Laurent Dubois 1920-1944


Written on December 17, 2009 when I knew nothing about this airman. The original post is here.


This is Laurent Dubois.

I found this picture on the  Canadian Virtual War Memorial while looking for more information on Jean Charles Labrecque.

I believe Laurent Dubois was on the same Halifax as Jean Charles Labrecque on December 18, 1944.

This is his grave.

Click on the picture for a larger image

Laurent Dubois was a wireless operator and a gunner and was with 425 Squadron Alouettes.

I found seven airmen from that squadron who died on December 18, 1944.

Pilot Desmarais

Navigator Bernier

Air gunner Paradis

Wireless operator Dubois

Air bomber  Labrecque

Air gunner Larivière

Air gunner Gauthier

Tomorrow is December 18, 2009 and I will pay homage to these men.

Lest we forget



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


December 18, 1944

Michael Sweeney 1921-1942 Redux

Daniel Sweney’s grandson just wrote me about his grandfather.

Daniel Sweeney is incorrectly identified as David. Daniel Sweeney was my grandfather.

This post, written in December 2009, was about his granduncle Michael Sweeney.

I have corrected the information.

The start of the old post

How do I manage to write some many things about Canadian sailors, soldiers and airmen?


This is an example…

Réjean Ledoux sent me this by e-mail after he came to visit me. His uncle Louis was killed in the attack on the Athabaskan.

La Presse article on the sinking of the Athabaskan
published early May 1944

I had found another copy of The Unlucky Lady and I wanted to give it to Réjean and Louis, two nephews of Louis Ledoux.

While reading the article, I was intrigued by this…

This is a short article about two brothers lost at sea, Daniel and Michael Sweeney both Montrealers.

I found Michael Sweeney on the veterans’ site.

In memory of
who died on September 7, 1942
Military Service:

Service Number: V/23565
Age: 21
Force: Navy
Unit: Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve
Division: H.M.C.S. Raccoon

Additional Information:

Son of Thomas and Margaret Sweeney, of Montreal, Province of Quebec.

He was a telegraphist aboard HMCS Raccoon.
They were no picture of Michael.

Now we have one. Daniel is on the right.

His brother Daniel was aboard the Athabaskan on April 29, 1944 and he was taken prisoner by the Germans with 84 others.

Since you now know a lot about the Athabaskan, I will tell you more about the HMCS Raccoon.

HMCS Raccoon
This is what I found about the ship on this site… (dead link)

September 6, 1942

In the St. Lawrence estuary off Bic Island, the eight merchant ships of the convoy QS-33 form two columns and join their escorts for the journey to Sydney, Nova Scotia. Led by the Flower-class corvette HMCS Arrowhead on the convoy’s port beam, the escorts are HMCS Truro, a Bangor-class minesweeper on her first mission, on the starboard beam; two Fairmile motor launches at centre front and dead astern; and the armed yacht HMCS Raccoon half a mile astern on the port quarter. At 4:30 p.m., when the convoy plods past Father Point at nine knots, it is already under close surveillance by the Type IXC submarine U-165.

All 13 ships have their lookouts scouring the sea, but visibility is only about half a mile, and after nightfall it is very dark.The convoy’s only other means to detect submerged U-boats is the corvette’s Asdic set, which makes much the same ping for a school of cod or a particularly cold layer of water as it does for a submarine. Consequently, U-165 goes unnoticed as she approaches the convoy’s port column, and at 10:10 p.m. a torpedo smacks into the SS Aeas, the lead ship, which sinks very quickly. HMCS Arrowhead, Raccoon zigzagging along behind, apparently hunting the U-boat. launches a star-shell to light up the area for boats picking up survivors, and her lookouts clearly see

HMCS Raccoon is not one of His Majesty’s mightier warships.

Once the private yacht Halonia, property of millionaire jeweller R.A. Van Clief of New York, she came into the Royal Canadian Navy on June 22, 1940 with a crew of 33 ratings and four officers, and little more than a machine-gun and a coat of pusser’s paint to prepare her for battle.

Of course, in 1940 no-one imagined U-boats sinking ships literally in sight of the St. Lawrence shore, so the Navy’s original idea of using converted pleasure boats like Raccoon as examination vessels and coastal patrol craft was quite sensible. But since the US declared war on Germany, and especially since the ice-free shipping season opened, the U-boat flotillas have been devastatingly effective in North American waters.

This campaign has particularly shocked Canada, where the last naval battle was fought in 1813, so the RCN has put all its available vessels to work escorting convoys between Quebec and ports in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. With the bulk of Canada’s Navy deployed in the north-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, most of the escorts on the Gulf convoys are minesweepers, Fairmiles and armed yachts.

HMCS Raccoon has a depth-charge launcher for attacking submarines, but no radio-telephone; she uses flags and Morse code by Aldis lamp or wireless to communicate with the other ships in the convoy— which means that, at night with a U-boat lurking, she doesn’t communicate at all.

The other escorts are busy picking up survivors from the Aeas and not particularly concerned about Raccoon. At 1:12 a.m., when HMCS Arrowhead is sweeping the convoy to port, lookouts aboard several ships see two columns of white water flung into the air, and hear two mighty explosions.

