William Ritchie’s last days…

This is an excerpt from this site…

Jack Sherman was in Company G, the same company as Bill Ritchie.

It gives us a feeling of what Bill went through before he died on September 22, 1944.

“Jack” Sherman will see a true glider on the 18 September 1944 during the invasion of Holland. He landed near Zon. The day before, the 101st Airborne Division had its PIR parachuted over Holland during Operation Market Garden.

“We had two missions that were cancelled before Holland. Loading for the Holland invasion was my first time in a glider.

I read in Capt. Evans after action report that he assigned men from Hq. to different gliders. I think I was with a regular squad, I did not know anyone on the glider. I think a Sgt. was assigned to be co-pilot.

Being the “odd” man I had the seat next to the door. During the flight (about 3 1/2 hours) many of the men were getting “Air sick” and were “pitching their cookies” / vomiting in their steel helmets. They would pass them to me and I emptied them into a canvas bag hanging on the side in back of the door, then pass the helmet back. All the vomit would not drain out of the helmet so the guy would not put them back on their heads but just held them. At least half of the guys puked. When we came under fire the guys that were holding their helmets quickly put them on their heads. Little strings of vomit drained down from the helmet over their face and backs. It was almost comical.

When small arms fire came up thru the floor all men raised up and put their rifle butts under their private parts hoping to protect the “Family Jewels”

In the confusion the men that had been sick in their helmets forgot to refasten the chin straps. When we landed hard the nose of the glider hit a fence and the tail kicked up, many loose helmets were flying around the cabin bouncing off other people. I was at the door so I was the first one out after the glider settled down.”

“I was very scared. I was never sick in boat or glider. (Strong stomach weak heart.) Landing was rough but no one hurt, maybe pilot and co-pilot from helmets flying around.

Some small arms fire coming from woods, not much. They ran away when we attack. Before landing much flack but non hit us, only small arms fire right down the center of the glider. Sounded like balloons popping.

Once on ground we assembled into groups and found our company. Later that day or next we attack woods clear out Krauts and take prisoners.”

“They told us in the briefing before we took off that the Germans in Holland were sub standard troops. All very old or very young soldiers that were sick. Many of them did not have weapons or ammunition. The lying Bastards!!!”

Holland, John had very little contact with Dutch civilians:

“We had a Dutchman from the resistance with us for a while. I did not talk with him. After the TERRIBLE shelling in the churchyard at Veghel I heard two Dutch resistance men say that they had killed the collaborators that gave the Germans our position in the churchyard. We lost about 80 men I think it was Friday, Sept. 22nd. Don Rich was one of the guys that had to return to the churchyard the next morning to help ID the dead. I was a terrible thing for him.”

“In Holland there were MANY very bad experiences. It seemed that every time we would go into and orchard to bivouac the Krauts would put artillery in on us. The worst single shelling was in the churchyard at Veghel. The fights we had in Ophuesden were very bad.”

During this period in Holland, he still had the feeling of being less considered being a replacement

“After we had landed in Holland when we stopped to eat our “K” ration meal I threw away the little packet of Nescafe powdered coffee from the box and five guys were on it before it hit the ground (I was not a coffee drinker). After that several of the guys were nice to me and asked why I didn’t like coffee. They offered to take my coffee if I didn’t want it. Being a replacement didn’t matter then.”


Able Seaman Anthony D. Bianco

John Hawley wrote a comment. He was inquiring about AB Anthony Bianco.

Do you have a photo or received any comments regarding AB Anthony Bianco? I believe he is from my hometown (Peterborough, Ontario). He was reported as lost when Athabaskan was sunk. Would be interested in any information about him.

Nothing much in the book Unlucky Lady.

cover page 1

Just this picture and this note…

BIANCO, Anthony D, Able Seaman, V 34263 (RCNVR), Athabaskan (RCN), 29 April 1944, ship loss, MPK

MPK means Missing Presumed Killed.

MPK but not forgotten…

In memory of
who died on April    29, 1944

Military Service:

Service Number: V/34263
Age: 19
Force: Navy
Unit: Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve
Division: H.M.C.S.  Athabaskan

Additional Information:

Son of Nicola and Olimpia Bianco, of Peterboro, Ontario.  Brother of Gunner James Vincent Bianco, Royal Canadian Artillery, killed in action on 12 September 1944.  The province of Ontario honoured Able Seaman Bianco by naming Bianco Lake in his honour.

Burial Information:

Cemetery: HALIFAX MEMORIAL Nova Scotia,Canada
Grave Reference: Panel 11.
Location: The HALIFAX MEMORIAL in Nova Scotia’s capital, erected in Point Pleasant Park, is one of the few tangible reminders of the men who died at sea.  Twenty-four ships were lost by the Royal Canadian Navy in the Second World War and nearly 2,000 members of the RCN lost their lives.
This Memorial was erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and was unveiled in November 1967 with naval ceremony by H.P. MacKeen, Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, in the presence of R. Teillet, then Minister of Veterans Affairs.
The monument is a great granite Cross of Sacrifice over 12 metres high, clearly visible to all ships approaching Halifax.  The cross is mounted on a large podium bearing 23 bronze panels upon which are inscribed the names of over 3,000 Canadian men and women who were buried at sea. The dedicatory inscription, in French and English, reads as follows:

1914  1918   
1939 1945

On June 19, 2003, the Government of Canada designated September 3rd of each year as a day to acknowledge the contribution of Merchant Navy Veterans.

Edward Calderwood Hinds

I got this comment…

Picture  athabaskan G07 “files.wordpress.com/2011/06/far-left-front-row-jpg”

3rd man from the left front row is Edward Calderwood Hinds born July 22, 1904 Irvine, Ayr, Scotland.

