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About Remembering – Introduction

A request…

My name is CWO Frank Raeman MSM and I am a proud serving member of the Belgian Army. Since the age of 11, my interest has been the 154 airmen of the Air Forces who lost their life and who are or were buried at three cemeteries nearby: Adegem Canadian War cemetery, Eeklo Town cemetery and Maldegem Communal cemetery.

In fact my interest goes to a total of 209 airmen, including those who were taken POW or managed to get back to England. My goal is to write the story about those men but also a biography including where they came from, who were they, what was their background, when and where did they join, where were they initialy buried, where are they reburied.

All of this will be illustrated, when possible of course, with a photograph of the airmen, their initial and present burial place, etc. As you can understand it has been and still is a work of many hours but through all the years I am very happy to have been helped by families and friends of the airmen and the help of numerous researchers and (amateur) historians all over the world.

Now I would like to ask you very humbly if you or your contacts could help me find a photograph and/or information of the following Canadians I am still looking for?

Here are their names:

Sgt Bradley, Norman William RCAF 419 Sqn (POW June 17, 1942),

FSgt George, Richard RCAF 25 OTU ( KIA September 11, 1942),

Sgt Hutchinson, David RCAF 408 Sqn (POW June 13, 1943),

WO King, William RCAF 409 Sqn (Safe December 12, 1944),

FO Love, Fred RCAF (POW May 2, 1944),

Sgt McGowan, Norman RCAF 14 OTU (POW August 1, 1942),

FL McKenna, Donald RCAF 403 Sqn (KIA September 8, 1941),

PO McLean, David RCAF 14 OTU (KIA August 1, 1942),

WO2 Noble, George RCAF 101 Sqn (POW July 21, 1944),

Sgt Rayment, Frederick RCAF 408 Sqn (POW June 13, 1943),

PO Trites, Alan RCAF 51 Sqn (POW August 19, 1941)

PO John Watson RCAF (POW May 31, 1941).

I know it is a long shot but these are the last of the 97 RCAF airmen I am looking for. I want to stipulate that I am only looking for scans or duplicates of photographs and documents relating to the airmen and that it is not my intention to obtain original items! My sole goal is to write the book so people will know what happened and will be able to see who those men were instead of imaginating them when visiting one of the headstones at the three above named cemeteries.

I am still looking for a number of RAF casualties too so if you want their names, please feel free to contact me at

raeman-carels@telenet.be

Thank you in advance.

Yours sincerely, CWO Frank Raeman MSM

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A comment on a post

Last night I got this comment made on a post I wrote on August 28, 2009.

My husband’s Uncle was William Donald McCrindle. He is one of the missing men from that fatal night. We are going to France next week and making our way to Roscoff, Isle de Batz and area by end of month. He will be the first of his family to go to Donald’s final resting place. Donald was very close to my husband’s mother and his last letter was to her. Overwhelming to finally have family go.

I was just starting to write about something I had never heard about. What made me write about the sinking of the Unlucky Lady was something my wife’s uncle told us at a family reunion in July 2009.

I just got curious…

Click here…

Excerpt

MCCRINDLE, William Donald, AB, V-1854, RCNVR, MPK – 29 Apr 1944 – MISSING: AB William Donald McCrindle, 23, son of Mr. and Mrs. W.J. McCrindle, Nipawin, was reported missing after the sinking of the Athabaskan in a channel engagement last week. He was born at Codette, Sask., educated at Pontrilas, and enlisted in the navy at Saskatoon in 1942. About six months ago he was posted to the Athabaskan. Besides the parents there is a brother, Barry, at home; two sisters, Cora, at home, and Mrs. J. Clarke, at Choiceland, Sask. (The Regina Leader-Post 08 May 1944)


This is Post 1339 on Lest We Forget.

Remembering Able Seaman William Trickett on April 29, 2019

jim-1 newspaper

A comment I received this week about a sailor who was on a newspaper clipping sent by Jim L’Esperance’s son in 2009.

The Mystery of AB William Dearl Trickett, Stoker (1st Class), HMCS Athabaskan G07

I thought you might be interested in a little project I’m working on especially in the light of the 75th anniversary of the sinking of G07 next year on Apr 29, 2019. Also, I’m trying to track down more information on my Great Uncle and the possible whereabouts of his missing Wartime Logbook.

