Tag Archives: WWII

In The Army Now

Bill Stewart received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Minnesota on December 18, 1941 (See Pt. 2). That was 11 days after Pearl Harbor was bombed.

bill stewart abt 1942I went directly to induction into the military at Ft. Snelling MN. Military service was not completely strange to me because I had two years of ROTC [Reserve Officers Training Corps] in high school. I passed through three training schools. The first in Tulare CA, next at Taft CA and the last at Phoenix AZ. There were “wash outs” but we never knew who or what; they simply disappeared.

I had a great sense of accomplishment when I made my first solo flight. My wings were pinned on me by my flight instructor in bill-stewart usaaf wingsPhoenix. I was one of a group of P38 pilots sent up to Everett WA on a train. No sooner were we off the train than we were sent on another train to Orange County CA airport. Our job was to defend Southern California. Ha! The Air Force was trying to determine where we were needed most.

Shipping out

After two weeks in California we were flown to New York and put on a “banana boat” for shipment to England. The interior of the ship had been modified to accept bunks rather than produce. My good friend Andy Winter and I were standing on the stern of the ship when the gun crew on the deck above decided to let go with three inch deck guns.

My ear drums were blasted at that impact. The ship was sunk later in the war at the Straits of Gibraltar with all personnel lost.

We docked in Scotland. Some of us pilots were stationed at Ayr – a rehabilitation area for exhausted RAF pilots. These were seasoned fighter pilots; we were supposed to learn from them. The US command apparently didn’t know what to do with us. That first day at Ayr we heard that a US pilot had flown into a mountain in the north of Ireland with an Admiral on board.

capt-bill-stewart-blackpool-nov-1943-or-1944I was soon sent to London for treatment for my ear damaged by the deck gun blasts. The doctor treated my ear with a sulpha solution. This was before sulpha was commonly available.

In London I worked in US fighter command headquarters for one month. While there I prepared an accident chart for General Hunter. This was a simple bar chart comparing pilot error accidents with mechanical failure accidents. Most accidents, I confirmed, were caused by pilot error. The General was pleased with my work.

Then I was sent to another air base in England to learn to fly all the different airplanes. There is a use for pilots in many different aspects of war. By that I mean flying in gasoline, bombs and ammo and flying out wounded to hospitals. We didn’t have helicopters for flexible use as are commonly available today.

Tailored Jacket

Discipline was a bit lax in the squadron I was in. But one day when a pilot from Oklahoma came to flight line for duty wearing his western boots, he was very firmly corrected. There was, however, a gradual change in jackets that was not in any of the manuals.

Jacket_Owned_and_Worn_by_General_Dwight_D._Eisenhower_-_NARA_-_7717661_page_1-wikicommons
Gen. Eisenhower’s Ike Jacket, NARA photo

A pilot named Costa reported for flight duty in a handsome jacket none of us had ever seen before. It was of Air Force uniform material with generous shoulder width and a slim waist The jacket, professionally made by a London tailor, was cut off at the waist and patterned after a Cuban dinner jacket. The jacket was so becoming that it soon became popular with other pilots who could afford to have one tailored. The senior officers knew something had to be done before the situation got out of hand. But what to do?

Apparently the senior officers liked the unauthorized jacket so much that they decided to go to the top: General Dwight D. Eisenhower. They wisely named it “The Eisenhower Jacket” and it must have been readily approved.

Pilot Costa was thought to be from a family of Cuban diplomats. He was part of our squadron because he was one of the few men to have experience in a B17. Costa was flying one of the original B17s in the Pacific when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

* See English Channel 1944 for section Bill wrote here.

Squadron Operations Officer

After several months of service, I was made squadron operations officer. But when pilots crashed, disappeared or were transferred, I was not told what happened to them. However, I was asked on several occasions to write letters to the families of deceased pilots.

Another problem for me was the lack of instructions. For example, I was sent to investigate and report on crashed aircraft. I did not feel qualified to properly do this job but probably was better qualified than the other pilots. Did I have the authority to go on another air base and question the ground crew of the crashed airplane? I made a natural assumption that the pilot was the ultimate person to determine whether a plan was flyable and not the ground crew.

Preparing for a flight of P38s from England to Africa, one pilot objected to the flying readiness of the aircraft. The ground officer of the departure field threatened to bring charges of insubordination against him. I was one of the pilots, not the squadron leader, so I had no jurisdiction over the situation. The pilot apparently ran out of fuel over the Straits of Gibraltar and crashed. He died.

Later a general asked me if I wanted to lead a squadron of P38s on a flight to Africa. I said I did not. The general did not take kindly to this response. Several weeks later I was reprimanded verbally by another general over the phone.

bill-stewart-in-32nd-Lightning-built
“Bill Stewart in the 32nd P38 Lightning ever built”

I still think that I am correct that the pilot determines the flying readiness of an aircraft. All aircraft are not in proper condition all the time. In Germany I had 21 stretcher cases and one or two nurses and one engine was missing fire. I immediately turned the aircraft around and landed.

Memorable Flights

Among my memorable experiences is the flight where I had a planeload of British prisoners captured at Dunkirk. So they probably had been in France or Germany almost seven years. The ex-prisoners would come up to the cockpit and look ahead to the land of England and cry. I helped them a little bit on this one because I cried too. Their teeth were in deplorable condition but they were so happy. These men were still fairly young.

I also had the opportunity of flying repatriates from Buchenwald concentration camp. I did not even turn off the motor of the airplane. Someone else directed the loading and bench seating along the sides of the plane. Then I quickly took off. During the war the pilots did not know what was going on on the ground, such as the concentration camps and crematoria. We knew nothing about that. The leadership knew but intelligence told us only what they wanted us to know.

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“Bill Stewart in B17, 1944 Mid-Atlantic”

I wish to mention one other incident because of the unusual severity of the situation. In the summer of 1944 Andy Winter and I were flying a B17 from England to Oklahoma City. At approximately 2 a.m. we took off from the Pan American air base at Belem, Brazil.

It was my turn to pilot on this leg of our journey. We immediately entered an intense rainstorm. I had never before seen or experienced rain of such volume and force. No lightning, no thunder. Just rain and turbulence. This was above the estuary of the Amazon River. I was flying by hand since we had no operating automatic pilot. The B17 was acting like one of those twenty five cent bucking broncos at fun places! I was surprised that the airplane could take it. But it never missed firing in this deluge. I was exhausted when we landed at Puerto Rico.

