Pilot Officer Jean-Maurice D’Avril, 1923-1945


Jean-Maurice d’Avril was killed while he was being transfered to a prison camp.

The precise date of his death is still unknown according to Peter Hessel.

His death occurred around March 6, 1945, in Frankenberg.

In memory of
Pilot Officer
who died on March 5, 1945

Military Service:

Service Number: J/93925
Age: 22
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 425 Sqdn.

Additional Information:

Son of Henri and Cecilia D’Avril, of Montreal, Quebec.

Burial Information:


I met someone who wrote me a comment on my French blog Souvenirs de guerre.

She is the daughter of Group Captain Tony Brassard. She wants to write a book about her father. Group Captain Brassard was with the 425th Alouettes. Jean-Maurice was also with the 425th Alouettes and a book has been writtent about him.

Come back next time for the story.

You can write me you know…

You can write me you know…

This blog is all about sharing memories.

No adds unless you visit sites where I send you sometimes to give more info.

I shared the story of the sinking of the Athabaskan.  I shared what some family members shared with me, namely Jim L’Esperance’s son and one of his daughters.

I shared the sorrow of Adrien Tremblay’s mother whose son was part of the régiment des Fusiliers Mont-Royal. Adrien was killed on December 17, 1944 in Holland. She always believed he would come back.

I shared a lot more…

I share what people want me to share so I can share it with my readers..

Sharing for never forgetting.

Sharing for never forgetting that there is more than just reminiscing on November 11 each year…

But sharing can be  sometime  painful.

Very few people know who this man is…

Paul Sauvé

Paul Sauvé was a Quebec lawyer, WWII veteran and politician. He was the first Quebec Premier to be born in the 20th century.

When Canada entered the Second World War in 1939, Paul Sauvé reported to the Fusiliers Mont-Royal, the regiment to which he belonged as a reserve officer, and served overseas in the Canadian military for the duration of the Second World War, and took part in the Normandy landing. In 1945, he came home from the European front and resumed his official duties with the Quebec government. In 1946, he became the first cabinet minister for Social Welfare and Youth, a ministry just created by the Quebec government.

After the death of Premier and UN leader Maurice Duplessis on September 7, 1959, Sauvé succeeded him in both positions. He also retained and cumulated the position of Minister for Social Welfare and Youth while Premier. Sauvé died in Saint-Eustache while in office on January 2, 1960, of a heart attack after having served as premier for only 112 days.

Paul Sauvé was the one who started what was called later la Révolution tranquille putting Quebec in the modern era.

Sauvé was also one of the many Quebecers who enlisted and go overseas to fight for freedom.

To this day the myth about Quebec participation in WWII still persists.

Someday the true story will emerge.

An estimated 132 000 French Canadians enlisted, some coming from the eastern and western provinces but also from Quebec. 94 000 enlisted in the army, 13 000 in the RCN and 25 000 in the RCAF.

Paul Sauvé and I are related by my mother’s ancestors.

Spring is here…

I just got an e-mail yesterday.

Bonjour Pierre,

Happy New Year and all the very best to you and your family in 2010.

I am enclosing a photo taken in 1942 of Lionel Senecal. I have not edited it because I am not familiar with the process. Please advise if you can do this and if not I will work on it myself.

There are additional pictures on their way of the cemetery in Plouescat, France.

Warm regards,


Monica gave me permission to show you the pictures.

Here is one she sent me.

Lionel Sénécal in 1942

Louis died on April 29, 1944. He was just 19.

In memory of
Able Seaman
who died on April 29, 1944

Military Service:

Service Number: V/15272
Age: 19
Force: Navy
Unit: Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve
Division: H.M.C.S. Athabaskan

Additional Information:

Son of Albert J. Senecal and Amelia Senecal, of St. Vincent-de-Paul, Laval Co., Province of Quebec, Canada.

Burial Information:


Grave Reference: Row A. Grave 4.

Monica sent this also.

With this…

Lest we forget

Lionel tomb is near Louis Ledoux’s tomb…

I saw my wife’s uncle last Saturday…

We had another family reunion in Monkland near Cornwall last Saturday.

My wife’s uncle was there with his two daughters. He is the reason why I have been writing this blog since August…

This is the first article.

If you have been reading most of my articles, then you know how many people helped me in my quest.

My wife’s uncle has changed a lot since August when he briefly talked about the Athabaskan. He looked very weak and frail. His mind was sharp though.

My brother-in-law had found a box of old pictures. Everyone wanted to look at them. Pierre could identify everyone, and I mean everyone. He even recognized an old flame and said he would marry her on the spot…

He also talked about his brother Jean who was wounded on the beaches of Normandy. Jean was with les Fusiliers de Mont-Royal. I told Pierre that Les Fusiliers did not took part in the invasion but landed in Europe in July.

He was adamant about it and told me how is brother was wounded when he set foot on the beach. As I see it Jean was loaned somehow to le Régiment de la Chaudière and was wounded on the beach.

As I told you a long time ago, Pierre’s name was not in the list of sailors who were on board the Athabaskan on April 29, 1944.

Well, I can tell you that if this man says he was aboard the Athabaskan that night, then he was aboard that night.

HMCS Athabaskan G07

I know he does not want to talk about his ordeal, but I know now I am certain of what he went through that night.

Now that I know all there is to know about my wife’s uncle, this might be my last article… If I were you, I would come back tomorrow…

Lest we forget…


Monopoly Game Used to Assist POWs Escape Germany In WWII- Truth!

