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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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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.

External links:
Flight Sergeant Arthur Louis Sedgwick’s service record (Serv/Reg# R141113) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
A memorial page honouring Sedgwick can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

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.

External links:
Pilot Officer Claude Senton’s service record (Serv/Reg# J89686) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
A memorial page honouring Senton can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

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.

External links:
Staff Sergeant Daniel Serrick’s service record (Serv/Reg# U1805) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
A memorial page honouring Serrick can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

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.

External links:
Pilot Officer William George Stevens’ service record (Serv/Reg# J89945) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
A memorial page honouring Stevens can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

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.

External links:
Leading Aircraftman Harold Charles Edward Stewart’s service record (Serv/Reg# R210519) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
A memorial page honouring Stewart can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

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.

Flying Officer Robin Anthony (“Tony”) Stubbs was born in 1914 in Kelowna, British Columbia, to parents Robin Holford and Mary Kathleen (nee Freer) Stubbs.

Stubbs enlisted for Active Service with the Royal Canadian Air Force in the spring of 1942. After basic training in Alberta, Stubbs was posted to Saskatchewan at the R.C.A.F. Initial Training School (ITS #7) in Saskatoon, followed by Elemental Flying Training School (EFTS #6) in Prince Albert, and Service Flying School (SFTS #4) in Saskatoon. Commissioned in June of 1943, he completed his Canadian training at General Reconnaissance School (GRS #1) in Summerside, P.E.I.

Stubbs shipped for England in October of 1943, where he flew with No. 204 and No. 243 Squadrons, Royal Air Force. Much of his service time was spent flying Sunderland anti-submarine missions over the North Atlantic. He survived the war and returned to civilian life in 1945.

Content notes:
Most letters in the collection were written by Stubbs to his family (mother, father, sister Mary, and brother Archie) in Okanagan Mission near Kelowna, B.C., between May 1942 and September of 1945. Letter transcriptions were provided by the collection donor.

External links:
Flying Officer Robin Anthony Stubbs’ service record (Serv/Reg# J26815) is not open to public access at this time.

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.

John McGuire Taylor was born in November of 1917. Taylor served with the RCAF during WWII until his aircraft was shot down over North Africa, where he was taken prisoner in November of 1941. He remained a prisoner of war for the remainder of WWII. After being taken prisoner in Africa, Taylor was a POW in Italy, and then finally sent to Germany, where he spent time in Stalag Luft 3. The collection consists of an extended, illustrated memoir written while as a prisoner, as well as photographs, letters, cards, and his flying log.

Montague Temple was born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1907, served overseas during World War Two, and died in Vancouver in 1989. The collection consists of one letter written overseas in 1944.

Archie Thompson had worked on the Frank and Annie Fuller family farm in Quebec prior to the war. The letters were addressed to Donald Fuller, their son. Following his return from the war Archie Thompson moved to Montreal. The collection consists of four letters.

[The materials in this collection are currently being processed and uploaded. Some items may be incomplete or inaccessible at this time.]

This collection is comprised of letters of thanks sent to the Ladies Aid of Transcona United Church in 1944 and 1945 by Canadian service personnel, to thank them for the Christmas parcels provided by the Church.  The letters represent recipients from across Canada and overseas.

The correspondents in the collection are:

Blaikie, R.N.                            no date
Brewster, Leslie                      October 22, 1944
Brewster, Murray                     no date
Chudley, Hugh                        January 28, 1945
Cormack, J.W.                         December 31, 1944
Cowan, Hugh                          January 3, 1945
Duncan, J.M.                          January 7, 1945
Esselmont, George                 December 7, 1944
Esselmont, Mrs. P.                  February 28, 1945
Finch, Elden                            December 22, 1945
Henderson, Jack                     January 3, 1945
Henderson, Ralph                   November 22, 1944
Heron, Ken                             December 27, 1944
Hinds, Sandy                          no date
Isbell, Gordon                         January 14, 1945
Johnston, Jim                          November 27, 1944
Johnston, William                    no date
Lamb, Charles                        January 11, 1945
Layman, Russell                     January 7, 1945
Lidgate, Eileen                        November 22, 1944
Matthew, Charlie                     December 15, 1944
Maxwell, Jim                           no date
McLeod, Doug                        November 22, 1944
Molter, John                            February 14, 1945
Moore, Alex                            December 30, 1944
Pollard, Norman                     November 20, 1944
Robertson, Jennie                  December 23, 1944
Sward, Arnott                         March 2, 1945
Sward, E.D.                            January 4, 1945
Taylor, George                       January 3, 1945
Thomson, David                     December 24, 1944
Thomson, Frank                     December 3, 1944
Thorburn, Martha                   no date
Warner, Fred                          January 1, 1945
 Warner, R.                             no date
Wood, Rodney                        no date

[Editor note:  At the time of the letters, the church was known as Transcona United Church – the word Memorial was added to the Church name at a later date.  Transcona was that time a separate town and not yet a part of Winnipeg.]

Leading Aircraftwoman Jean Isabel Turner was born in Springside, Saskatchewan, on November 27, 1920, to parents Harold Corbett and Flora Marjorie (née Smith) Turner.

Turner enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force (Women’s Division) in 1942, initially training at No. 7 Manning Depot in Rockcliffe, Ontario. In 1943-44 she was posted at R.C.A.F. Station Mont-Joli, Québec, and later in 1945 at the No. 6 Operational Training Unit in Comox, British Columbia.

Content notes:
Letters were written by Turner to her friend Eira Williams in Regina, Saskatchewan, between 1942-1945. Other letters written to Eira Williams can be found in the CLIP Collections of Wren Margaret Helen Chesney, Cpl. Eunice Frances Davies, and  P/O Lloyd Wesley Cuming.

External links:
L.A.W. Jean Turner’s service record (Serv/Reg# W304895) is not publicly available from Library and Archives Canada at this time.

Geoffrey William Francis Turpin was born in Montreal in 1916. In 1939 he joined the Victoria Rifles of Canada and in 1940 transferred to the Royal Montreal Regiment. He was sent to France in July, 1944 and returned to Canada in January, 1945. He died in Toronto in 1996. The collection consists of more than forty letters and more than forty photographs representing his time in service.

Ernest Albert Underwood was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1915. Ernest along with his brother, Leslie, enlisted in Victoria in 1939 with the 3rd LAA Battery, RCA. They arrived in England in 1941 and were recognized as members of the first Canadian gun crew to destroy an enemy aircraft (Junkers 88) on August 6/7 1941. Both brothers participated in the Dieppe Raid in August of 1942. Ernest was wounded on the beach and became a Prisoner of War. He was released at the end of hostilities and returned home safely to Victoria, British Columbia in 1945. The collection consists of numerous letters, pictures and miscellaneous documents.

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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