Commercial Pilot’s License #283070

I was honorably discharged from the service 22 Oct 1945. I had earned the rank of Captain sometime in 1943 and probably had flown about twelve different heavy aircraft. Upon discharge I was awarded a Commercial Pilot’s License to fly multi-engine aircraft. License number 283070: I held in my hand what I had worked toward for so many years.

I had accomplished my lifetime goal. But my values had changed. I Marji Smock Stewarthad to make a decision. Did I want to continue flying and being away from home? Or did I want to seek a non-traveling job? By this time I had been away from friends and loved ones more than nine years, which had a profound effect on me and my ultimate decision.

I loved my family and, by now, a pretty girl named Marji. I placed a stable family life and marriage above a flying career with its financial rewards and recognition.

Thanks and Apologies

I appreciate the Air Force teaching me to fly. The feeling of unbounded freedom in the sky does indeed increase one’s confidence. I needed that. Also there is that spiritual bond to one’s creator when you know that the only thing between you and death is a higher power.

flying-fortress-Boeing_Y1B-17_in_flight-USAF-wikipedia
B17 or “Flying Fortress” in flight, USAF photo

My profound thanks to the British people. I was there three years. Although I had very limited time for personal contacts or sightseeing, I appreciated their courtesies and their strengths.

And my apologies to the new PX in Germany for an incident sometime in 1945. If it was my plane that brought you a planeload of cups – A, B, C and D – I had nothing to do with choosing brassieres instead of paper cups!

bill-stewart-ca-1987We in Bill Stewart’s family are very grateful to the men who fired the deck guns on that transport ship. The ear damage Bill sustained prevented him from becoming a combat pilot. Their life expectancy in WWII was 4 weeks.

My professor and friend Dr. George Park was a US combat pilot who, thankfully, did survive. He said he loved flying. So I asked if he’d thought about becoming a commercial pilot after the war. No, he laughed, the kind of flying he’d learned didn’t translate well. Wouldn’t make for a reassuring flight for civilian passengers.

Next: Life on Civvy Street.

English Channel 1944

William Stewart, a US Army Air Force Captain in World War II, tells about his flight across the English Channel on December 15, 1944. Enemy planes were a risk, yes, but so too was the weather.

bill-stewart-usaaf English Channel postI was standing back of the pilot in a B17 stripped down bomber with about 17 pilots on board. I was flight operations officer for our squadron. We all were riding as passengers, flying over the English Channel and back to our base in England.

I was not trying to tell the pilot how to fly the plane. He was a better pilot than I. But I wanted to see the weather ahead through the pilot’s window.

Fog and clouds were the major nemeses for countries surrounded by water. Most of the deaths in my squadron were caused by fog or poor weather and only a few by mechanical failure. I was surprised to have spent so many hours over France and Germany – flying gasoline, ammo and bombs in and wounded out – and not taken any gunfire to my airplane. But, while flying over Muenster in Germany one day, I struck a balloon cable between my fuselage and right engine. This ripped all the de-icing boot off my right wing but it didn’t bring me down. I was flying an old dependable DC3 or, as some call it, a C47.

Foggy English Channel

So, this December day, crossing the English Channel, I was looking out the front of the cockpit to see how bad it was ahead of us. The weather was terrible to say the least. Most think of the weather as moving from west to east. But it forms and changes all the time in place.

vloa Spitfire - wwii photo Bill Stewart
Photo of Spitfire taken by Capt Bill Stewart from his plane, 1943 UK

We were flying about 100 feet off the water in what looked like a tunnel. This tunnel obviously was made by the heat of aircraft engines ahead of us; there was no air movement.

Suddenly the pilot said “That looks like an airplane on the water down there.” I had not seen anything. Maybe we had met another plane or overtaken another. Things happen quickly when you meet head on, each going over 150 miles per hour.

bill-stewart-wwiiI asked the pilot if we had enough gasoline to get back to Paris and he said “No.” This is an example of a difficult and tight situation. Most are not as bad as this but there are many bad ones.

The pilot continued to fly ahead. Soon we could see the cliffs of Dover or a similar place dead ahead. When we got close to the cliffs, the pilot turned north. The tide was out, thus we had a sandy beach if we had to crash. We all had to look up to see the church steeples and houses on top of the cliffs. The pilot was an excellent flyer and, by radio, the co-pilot somehow located a control tower and airfield close by. This was one of the most difficult situations I was ever in during my years of flying in England.

Glenn Miller, Air Force Major and band leader

Glen-Miller-Major-US-Army-Air-Corps-wikicommons disappeared English Channel 1944We landed at some RAF base near the coast. Only a superb pilot could have found it and lined up with the runway in near zero visibility. Later the next morning we learned that a plane flying Glenn Miller had disappeared over the channel.

There may not be any air movement, yet fog just forms in still air. You don’t realize that, unless you are flying in it. Over water, fog is a real killer for pilots. The pilot has no horizons.

Glenn_Miller_Band-1940-1941-rayanthonyband.com-wikicommonsBill Stewart (1915-2005) is my father-in-law. This is from an unpublished memoir he and his wife, Marji Smock Stewart, wrote. He never knew if the plane that pilot saw in the water was Glenn Miller’s plane. But it was that same day, same place.

1945 A Year to Remember

Part VI, Finding the Rivers, Marji Smock Stewart: 1945

My final year of high school (1944-1945) was at Owensboro Senior High. It was not especially outstanding. I felt older than the other students in my class, although I only turned 17.

Owensboro-High-School-postcard-kentucktravels.blogspot.com-2012-04-15On my birthday, Bill’s mother called me to come up to their house on Stewart Court. She had a gift from Bill. He was overseas in England and I was leading my own life. Dating and doing all the things that most teenagers do.

I always loved going to the Stewart home on the Ohio River. It was heaven on earth to me. My wonderful future mother-in-law had chosen a gold heart-shaped locket for me with two tiny pictures of her son inside. I still have it. With the locket was a note from Bill. He had known my age all along. How embarrassing. Oh, to be young again and longing to be older!

I received my diploma in May 1945 and enrolled in the summer session at Southeast Missouri State Teacher’s College in Cape Girardeau MO. My sister Betty and husband Bill Vogel were in college there. I lived in a girls’ dorm, had friends and dated but nothing special. Bill and I exchanged letters regularly but it was not terribly serious. The war was winding down.

