Monday, January 31, 2022

January 2022: Photos From Along the Way

A Lot of Good Days for Walking in London Ontario

Top Ten Photos Below. Okay, Maybe Twelve!

I don't know the guy but he sure gets around


My walks and runs take me to many corners of the city. I'm not looking for corners but they're out there. So are other things.

My Foto Files are deep with shots from other corners of the world too. And someday I will dump 100s of pretty pictures your way. You've been warned.

Here are 11, for starters:

Below My Feet on Dundas Street

Below My Seat During a Flight to Calgary, 2014

No Gizzard Shad in 2022, Only Miscellaneous Minnows

"It's a Lock!"

"Gotta Brain Wave"

"Tread Lightly"

"First Manoeuvers of 2022. Not the Last"

Please click here to few other photographs from oot and aboot.

Questions and comments can be addressed to Gord at

Photos GH

The Arts of War: Drawings of Landing Crafts, and D-Day 1944

 The First Landing Crafts Canadians Saw at HMS Northney

The Drawings of D. Moira Cruickshank, and More

A wartime photograph of a drawing of a landing craft, assault or
LCA, two views mounted on card. One of a series of photographic
reproductions of D. Moira Cruickshank's landing craft.


The first groups of Canadian sailor (RCNVR) volunteers for Combined Operations Command (British organization) left Canada in January, 1942, aboard the Volendam (Dutch liner). And after landing in Gourock, Scotland, these 90 - 100 raw recruits - not yet even knowing what their role was to be - were soon sent to HMCS Niobe at Greenock. Soon thereafter, they were placed upon trains and delivered to training camps HMS Northney (1 - 4) where they were told what their role was to be.

Lloyd Campbell (RCNVR, Combined Ops) writes:

After a few days at the Greenock base we were posted to HMS Northney III on Hayling Island near Portsmouth on the south coast of England. The purpose was training and it was there that we discovered we had 'volunteered' to operate Landing craft for future raids and landings under the auspices of Combined Ops (Operations).

My Naval Chronicles, page 9

The chances are very good that the Canadian sailors stepped aboard a few LCAs while at HMS Northney, and it is very possible that the drawings by D. Moira Cruickshank were revealed in classroom settings. Several of her expert and valuable drawings appear below, along with other information re the types of craft depicted: 

Photo Credit - The D-Day Story

An original drawing by D. Moira Cruickshank of a Landing Craft, Personnel (Medium) or LCPM. It shows a port side view plus a port stern view seen from oblique angle above. One of a group of drawings that were reproduced for Royal Navy landing craft crew training during the Second World War. It is drawn on the back of a naval chart of Dover. Part of the papers of D. Moira Cruickshank WRNS (Women's Royal Naval Service or Wrens) during the Second World War. From 1942 to 1944 she was based at H.M.S. Northney, Hayling Island, on drawing duties. She made drawings of different landing craft types, which were the photographed and widely circulated thoughout the Royal Navy for training purposes. H.M.S. Northney was a shore base at a pre-war holiday camp, at which sailors received initial training on landing craft. Later in the war she served at Lyneham, where she painted murals in the officers' mess, and did posters about educational and vocational training.

Photographs and a great deal of related information can be found at the informative website entitled The D-Day Story out of Portsmouth, England. (Visit the 'Discover' heading > 'The D-Day Story Collection' > 'Collection: Vehicles, Artillery and Ships')

Original drawing of a Landing Craft, Personnel (Ramped) or LCPR
by D. Moira Cruickshank. It shows a front view plus a starboard bow
view seen from oblique angle above. Photo Credit - The D-Day Story

A wartime photograph of a drawing of a landing craft, personnel
(ramped) or LCPR, three views. Photo Credit - The D-Day Story

A wartime photograph of a drawing of a landing craft, personnel
(medium) or LCPM, two views. Photo Credit - The D-Day Story

A wartime photograph of a drawing of a landing craft, support (medium)
or LCS(M), two views. Photo Credit - The D-Day Story

A wartime photograph of a drawing of a landing craft, mechanised
or LCM, two view. Photo Credit - The D-Day Story

