Bill Hillman Presents
Forces: Land ~ Air ~ Sea ~ Home
A MILITARY TRIBUTE WEBZINE . . . AS YOU WERE . . .
Compiled by Bill Hillman
Wherein we share an eclectic assortment of items gleaned from the
Internet, media and contributing readers.
Please send your ideas and contributions to the
FLASH. . . Editor and Webmaster: Bill Hillman: firstname.lastname@example.org
December 2001 Edition
Be sure to check out previous years' special Christmas Editions of As You Were at:
Visit the WWII Christmas Memories Website
Mom, do you remember the Christmas of thirty-six?
I got a gun and holster set so I could play Tom Mix.
And the very next year, I'm sure it was, when Christmas came around,
I got a bat, a ball, and glove, the proudest boy in town!
In 'thirty-eight, a ping pong set, and it wasn't very long
'Til I was undisputed champ of all who played ping pong.
I got a bike in 'thirty-nine, the only one I ever had;
No matter how hard the times, you always managed, you and Dad.
Then came the time in 'forty-two, when I had to go away,
To do my part to win a war, no time for Christmas Day.
A homesick boy in Navy blues stared at the barracks wall,
And longed for home at Christmas, and family most of all.
Then came the call, the one call, that sailors love to hear,
Mail call was the call I heard and the sound meant Christmas cheer.
A package, large and gaily wrapped, was handed back to me,
I read the tag, "From Mom and Dad", though I could scarcely see.
Down through the years, you taught me that Christmas is for giving,
And I learned from you love must abide or there is no joy in living,
And, Mom, I've taught my children and my grandchildren, too,
The greatest gift that they can give is love the whole year through.
Copyright NOVEMBER, 1987
Cynthia J. Faryon
Pilot Officer Lawrence George Cramer DFC
As I sat fidgeting in a church pew on Sunday, November 11, 1984, I glanced curiously at the Legion uniforms around me. So many old geezers, I thought irreverently. Then, I turned my attention to our minister, who was introducing our guest speaker in honour of Remembrance Day; it was a morning I would never forget.
The speaker, Larry, a tall man in his 60’s, came forward and shook the minister’s hand. Taking his place at the podium, he began to address the congregation in a quiet voice. Although he appeared calm, his eyes shifted nervously over his audience, betraying his inner feelings. He told us how, as the oldest son of a northern Saskatchewan farmer, he had eagerly signed up with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) at the beginning of WWII. After his training in Brandon, Manitoba, he shipped out to
England to fly with the Royal Air Force (RAF), along with many other Canadians. Due to his keen marksmanship, Larry had proudly been assigned to the 77th squadron as a rear gunner.
I found myself chuckling, along with the rest of the congregation, as Larry described the awkwardness of folding his tall frame into the tiny compartment that housed the rear guns on the Halifax bombers. Quietly, almost as an afterthought, he also stated that the life expectancy of a rear gunner during WWII was approximately 5 weeks. Yet, I knew from the introduction he had received from our minister, this brave man had flown 38 missions over 3 years.
In a voice punctuated with difficult emotions, he described his horror as another bomber in his squad was fatally hit, by anti-aircraft artillery, while flying a bombing mission over Germany. He recounted his desperate prayers that the pilot dump his load early, giving the plane a chance to limp back and bring the crew home safely. However, like so many others that day, Larry witnessed true heroism. The ill-fated bomber doggedly smoked its way to the designated bombing site and dropped its load on the target as planned, instead of on some unsuspecting civilian family. Then, as Larry and the rest of his squad watched helplessly, the plane disintegrated and the crew jumped from the wounded guts of the bomber - some with parachutes, some without - and disappeared into the unknown.
Larry paused, reaching down to grasp a glass of water in his shaking hand. I noted the deafening silence of the congregation around me. Those in uniform sat in stony remembrance, while those of us born free of the horrors of war, wrestled with the inherited memories of what Larry had survived. I looked with compassion at this man disturbed to his soul by the horrors of war, and began to understand.
Clearing his throat, Larry smiled apologetically before he continued. He then described a daylight mission he had flown that had brought him face to face with his own mortality. The purpose of each mission was to hit a predetermined target, he explained, some obscure point on a map. Larry, like many others on these assignments, tried not to think of the people this target may represent. For, although he was second generation Canadian, he was of Dutch/German descent. He tried not to wonder if he was bombing a cousin, or if a relative was flying raids over London.
