute to Bob Acton, Will Allister, Gerry Gerrard, Tony Grimston, Jim Mitchell, Wally Normand, and Lionel Speller.

Link Hong Kong Veterans Commemerative Association

Link Canadian Signallers of "C" Force, establish a signals post on hillside. Hong Kong, 27th November 1941.

The Memory Project, Eyres, Ardwell, H

1943 to 1946: Ardwell H.Eyres was born in Cameron, Ontario, on 29 Apr 1924. He joined the army at College and Yonge St. on 29 Apr 1943; underwent Basic Training in Newmarket, Ontario;  was sent to the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, Vimy Barracks, Kingston, Ontario; and then  to Halifax, Nova Scotia to the Embarkation Transit Unit on 12 May 1944. He left Halifax on the Lady Nelson hospital ship on 31 May 1944 and made one round trip to Liverpool, England. He left Halifax for New York, on 10 Aug 1944, and boarded the troopship Ile de France, No. 10 Ship Staff. He sailed from Pier 92 with Bing Crosby aboard, plus about ten thousand US military. He arrived in Gurock, Scotland on 11 Nov  1944. He made about fifteen round trips on the Ile de France. He ran the triangle: New York, Pier 92, Halifax Pier 21. He made one trip from Boston to Gurock, Scotland, where we swung on the hook. He made one trip to Southamton, England.These trips averaged about nine days per crossing.  He left the Ile de France on 5 Oct 1945, and was discharged in Toronto on 29 Apr 1946.

Link Memory Project Digital Archive 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

HMCS Coverdale - The Role of WRCNS

"THE ROLE OF THE WRCNS AT COVERDALE

After Special Wireless Station Coverdale opened its doors, the station was quickly staffed by personnel from the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service. Abbreviated as WRCNS, it is pronounced as WRENS. The organization was established in July 31 1942 in order to recruit women to replace men who were leaving for sea duty. Capt. Eustace Brock became the Director and Lt Cdr Isabel Macneill, OBE, became the C.O. of the WRCNS training establishment, namely HMCS Conestoga which was commissioned on June 1, 1943 in Galt Ontario. She was the first woman in the British Commonwealth to hold an independent naval command. There were 22 different job categories open to women, depending on their background and experience. They filled many jobs in every naval base in Canada. Just one year after the WRCNS was established, they were already earning high praise for their efforts. The WRCNS motto was: To free a man for service afloat.

By the end of the war, Wrens were working in 48 trades. Signals were a very popular occupation for which there was a high demand, so in 1942, the RCN took over an army camp at St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, to train hundreds of ratings, Wrens and Officers in a wide variety of communications related trades - not only operators but also technicians to maintain the equipment. For those who trained to copy Morse Code, the minimum speed by the end of training was 22 wpm.).

Link Read More

WREN Tel(S) Jaqui LaPointe, a Special Wireless operator and member of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS), poses for a promotional photo in front of a CNF-4 console at Special Wireless Station Coverdale in August, 1945. The loudspeaker at her right wrist was part of an intercom which provided communications with the operations room a mile or so away. The speaker above the CRT was for the receiver. After the war, no WRENs operated HFDF equipment. By 1952, WRENS were stationed in the Operations Building on the main base but only for several years. (Photo by Leblanc, DND. National Archives of Canada, photo # PA-142540)