A wartime photograph of a drawing of a landing craft, Assault or LCA,
two views. One of a series of photographic reproductions of D. Moira
Cruickshank's landing craft. Photo Credit - The D-Day Story

A wartime photograph of a drawing of a landing craft, mechanised or LCM
Mark II, two views. One of a series of photographic reproductions of D.
Moira Cruickshank's landing craft. Photo Credit - The D-Day Story

A wartime photograph of a drawing of a landing craft, mechanised or
LCM Mark III, two views mounted on card. Photo - The D-Day Story

A wartime photograph of a drawing of a landing craft, personnel (ramped)
or LCPR, three views mounted on card. Photo Credit - The D-Day Story

A wartime photograph of a drawing of a landing craft, personnel (large)
or LCPL, three views mounted on card, and a landing craft, mechanised
or LCM, two views mounted on card. Photo Credit - The D-Day Story

A wartime photograph of a drawing of a landing craft, assault or LCA
two views mounted on card. Photo Credit - The D-Day Story

Also at The D-Day Story website out of Portsmouth, visitors will find a selection of artwork by Mr. Robert Rae Rule depicting various scenes re the D-Day landings, June, 1944. Various landing crafts are seen in each drawing and a few of Mr. Rae's art pieces are shared below:

Photo as found at The D-Day Story 

Details that accompanied the above:

A drawing showing British troops landing on the Normandy beaches on D-Day. Some troops are making their way up the beach, while others are caring for the wounded. On the right a white ensign is flying at a beach group post. At the water's edge are an LST (Landing Ship, Tank), an LCT (Landing Craft, Tank) and a Liberty Ship. One of fifteen pen and watercolour drawings done by Mr Robert Rae Rule, who at the time of D-Day was a naval sick bay auxiliary on board H.M.S. Empire Mace, off Gold Beach. Most were drawn at the time of D-Day, sometimes from memory and sometimes from descriptions given by other people, often a few days after the events depicted. All are mounted on coloured paper.

A drawing of a scene on D-Day, showing British Landing Craft, Assault
(LCA) under the stern of H.M.S. Empire Mace in a rough sea, off the
Normandy coast. More information about the drawings is given on
the mounts or in correspondence. Photo Credit - The D-Day Story

A drawing showing the Landing Ship, Infantry (LSI) H.M.S. Empire Mace at
sea with several British Landing Craft, Assault (LCA) on the water around it.
Photo Credit - The D-Day Story, Portsmouth 

A drawing showing British troops inside a Landing Craft, Assault (LCA) at
6.30am on D-Day, about an hour before they are due to land in Normandy.
Photo Credit - The D-Day Story  

A drawing showing three columns of Landing Craft, Assault (LCA) of 541st
Royal Marine Flotilla practising in the Solent before D-Day, May 1944.
Photo Credit - The D-Day Story

Speaking of landing crafts used at D-Day, the photo of the pair below caught my eye. In the background is a very useful LCA, capable of delivering up to 36 members of the army to a foreign shore. And in the foreground is a special craft, indeed, and on board is "Monty giveing the honours."

Details that accompanied the above photo (click here):

A photograph showing a motor yacht (?) moving through the water, front starboard view of bow, with General Sir Bernard Montgomery and other individuals near the bow. A LCVP landing craft is in the middle distance. The photograph may show Montgomery arriving in Normandy, or inspecting or visiting ships. It was originally captioned 'Monty giveing the honours' (sic). One of a series of photographs copied from an album belonging to Bert Edwards, who served on the light cruiser HMS Bellona at the time of D-Day. In addition to taking part in Operation Neptune, the Bellona also went on several Russian convoys. On and after D-Day, Bellona was in the Omaha Beach sector to start with, and fired her guns in support of the troops ashore. Bert Edwards probably took some of the photographs but others may have been taken by other crew members. He is not sure which ones he took. See also the oral history interview with him.

I encourage readers to visit The D-Day Story, Portsmouth. There is much there to discover.