During this specific mission, German fighters buzzed the bombers. He saw a Junker 88 closing in fast. As the rear guns were the first targets when attacking a bomber, this German fighter had him in his sights. Larry’s gun jammed and he couldn’t swing around to defend himself or his crew. Thinking it was all over, he stared in mortal fascination as death screamed at him in slow motion. He looked into the cockpit of the enemy plane, right into the eyes of the German pilot, and waited for the inevitable blast from the guns. The pilot seemed to hesitate as he looked back into Larry’s eyes. The enemy, then lifted a hand in a half salute and was gone without firing a shot. Larry paused. Then he quietly said he would like to meet that man someday. He would like to thank him for his life, for the lives of his two sons, three daughters, and 14 grand children.
Glancing at the medals he wore on his chest, I recognized the prestigious Distinguished Flying Cross and waited eagerly to hear how he’d earned it. I was to be disappointed. Larry never related his own acts of heroism. Instead, he spoke of the look of death he had seen on the faces of the flyers before each mission. He spoke of the unmistakable aura around those who would not make it back. Then the ultimate despair when the mission was complete and those marked had been lost behind enemy
lines. He spoke of all who died as personal heroes and I sensed he wasn’t the only mourner present. As I listened, my respect grew for the experiences of the proud uniforms around me, and I reflected on how my own life had been marked and shaped by the bravery performed while our world was at war.
I thought of my father’s active service: recalling my childhood frustration of not being allowed to chew gum, crunch potato chips or raw vegetables, around him. My mother always explained it was due to the shell shock my Dad had suffered during the war, but I had been a child and I hadn’t understood. I also remembered the late night yells in the dark when my Dad would have nightmares after watching a war movie before bed. I remembered with compassion, when my father had made a hasty retreat
during a fireworks display. I can still see him, wearing a hunted expression, pacing and chain-smoking outside the bleachers. I’d known that all these episodes were the result of his wartime experiences, but I’d only understood it on the most superficial level.
You see, in all the years I was growing up, I never heard my father talk about the war. Not of his missions, nor of his friends who had died. He kept his medals tucked away in a drawer, along with a picture of his squadron with marks under all those who’d been killed in action. He chose to wear his scars silently on the inside. Those scars that had helped shape and mold my childhood. Then, during that unforgettable Memorial Day service on Nov. 11, 1984, my father, Larry, had been silent no
Four years later, on a cold and bright autumn day, we buried my father. As I looked sadly at the impersonal wood box adorned with pure white, long-stemmed roses, I mourned all the riches my children and I had lost at his passing. How much I owed this man: my father, my childhood hero.copyright 1998 Cynthia J. Faryon
Written by his daughter,
Cynthia J. Faryon
Freelance Writer and Author of Sisters Torn
I was pleased to find your Dragoons Museum site, I wonder if you can help me with a bit of Dragoon research.
In the attached photos of the Winnipeg 46th battery in 1918, the cap badges are those of the Manitoba Dragoons.
My grandfather is in the photo, and I'd like to find out more about the Battery in WW1. Would you be able to aim me in the proper direction to find out more about the 46th Battery/Dragoons and their role in the war?
Bryan Little ~ Richmond, VA.
Thanks to Chris Charland
for submitting additional info on this Sabre:
It is a Canadair Sabre Mk. 6 (s/n 23485) of No. 441'Silver Fox' (F) Squadron based
at No. 1 (F) Wing, Marville, France.
Associate Air Force Historian
1 Canadian Air Division
I have become interested in the BCATP and the involvement of my former high school in Moncton NB. I hope this involvement might lead to some form of a marker which would indicate where BCATP aero engine mechanics were trained during the war in the Moncton High School. My father, Hazen F. Marr, was involved as an instructor with the BCATP, first in St. Thomas, ON and later in Moncton, NB.
I would be grateful to receive any information the museum might have dealing with the aero engine mechanics' training for BCATP. I believe mechanics were trained at St. Thomas, ON and Moosejaw, SK, as well as at Moncton. If such training took place at other places as well, I would like to hear of them.
When the BCATP first came under discussion with current faculty members at Moncton High School, I was amazed to discover that they had never heard of it. They had no idea that a small part of the saga of the BCATP involved the Moncton High School building. Largely through old photographs of the aero engine classroom, we were able to establish exactly where in the building it was located.
