Who remembers George Mannix?

Who remembers George Mannix?

Click here.

 George Mannix

MANNIX, George Henry RCN, Ret’d. Dad left us peacefully on January 16, 2015 at the age of 93 at The Lodge at Broadmead. He was surrounded by the family he loved. He is survived by the love of his life and his wife of 68 years, Ruth (nee Farquhar). He is also survived by his four children Julie (Larry), Len (Glenda), Matt (Lorraine), Liz, nine grandchildren, Sarah (Mike), Emily (Chris), Nolan, Roland (Kari), Megan (Brandon), Spencer (Jessie), Jordan, Kevin and Lauren. He was delighted with the arrival of great-granddaughter, Audrinna last year. George is also survived by his sisters, Blanche Hilborne of Victoria and Kathy Parry of Winnipeg and numerous relations in BC, Calgary and Winnipeg. Although he spent many years travelling the world with the Navy, he loved his home and family. He could be found in his garden in later years and continued travelling to unique locations in Canada and abroad. In his earlier years he loved the outdoors where he hunted and fished with his sons and the dog, Louie.

He was a much decorated World War II veteran having served on HMCS Haida on the Murmansk Run and in the English Channel in the days prior to and during D-Day. He then joined the HMCS Ontario and sailed to Hong Kong for the Japanese Surrender, via Burma, and finally after 4 and 1/2 years returned home to Victoria. He again volunteered for service in the Korean War and later was part of the Spithead Review in England for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1958, he served as her standard bearer during her visit to B.C. He retired from the RCN as a Chief Petty Officer 1st Class after serving 25 years.

He worked 10 years for the Federal Government. He was active in many associations like The Burma Star and CPOs but his focus was always family. He and Mum enjoyed attending reunions in Canada and England. We want to thank the staff of The Lodge at Broadmead for their excellent care and compassionate support of Dad and our family. Dad’s service will be at First Memorial, 4725 Falaise Drive on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. Flowers are gratefully declined. Memorial donations can be made to The Lodge at Broadmead.

Someone else had remembered George Mannix from the morning of 29 April 1944 on, and for the rest of his life.

440417_20140405

Click here.

Who remembers Ernest Mills? Redux

Editor’s  note  

Read the original, then the sequel.

 

 

Who remembers Ernest Mills?

Ernest G. Mills

MPK – 29 Apr 1944

Click here.

Who remembers Ernest Mills?

Someone who wrote me this comment:

My dad, Captain (E) Ralph W. Edwards, aged 95, served on the old Sally with Ernie Mills, who was lost on the Athabascan. The other day he and I were going through some old photos and I came across one of the Sally’s ERA’s at a Christmas party in 1941, the picture of course including Ernie Mills, a very close friend of dad’s. Under the picture was a note written by Ernie to dad about friendship, and how important friends were to Ernie. I know this doesn’t directly relate to Athabascan, but would the photo and the note be of interest?

The  sequel…

Hello

My name is Bryce Sophonow I am Ernest Mills great-grandson. It would mean alot to me and my family mainly my grandmother, Ernest’s daughter to get any copies of notes or photos you may have. I have always grown up looking at his photo and asking my grandma to tell me stories about him, but there is very few as she was only 2 when he passed. The only story I have is of the day the ship sank! he sent his wife Agnes (Mills) Stephenson a telegram saying he will be home soon and to send his love to the children. We also know that as the ship was sinking he came over the radio from the engine room and God blessed everyone.

Thank you very much for your help.

Robert Bryce Sophonow

Thieves disguised as “historians”

 

Beware

Beware of these “historians” disguised as thieves. Someone just told me about so called historians, but I already knew about it.

Medals Gone Missing is an Australian group led by Gary Traynor that tracks down stolen militaria and returns it to the family.

http://www.medalsgonemissing.com/
 
Same should be done here with the thieves.
 

My reader added this…

Peter Stoffer proposed a bill to deal with this:
 
OTTAWA- The recent auction of a World War II allied veterans’ medals shows why the federal government should step up and restrict the sale of veterans’ medals says Peter Stoffer (Sackville—Eastern Shore), the New Democrat’s Official Opposition Veterans Affairs Critic.

“I am angered that the medals of a WWII allied veteran, who fought at the Battle of Monte Cassino, have ended up at an auction for sale to the highest bidder,” said Stoffer. “Veterans’ medals should not be sold for profit at auctions, flea markets, on Ebay, or anywhere else,” said Stoffer. “It really cheapens the significance and meaning of these medals when someone profits from their sale.”

