Sunday, January 26, 2014

It's A Small World

It's still amazing to me how the world wide web has made the world shrink. Last week I received an e-mail from Stuttgart, Germany.

my Name is Bernd. I`m 51 years old and live in Germany near Stuttgart. I am mechanical engineer and reserve officer.
My friend Rolf grew up in a small village in the south of Stuttgart. A few years ago he told me about a crashsite of a bomber in the SCHOENBUCH forest northern TUEBINGEN.  At the place in the forest I sew no parts of a plane.
Rolf told me, that when he was a boy, big parts of a plane lay there. In the late sixties the last parts were scrapped. Body and wings were scrapped in war. His grandfather found a type plate on a motorpart. BRISTOL Hercules. a radial motor.  At the moment the plate is lost in Rolfs cellar -
We searched  surface of the place and found small alluminum parts of a crashed british plane: I found a .303 case with headstamp dated 1943.  Rest of a 4 lbs incendiary bomb. Then I found the most important artifact: a part of a fuel tank gauge. 1-114 GALLONS with a Serial number. I started a investigation and the result: this Instrument was only used in LANCASTER Bombers in the flight engineer`s panel.

LANCASTER  with  BRISTOL Hercules radial motors? I never heard or read before.
The LANCASTER BII Version used by RCAF was right.
I searched for all planes of this version,  lost on raids  to STUTTGART in 1943 or later, with unkown crashsites. I found only 3 airplanes. One crashed in France on it`s way back, the second was downed by a nightfighter near the STUTTGART Airport.

Only your father`s  LANCASTER DS829 remained.

At 15/16th March 1944  863!" bombers started to STUTTGART.  From England they fley to the LAKE CONSTANCE then turned left to the north direction STUTTGART.  The crashsite is about 25 miles south of the target. Do you know where your father bailed out?

I replied that Dad remembered bailing out into the Black Forest.

hanks for the Information.  In my opinion  your Dad remembered right, because the Black Forest is near to the crashsite. No problem for a falling plane.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans' Day 20013

It was cold and wet on this Veterans' Day in London, Ontario. All the same the turnout seemed to be in the hundreds.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The following article that appeared in the London Free Press outlines a decision on what to do with Great War memorabilia. I found it to be very encouraging. I myself wrestled with what to do with my father's Second World war medals, and effects, several years ago. The proper decision I felt then, and still feel, was to donate the items to the Elgin County Military Museum.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Head Of Library And Archives Canada Resigns

Daniel Caron, the Library and Archives boss has resigned. I expect that there was a collective sigh from the archival, and librarian community. He seems to have managed to alienate just about everyone.

It remains to be seen who the Conservative Government will put in his place. I wouldn't hold my breath. The Conservative Government so far have shown a remarkable ability to use our own history for its propaganda value while at the same time emasculating the Archives.

In my view the basic problem is very much a Canadian one. That is to say too much geography, and not enough people. For me to get to the National Archives means a day of traveling, and expensive hotels.
What has hit me hardest is the cutback to the inter-library loan program. It left me wondering if the National Archives was indeed national, or merely an Ottawa institution?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Twentieth Century Meets The Nineteenth

Sometimes on a research trip (in this case the First Division in 1914) you come upon a little unexpected gem. I was basically looking at newspaper photo's, when I came upon one of the Bengal Lancers taken in Belgium in August of 1914. I wonder how useful those lances would be against machineguns? Mind you, some generals never did work that one out.
"The London Advertiser", August 29, 1914.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Officers of the 7th. Fusiliers Who Volunteered in 1914

It will take a while to go through the list of the men who volunteered, and were accepted, for the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1914. We will start with the officers.

From left to right- William John Taylor, Francis Bethel Ware, Henry Campbell Becher, Walter Chester Butler. The London Advance 22 August, 1914.