I hope there is some information preserved in the museum about this aspect of the BCATP war effort. If you wish to look at what has happened to date at the High School, look at the Moncton High School web page. Also the article below will show something of the interest in Moncton, NB that talk of the BCATP has generated
Best wishes and congratulations on the museum
Hazen A. Marr
|For several years, ending in November 1999, I was
engaged in preparing for engraving and the installation in St. Mary's Anglican
Church, Regina, of a formal Roll of Honour containing the names of the
parish's war dead. On several occasions I have found the referenced
publication very useful.
One of those listed on the Roll of Honour and in the book was a good friend of mine, F/O J.A. Frampton, a pilot who was killed with others of his crew when his Lancaster was shot down on 24 Jun 1944 during a night attack on Leipzig, Germany.
My current project is to prepare a "Book of Remembrance" of the parish's dead in which personal details and particulars are given and in the course of my research to this end I have discovered an error in the information your Book gives on Frampton. You list him as being from Vancouver and that is not correct. His home was Regina. To verify I am sending as an attachment (I hope) a copy of an Application for Military Service Information provided by the Personnel Records Centre. You may wish to correct in future editions of your publication
If this attachment fails to reach you, please let me know and, if you wish I will mail a copy.
I'm simply writing to convey my joy at finding an amazing little coincidence...all due to your delightful array of wild, wacky and wonderful websites.
First off, I discovered your web pages while surfing around the internet for tidbits on Canadian aeronautical history, and I'm just writing to blurt out the happy fact that we share a few things in common!
1.) Like you, I have family connections with WWII-era aviators, and for years I've been engaged in research, historic preservation and education/outreach regarding aviation history. And from what I see you're up to, I say BRAVO! I deeply respect what you are doing to help people remember our heritage.
Me, I fly and restore old planes, I do some writing on aviation topics here and there, and for fun I build old-fashioned "wood and tissue" flying scale models, and the more accurate and detailed plastic models as well.
2.) I'm a guitar player, singer, and group member/director... not so much as a profession, but more as a tool perhaps in doing community service and also of course for the pure fun of it! I sure appreciate all the gusto you and your family show in your multi-faceted celebration of music and its power as a “community-builder”.
Well now, a LOT of people share those two things in common; but my next little item here is the big kicker:
3.) Visiting your free-ranging web world for the first time, I wandered on over to your “ERB” (Edgar Rice Burroughs) web pages and was taken aback to see some old friends from the Burroughs family, folks I hadn’t seen or heard from in nearly thirty years!
Yeah, wayyyyy back in high school I was fortunate to get to know some of the Burroughs gang. We enjoyed some good times together, but as so often happens after high school, we lost touch shortly after graduation. But now, darn near thirty years later, we’re yakking back and forth again, sending email and so forth, all because of YOUR web pages!
So thank you, Bill, for doing what you do... !!! And I look forward to sharing more good stuff with you in the near future.
Many thanks again,
John H. Rood, Jr.
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
I wonder if you could help with some information.What I am looking for is film footage and or still photos pertaining to Unit 24 OTU operating out of Abbotsford BC. A good friend of mine was killed in a flying accident near this base. I have researched the background and have actually visited the crash site. I am attempting now to do a small documentary of his life and service with the BCATP.
Any footage source of B24 Liberator with BCATP markings would be helpful. Most sources so far have been B24 with US markings. At present we have many photos and press clipings from friends and relatives and lots of other information to base the documentary on but lacking proper B 24 footage. You have a great website, really enjoyed visiting, very well done indeed. I am a member of the British Columbia Aviation Museum here in Sidney BC, also Canadian Aviation Historical Society Vancouver Island Chapter. Both of these have yielded much valuable information for my project of which I am very fortunate to receive. Hope you can help or steer me in the right direction!
Many thanks for the prompt response and for sending the information to the appropriate destination.O.K. to use letter in AS YOU WERE, it may well trigger further sources. There are many participants still with us who of course are in their late seventies and early eighties, some did take photo records and also many documentaries were filmed for archival purposes. Sadly, a lot of this footage has been destroyed or lost over the years. It is fortunate that there are so many aviation museums that have collected a wealth of information over the years and have preserved these records for future generations.
