Message from Nicolas Paquin
Rest assured that I am not fighting this fight for nothing. There are three reasons for this.
Injustice first. You have to listen to the video to understand that there is an injustice to Ross. Those who made the monument to the Typhoon pilots in Noyers-Bocage deliberately omitted it because he did not die with his hands at the controls of his plane. They decided that he did not deserve to be with his brothers in arms. On the official list in the church next door, he was not counted either.
I took steps to correct the situation on this monument and was refused. Someone even had the affront of claiming that his file is a fake and that Ross was a mechanic who dressed up to appear in the squadron’s photos. Absurd and unfair.
Second reason, the meaning of sacrifice. As long as we take a name from a list for what it seems to be, a name from a list of names, we erase the humanity that that name had. There is a life behind these men, and it is my job to bring these lives back to ours.
What does Napoleon Hattote’s name mean on a monument to the victims of the Merchant Navy, if we do not make the link with his son Lauréat, miraculously but psychologically broken by the same shipwreck, and if we do not make the link with his other son Émile, killed in Holland?
Finally, the memory transfer. The younger generations no longer respond to traditional ceremonies. Conventional commemorative plaques do not speak to them. As the witnesses fade away, there is no way for them to understand what happened. A sculptural work that offers to the viewer the very symbolic face of this boy who died tragically is, in my opinion, a renewed way of commemorating. That’s the purpose of art: to allow people to see something from a different perspective.
Colorised by Doug Banks
Message from Nicolas Paquin
Ross Eveleigh Johnson is a young Quebec pilot who was involved in the Second World War. On July 15, 1944, he was killed by German artillery fire. He has been forgotten for decades, and no monument pays tribute to him in Normandy.
This fundraising campaign will be used to build a monument to his memory. A work of visual art that bears witness to the uselessness of wars and the waste of lives they represent.
Contribute now to the height you want. As much as you can. As for me, who has chosen to carry out this project, I will send my little collection of stories of our soldiers, Le Nerf de la guerre, to all those who have donated $25 or more.
Of Enemies And Friends
This is a short article of my Grandfather John Jeremy Caulton’s encounter with Major Hans Joachim Jabs during WW2. For a longer version please see the “Full Story” page.
John Caulton, retired and living in Havelock North, New Zealand and Hans Joachim Jabs, also retired and living in Ludenscheid, West Germany, became the best of friends.
Theirs is a unique friendship forged from a desperate few seconds in the skies over Holland many years ago. It was April 1944 and Jabs (pronounced “Yarbs”) – a Messerschmitt BF110 pilot with the German Luftwaffe – tried to kill Caulton in a one-on-one air battle. Caulton too, had the same fate in mind for Jabs as he aimed his near new Mk IX Spitfire at the distant outline of the Bf110.
Foreword by Vicki Sorensen
My father, Frank Sorensen, immigrated to Canada from Roskilde, Denmark with his family in August 1939. He volunteered in the Royal Canadian Air Force in March 1941 and trained to become a Spitfire fighter pilot. He was shot down while serving with RAF 232 Squadron, over Tunisia, in North Africa on April 11, 1943 and became a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft III. He was an active participant in the tunnel digging operations that was later known as The Great Escape.
After my father’s death February 5th, 2010, when he was 87, I came into possession of letters written by him to his parents during the war that they had saved and given back to him. Along with the letters were numerous photos and service record documents. There were 174 letters in total which start from C.O.T.C., 1940, #1 Manning Depot, #3 Initial Flying Training School, #2 Elementary Flying Training School, #11 Service Flying Training School; all in Canada in 1941 to #17 A.F.U. (Advanced Flying Unit) and #53 O.T.U. (Operational Training Unit) in England in 1942. Then, his service from 1942 in RCAF 403 Squadron, in England, transferring to RAF 232 Squadron in Scotland, then to North Africa. Numerous letters are from 1943 and 1944 from Stalag Luft III, and then a handful from 1945. There were only two short letters from the long march from Sagan to Lubeck – one in March letting his parents know he was still all right, and one in May when they had just been liberated.
A story of courage