Royal Canadian Corps of Signals RADAR specialists in Britain

Extract: In the summer of 1940, the British were concerned with the lack of experienced electronic maintenance personnel to be employed on the radio defence systems being deployed throughout the British Isles. The War Office sent a letter to Canadian Military Headquarters (CMHQ) at Trafalgar Square on 22 Nov 1940, mentioning the great shortage of trained men in the United Kingdom for employment in Radiolocation and Radio Direction Finding work in all three services. It mentioned at a recent meeting of the Falmouth Sub Committee on Wireless Personnel, that "possibly a number of officers and other ranks might be obtained from the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals. During the next month, exploratory communication was initiated ... resulting in Canada lending 22 members of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals to the GOC-in-C of Anti-Aircraft Command of the British Army. They would not return to the Canadian army until late in 1942, and in some cases early 1943, when they were taken into 1 Canadian Radio Location Unit. No1 CRLU was disbanded in 1943, as not required due to the lack of enemy air activity. ... The list of Royal Canadian Corps of Signals personnel who were selected for this special work is as follows:
Captain E.R. (Happy) Gill (1 Cdn Div Sigs)
Lieutenant L.G. (Guy) Eon (2 Cdn Div Sigs)
Lieutenant J.D, (Doug) Bourne (7 Corps Sigs)
Anderson G. Signalman M-10148 (2 Div Sigs)
Brockman E.G. (George) Signalman M-10119 (2 Div Sigs)
Bumby A. A. (Al) Signalman B-34526 (1 Corps Sigs)
Diwell H.A. (Harry) Signalman B-33250 (1 Corps Sigs)
Epp C.A. (Carl) A/Cpl L-26029 (1 Corps Sigs)
Grainger G.E. (Mike) Signalman n P-40322 (2 Div Sigs)
Harris C.L. (Charlie) Cpl A-2125 (1 Div Sigs)
Kieffer R Signalman D-21064 (1 Div Sigs)
Kraemer K.E. (Ken) Signalman D-24224 (2 Div Sigs)
Mantle F.A. (Frank) Signalman K-34040 (1 Corps Sigs)
Mauza A. (Tony) Signalman M-9051 (1 Corps Sigs)
Mowbray W.T. (Bill) A/Cpl M-9024 (1 Corps Sigs)
Naylor C.R. (Ralph) Signalman L-20017 (1 Corps Sigs)
Park A. (Andy) L/Cpl M-7213 (2 Div Sigs)
Robinson M.R. (Russ or Robbie) Signalman P-40319 (2 Div Sigs)
Staufer W.J. (Johnny) Signalman A-2220 (1 Div Sigs)
Taylor G.F. (Gord) Signalman K-34053 (1 Corps Sigs)
Twells T.G. (Geoff) Signalman A-2123 (1 Div Sigs)
Willing W.R. (Bud) Signalman P-40259 (1 Div Sigs)

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#4 Special Wireless Station - The Station That Never Was

 #4SWS located at Riske Creek BC, "was the Station that never was." Its saga began in late March or early April 1944 when it's establishment was authorized. A newly qualified Lieutenant by the name of Hance Legere who at the time was acting CO of #1SWS at Leitrim was posted to Vancouver and immediately given travel orders and tickets to proceed to Williams Lake, BC, and from there to the site of the new Station which was to be located at Riske Creek, BC, approximately 51 kms west of Williams Lake on the old Williams Lake - Bella Coola telegraph line, (Today BC Highway #20).

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Vic Waters

Service from 1942 to 1946: Charles Victor Waters was born on 9 Sep, 1918. From his early teens, he had a strong interest in "The Magic of Radio". Early on he earned his Amateur Radio License and set up his own amateur radio station, VE5QH.  He began his broadcasting career at pioneering radio station CJOR as a technician and operator. Soon, he was a wireless operator copying the news services for the radio station and the Vancouver Province newspaper. With the advent of World War II, Vic became an on-air personality at CJOR, until he too left to join the service in 1942. He was a member of the Canadian Army, Special Wireless Group Number One, and was stationed in Darwin Australia from 1944 to 1946. After the war, he returned to CJOR, where he became one of Vancouver's best-known announcers. He worked at CJOR as a disk jockey, program director and talk-show host until he retired in 1969.