During recent visits to England I was amazed to find how many WW2 aircraft have been restored to flying condition. One facility is rebuilding Spitfires with re manufactured parts that are stronger than original specs. As a result they claim that they will still be flying 50 years hence. Some of these have been sold for as high as one million US. The trend to bring aircraft back to flying condition and use is growing and one I am really appreciating. Two years ago near Eastbourne in Sussex I watched a WW2 Spitfire and Me 109 re-enact dog-fight sequences for a documentary filming that was going to be saved in archives for future movie footage. For those of us who had a front row seat near the cliffs this was a memorable experience. They shot every morning for four days, some at very low levels.... a real bonus for spectators!!
From this exposure I decided how important it is to try and save and record events of this time period. A memorable part of aviation history that will never be repeated. First hand information from participants if not gathered now will be lost forever. When one accesses web sites that are up and running now dealing with this theme it is apparent that the information gathering process is well and truly under way. Again, many thanks for your assistance, will keep you appraised of the progress.
2000 - 2001 CATPM Foundation Report
The total value of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum Foundation at the end of the November 1, 2000 - October 31, 2001 fiscal year was $153,686.60
Donations to the Foundation were received from the following generous donors.
N. Christensen; Lou Coleman; George Comrie; Tom Cousins; Coral A. Davids-Fry; Joe Fertich; A. Beryl Goodman; J. Harold Grand; Ross Hamilton; Jack Hanlin; Joan Hoy; C. Jay; George Knapton; Donald McKenzie; H.J. McPherson; R.W. Middlemass; L.M. Nelson; Alexander Provick; A.R. Revell; Kenneth Riesley; John Turnbull; John K. Sim; Royal Canadian Legion - Miniota Branch;
In loving memory of my brother Sid Allison: Blanche Allison
In memory of Pilot Officer George Bullion who went missing in the jungles of Burma on December 07, 1944: F.A. Angus
In memory of all those who were killed in Halifax aircraft LK 761 on the night of February 16, 1944: G.H. Benson
In memory of Olive Boyd: Phyllis Chappell; Ruth & Robin Giles; C.S. Hampton; Stewart & Sharyn Hayter; Stephen & Trina Hayter; Eileen McLaughlan; Elaine & Ken Nairne; Nan Pernal; Gillis Solarune.
In memory of R.A.F. Flying Officer W.M.F. Moffatt. F/O. Moffatt was from New Zealand and was killed while training in Canada on December 19, 1943: Barbara Courtney Young
In memory of my husband, Flight Lieutenant John W. Cowell, 432 and 405 R.C.A.F Squadrons: Winnifred Cowell
In memory of Clarence S. Cameron of Vancouver, BC. WWII RCAF Wireless Operator, #427 Squadron, 6 Group, Bomber Command and William "Buff" Forrer of Vancouver, BC., WWII R.C.A.F. Bomb Aimer, #427 Squadron, 6 Group, Bomber Command: John Delalla
In memory of the members of the WWII Norwegian Resistance and the "Six Sacks of Potatoes" whom the Resistance assisted in their safe return to England: Harvey Firestone
In memory of all Minnedosa (Manitoba) District World War II Servicemen who paid the supreme sacrifice: Ladies Auxiliary Royal Canadian Legion, General Hugh Dyer Branch No. 138
In memory of LAC. Carl William Schoen, 6 Repair Depot, Trenton: Mrs. C. Godfrey
In memory of all those WWII Air Force personnel who pulled me out of Lake Manitoba in June of 1944: M.E. Hageman
In honour of all those airmen from the United States of America who lost their lives while serving the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII: Joseph Hartshorn DFC
In memory of Vern Foster: Harry & Pearl Hayward
In memory of Flying Officer G.B. Johnson: Donna & Stuart Johnson
In memory of John Valiance Jr.: Elna Kruesel
In memory of A.A. (Drew) Lauder, Founding member CATPM Inc.: Muriel E. Lauder & John Watt
In memory of all R.C.A.F., R.A.F., AND R.A.A.F. airmen who trained in Canada during WWII: Ruth E. Lindsay
In memory of all those who served in Western Air Command: D.A. Milloy