V-J Day, Aug. 14, 1945

VJ Day 1945 vernon-b-smith-1946-jackxjoy-wikicommons
VJ Day, 1945 Orleans MA USA, painting by Vernon B Smith 1946 (tap to enlarge)

I was back in Owensboro by that memorable day in August when the Japanese surrendered. (Official surrender ceremony was held September 2, 1945.) A friend of Betty and Bill’s was visiting us; Dwight was a navigator in the Air Force. We were having our usual tasty Sunday dinner when the news came. People ran shouting into the streets, blowing car horns, etc. Dwight just kept eating. After all, homemade rolls and pot roast were hot and inviting. To a guy who had seen too much action, this celebration was a non-event. He continued eating Mother’s rolls until they were gone. Meanwhile, us noncombatants continued making fools of ourselves out in the street. The war was over!

Americans were still under food and gasoline rationing until up in 1946. We carefully guarded our sugar and meat coupons and never drove unless it was absolutely necessary. Servicemen started coming home and a major transition began for most people. Of course some families only experienced emptiness because their loved one(s) never returned, or returned in poor or maimed physical or psychological condition. That was sobering but, mostly, a new excitement filled the country. There was an exhilarating expectation that now, like prophesied in Isaiah 2:4, man would learn war no more. Sadly, almost 60 years later, man still hasn’t learned that.

Bill comes home

It was sometime after August 21, 1945 that Bill flew back to the States and went through official separation from army service in Camp Atterbury, Indiana. He arrived home not long after.

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USAAF, WWII. Bill Stewart is in back row, just left of propeller on left (tap to enlarge)

Bill also earned a Commercial Pilot’s license for multiengine planes. He trained as a fighter pilot but had his ear drums badly damaged by a loud cannon explosion. Therefore he was shifted to piloting big planes whose slower speeds would not further impair him. That change might have saved his life? Many of his original squadron went on to fight over Africa and did not survive. Twice in that summer of 1945 Bill flew his large transport plane to evacuate some of the ambulatory survivors and inspectors from the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp. Not an easy assignment.

A proposal

Back in Kentucky, it didn’t take long for romance to be ignited. Bill was so ready to settle down and have a wife and home; he was 29. At 17 I still wasn’t mature but there were stars in my eyes. Bill asked me to marry him a short time after he arrived home. Daddy wasn’t home, so Bill asked Mother “for my hand.” He expressed some concern about our age difference. Mother seemed to agree but shared that her father was 13 years older than her mother. Then she told him Sarah McDonald had eleven children. That should have frightened him away but it didn’t.

I was working in a local attorney’s office at 35 cents per hour (that’s $2.80 per day or $14 per week). Bill went to Cleveland and other areas searching for a job. But really, he wanted to be home. Bill had his fill of travel. He had been gone from home since before 1937 when he hitchhiked to Minneapolis to enroll in the University of Minnesota. So he returned to Evansville IN in October 1945 and took a job as a salesman with the National Cash Register Company.

November Wedding

By October we both were ready to tie the knot and we set a date of November 10, 1945. Rev. Rake, who had also married my folks, married us in his study. It was a very small wedding with our parents, Bill’s sister Lillian and the couple who stood up with us. Betty was expecting her first baby in Jeffersonville IN and was under doctor’s orders not to travel.

McCurdy-Hotel-1947-Sep-Donahue-Collection-historicevansville.com
McCurdy Hotel lobby in Sept. 1947, Evansville IN historicevansville.com

After the ceremony, Daddy hosted a lovely dinner at the Hotel McCurdy in Evansville IN. This was when my family began calling Bill “Stew” since Betty’s husband was also Bill. To add to the confusion, Bill Stewart’s family called him Lester, his middle name. So I had one husband with three names – Bill, Stew and Lester.

I wore a chocolate brown suit with a creme silk blouse and had a hat and veil. The hat was made of gold sequins; Bill had bought it in Paris. Bill gave me a lovely orchid, which had zero fragrance. Not to worry, he also brought me several bottles of French perfume. Never had a bride smelled so good!

Honeymoon weekend

There was no honeymoon for us. We had rented one room in a home in Evansville. We shared the kitchen and bath with the landlady, a war widow. She graciously arranged to be gone that weekend. As a dutiful bride I prepared breakfast the next morning. A total disaster. Bill wanted oatmeal which I didn’t have a clue how to prepare and I oversalted the sticky mess. Also I burned the bacon, which is the unpardonable sin. But Bill was sweet and did not complain.

We did walk to church on Sunday morning. Of course I wore my orchid and was dressed in my wedding suit plus coat with fur collar. I must have stood out like a Kmart Blue Light special. Someone came down from the choir and tried to get me to join the church and questioned my salvation. That embarrassed me. I think I was feeling pious for even being there, wed less than 24 hours. I still feel uncomfortable when well-intentioned people buttonhole a stranger, supposedly “witnessing”.

Four weeks, three moves

bill-stewart-17 nov 1945 photo Marji Stewart
Bill Stewart, Nov 1945 at parents’ home

In the next four weeks I moved us and our meager belongings three more times. Each time to a larger, more private place. All of this was via the bus or walking. Finally we had a small apartment with our own tiny kitchen and our own bath. What a luxury!

I had a job in a law office in Evansville and for the next nine months we stayed put. Of course we rode the Greyhound bus back to Owensboro many weekends. Bill probably needed that good mothers’ cooking to survive my efforts at k.p.

Next time: In July 1946 Bill decided he wanted to quit his job and take a trip out west. He received all his military training in the west and loved that country. So we bought a used car from a man in Fordsville KY.

(Previously on the Smocks: River Pilot, Air Pilot)

River Pilot, Air Pilot

Part V, Finding the rivers, Marji Smock Stewart: River Pilot, Air Pilot

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MV Sohioan, 1944 (tap for larger view)

Let me explain a bit about working on the river. The crew had to stay on 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, working 6 hours on and 6 hours off. The “dog” shift, or midnight to 6 a.m., was the hardest. Pilots usually drank a lot of coffee and smoked a lot. Keeping your eyes on the long barges way down in front of you wasn’t easy, especially in foul weather and moonless nights. You had to stay wide awake.