Audio Link

Link

Corporal Pat Moyles - Canadian Women's Army Corps

In the autumn of 1942, having completed their basic training at Vermillion, Alberta, some 25 members of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC) arrived in Kingston, Ontario.
On 29 August, at the Canadian Signals Training Centre (CSTC), Vimy Barracks, they were among the first CWACs to begin trades training as radio operators. Pat O’Buck (nee Moyles) of Peterborough, Ontario, but currently residing near Plains, Montana, was also serving there. The following is a brief account of her service.
“As a Lance Corporal, at the tender age of 16, and disenchanted with an orderly room job, I was reassigned to be the Non-commissioned officer who marched the gals back and forth from Barriefield, where we were quartered, to Vimy, where we did our trades training.
One poignant episode at Vimy during this time was the day our group reported to find our classroom emptied of most of the men with whom we had been training. Those men we later learned had volunteered for the airborne, although in what capacity I have no idea. I have often wondered if they were part of an intelligence group.
In December, part of our group was classified as signals intercept operators, posted to Argyle Barracks in Ottawa and assigned to No. 1 Special Wireless Station (SWS).
In the early years many Canadian men and women held a dim view of women who joined the armed services. This attitude gradually changed as we proved our value to the service. Nonetheless, I don't think there was a man among the SWS members who would not have punched out another for uttering a disparaging remark about one of "their" girls, especially if the culprit was in another service branch.
From day one at No 1 SWS the men were respectful, helpful, and yes, protective. During the bitter winter of 1942-1943, for example, some of us sustained frostbitten legs and ear lobes walking to the Station from where the bus was halted due to drifting snow. Our Commanding Officer (CO) contacted the CWAC hierarchy at Argyle barracks where we were billeted and saw to it that we were issued battle dress.
For security reasons, our group occupied a separate wing at Argyle. Nobody else knew what we were doing, or what our mission was, including the officers. This kinda galled them and there was a perception that we were receiving special treatment. We were not required to do Kitchen Patrol, or any other chores meted out to other gals at the will of those in charge. It was necessary that we be provided meals at irregular hours because we worked irregular hours. Often the mess hall staff showed its displeasure at having to meet our needs. One way of showing that displeasure was in the lunches provided. Again, the CO contacted those responsible at Argyle and instructed that in the future we were to be furnished with healthier lunches than those we had been receiving. I don't recall the specific improvements other than that we began to have an item of fruit each day.
I have to admit that it was sometimes fun and a challenge to sneak back into barracks with the evening shift coming off duty when we were late after a movie or date. We weren't all that angelic that we didn't take advantage of an opportunity. I don't recall that one of us was ever caught.
At No 1 SWS we were copying subversive signals (HAM operators were prohibited from operating during the War), as well as high-speed radio traffic from Argentina, as I recall. I remember the high-speed receiver was a Hallicrafter. Simultaneously we were in training to copy Japanese military communications that used regular Morse code and modified Morse code, or barred letters, to represent elements of their Katakana phonetic writing system. The Japanese operators were well disciplined and we didn’t intercept much chatter in their Kana format.
In the summer of 1943 this first group was sent to Victoria, British Columbia and No 3 SWS where, sometime during 1944 or 1945 the Japanese military changed code. We intercept operators had a month to learn it in addition to performing our regular intercept work. Not to worry! At midnight Japanese time on the day the code changed the Japanese operators were having as much problem sending the new code as we were transcribing it. It was a level playing field.
In the latter part of 1944 almost all of the physically qualified men at SWS3 were pulled for further training and eventual assignment to Australia. Heretofore, the men had rotated, four at a time, month at a time, to man a directional finding (DF) hut located in the middle of a farmer's field near Nanaimo, B.C. That was it, a small hut ringed by a few antennas and a small privy behind it sitting in the middle of vast acreage. The supervisor on duty in Victoria would contact the operator on duty at the DF hut to take a bearing on a particular intercepted signal. When the men left for their new assignment, it was up to the gals to (wo)man the DF hut. The men had been provided with a rifle for their personal protection. The gals were left with a revolver, but absolutely no instructions on how to use it! Lucky for us, a need never presented itself.
In Victoria we were never in barracks but either had room and board in private homes or rented our own apartments. One landlady loved me because I, too young to drink, gave her my wine ration each month. How did I come by a wine ration? I dunno except perhaps it was just because I was old enough to be in the military. After all one could be under age and still vote if in the military.
I was back to Victoria in 1986 and found no evidence that there had ever been a station. The area is now a subdivision.
At war's end married gals had the option to take their release, but some of us who were single had no choice. We were assigned to monitor Soviet and Chinese transmissions. Soviet transmissions consisted of still other barred letter combinations, although not as many as with the Japanese codes, while Chinese transmissions were based strictly on Morse characters. Only later were we demobilized, I, in the rank of Corporal, on 9 June 1946, and the last CWAC member the following September. No choice there! In other words, the CWAC was deactivated -- no more women in khaki.
Another remembrance I have when I look at some of the old pictures of the time is the preponderance of the men wearing Sergeant, or Staff Sergeant and up rank insignia. The highest rank one of the women attained was Sergeant. Hmmmmmm!!!”
In all, there were three Special Wireless Stations (SWS) active during the Second World War; the two in which Pat served and No 2 SWS that had its beginnings in 1939 as a Northwest Territories and Yukon Radio System station on the Newton Farm near Grande Prairie, Alberta. The station barely got off the ground, however, before being shut down in September 1939 due to the outbreak of the War. The military returned to the farm in 1942 and established No 2 SWS.
Another station, No 4 SWS turned out to be the "Station that never was." It was to be built at Riske Creek in British Columbia’s Chilcotin. It began life in late March or early April 1944 but ended suddenly in July 1944, before any facilities could be constructed.

