Schweinfurt One: sixty B-17s downed, 559 airmen killed

From a newly found blogger…

John Knifton

I am sure that most people would understand the difference between “hot courage” and “cold courage”. During a robbery, the person who suddenly confronts the would-be robber and tries, as the English say, to “have a go” is showing hot courage. The same would be true of the person who tries to drag an unconscious victim out of a burning car crash. In the context of war, it may be the man who solves the sudden problem of an enemy tank by jumping onto the top of it and throwing a hand grenade in through the hatch.
All of these acts show great heroism, but as far as I am concerned, “cold courage” takes it all into a different dimension. “Cold courage” is the person who faces a painful terminal disease without losing his dignity. “Cold courage” is the person who sets off to walk along a highwire stretched hundreds…

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My friend Jim

How I got to write so much about the war…

Lest We Forget

I have a close friend.

Very close, yet so very far.

I live in Quebec and Jim lives in Manitoba.

We have never met…

We have never met in person.

Only on the Internet.

Maybe his father Jim met my wife’s uncle on the Athabaskan.

Sailor Jim L'Esperance

Jim L’Esperance

Maybe my wife’s uncle did not recollect exactly the story he told us on a summer day in Monkland, Ontario. I remember it was in July 2009.

How could I forget what he told us although he did not say much?

Was he really on the Athabaskan on that faithful early morning of April 29th, 1944?

Could he have made up a story to impress us as some veterans did?

Athabaskan sinking 1944

I don’t think he did.

So I got curious and started searching about that Unlucky Lady, a Canadian destroyer I never knew had ever existed.

I got lucky…

cover page 1

This is how Jim…

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Boon Pong – and other forgotten heroes

Worth remembering

Green Writing Room

Tucked into one of the books on Barry’s shelves about Far East POWs was a little photocopied leaflet of 1998, being re-issued for ‘X’mas 2000’. It starts:

I am one of the persons who had seen the event about the railway construction from Kanchanaburi to Myanmar during World War II when I was 19 years old, 1941. As a saleswoman at Khao Chon Kai (Chungkai) War-prisoner Camp.

page 1 of Lulu's story page 1 of Lulu’s story

Her name was Lulu Na Wanglan and she tells her story, explaining that even after 50 years, ‘I dreamed of those war-prisoners before I started to wright.’. She supplied prisoners until she had ‘no more capital to trade or sale goods.’ At this point she was given some money, probably by the local underground, to continue supplying prisoners. She was suspected of spying by the Japanese and warned by Mr Bunpong (Boon Pong) in time to escape. The…

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La mission du 5-6 janvier 1945

http://www.6bombergroup.ca/Jan45/Jan5~645.html

January 5/6, 1945

133 Halifaxes from 408, 415, 420, 424, 425, 426, 427, 429, 432, and 433 squadrons were joined by 57 Lancasters from 419, 428, 431, and 434 squadrons on an attack at Hannover. The crews were over the target at between 18,000 to 20,000 feet, releasing 1,587,000 lbs of high explosives. According to reports, bombing was scattered through out the city.

425 Alouettes

F/Sgt. J. Cauchy, RCAF–POW and crew from 425 squadron, flying Halifax III MZ-860, coded KW-E, failed to return from this operation.

Sgt. E. Faulkner, RCAF–POW
F/O J. Lesperance, RCAF–POW
P/O J. Piche, RCAF
Sgt. R. Cantin, RCAF–POW
P/O J. Lamarre, RCAF
F/Sgt. J. Cote, RCAF–POW
2 crew were killed and 5 were POWs.

F/O J. Seguin, RCAF–POW and crew flying Halifax III NR-178, coded KW-J, failed to return from this operation.

P/O G. Noonan, RAF
F/O J. Bilodeau, RCAF–POW
Sgt. J. Cantin, RCAF–POW
P/O J. Lapierre, RCAF–POW
F/Sgt. J. Huet, RCAF–POW
Sgt. B. Simonin, RCAF
2 crew were killed and 5 were POWs.

He bombed Ploesti 9 times in a B-24 Liberator – Staff Sgt. was a nose gunner

He bombed Ploesti 9 times in a B-24 Liberator – Staff Sgt. was a nose gunner

Stories like these need to be told.

War Tales

This page out of Sgt. Butler's flight log notes that on June 6, 1944 he made his first bombing run over the Ploesti Rumanian oil refineries in a B-24 and the bomber sustained flak damage to one wing and the nose turret. Sun photo by Don Moore This page out of Sgt. Butler’s flight log notes that on June 6, 1944 he made his first bombing run over the Ploesti Rumanian oil refineries in a B-24 and the bomber sustained flak damage to one wing and the nose turret. Sun photo by Don Moore

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, when tens of thousands of Allied troops were storming the beaches of Normandy, France, Staff Sgt. Wilbur Butler was flying as nose gunner aboard a B-24 bomber called “Boobie Trap” on a mission to bomb the Ploesti oil refineries.

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Fepows

Lest we forget

Pacific Paratrooper

F Force enroute to the Burma Railroad, by Otto Kreeft F Force enroute to the Burma Railroad, by Otto Kreeft

Fepows – Far Eastern POWs

Countless films and books concerned with the Second World War have, through the decades, concentrated on Europe and the Holocaust and the Far East prisoners of war have barely been mentioned.  The official 5 volumes of British history for this war include only 10 pages devoted to the subject, compared to the Australian history with 170 pages.

sketch by Jack Chalker, Fepow;British Army, Konyu, Thailand sketch by Jack Chalker, Fepow;British Army, Konyu, Thailand

Japan’s army conquered the Far East in 1941-42.  Prisoners were taken from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaya, Thailand, Java, Sumatra, Ambon, New Britain, Celebes, Guam and the Philippines.  According to the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, Japan took more than 50,000 British and Australian troops in Singapore alone; 42,000 Dutch (N.E.I.); 10,000 British in Java and 25,000 Americans in the Philippines and then transported to the mainland camps.

The Japanese government made…

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From Belle to Baby

Something Clarence Simonsen should read.

Art on the nose

Corporal Anthony (Tony) L. Starcer who unfortunately passed away in 1986, created some of the most recognisable and universally loved nose art pieces of the second World War. Though his prolific talents are now famous around the world, back in the 1940’s his skill was discovered by chance. During training at the Texas USAAF base Sheppard Field, Starcer happened upon a man painting a mural on the wall of the officer’s club. After criticising the use of colour he was challenged to do better, he rose to that challenge and did just that, in the end finishing the mural. As line mechanic for the 91st Bomb Group based at Bassingbourn England (which by the way is only about 30 miles from where I live) in 1942-3 Starcer was assigned the menial task of painting the official markings such as Squadron letters and aircraft codes onto the B17’s. It was not long until by popular…

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