“These are the medals of our heroes and they should be proudly displayed at someone’s home, at a museum, or legion hall. They should not be displayed or sold for profit. I urge the federal government to act now and restrict the sale of veterans’ medals.”

Stoffer will re-introduce a bill in the House of Commons that would prohibit the sale of veterans’ and police medals. He noted that a Conservative MP introduced a bill in the last parliamentary session that would protect military medals with cultural significance from leaving the country.

“I urge the federal government to move quickly to restrict the sale of war medals for financial profit.” 
 

Operation Bodenplatte Revisited

Coming soon on this blog…

1

Memoirs of someone who was there!

You can take a peek

RCAF 127 Wing

Memories of John Le May – 1942/1945

The content of this website is copied with permission from John Le May’s autobiography e-book & CD.

* Excerpts from John Le May’s autobiography “My First Twenty-Three Years On This Planet – 1923 ~ 1946”

* WING TIPS – Informal newsletter from the battlefields of Europe

Before I get to the purpose for creating this e-book and CD, I would like to give you a brief outline of my career as an Administrative Clerk/Accountant/Typist/Bugler at funerals etc. From the date of my joining the RCAF on my 18th birthday, on August 25th 1941, until my discharge and back to civvies on March 16, 1946. One week at Valcartier, then two months at the Manning Depot in Quebec City, in the bugle and drum band parading up and down the main drag to show how smart we looked in our brand new government issued uniforms. Then came November and that meant a posting to a Kittyhawk Fighter Squadron in Dartmouth on the East Coast, under the command of Squadron Leader Hartland De M. Molson, who had just returned from fighting in the Battle of Britain as a fighter pilot with the No. 1 Fighter Squadron.

Shortly after my arrival, I was paraded in front of the CO and was offered a promotion to become an air gunner, which I immediately declined. Then came an offer that I could not refuse, to work in the Orderly Room as a typist under the Chief himself. This lasted until August 1942 when I had to decide once again on a choice of posting. Pat Bay, about 3000 miles away from Ottawa or Overseas. I chose the latter which would probably give me a chance to travel all over the British Isles. So, England it was.

I crossed over in October 1942, and arrived at Gorrick in Scotland, parked right next to the Queen Mary, then traveled by train next day right through to Bournemouth. A couple of weeks there and I was eventually posted to the 401 Squadron at Kenley, Surrey. We moved a few times during the next 18 months until the 2nd TAF was formed and the 127 Wing was part of it. We spent a week or so at Salisbury Plains to waterproof the vehicles and wait for D-Day.

On the night of the 5th of June 1944, the sky was filled with a thousand bombers heading for France, and then we realized that the invasion of France was imminent. In fact, when the sun rose a few hours later, it was indeed confirmed by our Commanding Officer and the BBC that the invasion had started. D DAY had arrived. We finally moved out of that muddy hole about a week later and got aboard a large TLC which brought us to the other side of the channel and JUNO beach. There was no mistake about where we were, right in the middle of air attacks by the Luftwaffe which kept us pinned under our trucks loaded with jerry cans filled with gas)

So, we finally left the beach and traveled a few miles inland to our destination, a landing strip which was named B2 (Brazeville) or Crepon, just a couple of miles from Bayeux and a couple of miles from the front lines. This was to be our home for the next 5 or 6 weeks or until there was a breakthrough at the front, whichever came first. Who can forget the contrast between the daylight hours and the constant rumbling noise coming from the front, and the flares dropped by Jerry during the night over our airfield. Who could also forget the CO’s Great Dane roaming around the camp all night long and accompanying anyone who had to use the facilities, a two-seater with canvas around it. On a more serious side, one of the chores I will never forget was loading the casualties arriving from the front on DC3’s. This was a daily ritual for a couple of hours after supper. It was heartbreaking to say the least.

As soon as the Allies broke through and captured airfields, we moved. Paris, Brussels, then Holland to an airfield called Grave (Near Ravenstein} not far from the Nimegen Bridge. The name GRAVE was very appropriate, it almost became the resting place for more than a few civilians and also wounded some of our own members, thanks to the regular 4″oclock visit by Jerry’s secret weapon, a Jet Fighter called the Me 262. Surprise, Surprise…nothing could reach them, by the time the order was given to the RAF Regiment to fire their Bofors, the jet was already 50 miles away. This situation forced us to leave in a hurry and move back to Brussels where we spent the winter of 1944/1945, incidentally the coldest winter on record. How cold was it you ask, I guess you know the answer involving the brass monkey.