Emigrated to Canada 1930.

RCNVR 1941  was not on board when Athabaskan was torpedoed.

Died in Canada 1967.

Flight Lieutenant Richard Perry

Remember Flight Lieutenant Richard Perry…

He wrote this comment a week ago on this blog.

I trained at Dunnville on Harvards in 1942 and continued training on other aircraft in England, finally ending up on Lancasters in 1944 on 218 Squadron, Chedburgh in England where I completed a tour with Bomber Command. I am now 88 years old and am still flying but in Cessna 172′s rather than Harvards.

Flt. Lt. Richard Perry

He trained at No. 6 SFTS Dunnville.

Well, Flight Lieutenant Richard Perry wrote back.

As I am sure others find the same problem, as you get older, all of the people that you went to school with, went to war with or worked with disappear one by one. I am the only one left of our Lancaster crew, and the contacts I kept up with friends and relations are all being answered by sons or daughters who write to tell me that their fathers have passed away. However, for those still living, I do keep my Web Page up to date. This is the 2nd of two web pages that I started in the early days of the computer and, already I have over 6000 hits on it and new friends who have read the articles. As you say, it does take a real effort to write these articles, but the results I get are well worth the effort. As an example, the present effort centers around our ongoing battle to force the Parliamentary Body in Great Britain, to produce a medal for all those who flew and died while serving their countries in Bomber Command during WW2. Once again, I get the impression that the “powers that be” hope that we’ll all fade away and the problem will disappear. I’m certainly impressed that you’ve made the effort to write about some of these airmen.



Take the time to visit his Website and his pages on WWII.

Also take the time to visit my blog on RCAF No. 403 Squadron.

The Ritchie brothers

My interest for genealogy led me to write a blog about it in 2008.

Then I started writing this blog in 2009 after I started one in French.

It was called Souvenirs de guerre and I wrote an English version because so many English-speaking people helped me.

Lest We Forget is a way to pay homage to the fallen.

I have written a lot about those who died or who sacrificed their youth for their country. During my search for relatives, I found the Richie brothers whose mother was my grandfather’s niece.

This would make them second cousins of mine.

William died on September 22, 1944. He was a sergeant in the 327th GIR.

You can read my article on him by clicking here.

Robert died on August 6, 1945. He was an EMc3 aboard SS-332 Bullhead.

You can read my article on him by clicking here.

To all my readers, Happy Holidays.

I Forgot…

To put this link.

Click here

It’s the picture page of this Facebook Group.

British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada

The group has more than 1300 photos.

Most are exclusive like this one…


This is a photo taken near Lake Alice School in north/central Alberta (near Viking); in 1939 or 40. It’s from my Mother-in-law’s (now deceased) posessions. The Anson’s landing does not seem accidental, as they had engine blankets. Can anyone tell me more about it?

So pay them a visit if you’re on Facebook.

No. 6 SFTS Dunnville revisited

Just got this comment… and it’s more than welcome…

I trained at Dunnville on Harvards in 1942 and continued training on other aircraft in England, finally ending up on Lancasters in 1944 on 218 Squadron, Chedburgh in England where I completed a tour with Bomber Command. I am now 88 years old and am still flying but in Cessna 172′s rather than Harvards.

Flt.Lt.Richard Perry

I sure hope there is more…

A comment just in…

Someone just sent me this…

Today I came across a piece of information that stunned me.

I was told that the mystery of the sinking of the HMS Athabaskan was created because of the ship actually being sunk by US forces during WWII rather than by a German Navy ship like all seem to believe.

The secrecy created over it was done because of the large number of deaths as a result of the friendly fire. According to my unnamed source (because I forgot to ask him his name) came from a navigator who flew up and down the channel in a Mosquito fighter airplane on a daily basis in protection of the small vessels that were in constant peril from both enemy and friendly fire as they made their trips over to Europe keeping continual supplies headed to the troops who were fighting their way across Europe by then.

I was suprised at how well he looked for a man of his years and how clear his mind was at the same time. He is one of those individuals we occasionally hear about who is in perfect health at age 88 and easily makes the trip to the doctor’s office on his own without the need for help from anyone else.

I met a fellow of 94 last summer who once lived in my same apartment building 60 years earlier and came to snoop. He still sold boat parts for a living down at the annual boat show in Toronto. and when he told me he was 94, I could not believe that anyone could still think the wartime story was the truth.

In any case, it was this navigator’s clarity that prompted me to check out his supposed story of how the HMCS Athabaskan really sank.

He simply said that his superiors told everyone who had heard the stories to stop there and learn the truth. It was a case of “Changing the story because the story did not fit the facts.” In other words, he said the Americans really sank the HMCS Athabaskan from the air as they made the run along the channel planning to eject their bombs as they were requested not to do. The HMCS Athabaskan just happened to be in the way and not a threat to the German ships.

While this warrants more research, I have to say I trust this gentleman’s mind since he was there. I was not there and so I cannot go on anything other than what people tell me or what I read but be assured I will definitely try and learn more.

Any comment on this?

Remembering HMCS Regina K- 234

I know someone who will always remember HMCS Regina K-234 and Able Seaman Thomas De La Hunt Malone for what he did on August 8th, 1944.

I know this person  would like to express his feelings and his gratitude toward Able Seaman Malone…

Feelings from his heart.

This is what’s this blog is all about.

Paying homage to the fallen and those who came back from the war, but whose memories are still part of the crew left 280 feet below in the Irish Sea.

HMCS Regina K- 234 will never come back to port anymore… but it will always be in our minds lest we forget.

Tell me what you’re fighting for; tell me what you’re fighting for?

Click on the image please

Lest we forget