Bill Hillman's Monthly Military Tribute
AS YOU WERE . . .
WAR YEARS ECLECTICA
2016.11 Edition

REMEMBRANCE TRIBUTE ISSUE
PART 1 (Continued in Part 2)
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FINAL TRIBUTE
May 4, 1945


F/L William Gavin Campbell
Blacon Cemetery, Chester England
DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE FOR AIR
Office of Chief of the Air Staff ~Ottawa
4th May, 1945
Mr. J. M. Campbell
Strathclair, Manitoba
Dear Mr. Campbell:

I have learned with deep regret of the death of your son, Flight Lieutenant William Gavin Campbell, on Active Service Overseas on April 30th, and I wish to offer you and the members of your family my sincere and heartfelt sympathy.

It is most lamentable that a promising career should be thus terminated and I would like you to know that his loss is greatly deplored by all those with whom he was serving.

Yours sincerely,
Robert Leckie
Air Marshal 
Chief of the Air Staff
..
 

Wing Commander M. W. Gall 
No. 428 Squadron
R.C.A.F. Overseas
6th May, 1945

Mr. J.M. Campbell
Strathclair, Manitoba
Dear Mr. Campbell

You will already have received word that your son, Flight Lieutenant W.G. Campbell, was killed in an air accident on the forenoon of 30th April, 1945, and will I am sure, wish to have further particulars of the incident. These, as you will understand, I must ask you to treat as confidential

Your son and his crew were detailed for a day cross country training flight. Approximately, one hour after take-off, information was received that the aircraft in which your son was flying had crashed. All members of the crew were killed. It is regretted that no information regarding the cause of this unfortunate incident is available. The aircraft was seen spinning down, apparently out of control and hitting the ground with great force. Your son was a very experienced pilot, having spent many months as an instructor.

Owing to the time taken to communicate under present conditions, it was not possible to ascertain your wishes regarding the funeral in the time available and I had therefore to arrange for burial without reference to you. You will, I am sure, understand the necessity for this action, and I sincerely trust the arrangements we were able to make were what you would have wished.

Your son's funeral took place at the Regional Cemetery at Chester on the afternoon of May 4th at two o'clock. Full Service honours were accorded, the coffin being carried by Air Force personnel.  A firing party was present, and the coffin was covered with the Union Jack. The Last Post was sounded at the end.

Wreaths were sent from the Officers' and Sergeants' Messes, and I hope to send you shortly a photograph of the grave, the number of which is A.707.

You will wish to know that all war graves are cared for by the Imperial War Graves Commission, which will erect a temporary wood cross pending the provision of a permanent memorial by them. 

Your son's affects have been gathered together and sent to the Royal Air Force Central Depository, by which they will be forwarded to the Director of Estates, Ottawa, who will be writing to you in this regard in due course.

May I now express the great sympathy which all of us feel with you in the sad loss which you have sustained.  It is indeed tragic that seven young lives should be lost so near the end of what all free people have been so long waiting for. He had been on the Squadron only a few days, but his keenness and determination to complete his training were factors noted by all members of the Squadron. I am sure that your son and his crew would have helped to maintain the high reputation this Squadron has achieved. I should like also to assure you how much we all honour the gallant sacrifice he has made, so far from home, in the cause of freedom and in the service of democracy.

Yours faithfully,
M.W. Gall
 

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Royal Canadian Air Force
See the Blacon Military Cemetery near Chester England as it appears today:
Blacon 1 ~ Blacon 2

A PLACE OF HONOUR
Manitoba Geographical Names Program Honours the WWII Fallen
Vintage Wings
Canada has an estimated and astonishing 2,000,000 lakes and holds within its borders more fresh water than all the rest of the world combined. Most of these millions of lakes can be found in the north, where retreating ice age glaciers scoured, cut and pressed deep water-filled scars in the landscape. Much of Nunavut, northern Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec is covered in fresh water. Many lakes that would be the largest freshwater lake in some countries remain to this day unnamed and unvisited.

Having a geographical feature like a river, lake, bay, island or mountain named for you has long been understood as a great and very permanent honour. Many early explorers named geographical features that they came upon after their funders and political sponsors. Lewis and Clark and many an Arctic explorer would take the time name rivers, islands and promontories after their benefactors. Scottish explorer John Ross named a vast peninsula in the arctic Boohtia Felix in honour of one of his financial backers, Boothia Gin of London, owned by Felix Booth, a wealthy spirits manufacture.

In the Canadian province of Manitoba, the Manitoba Geographical Names Program has for many years attempted to put names to the province’s many geographical features. The program lists several thousand lakes, bays, rivers, streams and other natural features in indigenous languages. The program’s lists also include an astonishing 4,200 of Manitoba’s war dead for whom a lake, island or other geographical feature is named.

With over 110,000 lakes within its borders, Manitoba will not likely run out of features to honour their fallen for many centuries to come. The province published a compendium of all 4,200 honourees called A Place of Honour. The Program’s web site explains:  “This publication is dedicated to the families of those Manitobans who lost a loved one as a casualty of war. Our Province has recognized their sacrifice in the commemorative naming of more than 4,200 lakes, islands, bays and other geographical features after them.

This is not a military history. Innumerable histories have been published since the end of the Second World War focusing upon Canadian casualties, specific branches of the service and various military campaigns. The source of information on these men and women is not primarily historical, archival or military. It is the families and friends of these people, and in some cases, the words of the casualties themselves as expressed in their letters and diaries. In describing these times and events on a personal or familial level, it becomes apparent that the loss of these men and women continues to be felt throughout our province and indeed, throughout the world.”


"FIVE SONS OF MR. & MRS. R. B. HILLMAN OF ELROSE ARE SERVING"

A NEWSPAPER CLIPPING FEATURING THE HILLMAN BOYS (1943)
(3 Came Home)
www.hillmanweb.com/rcn



FROM THE HILLMAN MILITARY TRIBUTE SITE
www.hillmanweb.com/war

click for full-size collage
~ Bill Hillman's RCAF Tribute


click for full-size collage
~ Bill Hillman's RCN Tribute



Previous 2016 Issues:
JANUARY
Vets Home for Xmas Plus The Japan Homefront
FEBRUARY
Photo Story: WWII Remembered
MARCH
Canadian Women in WWII
APRIL
RCAF Flyers wrote Olympic history
MAY
Imperial War Museums Memories
JUNE
Lancaster Cockpit and Crew Stations ~ Pearl Harbor Mastermind
JULY
BCATP Bases and Aircraft ~ Battle of Britain ~ War Brides
AUGUST
RCAF and WWII Polish Resistance ~ F/L Donald Hillman ~ WWI Camp Hughes
SEPTEMBER
Memories
OCTOBER
RCAF Women Honoured
NOVEMBER
1. Lest We Forget: Family Tribute
2. Then and Now ~ Wearing the Poppy

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