The Battle of Midway 1942: US Navy Flying Legends

Pierre Lagacé:

About the Battle of Midway

Originally posted on Aces Flying High:

On December 7th, 1941 the Imperial Japanese Navy conducted a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour in Hawaii which was intended to cripple the US Navy Pacific Fleet and ultimately started the Pacific War. The stunning and brazen attack saw the entry of the United States into World War Two and very quickly Japanese forces had overrun or attacked US, British Commonwealth and Dutch forces across the South West Pacific region (the Philippines, Guam, Wake Islands, Hong Kong, British Malaya, Singapore, New Guinea etc.).

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour (Image Source: Reuters) The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour (Image Source: Reuters)

The Japanese advance of 1941-1942 World War Two The Japanese advance of 1941-1942 (Image Source: Australian War Memorial)

As we know, the attack on Pearl Harbour did not truly cripple the US Pacific Fleet. The Japanese had not taken out the US Navy aircraft carriers stationed at Pearl Harbour, as the carrier fleet were safely out at sea on routine maneuvers and many of the ships that were hit in the attacks were able to be repaired…

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Off to the Great War (Part One)

Pierre Lagacé:

The sequel…

Originally posted on John Knifton:

I have already mentioned in a previous blog post that my Grandfather, Will Knifton, emigrated to Canada in an unknown year before the Great War. Conceivably, he was with his elder brother, John Knifton, or more likely perhaps, John went across the Atlantic first and then Will joined him later on. I have only two pieces of evidence to go on.

Firstly, it is recorded that a John Knifton landed in Canada on May 9th 1907. His ship was the “Lake Manitoba” and he was twenty three years of age. His nationality is listed in the Canadian records as English.

On the other hand, I still have an old Bible belonging to my Grandfather, which says inside the front cover,

“the Teachers and Scholars of the Wesleyan Sunday School, Church Gresley, given to him as a token of appreciation for services rendered to the above School, and with sincerest wishes for…

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My Grandad in the First World War

Pierre Lagacé:

A story about the war to end all wars

Originally posted on John Knifton:

My grandfather had a very eventful journey through the First World War. He joined the Canadian Army on June 12th 1916, and fought at Vimy Ridge, Passchaendale and the Somme. The highlight, though, was when he married his childhood sweetheart, on July 15th 1917,  I am writing this account on his 97th wedding anniversary.

Will has left an enormous amount of material behind him, including a piece of German shrapnel, his leather dog tags, and a piece of camouflaged fabric he cut off the wing of a German aircraft which had crashed in front of him in no-man’s-land.

He was, as can be judged from the surviving photographs, a hard man. He was one of what must have been the thousands of impoverished Englishmen who all set off to make their fortune in the distant reaches of the British Empire

A1  hard man

He lived at 266, Symington Avenue, Toronto.

symington avenue

He was employed…

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RAF Elsham Wolds: Part Four

Pierre Lagacé:

Safe return from hell?

Originally posted on John Knifton:

I wrote a previous article about the, sadly, rather typical loss of an Avro Lancaster of 103 Squadron, based at Elsham Wolds. The aircraft took off from north Lincolnshire at precisely one minute past midnight on February 20th 1944. It was on its way to bomb Leipzig, a very, very long trip lasting eight hours, most of it over the Third Reich itself. This raid involved more than 900 aircraft with the highest losses of the war so far, 78 aircraft destroyed, a loss rate of 9.55 %.  The previous worst total was the 58 aircraft lost over Magdeburg on January 21st-22nd 1943:


I was saddened to see however, during my researches into the fate of PM-I, JB745, that, on that very night, an even more tragic incident had occurred, not over Germany, but over the airfield itself. As they returned unscathed from this rather unsuccessful raid on Leipzig, therefore, two…

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HMCS Louisburg

Pierre Lagacé:

I wrote this post in 2009 when I was just starting to write this blog…
There is someone who just wrote a comment…

Hi Ernie;
my brother was Duncan MacGregor, Stoker, did not survive, contact me if you wish,


Originally posted on Lest We Forget:

I had received this comment on my blog Souvenirs de guerre

Someone had written this comment:

My father, who survived the sinking of HCMS Louisbourg in the Mediterrean  in 1943, did not have very happy memories of the contemptuous and injust way Quebec sailors were treated on their ships and even after the war.

My father sustained an injury to his backbone, and his lungs were affected by toxic fumes caused by the fire on board the ship. This French-Canadian who was decorated never received a war veteran pension and we had to live in poverty until we settled in Sept-Îles during the industrial and housing boom of the town.

My father was even sent to the brig in Gibraltar because he defended himself against a Canadian who was constantly insulting him and other francophone crew members!!!

My father died in 1973.

This person never wrote back.

I went…

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A Soul Lost From WWII Comes Home – Part 8

Pierre Lagacé:

Part 8…

Originally posted on Masako and Spam Musubi:

18173444665_68dc70200e_o In our pilgrimage from the photo above was then baby Kiyoshi (held by their mother Michie), Masako on the far right in a kimono and Namie standing next to her. Taken by my father in 1948 in front of the Kanemoto home in Hiroshima. The house was still not repaired from the damage caused by the atomic bomb.

“Uncle, Let’s Go Home…”

Uncle, let’s go home…  Those were the words that devotedly flowed with compassion from Masako’s daughter, Izumi, during our fourth and last memorial service on Leyte.  “Leyte Fuji” stood before her, covered in greenery that had likely been destroyed 70 years earlier.  Her voice was draped in unchained anguish and power.  Her unbridled emotions from her 心 – her heart – were felt by everyone; tears and restrained sobs were in abundance.

Me included.


There are readers who had their fathers or other loved ones killed…

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RAF Elsham Wolds: Part Three

Pierre Lagacé:

Part three…

Originally posted on John Knifton:

I have now written two articles about RAF Elsham Wolds. I intend to carry on with this series of articles by firstly looking at the fate of just one single aircraft, an Avro Lancaster Mk III with the squadron letters “PM-I” and the serial number “JB745”. It took off from Elsham Wolds at precisely one minute past midnight on February 20th 1944. It was going to bomb Leipzig, which was a very, very long way involving an eight hour round trip, much of it over the Fatherland. Lancaster “JB745” was far from being a lone bomber, and the setting-up of this raid shows just what enormous levels of organisation and man power were involved in bombing a city more than 800 miles away:


A total of 823 aircraft set off, comprising 561 Avro Lancasters, 255 Handley Page Halifaxes and  seven De Havilland Mosquitoes.  A diversionary attack was arranged, with 45 Short Stirlings on…

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