However, there was one big plus about working on the river: wonderful food. The cooks were always the top of the line and the crew were fed three solid meals per day, plus snacks in the galley any time. When guys worked 12 hours per day, good food was like jet fuel for a 747. Everyone ate together rather than separate areas for crew and officers. It really was one big family.

Crew earned days off and would be home for a longer time than ordinary workers would be. But at the same time, they were gone a long time. Actually their families could live almost anywhere as long as it was close to a river and other transportation means. As in the military, usually mothers had the entire responsibility for raising the kids and managing the home.

Granddaddy Smock died

On March 6, 1944 we got a call from Daddy’s sister Leora. Granddaddy Smock had died of heart failure. Mother quickly contacted Daddy who was somewhere on the Mississippi River. She, Betty and I drove to meet him somewhere and then we headed for the big farm house as fast as Daddy dared drive.

At Granddaddy’s funeral I felt as if a giant had died. He had so many friends and family. John Thomas Smock was 81. He had never been ill except for an abscessed tooth. What a life!

It must have been that trip home for Granddaddy’s funeral when the folks decided to leave Evansville and move to Owensboro. I had quit school only a few days after my 16th birthday. I helped Mother and cleaned the apartment next door after the couple left each day for work. That paid a quarter a day! But my wise mother knew I needed to be in school. Did they feel a smaller town in the hospitable Blue Grass state would benefit me more?

Pilot of MV Sohioan

Pilot Monroe-Smock-MV-Sohioan-Curdsville-1944
“Curdsville KY 1944, MV Sohoian, working boat towing oil. Monroe Smock was its first Captain”

So soon afterward Daddy began working for the Standard Oil Company of Ohio. He was made Master of their new top of the line boat, the MV Sohioan. That was a proud moment. Mother and Daddy were wined and dined in Ohio and Daddy received a nice raise. Towing barges of oil to their destination, usually New Orleans, was sorely needed in the WWII effort.

Elizabeth-and-Monroe-Smock-Owensboro-1944We moved to a house in Owensboro probably in April 1944. It was too late now to get in the local high school year. So Mother and I decided a stint at the local business college would be good for me. The skills I learned would be useful all my life; typing and bookkeeping. I learned shorthand too but used it very little, except while working in an attorney’s office.

At the business college I made several friends; it was a small group. One of my friends was Georgia. She was a bit older but we became quite close. Georgia had a friend Lillian.

Lillian had a brother Bill who was a pilot in the Air Force. He would be home for a brief visit from overseas in July 1944. Would I be interested in writing him and perhaps meeting him when he came home? It was a common practice to write to servicemen to help boost their morale. Of course I said yes. I think we exchanged two or three letters, the very thin airmail type.

Capt. Bill Stewart, US Army Air Forces* Pilot

bill-stewart-wwii englandSometime in July Georgia called and said Bill had flown in from England and we were to meet him the next day. So about 2 in the afternoon, Georgia looked out the second story window of the business college and said, “He’s there.” Sure enough, my blind date was standing on the sidewalk looking up. A handsome fellow in US Army uniform. I stuck my head out the window and we were introduced.

A whirlwind week followed. We dated every evening. I’m sure his parents longed for him to be with them every moment. But this guy had been overseas a long time and wanted to live every moment to the fullest. We went dancing at night at a nightclub on the river.

Friends had loaned him their car to drive while home. On the weekend he took me out in his motor boat and we swam in the Ohio River. Bill’s home was on the river. His mom would prepare delicious meals and of course I ate with them. Lots of friends and family came to greet him and they were all over the place.

Robert-and-Mabel-Stewart-home-Owensboro-1944The river was prominent in Bill’s family’s lives too. The house had a huge yard, lots of trees and a big swing between two big oaks. Much of that yard is gone now, lost to erosion from the river. But it surely was a romantic setting.

This was heady stuff for a 16 year old high school dropout; dating a college graduate who held the rank of Captain and was a pilot too! I honestly think that neither of us expected to see the other again. Would we?

* The Air Force, called US Army Air Forces or USAAF, was part of the US Army until 1947.

Previous: Smocks on the Ohio River

Next: Don’t know where, don’t know when… 1945 A Year to Remember

NB Regiment K.I.A. on D-Day

Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, France d-day cropped wikicommonsThe North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment, part of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, landed at Juno Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. They landed at what was code-named Nan Red Beach, near Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer. Thirty-five were killed in action that day in Normandy, and two the next day.

D-Day 75th-CBC-News-Network-Beny-sur-mer-norman-kirbyYesterday at the Bény-sur-Mer cemetery in France, North Shore (NB) Regiment veteran Norman Kirby paid tribute to his comrades in a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The Canadian Mint commemorated that anniversary with a silver dollar. It features Private George Baker from Liverpool, Nova Scotia. Pvt. Baker survived D-Day and the rest of the war. He passed away in 2003.

coinweek.com-royal-canadian-mint-30-jan-2019 d-day pvt-george-herman-bakerHis image was taken from film footage of the North Shore (NB) Regiment landing at Normandy.

North Shore (NB) Regiment R.C.I.C. deaths on D-Day

Below are the names of those who did not survive that day, taken from Canadian Fatal Casualties on D-Day (pdf). I have added information about each of them that I found online. All but a few are buried at Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in France.

