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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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Sydney Brown was from North Bay, Ontario.  He was born in 1918 and enlisted with the RCAF.  Brown  was flying with the 420 Snowy Owl Squadron when his Wellington bomber was shot down and he was killed April 15, 1943.  The collection currently consists of a dozen photographs and some miscellaneous materials.  See also the collection for Zave Brown, his brother, who was killed in 1945.

Zave Brown was born in September, 1925 and enlisted with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry.  Brown served overseas with the RHLI until his death in Holland on March 9, 1945.  The collection currently consists of a number of personal photographs of Zave and of his time in the service.  See also the collection of his older brother Sydney who was killed in 1943.

Edward Bryer was born in May, 1920, the son of George and Annie Bryer of Marchwell, Saskatchewan. He enlisted with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada and served overseas until his death on August 3, 1944. Bryer is buried in Brettevill-sur-laize Canadian cemetery in France. The collection currently consists of seven letters.

Stewart Hastings Bull was born in Windsor, Ontario in 1916. He was educated at the University of Toronto and enlisted with the Essex Scottish in 1940. Bull was wounded at Caen, France by a mortar a few months after D-Day. He was hospitalized for several months and never returned to the front. Bull finished with the rank of Major. The collection consists of his memoir of the war transcribed from a recording by Bull in September, 2002 at the age of 86, as well as two photographs of Bull from 1941.

Lt. Harvey Simion Burnard was from Theodore, Saskatchewan. Burnard enlisted in January, 1942 and served overseas with the South Saskatchewan Regiment, R.C.I.C until he was killed at age twenty-five on July 25, 1944 in France. The collection consists of more than fifty letters written by Burnard.

Karl Vincent Butler was born May 6, 1912, son of Horace and Violetta Butler of Sydney, Nova Scotia. Butler served as a Lance Corporal with the West Nova Scotia Regiment, R.C.I.C. and was part of the invasion of Italy in 1943. He was killed August 2, 1943 in Italy, age 31. The collection consists of more than seventy letters, some photographs, postcards, and other miscellaneous items.

Clifford Henry Callcott was born in August, 1916 and served overseas with the RCAF as a mechanic from 1943 to 1945. The collection consists of nine letters, photographs, cards, and miscellaneous items. Callcott died in 1969.

William Austin Cauthers was born in March, 1925, the son of William and Margaret Cauthers of Mansfield, Ontario. Cauthers served as a Pilot Officer with the 407 Sqdn. of the R.C.A.F. He and his crew went missing when their Wellington MK IV failed to return on a mission over the English Channel on June 22, 1944. The collection currently consists of fifteen letters and three photographs.

Frances Charman was born in Joggins, Nova Scotia. After graduating from Aberdeen hospital in 1926, she nursed briefly in Truro, Nova Scotia before joining the staff of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She enlisted with the United States Nursing Corps in 1942. After service overseas during WWII with the rank of Captain she returned to work at the Massachusetts General. The collection consists of more than forty letters written between 1942 to 1945.

Wren Margaret (Peggy) Helen Chesney was born in Wolseley, Saskatchewan, on July 24th, 1922. She enlisted with the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS) in the summer of 1943. She was first posted to H.M.C.S. Conestoga in Galt, Ontario, and then in September to H.M.C.S. Cornwallis in Nova Scotia. Her final posting was in St. John’s, Newfoundland, beginning in November of 1944.

The letters in the Chesney Collection were written to her friend Miss J. Eira Williams of Regina, Saskatchewan, between September of 1943 and June of 1946.

External links:
Wren Chesney’s Service Record (Serv/Reg# W-2601) is not available through Library and Archives Canada at this time.

Norvin Smith Crawford served with the 8th Princess Louise's (New Brunswick) Hussars, R.C.A.C., 5th Canadian Armoured Division as a tank driver. Crawford was killed in Italy on September 1, 1944 at the age of 28. The collection currently consists of one photograph of Crawford and one letter from his commanding officer to Crawford's fiance Grace Fulton describing the circumstances of his death.

George Elliot Creswell was born in Saskatchewan in 1924. He enlisted in the RCAF on June 8, 1942, the day after his 18th birthday. Creswell went overseas in the fall of 1943 and served as a Flight Officer with the 432 Sqdn. He was shot down and killed on his 15th mission on February 21, 1945. The collection consists of 95 letters, photographs, and other printed items.

Desmond Ivan Crossley was born in 1910.  Crossley joined the RCAF in 1940 and served as an instructor in the Commonwealth Air Training Program until his discharge in 1945.  The collection currently consists of two letters from former students written to him, as well as numerous photographs.

Signalman Raymond (Ray) William Culley was born in Calgary, Alberta, on June 27, 1925. In early 1943 he joined the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. He served on the corvette HMCS Summerside until his demobilization at the end of World War II.

The collection’s only letter was written by Ray Culley while his ship was in harbour at Milford, Haven, Wales. He had just received news from his mother telling him that his younger brother Donald (Don) was thinking about joining the Navy, and as their father was away with the Army in Sicily, Ray was writing to advise Don that he was likely needed more at home with their mother. But shortly after he finished writing Ray was handed a telegram sent by his uncle with two messages: that his brother Don had been fatally injured in an accident at home; and that his father was in an Army Hospital in Birmingham. The letter to his brother was never mailed.

In 2003 Ray Culley published a book of memoirs of his time in the navy, titled His Memory Can Survive. The book was dedicated to his brother Don.

 External links:
Sig. Culley’s Military Service Record is not open for public access at this time.
A review of the book His Memory Can Survive can be read in the Canadian Naval Review, Spring 2005, p. 33.

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.

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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