A Soul Lost From WWII Comes Home – Epilogue

A Soul Lost From WWII Comes Home – Epilogue


Masako and Spam Musubi

Fortune in War

I believe there is fortune in war.

Before Pearl Harbor, the US was still not recovered from the Great Depression.  With the money printed in great quantity – as a necessity – by the US government, the US war machine rolled into action.  Many executives and businessmen taking part in this frantic and mass expenditure of government money with their companies gained their financial fortunes from this great war as did a large number of Congressmen.

The boots on the ground also had fortune – but it was MISfortune.  Misfortune fell upon the millions of brave young men who were sent to war because world leaders had their own agendas.  Millions were killed like my dad’s favorite brother, my Uncle Suetaro.

Misfortune, unfortunately, also followed home for the rest of their lives those young men who survived combat.   Men like Smitty, Old Man Jack and Mr…

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The Churchill Mark I Infantry Tank in Service with the Canadian Army Overseas, 1941-43

Some impressive research on this blog.


by Mark W. Tonner


The Churchill Mark I was the first ‘Mark’ (the term (‘Mark’) used to designate different versions of equipment) of the Infantry Tank Mark IV, Churchill (A22). The Infantry Tank Mark IV, Churchill (A22) itself, was an ‘Infantry Tank,’ specifically designed for fighting in support of infantry operations. For this role, the requirements for an infantry tank, as the British General Staff saw it, were that the tanks have heavy armour, powerful armament, good obstacle-crossing performance, and reasonable range and speed. It was the fourth in the family of infantry tanks that had been developed by the British. The three previous infantry tanks developed by the British, was the Infantry Tank Mark I, Matilda I (A11), the Infantry Tank Mark II, Matilda II (A12), and the Infantry Tank Mark III, Valentine. Within the Canadian Army Overseas, the units of the 1st Canadian Army Tank Brigade were…

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Petty Officer George Grivel: A splendid man… – Redux

Final reblog

Lest We Forget

I received that comment from Joanne on Remembrance Day…


Hello, George Grivel, ( the splendid fellow) was my uncle. I have some pictures of him but I’m sorry my scanner is on the fritz. When they speak of my uncle’s commanding voice I had to smile . He had an extremely deep voice which I’m sure sang beautifully but I never heard him sing. We didn’t see a lot of my uncle growing up as the navy was his life. He died in 1996 I believe. I would have to check that date. I was at his funeral. I’m sure he was smiling when the minister passed out in the middle of the funeral and had to be bodily packed out. The funeral was cut short and we all made our way to the cemetery. It was pouring down rain so everyone was slipping and sliding up the hillside…

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Petty Officer George Grivel: A splendid man…

The sequel…

Lest We Forget

I just wanted to learn more about George.

This must be the same person William Abbruzzese was refering to in his message he sent me.

Hi Pierre,

Enjoyed the info on Charles and the Athabaskan very much. My Uncle Lcdr George Grivel  RCN (ret) sent me a copy of the book Haida years back and told me the torpedo electrician mentioned as saving another of the survivors was in fact Charles

Please do approve the comment.


This is the source of this excerpt.

“Would you like a cup of tea?” The loss of HMCS Ottawa, September 1942

Late in the evening of 13 September 1942, while escorting Convoy ON 127, the destroyer Ottawa was sunk by U-91. Lieutenant L.B. Jenson, RCN, was on the bridge when the first torpedo hit:

An amazing geranium-colour flash forward was followed by a great pillar of water which went straight up! All of…

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Please do approve the comment

This is for your information Leanne.

Lest We Forget

Thank you for posting this blog. My father was Charles Burgess pictured in the reunion. I never met him and I was adopted . My name was changed to Abbruzzese. I have very few images of my father and know little about him.

Bill told me I could approve the comment he made earlier this week.

Charles Burgess

Hi Pierre,

Enjoyed the info on Charles and the Athabaskan very much. My Uncle Lcdr George Grivel  RCN (ret) sent me a copy of the book Haida years back and told me the torpedo electrician mentioned as saving another of the survivors was in fact Charles.

Please do approve the comment.


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RAF Elsham Wolds: Part Five

Part five of “RAF Elsham Wolds”

John Knifton

In a previous article I wrote about the tragic collision of two Avro Lancaster bombers, both of them from 103 Squadron at Elsham Wolds. The two aircraft were both trying to land at the same time, after permission to do so had been given to each of them by the Flying Control Officer. A subsequent Court of Inquiry found that “the accident was caused by the Flying Control Officer departing from the normal procedure.” They recommended that “Flying Control Officers must not depart from the normal procedure for landings”.
In the accident, therefore, Lancaster ND334, PM-unknown, was struck in mid-air by a second Lancaster Mk III, JB530, PM-F. That careless act, caused by the unfortunate decision of a still unnamed Flying Control Officer resulted in the deaths of five young men, namely the Flight Engineer Sergeant D.H.J.Cunningham, the Navigator Flying Officer R.H.Fuller, the Bomb Aimer Flight Sergeant C.Bagshaw,  the Wireless Operator Sergeant…

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The Battle of Midway 1942: US Navy Flying Legends

The Battle of Midway 1942: US Navy Flying Legends

About the Battle of Midway

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)

The sequel…

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

A story about the war to end all wars

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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