North-Shore-Regt-A-Co-Jan-1944-veterans.gc_.ca
Front Row: Chambers, W. P., Cpl. Peller, L. A., Caroceau, F. E., Noel, A., Fraser, G. J., Adair, R. W., *Kingston, E. S., Saunders, R. M., McKibbon, C. R., Hooper, O., MacIntosh, J. A., *Blanchard, A., Beauieu, R.?, Daigle, J. W. Second Row: Col. Savage, F. S., Cogar, F. H. R., Brown?, M. S., Doyle T. E., ?, D. H., Sgt. McCormack, H. ?., Sgt. Russell, H. R.?, Sgt. Rigley, E. J., Lieut. F. D. Moar, Major J. A. MacNaughton, The Commanding Officer Capt. J. L. Belliveau, Lieut. M. M. K–, Lieut M. Telfrey?, Lieut. C. S . *Mersereau, C.S.M. Pa/oley, M. L., C.O.M.S. Gilcrist, O., Sgt. Cleveland, G., Daley, G. H., Lewis, L. G., St. Croix, B. P. Third Row: Kesey, W., Swift, R. J., Kirby T., Cpl. *Walsh, J. P., Johnston, P. G., Campbell, C. C., L/Cpl. Ryan, G. P., Branfeld, C., Cpl. Savage, J. R., Hebert, W. J., Lloyd, R. A., L/Cpl. Garman, M. J., Maltais, L., Breas, A. J., Lee J. R., Allard, A. H., Fouge-, C. J., Patterson, R. S., L/Cpl. *Walker, J., Gorman, J. W. Fourth Row: Baker, G. H., Andrews, ?. R., McFarlane?, R. J., St. Pierre, L., Caissie, P. S., Richard, L., Haches, E., Sta– , ?., — F. E., Di– J. F., Breau?, F. J., Hutchison, A., Kinsella, F, J., L/Cpl. Clark, G. S., England, G., Harding, ?. B., Cpl. Nolan, V. J., Ferrada?, R. J., *Forker, H. A., Aker, R. A., Robichaud, A. Fifth Row; *Irving, A. E. S., Cl–, R. J., L/Cpl. Ste– M. W., LeBlanc, A., Cobb, F. H., Lisette, A. J., Savage, E. J., Savage? V., L/Col Lastaigne, P. J., Gouchie, V. S., Crowel, O. N., Daley W., Thorne, M. F., Cripps, G. E., Archer, H. F., Barry, J. A., Brown, R. B., Comeau, T. W., –? Sixth Row: Springer, C., Burke, W. G., Betts, M. V., *McLeod, G. B., Barnaby L., Budge, W. ?., LeBel, L. P., F– W., Cpl. Vienneau, W., Coullard?, A,, Geher?, H. J., *Gallan, C. S., Fi–, A. J., Martin, S., Bathe?, J. F., Cpl. Currie, R. J., Daigle, A., Ga–, T., L/Cpl. MacDonald, G. A. (* KIA D-Day, see below)

ASHFORD, Roger Alfred Edward, 38, Private, B/68655.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of Alfred Henry and Florence Ashford, of St. Catharines, Ontario.
Born 5 Nov 1906 Selbourne UK. Enlisted 27 Apr 1943 Hamilton ON.

BLANCHARD, Alfred, 22, Private, G/23165.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of Benoit and Laura Blanchard, of East Bathurst, New Brunswick.

BRANSFIELD, Claude, 21, Private, G/23034.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of Ambrose and Frances Carroll Bransfield, of Escuminac, Northumberland Co., New Brunswick.

CLANCY, Rupert, Private, G/22885.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Born Chatham NB.

CLOUSTON, Murns Sydney, 26, Sergeant, G/22325.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of James and Francis L. Clouston, of East Bathurst, Gloucester Co., New Brunswick.
Born 17 Apr 1918 East Bathurst NB

victor-charles-crabbe-1940CRABBE, Victor Charles, 28, Corporal, G/18306.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of Charles Colby and Geneva Bertha (née Burlock) Crabbe; husband of Katharine J. Crabbe (née Scott), of Argyle, Carleton Co., New Brunswick.
Born 3 Jan 1916 in Peel NB, married 1936, two children. Enlisted 21 May 1940 Woodstock NB

DALEY, Harold Stanley, 22, Private, G/22937.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of Stanley and Annie Daley, of Chatham, New Brunswick.
Born 15 Apr 1922 Chatham NB

DOUCET, Aldie, 24, Private, G/23445.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of Wilfred and Beatrice Doucet, of D’Aulnay, Gloucester Co. New Brunswick.

ELLIOTT, Bruce Franklin, 26, Sergeant, G/19083.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of George Burton Elliott and Emily Elizabeth Elliott; husband of Alfreda Marie Elliott, of Kentville, King’s Co., Nova Scotia.

ELLIS, Gordon Hubert, 23, Private 1st Bn., G/22375.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of William James Ellis and Lucy Melvina (née Good) Ellis; husband of Joan Norah Ellis, of New Carlisle, Bonaventure Co., Quebec.
Born 10 Mar 1921 Salmon Beach, Bathurst Parish NB

FORKER, Norman Alexander McEwen, 21, Private, D/137992.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of Alexander McEwen Forker and Sarah Forker, of New York City, U.S.A.

GALLAN, Clyde Sydney, 20, Private, G/29013.
Bayeux Memorial, France.
Born 9 Apr 1924 New Carlisle, Que. Enlisted 5 Sep 1942 Fredericton NB
Son of Howard and Sarah Gallan, New Carlisle, Que.

GIONET, Antoine, 25, Corporal, G/23530.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of Leon L. Gionet and of Zenobie Gionet (née Pailin), of Middle Caraquet, New Brunswick.
Born 10 Sep 1917 Caraquet, Gloucester Co NB

HACHE, Bernard, 24, Private, G/18987.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Born 10 Jan 1920 Riviere du Portage NB. Enlisted 18 Jun 1941 Woodstock NB.
Son of Marcel and Marguerite Haché

HACHE, Lionel, 24, Private, G/18858.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Born 3 Jun 1920 Upper Caraquet NB. Enlisted 10 Jun 1941 Tracadie NB.
Son of Edward and Arma Haché, Burnsville NB

IRVING, Andrew Edison Stewart, 23, Private, G/22858.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of William Wallace Irving and Ruby Irving, of Millbank NB.
Born 20 Dec 1920 Millbank NB. Enlisted 12 Jun 1940 Chatham NB.

Emerson-Robert-James-junobeach.orgJAMES, Emerson Robert, 18, Private, B/131672.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of Roy and Elsie James, of Hamilton ON.
Born 28 Jul 1925 London ON. Enlisted 21 Aug 1942 Hamilton ON.
His father was in the Canadian Merchant Marine. His brother Capt. William Albert James was also overseas, according to the Hamilton Spectator 12 January 1945.

KINGSTON, Earl Stewart, 28, Private, G/23245.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Born 29 Feb 1916 Bay du Vin NB. Enlisted 6 Jun 1941 Newcastle NB. Husband of Agnes Kingston.

LANDRY, Levie Joseph, 22, Private, G/51472.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of Alex and Delphine Landry, of Upper Sackville NB. His brother Denis Joseph also fell.
Born 23 Jul 1921 Upper Sackville NB. Enlisted 1 Jan 1943 Fredericton NB.

