Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Canadians in Combined Operations

Two New Blogs

 [Five Canadians in Combined Operations, WW2. How many more?"]

Lately I have been busy developing two blogs that will likely demand some steady attention for the next twenty years or so.

One is called Canadians in Combined Operations, WW2. My hope is the site will become a substantial archive of material related to an organization that almost completely disappeared shortly after the close of the Second World War. With help from others I plan to tell a bit of the story, through true stories from veterans, photographs and other collected materials, of the men who manned the barges during the infamous Dieppe raid and subsequent invasions of North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France.

My efforts are not just my own. Long before I grew interested in the topic my father recorded his own memoirs and stories about his time in Combined Ops, WW2. And perhaps unbeknownst to him, some of his mighty efforts are permanently recorded in film at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) and various books on library shelves.

[My father, centre, watches US troops disembark from his ALC, Nov. 1942.
Photo found in Assault Landing Craft by B. Lavery. Credit IWM, UK]

The second blog is called Faint Footsteps, WW2. My hope is to write a coherent story that encompasses, chiefly, my father's adventures as a member of the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) and Combined Operations organization during WW2, and secondly, my own adventures as I follow faint footsteps to libraries, museums, archives, training camps, invasion sites and more that relate to his story. I have his memoirs, newspaper stories, black and white WW2 photos and other resources to guide me, and I've had good luck so far contacting others who knew him or took somewhat the same journey.

["My father began his RCNVR adventure in Hamilton, 1941"]

["After Hamilton he trained with many others at Stadacona in Halifax"]

["Home on leave, perhaps with his sister in Brantford, 1943 or 1944"]

["Combined Ops insignia as seen on shoulder patch"]

So, off I go. There's work to be done. But I will still keep in touch here too.

Photos GH

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