The Arrowhead lookouts note that Raccoon is not in her appointed place, and decide hopefully that the noise is the yacht depth-charging the U-boat. In the morning, Arrowhead reports that Raccoon is still missing, and a signal goes out from HMCS Fort Ramsay, the base at Gaspé, demanding that she report her position.

Nothing is heard.

The battle for QS-33 is not finished, however, for U-boats do not hunt alone. At 5 p.m. on September 7, the convoy is off Cap des Rosiers in the approaches to Gaspé when Korvettenkapitän Paul Hartwig in U-517, which has been keeping station with U-165, sinks three more of its merchant ships with three torpedoes launched within one minute. Naval Service Headquarters announces the loss of HMCS Raccoon on September 13, after a fruitless search of the convoy’s track by four corvettes from Gaspé. With the loss of half its merchant ships and one escort, QS-33 ranks as Canada’s least successful convoy operation, and one of the lowest points of the naval war.


Musée naval de Québec:

Fraser McKee,The Armed Yachts of Canada (Erin, Ontario: Boston Mills Press, 1983).

Michael L. Hadley,U-Boats Against Canada: German Submarines in Canadian Waters (Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1985).

Click here for the list of casualties.

These are sailors who were also killed that day on the HMCS Raccoon…

In memory of
Able Seaman
who died on September 7, 1942

Military Service:

Service Number: V/3484
Age: 23
Force: Navy
Unit: Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve
Division: H.M.C.S. Raccoon

Additional Information:

Son of Edmond Belanger, and of Corinne C. Belanger of St. Michel de Bellechasse, Province of Quebec.

In memory of
Ordinary Signalman
who died on September 7, 1942
Military Service:

Service Number: V/3370
Age: 24
Force: Navy
Unit: Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve
Division: H.M.C.S. Raccoon

Additional Information:

Son of Wilbrod and Albertine Laflamme, of St. Romuald, Province of Quebec.

Now you know where I find inspiration to write my articles…

The end of the old post

Rememberance Day is just around the corner. Feel free to contact me anytime and share memories from the past.


Keeping her father’s memories alive…

Pacific Paratrooper


A reminder of what these soldiers were up against …
The stretch of blockhouses and pillboxes and tunnels, known as the Genko Line were filled with every imaginable weapon available from the Japanese arsenal. Along mountains, under fields and connecting the rolling hills lay the traps of heinous sorts silently in wait for any or all of the troopers.

The 1,200 two and three-story blockhouses entrenched with at least 6,000 enemy soldiers that lined the southern edge of Manila. A massive feat of ingenuity.

old tunnel3773790243_87a5d598e4
The size of some of these tunnels amazed me, large enough for a boat or plane and some appear too small for a human to hide.

Also wanted to remind the reader that on You Tube – type in – Nasugbu landing 1945; Allied Forces Land In Japan (1945) and 11th Airborne to see quite a number of actual video footage from the war.

Thank you…

View original post 6 more words

The enemy they faced

A most interesting blog about the recollections of someone’s father who was a paratrooper in the Pacific in WWII.

Pacific Paratrooper

Pierre Lagace of Lest We Forget, sent me a link that I feel pretty much explains what the American G.I. was up against in the Pacific, at least what the government perceived it to be. The article is long, but well worth the time. I have taken his suggestion of allowing the reader to try and visualize what was transpiring on the Aga defile in Luzon and all around the Pacific.

By the time Japan and the U.S. went to war, the Asians had already had a long history of honoring their warriors, their rulers and religion and forefathers. Their government was developed over centuries. Americans, on the other hand, were young. We appeared to have no history or pride. I remember my father telling me that the Japanese had considered the American soldier a mercenary, a paid soldier with no righteous need to fight – only money.


View original post 210 more words

Fast and furious

Pacific Paratrooper

Mount Aiming had been conquered, but after all the fighting , the American now had no cover from the enemy artillery at Kaytitinga. Their two artillery battalions, along with the power of P-38s and A-20s made short order of the problem. The 188th and the 1st of the 187th made their way forward faster and faster as the Japanese retreated in earnest. The enemy left the Aga-Caylaway area so quickly, they had abandoned close to 100 tons of ammunition, along with food, clothing, documents, weapons, cigarettes, soldier’s packs and liquor. The 188th discovered ditches to trap tanks in their defense that were 25 feet across the top, 4 feet long and 25 feet deep. Bridges had to be built by the 127th Engineers to cross these trenches because the men could not go around them. By early evening of 2 February 1943, the 188th and 187th found themselves bombarded with…

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Why Veterans Seldom Talk About the War?

“My father would wrinkle his nose at the mere sight of a flame thrower on tv.  He said, “Once you smell burning flesh, it stays with you.  There’s nothing worse.  Everytime I see one of those things flare up, even in a movie, I can smell the fuel and flesh all over again.”

My father did not tell me this. This blogger’s father did.

Who is this blogger?

This blogger has started a blog. Yesterday I read all her posts. I could not stop reading.


Read the first one.

This is today’s post.

I have met several veterans since 2009 and wrote about them on my blogs. That’s why veterans seldom talk about the war.

“My father would wrinkle his nose at the mere sight of a flame thrower on tv.  He said, “Once you smell burning flesh, it stays with you.  There’s nothing worse.  Everytime I see one of those things flare up, even in a movie, I can smell the fuel and flesh all over again.”