Lieutenant J.D. Miller and Signalman Dermott Joseph Green


Lieutenant J.D. Miller

John David Miller was born in 1917, enlisted in the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals as a Signalman in 1935, and died in Australia in 1945. He left behind his wife, Mary Jean Dorothie Miller (nee Beach) and his parents, Clifford and Jeanne Miller. All were from Kingston, Ontario.
On 1 July 1944 then Lieutenant (Lt) Miller was detached from No. 1 Special Wireless Station, Leitrim, Ontario to No.1 (Canadian) Special Wireless Group (1CSWG). He, along with Captain (Capt) HL Hall, Capt RE March, and Lt. JH Legere were the first four members of the Group.
On 18 April 1945, after months of training and travel, he arrived with 1CSWG at McMillan's Road Camp, Northern Territory (NT), Australia. The NT Force Band played the troops into the camp.
On 16 September 1945, while serving as the Technical Maintenance Officer and Sports Officer for 1CSWG, Lt Miller was admitted to hospital. There he was placed on the dangerously ill list and, that evening, died of what was later diagnosed as acute encephalitis.
On 18 September 1945 he was buried in the grave No GD 3 in the Adelaide River War Cemetery. His funeral party was composed of eight members of the Technical Maintenance Section as bearers; eight Unit officers as pall bearers; the Chief Signal Officer (CSO) of the NT Force, a member of the CSO Staff; two buglers, two drummers, and a firing party of approximately 40 Unit personnel. Chaplain Clayden, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), conducted the service. 

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Writing in the November 1999 issue of the Maple Leaf, Lt Paul Doucette, a Public Affairs Officer then with the Australian based Canadian Contingent of the International Force in East Timor (INTERFET) wrote.

Remembering the One

CAMP TWO CAN DO, Darwin, Australia—In 1945, near the end of the Second World War, the South Pacific was a nasty place for Canadian Lieutenant John Miller, who contracted encephalitis and died September 16, 1945 while serving in Northern Australia with the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (RCCS). The 28-year-old Kingston, Ont., resident was deployed on a classified mission to the Darwin area with the RCCS Number One Special Wireless Group. The details of the squad’s South Pacific duties are not clear, but it is known the group was later sent to East Timor to help with the surrender of the Japanese. As a tribute to Lt Miller, the only Canadian soldier buried at the Adelaide River War Cemetery, south of Darwin, CF members deployed to northern Australia to provide support for the International Force in East Timor (INTERFET) held a memorial ceremony November 8. “It was great way to help mark this year’s Remembrance Day,” said Chief Warrant Officer Eric Inglis, who organized the special service as part of the Canadian Airlift Task Force’s Remembrance Day ceremonies. “It was a special experience for all of us who were there.”
Though little else is known about him at this time, records indicate that another member of 1CSWG, Signalman Dermott Joseph Green, age 26, was drowned while surfing at Maroochydore, Queensland, Australia on 3 March 1945. He is buried in Woombye-Palwoods Military Cemetery. 