In memory of my father Air Vice Marshall Kenneth G. Nairn, C.B.: Marcus Nairn
In memory of the crew of 419 Squadron Lancaster L - Love, December 29, 1944: R.G. Rogers
In memory of all R.C.A.F. WD's who lost their lives during WWII: R.G. Rogers
In memory of Wireless operator Air Gunner Ross Weiss, Davidson, Saskatchewan and Air Gunner Mickey Smythe, Strasbourg, Saskatchewan: E.A. Tyhurst
In memory of F/L Lorne Tyndale: Sandy Tyndale
In memory of Paul Sigurdson (father of Greg Sigurdson): Marj Watt & Family
In memory of those who gave everything in order that we, who survived, and the generations who followed, might live in freedom and not have to go through what they did: Rosalie B. Woodland
Donation to the Building Fund In memory of Wes Agnew: Joyce G. Agnew
W. Blake Gray's Top Ten Christmas Movies of All Time
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
A Christmas Story (1983)
Holiday Inn (1942)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Meet John Doe (1941)
A Midnight Clear (1992)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Scrooge (a.k.a. A Christmas Carol) (1951)
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
The reasons for Gray's choices are explained at:
I have quite few favourites not on this list. How about you? Send in your favourites.WGH
1. 'Amapola (Pretty Little Poppy),' Jimmy Dorsey
2. 'Chattanooga Choo Choo,' Glenn Miller
3. 'Piano Concerto in B Flat,' Freddy Martin
4. 'Daddy,' Sammy Kaye
5. 'Green Eyes,' Jimmy Dorsey
6. 'Maria Elena,' Jimmy Dorsey
7. 'My Sister and I,' Jimmy Dorsey
8. 'Elmer's Tune,' Glenn Miller
9. 'Blue Champagne,' Jimmy Dorsey
10. 'Song of the Volga Boatmen,' Glenn Miller
1. 'White Christmas,' Bing Crosby
2. 'Moonlight Cocktail,' Glenn Miller
3. 'Jingle Jangle Jingle,' Kay Kyser
4. '(I've Got a Gal in) Kalamazoo,' Glenn Miller
5. 'Tangerine,' Jimmy Dorsey
6. 'Sleepy Lagoon,' Harry James
7. 'A String of Pearls,' Glenn Miller
8. 'Blues in the Night,' Woody Herman
9. 'Who Wouldn't Love You,' Kay Kyser
10. 'Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition,' Kay Kyser
1. 'I've Heard That Song Before,' Harry James
2. 'Paper Doll,' Mills Brothers
3. 'Sunday, Monday or Always,' Bing Crosby
4. 'There Are Such Things,' Tommy Dorsey
5. 'You'll Never Know,' Dick Haymes
6. 'In the Blue of the Evening,' Tommy Dorsey
7. 'Comin' In on a Wing and a Prayer,' the Song Spinners
8. 'Taking a Chance on Love,' Benny Goodman
9. 'I Had the Craziest Dream,' Harry James
10. 'That Old Black Magic,' Glenn Miller
1. 'Swinging on a Star,' Bing Crosby
2. 'Shoo-Shoo Baby,' Andrews Sisters
3. 'Don't Fence Me In,' Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters
4. 'Besame Mucho,' Jimmy Dorsey
5. 'I'll Get By,' Harry James
6. '(There'll Be a) Hot Time in the Town of Berlin'
Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters
7. 'You Always Hurt the One You Love,' Mills Brothers
8. 'San Fernando Valley,' Bing Crosby
9. 'My Heart Tells Me,' Glen Gray
10. 'I Love You,' Bing Crosby
1. 'Rum and Coca-Cola,' Andrews Sisters
2. 'Till the End of Time,' Perry Como
3. 'Sentimental Journey,' Les Brown
4. 'On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe,' Johnny Mercer
5. 'My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time,' Les Brown
6. 'There! I've Said It Again,' Vaughn Monroe
7. 'I Can't Begin to Tell You,' Bing Crosby with Carmen Cavallaro
8. 'Chickery Chick,' Sammy Kaye
9. 'It's Been a Long, Long Time,' Harry James
10. 'I'm Beginning to See the Light,' Harry James
Reflections on German Christmas during WWII
Christmas Time WWII: V-Mail
'Twas the Night Before Christmas: A poem written by a Marine stationed in Okinawa Japan.
WWII Hawaii Reminiscences
Ultimate Soldier Christmas Photo Contest
Bill Mauldin: WWII's Greatest Cartoonist
Christmas from a WWII POW Diary
Trapped in a Nazi POW rail-car on Christmas Eve 1944
WWII POW Stories: The Bet at Barth
A Different Kind of Christmas
Irving Berlin's White Christmas by Bing Crosby: Christmas 1941 Debut
Christmas in the 1940's during WWII
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