(Landry, Denis Joseph, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada. Born 28 Dec 1919 Upper Sackville NB, enlisted 16 Jan 1944 Borden ON. Died 31 Oct 1944 Service No G/59546. Buried Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery, Netherlands)

LEWIS, Harold Thomas, 26, Private, G/32609.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of Amos and Belinda “Linnie” (née Sabean) Lewis, of Port Lorne, Annapolis Co NS; husband of Elsie Mae Lewis, of Port Lorne.
(ancestry.ca gen records has 1900-1944 for him, while age 26 would mean born 1918)

James Ralph Main veterans.gc.ca
L/Cpl. J. Ralph Main

MAIN, James Ralph, 29, Lance Corporal, G/22152.
Bayeux Memorial, France.
Son of Amos and Jane E Main of New Carlisle, Bonaventure Co Quebec.
Born 21 Jul 1914 New Carlisle, Que. Enlisted 9 Jun 1940 Campbellton NB.

MALLALEY, John Thomas, 33, Private, G/23340.
Bretteville-Sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery, France.
Son of Thomas and Clara Mallaley (née Clara Jane Carrier?), of Lorne, Restigouche Co NB; husband of Opal Mallaley, of Lorne.
Born 1 Jan 1914 Lorne NB. Enlisted 9 Jul 1941 Rivière Jacquet NB.

MERSEREAU, Cyril Seton, 28, Lieutenant.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of Claude Middleton Mersereau and Brigid Mary McGinley. Born 4 Jan 1916 Bathurst NB

John-A-MacNaughton-from-R-Walsh-at-James-M-Hill-HS-MiramichiMacNAUGHTON, John Archibald “Archie”, 47, Major.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of John Archibald and Maria MacNaughton, of Black River Bridge NB; husband of Grace Helen MacNaughton, of Black River Bridge.
Born 7 Oct 1896 Black River Bridge NB. Enlisted 7 Jun 1940 Chatham NB. Also in WWI ,104th Battalion, then 26th Battalion.

Major Archie MacNaughton, D-Day Heritage Minute

McCORMACK, Hugh Michael, 22, Sergeant, G/22831.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Born 29 Jun 1921.

McLEOD, George Bud, 27, Private, G/60509.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Born 6 Feb 1917.

PALMER, Earl Roderick, 21, Private, G/28691.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Born 20 Jan 1923, from St. Stephen NB

Randolph-Pitre-ctvnews.caPITRE, Randolph, 21, Private, G/52076.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Born 11 Jun 1922 Bathurst NB. Enlisted 6 Jul 1941 Richibucto NB.
Son of Joseph Pitre and Josephine Watson of Big Cove NB, Elsipogtog First Nation. (CTV News: NB students travel to Normandy to visit Canadian war graves)

RIGLEY, Edward Joseph “Ned”, 23, Sergeant, G/22845.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Born 7 Sep 1920.
(brother-in-law of A Company 7 Platoon Commander Lt. Fred Moar, who survived war)

ROY, Joseph Edgar, 21, Private, G/23307.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of Jerome J P and Louise Roy, of Petit Rocher Nord NB.
Born 9 Sep 1922. Enlisted 9 Jul 1941 Woodstock NB

Albert-Joseph-Savoy-junobeach.orgSAVOY, Albert Joseph, 27, Corporal, G/22044.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of Adolphe and Marie (née Pélagie) Savoy; husband of Pearl (née Lloyd) Savoy, of Escuminac, NB.
Born 10 Jan 1917 Chatham NB. Enlisted 10 Jun 1940 Chatham. 1 son.

STRANG, Arthur William, 26, Private, G/22728.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
s/o Jacob Ross and Jane Annie (née Stymiest) Strang, of Price Settlement, Northumberland Co NB; husband of Kathleen Ellen Strang(née Shepard) , of Price Settlement.
Born 28 Jan 1918 Tabusintac, Northumberland Co NB. 2 daughters.

Private Arthur Strang, video by Stephen Wilson

WALKER, John Ernest, 24, Lance Corporal, G/22835.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of George and Hazel Walker; husband of Rita Walker, of Hassocks, Sussex, England.

WALSH, Joseph Patrick, 28, Lance Sergeant, G/23259.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of James and Nellie Walsh, of Doyles Brook NB.

WIGGINS, Lambert Whitfield, 29, Corporal, G/18379.
Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.
Son of Lambert Williams Wiggins and Florence Alberta Wiggins, of Mars Hill, Maine USA.
Born 20 Apr 1915 Muniac NB. Enlisted 4 Apr 1940 Woodstock NB.

D-Day Memorial, Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer

canadian-memorial D-Day st-aubin-sur-mer-veterans.gcOn the D-Day memorial at Saint-Aubin, the North Shore (NB) Regiment names are engraved on the left side. Two more men, killed in combat the following day, are also included.

AURIAT, Jean Marie Joseph, Private, F/65252.
Douvres-la-Delivrande War Cemetery, Calvados, France.
Son of Francois Auriat and Victoire Montes, Saint-Front, Saskatchewan.
Three of his brothers were also in the Canadian Forces. Marcel, like his brother Jean, joined the North Shore (NB) Regiment. (See Auriat-Lamoureux Family History at saskhistory.ca.)

jean auriet and brothers wwii saskhistory.ca
Jean, Marcel, Albert and Paul Auriate, 1944 Le Patriote saskhistory.ca

CORMIER, Azade, 19, Private, G/23432.
Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery, Calvados, France.
Son of Joseph and Marie Cormier, of Pokesudi, Gloucester Co., New Brunswick.

Battle of Normandy begins

Three hundred and fifty-nine Canadians died on D-Day. More than 5,000 Canadians were killed in the following two months during the Battle of Normandy, and more than 13,000 wounded. To all who died and all who survived, thank you.

Canadian Assaults D Day map junobeach.org
From What is D-Day? An FAQ – Juno Beach Centre junobeach.org (tap to enlarge)

Other sources

Soldiers’ photos came from the Canadian Virtual War Memorial, Veterans Affairs Canada.

CBC has more on Archie MacNaughton and his Heritage Minute.

At Maple Leaf Up, you can read about the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment on “the longest day”. See Nation and State for more on the film taken during the landing.