Like any good Navy ditty, this tale starts in a bar. Little did I know, my visit to the local Legion in my home village of Kelwood, MB would end up on a quest to uncover some of mine own RCN family history that would have soon gone into the oblivion. While sipping on my Club beer (it’s still horrible stuff), I was perusing the military memorabilia on the walls when to my great surprise, I see the crest of my old Athabaskan 282 up on the wall with the date of the original G07’s sinking on it. A relative happened to be there who said it was from my old Great Uncle Willie. Unbeknownst to me, AB William Dearl Trickett, RCNVR, Stoker (1st Class), V38773 had served onboard HMCS Athabaskan G07! Due to the obvious Navy ties, I started my first inqueries with my parents. Mom said, oh yes, he was a Japanese POW and complained that his stomach was never the same after being interned. Well, they were about half a world off and the wrong Axis power, so I started hunting for actual documentation. He was onboard G07 when she went out for her final patrol April 28, 1944 and fortunately he didn’t perish with the other 128 men of his ship that night. Unfortunately, he ended up being part of the 83 men captured by the Germans and he spent the rest of the war in a POW camp. Of course, like most WWII vets, Willie never spoke of his experiences and might have easily taken them to the grave.

Of course, complicating matters as I continued to dig, his surviving son out in Victoria had financial issues and is estranged from the family. He must have liquidated his father’s possessions because I turned up an old Ebay ad for his Wartime Log (POW No. 1295 of Marlag und Milag Nord, Germany) and an original photo of G07. Command Post, a military memorabilia shop in Victoria, had sold the items on Dec 08, 2011 for $1165 and $24.49. Enquiries with the shop were a dead end. I am trying to track down organizations, outfits, or forums who would have some idea of who might have been interested in such items. My intention is to ask the present owner if they would be willing to part with the items especially the logbook. The log is an invaluable part of both my family and RCN history that IMHO shouldn’t be hidden away by some private collector.

I have slowly chipped away the layers of mystery surrounding the wartime record of my Uncle. It was a little difficult as the family had never received a Death Notice or Obituary on either he or my blood aunt who had resided in Saanich, BC. All I could find was a mention of the date of his passing in the Legion’s Last Post archives. I have the BC Genealogical Society helping me track down his final whereabouts plus I’ve sent a request to Ottawa for his Service Records. Dr. André Levesque, a war historian in Ottawa, is kindly helping me also.

My ultimate intention with all of this sleuthing is to put together a proper narrative and memorial for presentation to Willie’s home Legion back in Kelwood especially in light of the upcoming 75th anniversary of the sinking next year. Every Remembrance Day people say the words ‘We will remember’ but they ring hollow if stories like my Uncle’s are lost. I’m glad I was part of the Athabaskan 282 Remembrance ceremonies for G07 when we were near the site of the wreck in 2015. I find it amazing that two related prairie boys from the same little Manitoba hamlet ended up in the same chunk of ocean with the same namesake ships.

While I was the Public Affairs Representative for Athabaskan 282, I put together a montage of the G07 and 282 ships companies that I understand was presented to Mr. Takalo on his last attendance of ‘Athabaskan Sunday’. From my understanding Bernard Lauren, George Takalo, and Harry Hurwitz are the only surviving members of G07. Mr. Ray Meloche passed away May 29, 2017.

I will keep you apprised of my investigative progress and final presentation. I am sure the RCN will be doing something associated with the sinking (they better), so I’ll pass on my material from my end if you want it.

Respectfully,
Blair Gilmore, SLt(Ret’d), CD

64 Athabaskan Survivors Home

When AB William Dearl Trickett was just a face.

Lest We Forget

Jim L’Esperance’s son sent me this newspaper article…

His father tells how he managed to hide and avoid transfer…


jim-1 newspaper


Winnipeg Sailor One of “Underground Navy” Who Hid Out to Avoid Transfer

NEW YORK, May 29—(CP)—

Sixty-four men of the Canadian navy, all but one of whom were captured when the Canadian destroyer Athabaskan was sunk in the England Channel in April, 1944, arrived here Monday en route back to Canada with varied tales of life in Germans prison camps.

The other man—AB. Sydney Bell, of Britannia Bay, Ont., was taken prisoner March 25, 1941, when a Royal Navy ship was sunk by a German surface raider 480 miles off Freetown, West Africa.

The men crossed the Atlantic in the liner Aquitania.

The party left for Montreal by train Monday night, where they will receive a medical examination and back pay before proceeding to their homes on leave.

Fourteen of the…

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