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Fox, Bill

Michael J. Fox was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada as Michel Andrew Fox. His parents, Bill and Phyllis Fox, moved their ten-year-old son, his three sisters, Kelli Fox, Karen and Jacki and his brother Steven to Vancouver, British Columbia, after his dad, a sergeant in the Canadian Army Signal Corps, retired.

Link

Monday, September 5, 2011

Capt WJO Henderson, MBE

Link Article

Link Canadian Army Overseas Honours and Awards Citation Details

Last Name: Henderson
First Name: William James
Medal Type: MBE
Month Awarded: July
Year Awarded: 1945
Rank at time of award: A/Capt
Corp: 1 Cdn
Division:
Brigade:
Unit: HQ 1 Cdn Corps
Sub-Unit: RC Sigs
Remarks:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Capt George V Eckenfelder

Service from 1938 to 1945: Born in Trochu,  Alberta  in 1910, George Eckenfelder was the son of Leon C. Eckenfelder, and  Valentine Figerol.  His father came to Canada, from France, in 1904 and joined two others as a junior partner in the St. Ann Ranch Trading Company Ltd. The company formed the nucleus of the first settlement at Trochu. George graduated from the University of Calgary, with a degree in civil engineering in 1933. He gained employed in the Unemployment Relief Camps as a junior supervisory, and later joined Calgary Power as an engineer. He enlisted in the 13th District Signals (militia) in 1938 and went "active" as a second lieutenant with the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division signals unit in May 1940. After six months training at Barriefield Camp, Kingston, Ontario he moved to Debert, Nova Scotia. There he was posted to 14th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery and went overseas in July 1941. In February 1943 he was sent to North Africa for battle experience with the British 1st Army. Returning to England in August 1943, he was posted to the 7th Infantry Brigade as a captain and spent three months training on the Isle of Wight before moving to a concentration area north of Southampton from which, with the Brigade Headquarters, he moved directly to their ships for the D-Day invasion. On D-Day plus 3 he was captured by a group of by-passed Germans who, despite occupying a large cave and a strong defensive position, after a day, the Germans surrendered to him as senior officer prisoner.  After Falaise the 3rd Division moved on to Boulogne and Calais, then to the Scheldt Estuary, remaining there until November  1944. He was then transferred to Army Troops Headquarters, moved to Aldershot, and returned to Canada in September  1945. Upon his return he was rehired by Calgary Power as an engineer.He died in British Columbia in 2007.


