Bill Hillman's Monthly Military Tribute
2017.08 Edition
Stuart Johnson's
A WWII Slide Presentation
Stuart Johnson, a staunch BCATP volunteer and supporter, was born in Beulah and now resides in Winnipeg. Stuart has taken his camera to a multitude of European battle sites and cemeteries to produce a remarkable one-hour slide show entitled "Freedom is not Free." His presentation drives home the horrors of war by featuring scenes of military cemeteries, concentration camps and other historical sites related to WWI and WWII. Stuart's array of photographs and well-researched, touching commentary combine to produce a fitting tribute to those Canadians who gave us the freedom we enjoy today.

We are privileged to share with you here, a sampling of some of the photos from his presentation. 

The complete text of Stuart's Memorial Slide Presentation is displayed in 
PART 2 of this feature: SCRIPT



Vimy France ~ the Canadian Memorial
to the 60 thousand Canadians 
who lost their lives in the Great World War,
the War to end all wars, World War 1.

Vimy ~ The grass in the area is kept trimmed by the sheep.
The ground still contains explosives from WWI as well as the
remains of hundreds of soldiers
who fought, died, and drowned in the mud.
They still lose about one sheep a month due to the
explosives being set off by the weight of the sheep.

Beaumont Memorial - France: 
to the Newfoundland Regiment.
Over 800 men went into battle -
the following morning only about 78 answered roll call.
The Caribou points directly to St. Johns, Newfoundland.

The Cemetery at Wimereau, France.
John McCrea’s grave is to 
the immediate left of the Cross of Sacrifice.
The stones lie flat because the soil shifts 
and they cannot be maintained vertically.

One cemetery near Verdun, France.
It illustrates the futility of war.
These stones represent a portion of 
the 120 thousand graves in this cemetery.


September 1, 1939: WWII began and soon after
Germany walked over Poland, 
and then into Belgium, Holland and France.
The free world held its breath while the Battle of Britain
was fought and won by men 
flying the Hurricane on the right and the
Spitfire(wearing D-Day stripes).
Over 100 young Canadian pilots
flew in the Battle of Britain and
drove the German Luftwaffe from the skies of Britain.

Later came the Dieppe Raid - August 19, 1942.
The little Town of Puys shown here is where
The Royal Regiment of Toronto 
was almost obliterated.
The house above shows up in 
pictures of the raid and still remains.
Note the large bunker to the immediate right,
the machine gun half way up the stairs 
and the one in front of the house.

Air photo of Dieppe at the time of the raid.
Debris still washes in from the sea in the tide.
The harbour and town 
have changed little since that time…
...but are much friendlier now!

Dieppe today.
At the time of the raid 
all the hotels and houses were
full of machine gun positions 
and only a broad stretch of beach was
left to cross under murderous gunfire.
The remnants of a machine gun position remains at the
brow of the green cliff near the centre of the picture.

Prisoners taken at Dieppe.
Nearly every town in Canada 
was touched by this raid.
The Canadian with his hat tipped back
is a relation of Stuart Johnson.

Taken above Arroanche France.
The artificial harbour towed 
across from England still
leaves its parts to indicate
its position so long ago. (Gold Beach –Brt.)

The Guns at Longues France. Gold Beach.
They still remain but 
are bowed to the liberating Allies.

Three aircraft flown by Canadians as
they carried the war deep into the heart of Germany.
The Lancaster
(Visit our Battle of Britain 
Memorial Flight site for many photos)

The Halifax

The B-17 Flying Fortress
(This one appeared in the movie,

The Memorial to airmen of 
the British Commonwealth
who flew out of England and
have no known grave.
Located at Runnymede, England.
It contains the names of 
20 thousand airmen with no known grave.
There are six of these memorials 
around the world including the one in Ottawa.
The total number of airmen 
without known graves is over 33 thousand.
Runnymede in where
the Magna Carta was signed in 1215,
giving us our present day laws and freedoms.

Dieppe Cemetery: The stones in the centre 
are of the men killed in the raid.
Along the right are the graves of airmen.
Almost out of the picture on the left are 
Free French graves - men who fought for the Allies.

Beny Sur Mer Cemetery:
Just beyond the building 
you might detect a different blue colour.
This is Juno beach where the Canadians landed.

Above 0maha Beach - a D-Day beach.
One of the two American invasion beaches.
It was later called "Bloody 0maha.”

Omaha Beach U.S. Cemetery: 
Only a small part shows in this picture.
114 Acres - 9,400 Graves - hence “Bloody Omaha"

La Cambe, France ~ A German Cemetery 
containing 22,000 Graves.
Men who died following a cause
that went terribly wrong.
The significance of the groups of 
5 stones is unknown.

The Mynarski Lancaster in Winnipeg 
on its maiden flight - after Restoration.
Mynarski died of burns 
trying to save his trapped tail gunner.
The strange part of the story is
that when the burning aircraft
hit the ground the tail turret popped out and the
tail gunner survived with only a few scratches.

Bergen Belsen Death Camp (Germany)
Where countless people 
starved to death including Anne Frank.

Bergen Belsen, Germany:
Here the German SS 
who were responsible for the
deaths of the prisoners are made
to bury the dead in pits for
fear of the spread of disease 
among the few that survived.

Bachenwald Death Camp:
This shows the sleeping conditions in the camp.
The man in the second row
4th from the left is Klei Weisel.
He is still alive but his father died in this camp.

Dachau Germany: Shows guard tower, 
electric fence and moat

Main entrance for prisoners at Dachau.
Words in the fencing roughly translated mean 
"Work makes you free."
The only way to freedom was up
the chimney in the crematorium!
Dachaua was built in 1933 to house 5,000 prisoners.
In 1945 at liberation it held 30.000.

Crematorium at Dachau.
Beware of Buildings 
with square chimneys in Germany.
All death camps had them.
There were no gas chambers here but
starvation,  brutality, 
and shootings achieved the same end.

Dachau Crematorium: 
Where thousands were cremated.
One of those was the famous 
French underground spy Madelaine.
The plaque on the wall at the left honours her.

The Little town of Oradour Sur Glane, France
where the German SS surrounded the town,
called all the people to the village square,
sent the men to the barns and sheds,
women and children to the church and
burned all the buildings killing 642 people.
It was later discovered that the wrong town
had been chosen for this orgy of killing.
It stands today as a shrine.
(It was dynamited after the killings.)

Oradour Sur Glane, France:  Core remains.
This is the church where one lady 
managed to jump out the window
and was not discovered. She lived to tell the story.
Oradour is about 25 Kms from Limoge, France.

The prison number tattoo on the arm of a
survivor of the Death Camp at Ebensee, Austria.
He received it at age 14 
while a prisoner at Auschwitz, Poland
He is speaking to school children of his time in this camp.
He was brought here at the age of 14-15.
He did not return to Poland after the war but
lives in Ebensee with his Austrian wife and 5 children.

Hitler’s Eagles Nest in the Bavarian Alps:
It is now a restaurant in the beautiful surroundings 
above Berchtesgaden, Germany.
Think of the inhuman plans
that were developed in this beautiful area.

The town of Berchtesgaden, Germany 
lies below the Eagle's Nest.

View from Calais Cemetery:
Across the channel you can see
the White Cliffs of Dover England.

The grave at Scopwich of
John Gillespie Magee Jr.,
an American who flew with the RCAF
(as did 6000 other Americans).
He wrote the poem High Flight 
which is a famous poem from WWII.
He was killed in a mid-air collision at 19.


The complete text of Stuart's Memorial Slide Presentation is displayed in 
PART 2 of this feature: SCRIPT

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