Please click here to link to more of The Arts of War as found in "The Crows Nest" Part 7

Questions and comments can be sent to G. Harrison at

Unattributed Photos GH

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Photographs: Canadians in "Combined Operations" (Part 4)

 Concerning the Dieppe Raid by A. G. Kirby (RCNVR, Combined Ops)

The Raid (Aug. '42) was Followed by Operation TORCH (Nov. '42)

Photo Credit: DIEPPE, DIEPPE by Brereton Greenhous


The account related to the Dieppe raid by Al Kirby - as found in a book of much significance and interest in this latest series of posts, i.e., Combined Operations by Londoner Clayton Marks - is relatively lengthy, coming in at 24 pages. However, the account is accompanied by zero photographs, when 1000s exist. And if I could ask Mr. Marks, the editor of all, and author of much of his book, about the lack of photos he might simply say, "Al didn't give me any."

And Al had the opportunity. He met with Clayton on more than one occasion, I am sure. Below we see both men in a small group, each member dedicated to the job of collecting and distributing veterans' stories in various books:

Five significant books were produced by four of the Canadian men above.
Photo taken in the backyard of the home of Clayton Marks, London ONT.

Back, L - R: 'Gash', Clayton, and David Lewis (David wrote and
collected stories for St. Nazaire to Singapore (two volumes)
Front L - R: Doug and Al (full names are w top photo)

There have been a few times that photographs re Al Kirby (RCNVR, Combined Operations) have been shared on this site, and I will do so again here as I encourage readers to look at his Dieppe record found in Combined Operations, pages 38 - 62:

Photo Credit: St. Nazaire to Singapore: The Canadian Amphibious War
1941 - 1945, Volume 2, Page 390

Excerpt from Al Kirby's account frpm Combined Operations, Page 45

Excerpts can also be found in DIEPPE, DIEPPE 
by B. Greenhous. Photo of book's front cover. GH

Doug Harrison (left) and Al Kirby, on guard duty, likely in early 1942
at HMS Northney (1 - 4), on Hayling Island, or later at another camp

Photo Credit: St. Nazaire to Singapore: The Canadian Amphibious War
1941 - 1945, Volume 1, Page 194

Al Kirby, centre (w big laugh), returning to Canada aboard RMS Aquitania,
December, 1943 with several other Canadians in Combined Ops; e.g., Joe
Watson (Simcoe) fixing his collar, and Doug Harrison (behind Joe W.)

In Kirby's account, we learn of an unheralded Canadian in Combined Ops who was killed during the Dieppe Raid. Joe McKenna was from Souris, PEI and I have no picture of him, unfortunately, and have been unable (so far) in connecting with family members or relatives.

But I do have some additional details related to McKenna, RCNVR, Combined Operations. Click here for more information "in memory of Joe".

Following Kirby's account re the raid in Combined Operations by C. Marks is a letter from a sailor to his father. Interested readers can click here to view letter by D. Ramsey, RCNVR, Comb. Ops.

And following D. Ramsey's letter is a map from Combined Operations revealing some of the landing beaches where Canadians in Combined Ops served (with American troops) during Operation Torch (the Allied invasion of North Africa), beginning November 8, 1942:

The beaches east and west of Oran were just part of the landings. Page 66

Map inside the front cover of The Watery Maze reveals, left to right, the
Western, Central and Eastern Landing Forces; dates from Nov. 8 - 12

Below are two of my favourite photographs related to Canadians in Combined Operations serving during Operation TORCH. My father not only mentioned the TORCH landings in his memoirs but was caught "just doing his job" by an RN Photographer on November 8, 1942:

Troops and ammunition for light guns being brought ashore from a landing craft
assault (ramped) (LCA 428) on Arzeu beach, Algeria, North Africa, whilst another
LCA (LCA 287) approaches the beach. Operation 'Torch', November 1942.
[Canadian sailor, centre, knee-deep in water, is Doug Harrison, RCNVR]
Photo Credit: Royal Navy Photographer Lt. F. A. Hudson, (IWM)

Caption: American troops landing on the beach at Arzeu, near Oran, from a
landing craft assault (LCA 26), some of them are carrying boxes of supplies.
Photo Credit: Royal Navy Photographer Lt. F. A. Hudson, (IWM)