Angel in a Foxhole

Writer Dave Tabar wants to make a movie called Angel in a Foxhole – about Smoky, the Yorkshire Terrier war dog. Until July 4th, Blackpool Records will match all contributions. Here is Dave’s email.

angel in a foxhole - smoky facebook pageSmoky the WWII Dog – Short Film Project Update

96 year old WWII Veteran Bill Wynne needs your help! He has a Yorkie story that must be told –  the incredible and inspirational TRUE story of “Smoky”, his 4 lb. Yorkshire Terrier, who literally became the tiniest Hero of WWII!

dave-tabar-bill-wynne-my-smoky
Dave Tabar and Bill Wynne with Yorkie and Smoky photo

Little Smoky was stuck in a foxhole in New Guinea when she was rescued by Bill Wynne’s army regiment.  With Bill by her side, Smoky went on to win an army mascot competition, grace the cover of the GI newspaper, Yank Magazine, become the first-ever Therapy Dog and literally save lives and planes during the war.

Her heart-warming story shows how much our four-legged friends can accomplish and the powerful impact they have on others’ lives, even when they’re only 4 lbs. Little Smoky did not stop there! After the war, she became a celebrity in Cleveland, Ohio and had her own local TV show [WXEL’s Castles in the Air].

smoky-and-bill-wynne-1946
Smoky and Bill Wynne 1946

Help us share her charming place in history as a movie! Please check out our Indiegogo campaign and donate whatever you can – no amount is too small. With your help, 3-time Emmy Award-Winning Director Dean Love can create a memorable short film that will touch all of our hearts and help us convince Hollywood to turn this into a blockbuster feature. Let’s put Smoky’s name in lights and make 96 year old Veteran Bill Wynne’s dream come true!

Hear the story and contribute to the film campaign at Indiegogo – Smoky film.

To all who have helped fund the “Angel in a Foxhole: Smoky the WWII Therapy Dog” short film / Indiegogo campaign: Thank you for your support!

Blackpool Records matches funds until July 4th

We are writing to inform you that we have received a generous offer from Blackpool Records to match all personal donations received during the final days of the campaign, beginning today, to assure that we reach our minimum $25,000 campaign goal!

John_Purdy-and_Yorkie_Eventbrite
John Purdy will play Bill Wynne

Please consider a contribution, no matter how small, to take advantage of this offer. Otherwise, please forward this message to friends, family and others, as the current campaign ends on Wednesday, July 4th. Today we reached 50% of our minimum goal of $25,000 to produce the film that will put “Smoky” on the big screen at selected 2019 short film festivals, as we continue to work toward achieving a full feature film!

STUDIO A FILMS (Cleveland) and DEAN LOVE FILMS (NYC)

Angel in a Foxhole perks, and more about Smoky

wardogs_smoky_wynnephotoCheck out Indiegogo for great perks you get with your donation! If you want to know more about Smoky, see my review of Mr. Wynne’s book Yorkie Doodle Dandy. I also posted about the tribute Australia paid to her, as well as an email I received from Bill Wynne in 2015.

Of course, she is in the Dogs in War post written by Jim Stewart. Smoky’s Facebook page will keep you up to date on the film’s progress as will her website Smoky War Dog.

Code Talkers

youtube code talkers-white house
L-R: Fleming Begaye, Donald Trump, Thomas Begay, Peter MacDonald, Nov. 27/17

In the early part of World War II, the enemy was breaking every military code that was being used in the Pacific. This created a huge problem for strategizing against the enemy. Eventually a suggestion was made in early 1942 to use the Navajo language as a code.

The Marine Corps recruited 29 young Navajos, not telling them what they are being recruited for because this was a top secret operation. They were just asked ‘you wanna join the Marines? You wanna fight the enemy? Come join the Marines.’ Then they were separated from all the rest of the Marines. Took them to a top secret location. That’s where they created a military code to be used in the Pacific.

After creating 260 code words, the 29 young Marines – half of them were sent overseas to join the 1st Marine Division. On August 7th 1942, 1st Marine Division hit the beaches of Gaudalcanal. This was the first battle where the Navajo code was to be tested in actual battle.

Three weeks after the landing, General Vandegrift, Commander of the 1st Marine Division, sent word back to United States saying, this Navajo code is terrific. The enemy never understood it, he said. We don’t understand it either, but it works. Send us some more Navajos. So that opened up the gate for United States Marine Corps San Diego to start recruiting more and more Navajos, using the same tactics.

The 13 of us, we still have one mission. That mission is to build National Navajo Code Talker Museum. We want to preserve this unique World War II history for our children, grandchildren, your children, your grandchildren.

Why? Because what we did truly represents who we are as Americans. America, we know, is composed of diverse community. We have different languages, different skills, different talents, and different religion. But when our way of life is threatened, like freedom and liberty that we all cherish, we come together as one. And when we come together as one, we are invincible.

-Peter MacDonald, Sr., Navajo Code Talker

This is part of what Peter MacDonald Sr. said at the White House on Monday. Mr. MacDonald, Fleming Begaye and Thomas Begay are Marine Corps veterans of World War II, Navajo Code Talkers. It played on Wednesday’s As It Happens on CBC Radio (beginning of Part 3).

Navajo US Marine Corps code talker recruits, Fort Wingate NM wikicommons
First 29 Navajo US Marine Corps code talker recruits being sworn in at Fort Wingate NM

This was a rare opportunity to hear about the history of the unit directly from those involved. But Mr. MacDonald’s speech didn’t get a lot of television coverage. Yep, President Trump opened his mouth.

So thank you, CBC, for playing this excerpt. It made me go look for the full speech, which I found on Real Clear Politics – both transcript and video.

Wartime Foresters

“The King’s Government call for lumber men and all skilled workmen not eligible for the Regiment or the Royal Naval Reserve for service in the forests of the United Kingdom.”call for foresters in evening telegram-7-apr-1917-heritage-nf

In World Wars I and II, Britain needed foresters. Lots of timber available, especially in Scotland, and both military and civilian need for lumber. But not enough people left in the UK with the necessary skills and strength to cut and mill it. That’s where Newfoundland, Canada and other British dominions came in: to provide the skilled labour.nfld-forestry-corps-scotland-wwi-heritage-nf

The Newfoundland Forestry Corps sent about 500 men overseas in 1917 to cut and mill wood. From 1939 to the end of WWII, the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit sent about 3,680 men. They worked in Scotland, England and France.

nofu-badge-wwiiAccording to Neary and Baker (2010:9), “the largest single group of Newfoundlanders to go overseas during the Second World War did not go in uniform, but as members of the Newfoundland Forestry Unit.” In both wars, the forestry units were civilian.