During my stay at Evere (a few miles out of Brussels) I had the privilege of working for W/C Johnny Johnson as a clerk in the Intelligence Section, typing the daily reports on the pilot’s previous day’s activities. I had the pleasure of having breakfast with the “Air Commodore” when he attended the Fighter Pilot’s Association annual reunion here in Ottawa some 25 years ago. He invited my wife and I to his room at the Chateau Laurier. Some members had received special invitations to take part and meet with former pilots and attend certain functions as a barbecue at Andy Mackenzie’s residence, that was quite a night to remember.

This CD is dedicated to all airmen , ground crews and air crews who served under the 2nd Tactical Air Force , particularly with the 127 Spitfire Wing. Regrettably, many have died while serving in Europe and many more are no longer with us in this year of 2010, 66 years after D DAY. The photos on the CD are mostly memories of my four and half years in the RCAF, (3 years and 2 months overseas) Many veterans of Normandy will no doubt remember the visit of Winston Churchill a couple of weeks after D Day and some members of the 127 Wing will also remember the unexpected visit of General Eisenhower and Field Marshall Montgomery at our airfield in Germany a couple of weeks before the end of hostilities. The General took time out before his meeting to sign autographs and also walked all the way to the other end of the airfield to meet with American POW’s just released from Stalag 11B and personally taking notes while talking to the GI’s. Some of them had been wounded in battle and had not received any treatment. Our own Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King also showed up in Normandy to visit the troops.

There were some good times to talk about The 2 weeks at Goering’s Strand Hotel (his personal cottage) on Steinhuder Meer, and who can forget Paris, Brussels, London, Bournemouth, Edinborough, New York City, etc. Other good spots that most servicemen in London will never forget….Covent Gardens , the Opera House turned Dance Hall for the benefit of the troops, the corner pubs , and more importantly the Sally Ann, (Salvation Army) where one could go in at any time and find a warm meal and a place to sleep while on leave. Another name comes to mind, Irving Berlin, that diminutive but giant composer of so many patriotic songs like the one we saw that night at the London Palladium “This is the Army Mr. Jones”. While on embarkation leave in 1942 a couple of airmen were invited to lunch at the Waldorf Astoria with Xavier Cugat (I have his autograph somewhere on the menu which was about 18 inches high by 12 inches wide. I only brought back the bottom half with his autograph.

Non-stop music during the working hours was heard on all the military bases with artists like Vera Lynn, George Formby, American Orchestras, Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo, and many other well known singers of the era. It certainly was a morale booster. We cannot forget listening to Lord Ha Ha from somewhere on the other side of the channel with his nightly broadcasts reading the list of newly-captured aircrews. There were also many sad reminders of the devastation caused by the daily attacks by the German air force on London and other large cities. The courage demonstrated by the British people during those long war years was an inspiration to all of us.

However, the best moment had arrived, boarding the Queen Elizabeth 1 (along 15,000 others) for the return to Canada, via New York City, Lachine, then my arrival at the Union Station in Ottawa on the night of December the 9th, 1945 with my family waiting for me. The rest is history.

John (JB) Le May

Ripples in the water – Jacques Piggott

My wife does not read my blogs, but she’s the one who said Ripples in the water about this…

photo 5

That’s about the only comment she ever made since 2008 when I started writing blogs.

The first blog was about genealogy and it was written in French which is my mother tongue. Nos ancêtres (Our ancestors) was created in January 2008. I wanted to share with others what I had found about my ancestors.

Meeting my wife’s uncle led me to create Souvenirs de guerre and its English version Lest We Forget.

Souvenirs de guerre was about HMCS Athabaskan, a destroyer I knew nothing about.

Writing about HMCS Athabaskan led me to this sailor who died on April 29,1944.

équipage Louis Ledoux

Louis Ledoux

And to his nephew who led me to his father Jean Ledoux.

Jean Ledoux Louis Ledoux's brother

Jean Ledoux, Louis’ brother

This blog has more than 700 posts.

Each one is like a stone thrown in the water.

This is one ripple.

Ernie

It’s part of this original picture sent by Paul Sulkers, Herm Sulker’s son.

old photo WW 110002

Herm Sulkers was aboard HMCS Athabaskan like Ernie Mills. Herm Sulkers was taken prisoner on April 29, 1944.

cropped-athab-2.jpg

Fourth sailor on the right

Writing about the Athabaskan led Garry Weir to find my blog Lest We Forget.

Garry led me to his Website.

Last month, Garry added this note to Ernie Mills on his Website… using an information provided by Doug Edwards.

MILLS, Ernest G, Chief Engine Room Artificer, 21508 (RCN), MPK – 29 April 1944 (note: Ernie Mills had been relieved/replaced as CERA by Vic Brighten. Ernie had stayed on board ship an couple of extra days to completed the turn-over as it was taking longer than anticipated.)

