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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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Francis (Frank) Michael Scandiffio was born on December 24, 1913 and served as a Pilot Officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the war. Frank was killed on July 15, 1944. The collection consists of twenty-nine letters written home by Tom as well as official correspondence relating to his death. See also the correspondence of his brother Thomas.

Thomas (Tom) Peter Scandiffio was born on April 12, 1912 and served as a Warrant Officer Class II with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the war. Thomas was killed June 16, 1943. The collection consists of more than twenty letters written home by Tom as well as official correspondence relating to his death. See also the correspondence of his brother Frank.

Robert Scofield, born 1925, was a tailgunner in the RCAF who flew more than twenty missions over Germany during 1943 -1944. This unique collection consists of three different perspectives for those missions. One source consists of the official gunners log kept by Scofield on his missions. A second source is the journal of newspaper clippings for each of his missions, and the third source is the personal commentary he added to those newspaper accounts. Robert Scofield died in 2000 in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

Arthur Louis Sedgwick was born in November 1920, the son of Thomas and Jane Sedgwick of Toronto, Ontario. Sedgwick was a pilot with the 419 Squadron during the war. On the night of November 18, 1943 he was flying a Halifax on a return mission from Mannheim when the plane went into a dive. Sedgwick remained at the controls while the rest of the crew evacuated safely, but was unable to escape himself before the plane crashed. He was twenty three years of age at the time of his death. The collection currently consists of more than twenty letters, as well as photographs and miscellaneous documents.

Flight Lieutenant Conrad Anthony "Tony" Selfe, DFM, was born July 22, 1922, in Comox, British Columbia, to parents Richard and Irene Selfe.

He enlisted on July 29, 1941, in Vancouver, B.C., as an Aero Engine Mechanic with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Posted overseas in May of 1943, Selfe was promoted to Flight Sergeant rank in October of that same year. He served with No. 425 (Alouette) Squadron before joining No. 426 (Thunderbird) Sqn. in May of 1944. Released from service following the end of the war, Selfe rejoined the R.C.A.F. as a pilot in 1951 and was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on July 1, 1955, retiring from military service sometime thereafter (date unknown).

The memoir in the Selfe Collection, written in 1990, is an account of the D-Day mission he flew as pilot of a Halifax bomber with the 426 Sqn., and for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM). The award was published in The London Gazette on August 22, 1944, with the following commendation:

“One night in June, 1944, Flight Sergeant Selfe captained an aircraft detailed for an operational mission. Whilst over the target the aircraft sustained severe damage. Both the port engines were rendered useless and a large part of one of the wings was torn away. The aircraft became difficult to control but Flight Sergeant Selfe released his bombs. Some height had been lost but course was set for home. When within sight of the English coast, the aircraft suddenly dived to 400 feet. The situation was critical but, by skilful airmanship, Flight Sergeant Selfe regained some height. As the coast was crossed he ordered his crew to leave the crippled aircraft by parachute. This done, he headed the aircraft out to sea before abandoning it himself. This airman displayed great courage, tenacity and devotion to duty in the face of perilous circumstances, setting a most inspiring example.”

External links:

F/S Selfe (Serv/Reg# R110459) survived the war; his Service Record is not open to public access at this time.
The awarding of the Distinguished Flying Medal, published in The London Gazette on August 22, 1944 (# 36665, p. 3883).

 

[Editor’s note: Collection reviewed/updated October 2022. Some additional material was added (the newspaper clipping of 1945-03-10), and the collection description expanded.]

Claude Senton was born in Simpson, Saskatchewan in July, 1919. He enlisted with the RCAF in the summer of 1941 and served with the 422 Squadron as a Pilot officer. Senton was killed on May 24, 1944 when his plane was shot down, and is buried in Norway. The collection currently consists of personal correspondence, official correspondence regarding his death, as well as photographs and other miscellaneous items.

Daniel Serrick was born in Jollimore, Nova Scotia in September, 1920. In 1938 Serrick went to England and joined the Manchester Regiment, serving with 'B' Company until his evacuation from Dunkirk in June, 1940. He then transferred to the British Commandos and then to the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion in July, 1942. From there Serrick volunteered for the joint American and Canadian The First Special Service Force and was killed in the Italian campaign on May 29, 1944. Daniel Serrick is buried in the Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio, Italy. The collection consists of one letter to his sister as well as several photographs.

Andrew Hurst Skidmore was born in Areola, Saskatchewan in 1894. Skidmore enlisted in September, 1914 and served overseas during the war with the 1st B.C. Regiment, being wounded several times. The collection currently consists of three newspaper clippings, three postcards, and one photograph from his time in hospital in England.

William Henry Smith served with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders in France. Unfortunately we know nothing more about Smith than this journal. The journal came into the possession of another Highlander, James Briand, who preserved it. The collection currently consists of Smith's journal from 1941 to 1944, and several photographs.

William Steel served with the R.C.A.F. during WWII. This collection consists of more than 20 letters between himself and family members, miscellaneous documents, as well as some photographs. Some of the letters describe his life in Ceylon where he was stationed towards the end of the war.

William George Stevens was born on August 7, 1915, the son of George and Beatrice Stevens of St. James, Manitoba. He enlisted with the RCAF and flew with the 106 (R.A.F.) Squadron as a Pilot Officer (Air Gnr.). Stevens was shot down and killed April 27, 1944. The collection consists of two photographs, a pass, and an official letter regarding his status as missing.

Harold Charles Edward Stewart was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in August, 1920.  Stewart enlisted with the RCAF and was killed in a mid-air collision while training near Dunnville, Ontario on January 17, 1944.  The collection currently consists of personal correspondence, photographs, telegrams, and clippings.

John Stewart was born in Ballamoney, Ireland in 1924. He emigrated to Canada at age 5 and settled in Pickardville, Alberta. He served overseas with the Sherbrooke Fusiliers and was wounded in Holland. He returned to Canada at the end of the war. The collection currently consists of two photographs and three telegrams.

Like other Women's Institutes across Canada, the Stony Plain Women's Institute of Alberta was an important link between the soldiers overseas and the homefront. Through their members they contributed financial aid to organizations such as the Red Cross as well as sending parcels to overseas soldiers. The collection consists of thank-you letters from soldiers, acknowledgement cards for parcels, receipts for the Institute's donations to the Red Cross, and miscellaneous correspondence.

Flying Officer Jack Morris Styles was born in Midland, Ontario, on June 7, 1924, to parents Reuel Clarence and Jessie (née Morris) Styles. Prior to the war he worked as a bank clerk with the Royal Bank in Arnprior, Ontario.

Styles joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1943, training as a navigator before heading overseas to England in April of 1944. He served with the R.C.A.F. 426 “Thunderbird” Squadron. He was killed on February 3, 1945, along with his crew when their Halifax bomber crashed while returning from a mission over Germany. Styles was buried in the Brookwood Military Cemetery, Brookwood, England.

External links:
Flying Officer Jack Morris Styles’ service record (Serv/Reg# J42042) is not available at this time.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
A memorial page honouring Styles can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

[Editor’s note: Collection reviewed/updated August 2022. Letter transcription errors have been corrected and layout/formatting updated as needed. Additional biographical information has been added to the Collection Description.]

Hugh Alastair Swinton enlisted in the fall of 1939 and joined the 61st Battalion Royal Canadian Artillery.  The collection currently consists of more than one hundred eighty letters from 1940 to 1945, plus several photographs.

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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