More photographs from the Imperial War Museum's extensive files follow:

A12647 American troops manning their landing craft assault from a doorway
in the side of the liner REINA DEL PACIFICO. Two of the landing craft are
numbered LCA 428 and LCA 447. Hudson, F A (Lt), Imperial War Museum

A12648 American troops exiting their landing craft assault on the beach
 at Arzeu, near Oran. Some of the ships of that convoy can be seen in the
distance. Photo Credit: Hudson, F A (Lt), Imperial War Museum (IWM)

A12651 Landing craft off Arzeu. Photo: Hudson, F A (Lt) IWM

A12658 American soldiers tending to a wounded native soldier on the
beach at Arzeu. Photo Credit: Hudson, F. A. (Lt), Imperial War Museum

A12672 American troops landing light guns on Arzeu beach.
Photo: Hudson, F A (Lt), Imperial War Museum (IWM)

For an extensive number of photographs concerning the invasion of North Africa - as stored in the archives of the Imperial War Museum - please click here IWM.

My father Doug Harrison writes the following about the landings in Arzeu:

My group went through much more training at H.M.S. Quebec and then we entrained for Liverpool. Prominent pub was The Crown in Wallasey. We left Greenock in October, 1942 with our LCMs aboard a ship called Derwentdale, sister ship to Ennerdale. She was an oil tanker and the food was short and the mess decks where we ate were full of eighteen inch oil pipes. The 80th and 81st flotillas, as we are now called, were split between the Derwentdale and Ennerdale in convoy, and little did we know we were bound for North Africa....

At Anchor. Photo Credit: J. Hall, Gourock, Scotland. FL11110, IWM

We had American soldiers aboard and an Italian in our mess who had been a cook before the war. He drew our daily rations and prepared the meal (dinner) and had it cooked in the ship’s galley. He had the ability to make a little food go a long way and saved us from starvation. Supper I can’t remember, but I know the bread was moldy and if the ship’s crew hadn’t handed us out bread we would have been worse off....

In the convoy close to us was a converted merchant ship which was now an air craft carrier. They had a relatively short deck for taking off, and one day when they were practicing taking off and landing a Swordfish aircraft failed to get up enough speed and rolled off the stern and, along with the pilot, disappeared immediately. No effort was made to search, we just kept on.

One November morning the huge convoy, perhaps 500 ships, entered the Mediterranean Sea through the Strait of Gibraltar. It was a nice sun-shiny day... what a sight to behold.

An Allied convoy, escorted by sea and air, plowed through the seas toward
French N. African possessions near Casablanca, French Morocco, in Nov., 1942,
part of Operation Torch, the large British-American invasion of French N. Africa.
Photo Credit, AP Photo as found at The Atlantic

Doug Harrison continues:

On November 8, 1942 the Derwentdale dropped anchor off Arzew in North Africa and different ships were distributed at different intervals along the vast coast. My LCM had the leading officer aboard, another seaman besides me, along with a stoker and Coxswain. At around midnight over the sides went the LCMs, ours with a bulldozer and heavy mesh wire, and about 500 feet from shore we ran aground. When morning came we were still there, as big as life and all alone, while everyone else was working like bees.

There was little or no resistance, only snipers, and I kept behind the bulldozer blade when they opened up at us. We were towed off eventually and landed in another spot, and once the bulldozer was unloaded the shuttle service began.

For ‘ship to shore’ service we were loaded with five gallon jerry cans of gasoline. I worked 92 hours straight and I ate nothing except for some grapefruit juice I stole.
"Dad, Well Done", Pages 23 - 25

Click here to read an excerpt re the invasion of North Africa from  Combined Operations by Londoner Clayton Marks.

Click here to read another short entry about the N. African operation in Combined Operations (Pages 71 - 72) by Lloyd Williams.

Click here to be introduced to another book with many details about Operation Torch, by Jack Coogin.

More photographs and stories (or links to stories) from Combined Operations by Londoner Clayton Marks - and other related photos and accounts from various, significant resources - will soon follow.

Please click here to link to Photographs: Canadians in "Combined Operations" (Pt 3)

Unattributed Photos GH