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
Bussum – Holland 19th August 2019
Hello Jane, I have about finished the family-tree Sulkers in honour of your father and published it on internet a couple of days ago., my best friend ever ! As you may remember your father and I searched for the grave of his aunt Adriana and visited Canadian wargraves. We met in Holland several times, the last time being the moment (august 2003) when finally I found the grave of Adriana in 2003. You may see the tree via the following link:
I would love to come into contact with you and brother Neil as I am planning to visit the grave of father Herm in due time.
Roelf Schrik – Bussum – Holland
I am working on a book about the Allied Chaplains killed in NW Europe in World War 2. Revd Joseph RAR Dalcourt was one of them. He died on February 28, 1945. I have lots of information about his military service and his death, but have very little about his life before entering the Canadian Chaplains Service. I do know he was ordained a priest in Trois-Rivieres in July 1937 and served in the parish of the Holy Sacrament in that community. However, beyond his parents, and siblings names, I have not been able to locate anything else. Can you tell me anything about his growing, up, schools attended, call to ordained ministry etc? Many thanks for your help.
Revd Dr Tom Wilson.
I had written about Chaplain Dalcourt on Souvenirs de guerre, the French version of Lest We Forget in 2014 following an email exchange with Mario Allard. He had this picture.
Collection Mario Allard
8 March 1945…
Collection Mario Allard
Mario had other information, but he wanted to get the family’s approval before I mentioned it. He never came back to me.
On the other hand, a reader had sent me this.
I had been curious and asked her the date of his death.
The Battle of Hollen took place on February 26, 1945. He died the next day, February 27, according to the GESTE DU RÉGIMENT DE LA CHAUDIÈRE, written by the MAJORS ARMAND ROSS AND MICHEL GAUVIN and written before September 3, 1945.
On the Canadian Virtual War Memorial site we find the following….
In memory of the
Joseph Rémi Archibald Dalcourt
died on February 28, 1945
Unit: Canadian Chaplaincy Service
GROESBEEK CANADIAN WAR CIMETIERE, Netherlands
Information about the burial:
IX. E. 14.
A reader sent me this testimony….
Even though the fighting was still raging, the chaplains had the sad mandate to bury the dead with full military honours. Even then, the activity seemed confusing, with Honorary Major C.W. McCarney of the 3rd Division complaining that too many chaplains were in the cemeteries while the wounded continued to flock to the hospitals. But this was a simple administrative matter, which was promptly resolved. Other situations were more personal, more delicate.
On February 28, “the sad news of the death of Father Dalcourt was heard at 1:00 p. m. As he was collecting the fallen men, the vehicle in which he was standing struck a mine laid by the enemy. The chaplain and his driver died instantly.”
Source (page 21)
Further reading suggested by my reader,
On page 20, we talk about Charles Forbes….
And this, when I won’t know what to read anymore…