Henry Campbell Becher
In 1914 Lt. Colonel in command of the 7th. Fusiliers. Born 20 January 1874 in London, Ontario, and died 15 June 1915.
William John Taylor

In 1914 Captain in the 7th. Fusiliers. Born 29 January 1872 in Cayuga, Ontario. His attestation papers show a transfer to the Royal Highlanders of Canada. He seems to have survived the war but more research is needed to find out where he served.

Francis Bethel Ware

In 1914 Captain in the 7th. Fusiliers. Born 29 January 1877 in London, Ontario. At Valcartier he was made a staff officer, and served in that capacity throughout the war. Later he became commanding officer of the 7th. Fusiliers. His book “The Story of the Seventh Regiment, Fusiliers of London, Canada 1899 to 1914” (London, 1945) is one of the few histories available on the regiment.

George Boyd Watson

In 1914 Captain in the 7th. Fusiliers. His attestation papers give his birth date as 1914. Pretty much an impossibility. In the 1911 Canada Census his birthday is given as 12 October 1877 in London, Ontario.

Gordon Cecil Hunt

In 1914 Captain in the 7th. Fusiliers. Born 11 October 1884 in London, Ontario.

Walter Chester Butler

In 1914 Lieutenant in the 7th. Fusiliers. Born 10 September 1886 in London, Ontario. He was wounded in 1915. He returned to England where he was posted to Canadian Headquarters in London for the remainder of the war.

Archibald Hendry Galbraith

In 1914 Lieutenant in the 7th. Fusiliers. Born 6 January 1871 in Southampton, England. The only officer in this list who was born outside of Canada.

According to Francis Ware’s book the only officer still actively serving on the Western Front by November 11, 1918 was himself.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Telegram To The 7th. Fusiliers August 1914

I have been spending some time researching the 7th. Fusiliers. In the next few posts I will outline some of what I have found about the men from this regiment. With an emphasis on those who volunteered to serve in the Great War.

This is the first time that I have actually seen the telegram (mentioned in most of the books on the Canadian Corps) sent out by Sir Sam Hughes to commanders of the regional militia regiments. Hughes consigned a controlled, planned mobilization schedule to the trash, and embraced chaos. As Tim Cook wrote: ‘Hughes sent out 226 telegrams to militia commanders across the country…It was, in his words, “a call to arms, like the fiery cross passing through the highlands of Scotland or the mountains of Ireland in Former days.”’ (1)

August 6/14 C.P. Night Lettergram

Lt. Col. H.C. Becher

Regulations to govern raising of a contingent for overseas service will be as follows. stop the force will be imperial and have the status of British regular troops. stop enrollment will be voluntary for all ranks stop physical qualifications will be as follows stop 5 feet 3 inches and stop chest not less than 33 ½ stop the age limit will be 18-45 years. stop in regard to musketry and general proficiency a high standard will be required stop the term of service will be for the duration of the war stop other considerations being equal applicants will be selected on the following order stop unmarried men stop married men without families stop married men with families stop officers on the reserve and others with military experience who although not belonging to the active militia fulfil the foregoing requirements are eligible stop the senior officers of units will through officers commanding companies etc. collect the names of volunteers officers non-commissioned officers and men who should be medically examined by an army medical officer where available stop when all the names have been received officers commanding units will submit direct to militia headquarters descriptive rolls of those who have passed the required medical examinations stop after rolls have been received the quota to be found by each unit will be determined and commanding officers will be given instructions as the numbers required from their respective units stop the individuality of each unit will be preserved as far as possible stop rolls to be prepared without delay so as to reach militia headquarters not later than Wednesday 12th instant stop the intention is to mobilize a contingent at Valcartier P.Q. where to secure the selection of the fittest stop more men will be assembled than in the first instance will be required to embark stop Acknowledge receipt by wire stop

Adjutant General

8 August 1914 (2)

(1) Tim Cook, “At The Sharp End: Canadians Fighting the Great War, 1914-1916”, Vol.1, Penguin Canada 2007, p.33

(2) J.J. Tallman Regional Collection at the University of Western Ontario Archives in London.