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WWII

These collections contains all materials relating to Canadian from 1939 to 1945. Some individual collections may contain materials beyond this time frame. External links in collection descriptions are to casualty and burial information at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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John Vernon Davey was born in April, 1918. Davey enlisted with the R.C.A.F. in July, 1940 and was sent overseas in 1941. While flying with the 112th R.A.F. Squadron he was reported missing over North Africa in May, 1942. The collection currently consists of more than forty letters, as well as telegrams, and one photograph.

Henry Lawrence Davis was born near Ivy, Ontario, in 1913 and joined the RCAF in December 1940. He received his wings in September 1941 and was stationed to England in October 1941. Davis was killed with all his crew in a crash in Wales, May 28, 1942.

Warrant Officer 2nd Class Arnold F.A. Dawkins of Victoria, British Columbia, served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. He was stationed at a base at Tempsford, England, working as an air observer when his plane was shot down over France on February 19, 1943.

After a brief attempt to evade capture following the plane crash, Dawkins was apprehended by the Germans as a Prisoner of War (P.O.W.) and soon interred at the Stalag VIII-B/344 camp at Lamsdorf (present day Łambinowice) in Poland. In the closing weeks of the war he was among the many tens of thousands in the forced marches of P.O.W.s out of Poland and across Germany ahead of the advancing Russian front. He was finally liberated by the arrival of American troops on April 12, 1945, arriving safely back in England four days later.

Dawkins began keeping a diary in April of 1942 while in training in England and continued throughout the war, even during much of his time in captivity, until July of 1945. Following the war the diary was put away until the spring of 1993 when Dawkins read it again for the first time since 1945. At that time he made some minor revisions, explaining that the “writing was so small that I had the pages enlarged and typed. Abbreviations were written out in full, expressions not suitable for family reading were removed. The rest is the way I wrote it.” The diary posted here is of the document he created at that time. Extensive descriptive/explanatory notes were added by Dawkins to the entries related to the time of his capture and the two weeks immediately following it, from Feb. 19, 1943, to March 3, 1943. These have been included here with the diary entries of February 1943. Notes were also added by Dawkins following the Mar. 26, 1943, entry relating to the historical context of the Lamsdorf P.O.W. Camp and of post-Dieppe reprisals. Other minor annotations throughout were likely made during the diary transcription by Dawkins (e.g. the entry of dates June 6-17, 1942: “no entry, probably visiting relatives in North Ireland”).

Note on place names: When recording location information in his diary entries during the forced march of 1945 Dawkins often used the place names he saw on the roadside signs they passed, and these may differ from present day place names. 

External links:
W.O. Dawkins’ Service Record (Serv/Reg# R87686, P.O.W.# 27710) is not yet publicly available.
The RCAF Association provides a list of RCAF airmen taken P.O.W. from September, 1939 to the end of December, 1944, which includes Dawkins as well as some of the other P.O.W.’s mentioned in his diary.

Gordon Joshua Dennison (referred to as Billy or Billy) was born in Assiniboia, Saskatchewan in July, 1922. He enlisted with the RCAF in January, 1941 and served first as an Air Engine Mechanic. Dennison later switched to Gunnery School. He went overseas in January, 1944 and served as a tail gunner with the 199th Sqaudron. Dennison was shot down September 16, 1944.  The collection currently consists of more than one hundred letters.

Mm. Marie-Louise Depreaux was an American born woman who lived in Paris with her French husband, Albert Depreaux, during the German Occupation. The collection consists of an ongoing letter written to her two sisters to relate to them the details of her life during that time, written between August, 1940 and September, 1944. The spelling in the original has been retained as closely as possible in the transcription.

Gerald Dow enlisted on January 11, 1943 and served overseas with the Essex Scottish Regiment. Dow was taken prisoner at Caen, France on July 20, 1944 and remained a prisoner until his liberation by American troops in April 1945. The collection currently consists of eight letters, three telegrams and three postcards.

Flight Lieutenant Lawrence John Drewry was born in Whonnock, British Columbia, on December 21, 1916.

He enlisted during WWII with the Royal Canadian Air Force, initially training in Brandon, Manitoba, and later at the Royal Air Force Flying College on Darrell’s Island in Bermuda. He spent much of the war serving as a R.C.A.F. officer attached to the R.A.F., Middle East, with the No. 47 & No. 294 Squadrons.

The letters in the collection were written by Drewry to his twin sister Mildred (newly married as Mrs. John Flynn) while she was living first in Ottawa and then back home in Whonock (as it was spelled at that time).

External links:

F/L Drewry (Serv/Reg# J8629) survived the war; his service record is not open to public access at this time.

Reginald Carl Francis Duffy was born in 1920 and enlisted with the RCAF in January, 1941. During the war he flew as a pilot on Wellington bombers and served overseas in Britain, Africa, and Malta. Following the war Duffy returned to Canada and worked as a school teacher and principal in New Brunswick. Duffy died in 1986. The collection consists of his diary which he kept from January to August, 1943.

Louis Dureault was from Wolseley, Saskatchewan. Dureault enlisted in 1943 and served overseas with the South Saskatchewan Regiment, including the D-Day invasion. He was wounded in August, 1944 and remained in various hospitals until he returned home in October, 1945. He died in 2005 at the age of eighty. The collection currently consists of more than seventy letters from 1944 and 1945.

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Latest Readings from World War Two collections

Rick Mercer

Reads a 10/25/1943 Letter by Styles, Jack Morris from World War Two collections. View full Letter

The Right Honourable David Johnston

Reads a 05/28/1944 Letter by Senton, Claude from World War Two collections. View full Letter

Chris Hadfield

Reads a Memoir by Selfe, C.A. (Tony) from World War Two collections. View full Memoir