So what’s that all about this Jacques Piggott?

Tune in later because this is Remembrance Day 2014.

Ripples in the water

My wife does not read my blogs, but she’s the one who said Ripples in the water about this…

photo 5

That’s about the only comment she ever made since 2008 when I started writing blogs.

The first blog was about genealogy and it was written in French which is my mother tongue. Nos ancêtres (our ancestors) was created in January 2008. I wanted to share with others what I had found about my ancestors.

Meeting my wife’s uncle led me to create Souvenirs de guerre and its English version Lest We Forget.

Souvenirs de guerre was about HMCS Athabaskan, a destroyer I knew nothing about.

Writing about HMCS Athabaskan led me to this sailor who died on April 29,1944.

équipage Louis Ledoux

Louis Ledoux

And to his nephew who led me to his father Jean Ledoux.

Jean Ledoux Louis Ledoux's brother

Jean Ledoux, Louis’ brother

This blog has more than 700 posts.

Each one is like a stone thrown in the water.

This is one ripple.

Ernie

It’s part of this original picture sent by Paul Sulkers, Herm Sulker’s son.

old photo WW 110002

Herm Sulkers was aboard HMCS Athabaskan like Ernie Mills. Herm Sulkers was taken prisoner on April 29, 1944.

cropped-athab-2.jpg

Fourth sailor on the right

Writing about the Athabaskan led Garry Weir to find my blog Lest We Forget.

Garry led me to his Website.

Two days ago, Garry added this note to Ernie Mills… using an information provided by Doug Edwards.

MILLS, Ernest G, Chief Engine Room Artificer, 21508 (RCN), MPK – 29 April 1944 (note: Ernie Mills had been relieved/replaced as CERA by Vic Brighten. Ernie had stayed on board ship an couple of extra days to completed the turn-over as it was taking longer than anticipated.)

Who remembers Ernest Mills?

Who remembers Ernest Mills?

Ernest G. Mills

MPK – 29 Apr 1944

Click here.

 

Who remembers Ernest Mills?

Someone who wrote me this comment:

My dad, Captain (E) Ralph W. Edwards, aged 95, served on the old Sally with Ernie Mills, who was lost on the Athabascan. The other day he and I were going through some old photos and I came across one of the Sally’s ERA’s at a Christmas party in 1941, the picture of course including Ernie Mills, a very close friend of dad’s. Under the picture was a note written by Ernie to dad about friendship, and how important friends were to Ernie. I know this doesn’t directly relate to Athabascan, but would the photo and the note be of interest?

A day in the life of Eddy Dubois – How I connected with Eddy…

Post 688

I hope you have clicked on the image last Monday.

Martin Baltimore

Eddy Dubois

If not, there is always time to do so…

Everyone who went to war to serve his country is a hero in my book even if I never wrote a book in my life.

I wrote what follows in 2011…

Eddy was a hero, just like his brother Larry who died on…

December 18, 1944

Eddy is on the left on his way to Bermuda.

This is the original picture Eddy sent before I made some minor modifications to it.


Eddy had written this caption…

Me on way to Bermuda from Elizabeth City, North Carolina in a Catalina flying boat in the bubble at rear

Eddy died on December 24, 2010 and rejoigned his brother Larry.

He shared a lot of pictures he had about his wartime service in the Ferry Command.


I never got around to ask him permission to share these pictures with my readers but I know he would have given it.

These pictures are precious mementos. Click on each to zoom in.

Eddy was stationed in Bermuda in 1942 and 1943.

Darrell’s Island Bermuda our base


Eddy had this caption…

Darrell’s Island

This was our base.
Flying over I took a picture of it and the Pan AM, BOAC BASE, from the Coronado flying boat which was piloted by Wing Commander Mo Ware, OBE. DFC. on a test flight. Only 1 PBM at anchor and one on the ramp. We were flying in CORONADO JX 740 (which was a 4 motor flying boat, our first one) (Received on Apr. 4th, 1943). This was a training and test flight. They were new to us. They had to have 40 hours test flight and inspections done in Bermuda and it was used for local training for a while as well. It departed for Halifax (Dartmouth) on April 16th, 1943) and from there to Gander Lake, Iceland and Scotland or Gibraltar. These were used for transport of goods and passenger were unarmed.
Eddy had this picture also…

PBM Mariner

Eddy had this to say about that picture…

One of many that was ferried to Prestwick Scotland during 1943.

He also added this…

One like this sank off this island, one airman drowned (failed to inflate life jacket). I rescued him too late.