Military Oral History Collection  Link
 
CALGARY HERALD CALGARY, ALBERTA, THURSDAY, OCT. 18, 1945, PAGE 9

Link 

Snappy Sales Talk By Albertans Outwitted Their German Captors


 The story of  how two quick-thinking and quick-talking army officers from Alberta persuaded their German captors and a group of 140 enemy soldiers to surrender to them during the early days of the Normandy campaign was told in Calgary Wednesday by one of the pair who has returned to Canada.
He is Capt. George Eckenfelder of Trochu. who received his final discharge papers from the army Wednesday after serving five years with the R.C.C.S.
It was on D-Day plus 3 that 1Capt. Eckenfelder was taken prisoner outside the village of Fontaine Henri. about three miles Inland from Courseulles, where the landing had been made.
He was signals officer for the 7th 1nfantry Brigade and was on his way alone along what he had been told was a direct route to division headquarters. As he turned a corner of the road, he  was shot at by a machine gun and several snipers who were ambushed at the side of the road.
TAKEN PRISONER
Eckenfelder jumped to the ditch and attempted to fire back at the Germans, but was soon surrounded and taken to a huge cave which was a good defensive position for the Germans. The group of about 135 men and four or five officers had been left behind when the advance of the Allied forces had forced the enemy to retreat,
The cave was a large underground quarry, capable of housing 10,00o people. There were about a dozen trucks and armored cars, masses of supplies, but not very much ammunition, Capt. Eckenfelder related. A small first aid post had been set up where 20 wounded soldiers including a Canadian and a British Tommy were being treated.
"There were also large supplies of wine and cigarettes;’ he said.
“The Germans offered me some or the latter, but I preferred the Canadian brand which are much better.”
GERMANS NERVOUS
About ten minutes after Capt. Eckenfelder  had been taken to the cave, another Canadian officer and several men arrived. The officer was Lt. Howard Germen, former high school teacher of Munson and Drumheller. who had been captured in the same manner as the Trochu soldier.
The incident had occurred about 9 o’clock In the morning. and during the day mortar fire became increasingly heavy, A Canadian infantry regiment was  gradually working up to the stronghold in the cave, but at that time, the Allied prisoners did not know about it.
“The Germans got more and more nervous as the firing got closer. We helped matters, conversing in French, by telling them the roof of the cave would not stand many more mortar bombs.” Capt. Eckenfelder said.
SALES TALK WORKS
“Finally about 8 pm. the major in charge of the Germans came up to us and said. ‘we're out of ammunition and we have many wounded men; we want to surrender to you. Evidently our sales talk had some effect on him.”
Capt. Eckenfelder and Lt. Germen lined the men up and marched them outside the cave.
The German officer in charge then called to several of his men who were hidden in the woods surrounding the cave, and the whole party was marched to division headquarters.
Germen is now a major and is believed to still be in England in the Canadian Provost Corps. Capt. Eckenfelder is the son of Mrs. L. C. Eckenfelder of Trochu. He plans to return to his work at the Calgary Power Company where he was employed for seven years prior to the war.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Canadian Army Overseas Honours and Awards Citation Details

Pickstock, Frederick James, L/Cpl, BEM 1 Cdn AGRA Sig Sec

Kimmel, Walter Carl, Cpl, Croix de guerre with bronze star 1 Cdn Air Support Signals

On 15 Aug 44 at HQ 7th Cdn Bde Cpl Kimmel was engaged in operating the ASSU set for Visual Command post. When the RAF were bombing the area in error, a considerable number of bombs were landing in the ‘vicinity of Cpl Kimmel’s vehicle. Casualties were mounting and Cpl Kimmel sent his detachment personnel to their slit trench and stayed at the set, sending messages back to Group Control Centre in an effort to halt the bombing. As a result of these msgs, the necessary action was taken to warn off the last flight of Bombers  Cpl Kimme1 displayed remarkable courage and devotion to duty.


Hurdle, Harold Lance, Maj, OBE 1 Cdn Armd Bde Sigs

Moore, William Leonard, Cpl, BEM 1 Cdn Armd Bde Sigs

Plumb, Wilfred Norman, L/Sgt, BEM 1 Cdn Armd Bde Sigs

Willis, John William, Sgt, BEM 1 Cdn Armd Bde Sigs

More to follow

They Didn't Know by Sigmn Al Melanson, 1944


THEY DIDN’T KNOW             (ITALY 1944)
DEEP DOWN IN THE HEART OF ITALY, 
T’WAS NOT SO LONG AGO
THAT THE ITIES WERE OUR ENEMIES
CAUSE THERE’S THINGS THEY DIDN'T KNOW. 

NEVER DREAMED THAT THE GREAT MUSSOLINI
WHEN AGREEING TO HITLER’ S ACT
WAS TO SHARPEN A MIGHTY DAGGER,
TO STAB US IN THE BACK.

THEY NEVER EXPECTED THE NAZIS,
WOULD MOLEST THEN LIKE THEY DID
THEY TERRIFIED THE WOMEN
AND FRIGHTENED EVERY KID. 

THEY ROBBED THEM OF THE TREASURES, 
TOOK SEVENTY LIRES FOR A MARK
THEY RECCE’D THEIR SITES IN DAYLIGHT
AND INVADED AFTER DARK.

THEY GUZZLED VERMOUTH AND VINO,
ATE UP THE FOOD LIKE HOGS
IF THE ITIES TRIED TO STOP THEM
THEY SHOT ‘EM DOWN LIKE DOGS. 

