Saturday, May 29, 2021

Editor's Research: Canadians in Combined Ops Return Home (19)

 Winnipeg Tribune Reveals Details re WWII Action on Many Fronts

A Few Stories from Jan. - Feb. Tell of the Return of Many Canadians 

"Like the men who wear 'em" military boots must be tough
More details below from The Tribune,  February 23, 1944


The process of sharing a variety of news clippings from The (digitized) Winnipeg Tribune (from January and February 1944 issues) is nearing its end. And though I have located only a few articles or details about the Canadians in Combined Operations (the chief purpose of this blog/archive of materials), other members of the armed forces are given some mention here and there, and much information has been provided about the progress of Allied forces during these first two months of World War II in 1944.

Readers are encouraged to visit the online version of The Winnipeg Tribune at their leisure. Literally 1000s of significant news articles, editorials, photographs, editorial cartoons and more have been made available.

During January and February a good handful of Canadian sailors (members of Combined Operations - including my father Doug Harrison - familiar with action at Dieppe, and invasions of North Africa, Sicily and Italy) arrived home from Europe, enjoyed a lengthy leave, then made their way across Canada to a Combined Operations School on Vancouver Island. I would say that by the end of February 1944 they were all well settled into new routines at HMCS Givenchy III  on The Spit at Comox.

"All aboard!" Five Canadian sailors get ready to travel to Vancouver Island. 
L - R: D. Linder, D. Harrison, J. Watson, B. McIntyre, C. Rose. Jan. 1944

"Finish yer smokes and get back aboard!" Five sailor stretch legs fer a minute.
L - R: D. Linder, C. Rose, B. McIntyre, J. Watson, D. Westbrook. Jan. 1944
The CN train still stops in Hornepayne ONT to take on water and supplies

I recently created an entry related to some history re The Spit and HMCS Givenchy III that includes news clippings from the Comox District Free Press re my father's new commanding officer at the west coast navy base, i.e., Cmdr. G. Windeyer. Readers can link to the entry here.

Readers can also learn a bit more re the sailors' new routines and duties at The Spit by clicking here.

And now, onto some news from The Tribune, the issues published on February 23 - 25, 1944:

I include the same headline a second time in a smaller size:

There were times when Canadian war correspondent Ross Munro was featured on the front page for days and weeks at a time. Articles are rarer now:

The southern coast is evacuated for a future D-Day (after the invasion of Normandy, however):

Under the heading "There were no small roles during WWII" we read about good boots!

More about good boots!

More about good boots!

More about good boots!

More about good boots!

More about good boots!

Had enough about boots? Me too. Here's a story related to a Canadian who returned home "after two-and-a-half years overseas, including the invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky):

Ready for a break? You have to be an officer to get the Coca-Cola with a corndog!

I snipped this movie ad because it reminded me of another movie from 1942 (poster is shared under "We Dive At Dawn") that was in some part made on Canada's west coast and has a similar name:

More about the Commando movie can be found at IMDb (click here)

Casualties were low in the navy and Merchant navy. About landing crafts my father said, "Small crafts make small targets":

Allied progress in Italy is documented below:

The Garigliano River region was also the location of the tragic loss of FO John Vasicek of Blenheim Ontario. In his Spitfire, he was the first pilot to make a sighting (then an informative report) of the Allied invasion fleet landing at Salerno beginning Sept. 9 1943. Then, in January 1944, he ejected from his Spitfire moments before it crashed near the Garigliano River but his chute either was not opened or failed to open. Details about FO Vasicek (some shared w me by his younger brother Charles, age 93) can be found in an informative entry on this site.

Photo from the collection of Charles and Bessie Vasicek

The Red Army is immortalized in verse:

And beans are immortalized in tins by Heinz:

All across Canada young boys and girls were scoring high marks on their math tests thanks to shredded wheat:

And while we enjoy radio programming on our Rogers Majestic, I pose the following question: Is the person sitting in the right corner a 12-year-old going on 32, or a 32-year-old who looks like she could be 12?

More news from Anzio, "accurately reported" by angered war correspondents (see last article above from Feb. 24):

The Lady Nelson delivers home 500 "Canadian airmen and soldiers, wounded in Sicily and Italy...", soon to be entrained "to their homes across Canada." 

Two months earlier scores of Canadian sailors in Combined Operations were delivered home aboard the Aquitania before being entrained across Canada to their new area of service at HMCS Givenchy III. I think my father and mates were pretty grateful for getting to land on their feet on Vancouver Island.

Canadians in Combined Ops stayed close to their landing crafts. UK 1942-43
L - R: D. Linder, unknown, C. Powers, D. Harrison (sticking his head out), 
unknown, D. Westbrook. Photo from the collection of Lloyd Evans

Doug Harrison standing in a bit of snow. Jasper train station, Jan. 1944

Canadians in Combined Ops on a ferry to Victoria or Nanaimo, BC
Back L - R: Art Warrick, Ed Chambers, Don Westbrook.
Front: Joe Watson, Don Linder, D. Harrison, unknown

Lest We Forget

News clippings from the February 26 - 29th issues of The Winnipeg Tribune will follow.

Please link to Editor's Research: Canadians in Combined Ops Return Home (18)

Unattributed Photos GH