The same rules for recruitment applied in the Canadian Forestry Corps (CFC) but it was part of the Canadian Armed Forces. The CFC was created in 1916 and disbanded in 1920. It resumed service in 1939 to 1945.

Foresters as Soldiers or Civilians

The difference in civilian or military categorization didn’t matter at the time, but it did afterwards. In Newfoundland, men of the forestry units were not eligible for veterans’ benefits. The same was true for veterans of the Merchant Marine, a civilian unit responsible for keeping shipping channels safe for military and commercial vessels. Finally in 1962, the forestry units and Merchant Marine were recognized under the Civilian War Allowance Act. In 2000, their veterans received the same benefits as those of military branches.Nfld foresters nofu-log-loading-duthil-1944-ngb-chebucto

In both wars, many men left the forestry corps to sign up for combat units. Either they reached legal enlistment age or got the required education level. The war dragged on, and needed more and more fighting men. So the physical requirements changed. Men rejected earlier for combat due to maybe not meeting the height or eyesight standards became eligible.alfred-j-munnings-draft-horses-lumber-mill-in-the-forest-of-dreux-leicestergalleries-com

Lumbering was still needed too, however. So men continued to be recruited to replace those who had left. And there were injuries and deaths. It may not have been combat, but woodswork is dangerous. While working, 335 NOFU men were injured severely enough to be sent back home and 34 were killed. That’s one tenth. In WWI, 14 names are on the honour roll for the NFC.

2010 Peter Neary and Melvin Baker (eds.), Introduction, History of the Participation by Newfoundland in World War II, Allan M. Fraser (pdf)

The story of NOFU is in They Also Served by Tom Curran, St. John’s: Jesperson 1987. See Newfoundland’s Grand Banks for names, records and photographs from WWI and II.

VE Day 70th

VE Day post, photo Jim Taggart, George Anger, Bill Carley 1944May 8th 1945, Victory in Europe Day, marked the end of one part of World War II. War with Japan continued until two atomic bombs were dropped in July. Japan signed a formal surrender on September 2nd.

My mother was on Dundas Street East in London Ont. on VE Day. She said when the news spread, everyone ran into the street screaming, laughing, hugging anyone at hand. They stayed outside for hours, revelling in the knowledge that the war was over. Bluebirds were flying over the white cliffs of Dover, the boys were coming home.

VE Day meant coming home

Coming home took time. Dad’s official discharge papers are stamped November 28th 1945, Wolseley Barracks, London Ontario. My mother and her parents met him. My 3½ year old brother was in his VE Day post, soldiers on Jeep at Camp Borden England 1944grandpa’s arms. He didn’t know the man they all were hugging and kissing and crying over. But he connected the name with the daddy he’d been told about. He slithered, Mom said, across from Grandpa’s arms to Dad’s.

My parents knew they had been luckier than others in the war and the post-war adjustment. Mom was happy to stop restaurant and factory work and stay home with her child. Dad had spent his war working on army vehicles in England and Scotland. At home, he worked on civilian vehicles. They made their photo wwii Bill Hardy and George Angercontribution to the Baby Boom. The war receded into the background, never forgotten but not active in their lives.

Decades later, Mom found an undeveloped film in a drawer. It wasn’t one of hers. From the printing on it, she saw it was from the UK. She realized it was Dad’s from the war. So she was a bit nervous about getting it developed. So was he, I think. What would be on the pictures? Soldiers. Some of them he hadn’t seen since.

VJ Day – war is over

photo Bill Stewart Captain US Army Air ForceMy parents-in-law survived it too. They had to wait until VJ Day for it to be over. Bill was a pilot in the US Army Airforce. A blast to his eardrum during training put an end to his hopes to be a fighter pilot. Instead he flew transport planes, cargo and people. Some of his passengers, near the end of the war, were survivors from POW camps and Buchenwald, a concentration camp.

He came home to Kentucky in August 1945. He brought gifts from Paris for a girl he had met when home on leave in 1944. One was a gold sequinned Juliet cap. She wore it at their wedding three months later.

 

Yorkie Doodle Update

After I wrote a review of Yorkie Doodle Dandy (St. Thomas Dog Blog, April 2012), I got a lovely email from author Bill Wynne. 

 Yorkie Doodle author Bill Wynne with Yorkie in Cleveland parkThank you so much for the wonderful review of my memoir about my dog Smoky… I’m working a on a second book because YDD has been popular and resulted in many diverse things happening. Among them, some readers asking for another book. It will be “Angel in a Foxhole:  Yorkie Smoky and Her Friends.”

Below is what is happening currently with our 69 year old hero:

A British TV company will record an interview in Cleveland Ohio, for “SUPER TINY PETS” broadcast, at the Smoky Memorial to be aired in the U.K. May 9, 2012

Smoky will have a memorial in Brisbane Australia within the next month or two. There are six memorials for her in the U.S.A. The following is part of the program that will be printed for a Smoky memorial dedication in Brisbane Australia.

Smoky-with-wounded-soldiersThrough the encouragement of Nigel Allsopp, one of Australia’s foremost animal advocates and dog experts, Smoky is to be honored by the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital on an original site where she medically served at a U.S. Military Hospital in 1944.

I am so proud that she is to be remembered here, the land of our close WWII ally and in the city of her birth. Unwittingly we began the animal therapy movement which has proven its benefits for many of the maladies brought on during war and peace throughout the world. Smoky led the way, performing her special magic. Helping cure those in need in the unique way that therapy dogs are so innocently capable of doing. “Smoky is the First Therapy Dog of Record” (from Animal Planet, research)

Smoky Too beside pile of Smoky books
Click for larger view

My sincere thanks to the Board and Staff of Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital for establishing this memorial. To the Australian Army Forces who participated in the ceremony honoring ” WWII’s smallest soldier,” thank you…

See attached photo for many publications inspired by YDD. This photo was taken last Sept [with Smoky Too]. There are 11 publications out since.

Sincerely, Bill Wynne

Thank you, Mr. Wynne, for keeping the memory of this little dog – soldier, therapist and entertainer – alive. What makes Smoky so remarkable is that she was truly a Renaissance Dog – she did it all. By honouring her, we remember and honour them all.   Military dogs, guide dogs, therapy dogs, search dogs, sled dogs – all working and service dogs, as well as those who simply excel at being our best friends. (From my St. Thomas Dog Blog, June 7/12)