BUT NOW THE WHOLE STORY CHANGES,
AND WE KNOW BEYOND A DOUBT 
THEY’RE ONLY TOO GLAD TO SURRENDER
AND SEE THE JERRYS CHASED OUT.

THEY EXTENDED A HEARTY WELCOME,
TO THE FRIENDS THEY NEVER KNEW 
THEY'RE GLAD TO BE OUR ALLIES
FOR THEY KNOW WE’LL SEE THEN THROUGH.

WE HAD TO SHELL THEIR CITIES
T‘WAS THE ONLY THING TO DO
WE WERE MET WITH STRONG RESISTANCE
WHICH WE CONQUERED, IT IS TRUE.

OUR AIR FORCE POUNDED NAPLES,
THE NAVY SANK THEIR FLEET
THE ARMY MADE A LANDING
FORCING JERRY TO RETREAT.

THE HARBOUR LOOKED DESERTED,
THE CITY WAS A SIGHT
THE NATIVES LOOKED DISGUSTED
WONDERING WHERE THEY’D SLEEP THAT NIGHT.

MOUNT VESUVIUS WAS SPITTING LAVA,
THREATING ANY MOMENT TO POP
IT HAPPENED SHORTLY AFTER 
AND REALLY BLEW THE TOP,

THE TOWN IN THE SURROUNDING AREA,
WAS BURIED BY STONE AND CLAY
THE SUN WAS CLOUDED OVER  
AND THE SKY RAINED MUD ALL DAY. 

MUSSOLINI WAS THROWN OUT OF POWER,
VICTOR EMANUEL SAID YOU ARE THROUGH
BAGDOLIO WILL TAKE YOUR OFFICE 
HE CAN’T BE MORE DESTRUCTIVE THAN YOU. 

SO ON WENT THE BATTLE FOR FREEDOM, 
MID MOUNTAINS HIGH AND STEEP
VEHICLES WERE STUCK IN THE VALLEYS 
THE MUD WAS SOFT AND DEEP. 

THE JERRYS MADE A STRONGHOLD, 
THE ADVANCE WAS MIGHTY SLOW 
BUT PREPERATIONS WERE WELL IN PROGRESS
LEADING UP TO A BIGGER SHOW. 

THEN THE CANADIANS ARRIVED FROM SICILY
JUST WAITING FOR THE TIME
LATER CONCENTRATED IN RAVISCANIA
A FULL CANADIAN CORPS. 

THERE WITH THE MAIN EIGHTH ARMY,
JUST WAITING FOR THE TIME
TO OPEN THE BIG OFFENSIVE, 
AGAINST THE MIGHTY HITLER LINE

EARLY IN THE MONTH OF APRIL
THE WEATHER WAS DRY AND CLEAR
AN IDEAL TIME FOR THE OFFENSIVE,
WE HADN'T THE LEAST TO FEAR

HITLER’S GANG WAS STRONG IN CASSINO, 
BUT MONASTERY HILL HAS THE STORY TO TELL
HOW THE WELL PLANED OUT OFFENSIVE
REALLY GAVE THEM A TASTE OF HELL.

ELEVENTH OF MAY WAS SET FOR THE DEADLINE,
ZERO HOUR WAS ELEVEN THAT NIGHT
TWO THOUSAND CANNONS WERE READY
TO BLAST THEM FROM THEIR HEIGHTS.

AT A MINUTE TO ZERO HOUR,
THE CANNONS CAME INTO PLAY
THE EARTH BEGAN TO TREMBLE 
THE SKY LIT UP LIKE DAY.

AND ON THE FOLLOWING MORNING,
THE GUNS WERE ROARING STILL
WE HADN’T TAKEN THE MONASTERY
BUT WERE MUCH CLOSER TO THE HILL. 

NEXT DAY SAW THE END OF THE BATTLE,
THAT BROKE THE GUSTAVE LINE
THE SURRENDER OF THE MONASTERY 
THAT WILL GO DOWN IN THE AGES OF TIME. 