I will post more of Eddy’s pictures next week since these kind of pictures are very rare.

There are only a few like this one that can be could found on the Internet…

Photograph from Wing Commander Mo Ware, Commanding Officer of RAF forces in Bermuda during the War

To learn more about Bermuda during the war, click here

Footnote

December 18, 1944

Murmansk Run – Scant info…?

A comment just made about a post I wrote a way back on this blog…

Comment:

Sir:

My dad had 3 brothers and one of them 24 year old Jack Smith who was a chief engineer sailed on one of these runs and was gone over 7 months. I never heard him talk of this, but my dad did. About how dangerous it was, etc. Jack was from Mobile, Alabama and at this time I don’t know if he was with Waterman Steamship or on a Liberty ship. My grandfather would go downtown and check the list of lost ships every day to see if Jack was okay. One day, right out of the blue, he called from NY and my mother was there to witness the joy. As I remember, many of this fleet on his run were lost and few made it home. I know this is scant info, but is there anything you can add to this.

Thank you so much,

Dianne Bryars

HMCS Athabaskan was part of the Murmansk Run.

The Murmansk Run (source)

Beginning in the late summer of 1941, a total of 41 Allied convoys sailed to the Soviet ports of Murmansk and Archangel during the war. The Arctic convoys delivered millions of tons of supplies from the United States, Great Britain and Canada, including aircraft, tanks, jeeps, locomotives, flatcars, rifles and machine guns, ammunition, fuel and even boots. From the beginning, Canadian merchant sailors served on Allied ships making the runs. These ships departed North American ports such as Halifax or New York and sailed to the northern Soviet Union, usually via Iceland or Great Britain. This route became known as the Murmansk Run. The Germans threw the full weight of their air force and navy against the convoys as they neared the coast of occupied Norway. Attacks by more than a dozen enemy submarines (known as U-boats) and hundreds of planes simultaneously were common. Indeed, more than 20 percent of all cargo on the Murmansk Run was lost and one convoy lost 24 of 33 ships at a cost of 153 lives. It was so dangerous that strict orders were given that no merchant ship was allowed to stop, even to rescue sailors who fell overboard. These unfortunate men had to be left behind.

Harsh weather and the Arctic ice pack took a toll as well. Many of the runs took place in the winter to take advantage of the almost constant darkness in the northern seas. The temperatures were frigid, the winds strong and the waves sometimes 25 metres high. Sea spray would often freeze immediately on the ships’ upper surfaces, creating a heavy coating of ice which could cause a ship to capsize if not quickly chipped away. Using onboard equipment and even walking on deck in such conditions was a great challenge.

Beginning in October 1943, Royal Canadian Navy destroyers and frigates also became involved in the Murmansk Run as convoy escorts. They participated in about 75 percent of the subsequent convoys until the end of the war a year and a half later. Remarkably, no Royal Canadian Navy ships were lost.

This is the medal awarded by the Russian government to sailors who took part in the Murmansk Run.

It belongs to a sailor.

SONY DSC

Tom McCulloch’s Murmansk Run Medal, issued by the Russian government to sailors who ferried war supplies from Allied ports to Northern Russia during the Second World War.

Tom McCulloch

His story is here.

This is also a very interesting story about a sailor aboard the Athabaskan who was also made a prisoner like Jim L’Esperance.

You can write a comment or send me a message using this form.

Allan Todd’s album

Post 685

Allan Todd’s son and I scanned some parts of his father’s album last Monday. How I came about to scan what I am going to share with you is a long story.

My stories are always long and complicated…

So is life.

So was World War Two.

Allan Todd had this image taken from a newspaper in his album, and it tells a lot about what he thinks about wars.

Allan Todd History 056

scanned image at 600 dpi settings

Allan Todd and I think alike, and this is why I have been writing so much about WWII.

This is post 685.

How I met Allan Todd is the result of a series of meetings of WWII veterans since 2009. The first one was my wife’s uncle who told me he was a sailor on a ship.

cropped-hmcs_athabaskan_g071.jpg

I knew nothing about my wife’s uncle being a sailor in WWII let alone being on HMCS Athabaskan, a ship I had never heard about.

I just had to know.

This is post no. 1 written in August 2009.

Post 1

This is a blog about the story of the Canadian destroyer Athabaskan sunk in 1944.

athabaskan1-1

I am currently writing a blog in French, but I have some many English speaking people helping me out, that I want to share my research with everyone in both languages. Tomorrow I will post my first article. It will be a translation of this one

See you tomorrow.

You can write to me by clicking here.