Hi Jim,

I am always sceptical when I see things from the Internet about WWII. It’s like the famous Pearl Harbor pictures? Below is another version of the story… that I also found on the Internet…

On another note…

I saw my wife’s uncle yesterday at the family reunion. He is in very poor health. My brother-in-law had found old family pictures and  we showed some to Pierre. He still has very vivid memories of his life and could easily identified everyone in the pictures. This is why I believe that what he said this summer his true.

We had pictures of his brother Jean. He was the one wounded on the beach of Normandy. What he said about his brother’s ordeal makes me believe that he does not make up stories. I only wish I would have been able to ask him the question you use to ask your father… Can you tell me a little about the ship’s captain?


Monopoly Game Used to Assist POWs Escape Germany In WWII- Truth!

Summary of the eRumor:

An eRumor of how the British Secret Service, MI-5, developed a plan to send specially packaged versions of the popular board game “Monopoly”  by means of the International Red Cross to prisoners of war in Germany during World War II.   Agents contacted the British company who made the Monopoly game, Waddington PLC, and requested that design and manufacture silk maps to be hidden inside the games.  Specially marked games were not only equipped with the hidden silk map noting safe houses for food and shelter but also included secret devices like files and a compass disguised as game pieces to aid in an escape from the POW camp and behind enemy lines.  Also hidden within the play money was real German, Italian, and French currency.


The Truth:

The Monopoly board game was created in 1933 by Charles Darrow who approached Parker Brothers regarding the marketing of the game.   At first, Parker Brothers turned him down but two years later purchased the game from Darrow and today it is one the most popular board games in the world.


Silk maps of Germany, Italy, Norway and Sweden did exist during the Second World War, according to an article written by Debbie Hall for the Map Forum magazine in 1999.   Debbie Hall has a special interest in silk maps and was the Map Curator at the British Library where some of these silk maps are displayed.


According to the article, The Waddington PLC company in England manufactured playing cards and game boards including the ones for Monopoly that were marketed in Great Britain.    Monopoly games were sent to British prisoners of war in Germany by the International Red Cross.  According to Hall, Silk maps of the area were hidden in the games along with special features as a file and a compass made to look like game pieces along with real currency hidden in the monopoly play money to aid the prisoners in escape.


This was not the plan of MI-5 , however, but an idea from another branch of the British secret service.  Hall explained that in 1939, the British government had set up an agency designated as MI-9 whose primary mission was to assist resistance fighters behind enemy lines and recover Allied troops being held prisoner.  MI-9 developed the military policy of escape and evasion and that it was the “duty of all those captured to try to escape if possible.”  Hall said,  “One man who was behind many of M19’s most ingenious plans, including the Waddington project, was Christopher Clayton-Hutton.”     This  agency that assisted prisoners of war to return to England by sending advice and equipment found out that the Waddington company had the technology to print maps on on silk and made a special request of the company.   Silk maps made no noise, took up very little space and could be folded into a garment or hidden in a package of cigarettes.   A tiny compass was also hidden in uniform buttons and used as a tool for escape in case a pilot was shot down behind enemy lines.


Truth or Fiction recently spoke to Bill Knowles, a former Canadian pilot who flew with the RAF on D Day who told us that any escape routes and safe house information were generally memorized by pilots by the time he was flying missions and that no un-coded information would have been printed on anything that could have been intercepted by the enemy as that could have endangered all involved in these types of operations.


The British Official Secrets Act is what bound everybody involved to secrecy and we have sent an inquiry to the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in the UK to verify if this story has truly been de-classified and no longer confidential.

Jim L’Esperance sent me this…

This is a really good story.

WWII Monopoly.

Starting in 1941, an increasing number of British airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, and the Crown was casting about for ways and means to facilitate their escape.

Now obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a useful and accurate map, one showing not only where stuff was, but also showing the locations of “safe houses” where a POW on the run could go for food and shelter.

Paper maps had some real drawbacks — they make a lot of noise when you open  and fold them, they wear out rapidly, and if they get wet, they turn into mush.

Someone in MI-5 got the idea of printing escape maps on silk. It ‘s durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads, and unfolded as many times as needed, and makes no noise whatsoever.

At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John Waddington, Ltd. When approached by the government, the firm was only too happy to do its bit for the war effort.

By pure coincidence, Waddington was also the U.K. Licensee for the popular American board game, Monopoly. As it happened, “games and pastimes” was a category of item qualified for insertion into “CARE packages” dispatched by the International Red Cross to prisoners of war.

Under the strictest of secrecy, in a securely guarded and inaccessible old workshop on the grounds of Waddington’s, a group of sworn-to-secrecy employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region of Germany or Italy where Allied POW camps located.  When processed, these maps could be folded into such tiny dots that they would actually fit inside a Monopoly playing piece. As long as they were at it, the clever workmen at Waddington’s also managed to add:

1. A playing token, containing a small magnetic compass.

2. A two-part metal file that could easily be screwed together.

3. Useful amounts of genuine high-denomination German, Italian, and French currency, hidden within the piles of  Monopoly money!

British and American air crews were advised, before taking off on their first mission, how to identify a “rigged” Monopoly set — by means of a tiny red dot  cleverly rigged to look like an ordinary printing glitch, located in the corner of the Free Parking square.

Of  the estimated 35,000 Allied POWS who successful y escaped, an estimated one-third were aided in their flight by the rigged Monopoly sets. Everyone who did so was sworn to secrecy indefinitely, since the British Government might want to use this highly successful ruse in still another, future war.

The story wasn’t de-classified until 2007, when the surviving craftsmen from Waddington’s, as well as the firm itself, were finally honoured in a public ceremony.

It’s always nice when you can play that “Get Out of Jail Free” card for real!

Some of you are probably too young to have any personal connection to WWII ( Sept. ‘39 to Aug. ’45), but this is still interesting, isn’t it?

Come back next time for the rest of the story…