THE ONE TIME TOWN OF CASSINO,
WHERE VICTORY WAS HARD TO GAIN
SHOWS RUINS AND MASSES OF DEBRIS
WITH NOTHING LEFT BUT THE NAME.

WE MOURN THE LOSS OF OUR COMMRADES,
WHO HAVE WILLINGLY GIVEN THEIR LIVES
WE CONVEY OUR DEEPEST SYMPATHY
TO THEIR MOTHERS, SWEETHEARTS AND WIVES. 

ON THE HILL THAT REMAINS OF THE MONASTERY,
THAT SERVED AS A FORT FOR THE FOE
THEY LEFT THEIR DEAD ON THE SURFACE
AND THE WOUNDED DYING BELOW.

THEN NORTHWARD BOUND FROM CASSINO,
 HUGE CONVOYS WERE BEGNNING TO ROLL 
GUNS, TANKS, SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT
ALL MOVING WITH PERFECT CONTROL.

THE JERRYS WERE SWIFTLY RETREATING,
DID THEIR BEST TO CAUSE US MISHAPS
THEY BLEW ALL THE BRIDGES BEHIND THEM
LAID MINES AND ALL SORTS OF TRAPS.

THE ENGINEER WERE SWEEPING FOR LAND MINES,
THEY HAD BRIDGES TO BUILD BY THE SCORE
WHILE BEHIND THEM IN THE CAPTURED AREA
THE ARTILLERY CONTINUED TO ROAR.

THE ADVANCE WAS FAST AND STEADY,
AS TOWN AFTER TOWN WOULD FALL
THERE’S No QUITTING NOW UNTILL VICTORY
IS OURS ONCE AND FOR ALL.

PONTICORVO WAS ANOTHER CASSINO,
THE SCENE OF THE BATTLE HARD FOUGHT
THE CANADIANS WERE REALLY WELL WORTHY
OF THE PRAISES AND CREDIT THEY GOT.

THEN ONWARD TO FROSINONE,
WE’RE REALLY DRIVING THEM HOME
THERE’S NO STOPPING NOW FOR THE ALLIES
WE’RE GOING RIGHT INTO ROME.
 
THE CANADIANS WERE PULLED OUT OF BATTLE
FOR REASONS I DO NOT KNOW
SENT TO REST BACK OF RAVISCANINA
PERHAPS TO PREPARE FOR ANOTHER SHOW.

THIS IS NOT LIKE THE LEAVES IN ENGLAND,
SOME SHEIKS WE USED TO BE
BUT WE’RE ENJOYING THE GOOD OLD SUNSHINE
AND GO SWIMMING IN THE SEA.

THE ITIEs DO ALL OF OUR WASHING,
IN EXCHANGE FOR FOOD AND SMOKES
IN THE EVENING SOME PLAY POKER
OTHERS READ, WRITE OR TELL JOKES.

BUT WE DON’T FORGET THERE’S A WAR ON,
AND STILL A BIG JOB TO BE DONE
WE’ER ANXIOUS To GET BACK IN THE FRONT LINE
AND SEE THE VICTORY WON.

THE EIGHTH ARMY IS RIGHT IN THERE PITCHING,
THE YANKS ARE BATTING REAL WELL,
THE AIR FORCE HAVE BOMBERS IN THE OUT FIELD
THE JERRYS ARE JUST CATCHING HELL.

THE UMP CALLED THIS THE FIRST INNING,
THE JERRYS NEVER SCORED A RUN
AND THERE’RS PLENTY MORE BALLS TO BE FIRED
WE’RE NOT PLAYING THIS GAME FOR FUN.

SO WE’LL TAKE THE UMPYS DECISION,
AND CALL THIS THE END OF ROUND ONE
PART TWO WILL COMPLETE THE STORY
OF THE VICTORY THE ALLIES WON.

WE ARE STILL GOOD FRIENDS OF THE ITIES,
AND ALWAYS WELCOME US IN
BUT WE. CAN’T STAY HERE FOR EVER
WE HAVE BUSINESS IN BERLIN.

SIGMN. AL MELANSON,
#1 Canadain Special Wireless,
Section TYPE. “B“
Italy 1944