Saturday, July 30, 2022

Research: Canadian WWII Photographers, Videographers, Films (Parts 1 - 3)

We Know More About WWII Thanks to Men and Women

Behind Cameras: A Three-Part Series

Photo Credit - Donald I. Grant, Library and Archives Canada (LAC)
As found on page 10 of Shooting the War by Sarah Klotz


"...Unlike war correspondents, war cameramen are combatant officers. Besides their cameras and all their paraphernalia, they carry weapons. They do not get their stories from O-pips and vantage points but go into action with the troops, a condition not very often afforded war correspondents except in assault landings." (Part of opening paragraph from news article by Gregory Clark, Toronto Star. See full article below)

The three-part series you can link to below was inspired by a short news article from The Winnipeg Tribune about a Canadian WWII photographer:

1. Canadian WWII Photographers, Videographers, Films (Part 1)

2. Canadian WWII Photographers, Videographers, Films (Part 2)

Canadian Army officers aboard LC(P) on route to Sicily, July 10, 1943
Photo by Lieut. Frank Royal. Library and Archives Canada 21079

Canadian Correspondents; Ross Munro (left), Lionel Shapiro (right)
Photo by Lieut. Frank Royal. Library and Archives Canada 21083

3. Canadian WWII Photographers, Videographers, Films (Part 3)

Landing craft, perhaps manned by Canadians in Combined Operations
are busy at GEORGE Beach, south of Syracuse, Sicily, July 1943
Photo by Lieut. Dolan. Library and Archives Canada 21538

War Correspondent Lionel Shapiro aboard troopship approaching Sicily.
Author of They Left the Back Door Open, incl. photo re GEORGE
Beach. Photo by Lieut. Dolan. Library and Archives Canada 21545

The Winnipeg Tribune, March 28, 1944

Please click here to view another series of posts related to Canadians in Combined Operations - Lloyd George Campbell, London, Ontario (Parts 1 - 4)

Unattributed Photos GH 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Research: Canadian WWII Photographers, Videographers, Films (Part 3)

The Search for Lieut. Frank Royal's Photographs, Continued...

Success!! Rare Resources are Available to Determined Hunters

Royal's photographs should be accessible today. But where are they?

Lieutenant Ken Bell of the Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit digging a
slit trench in the Normandy beachhead, France, 10 June 1944. 
Photo Credit - Canada DND, LAC, PA-131443


The news clipping about Lt. Frank Royal of Winnipeg, as found in The Winnipeg Tribune nine days after the Dieppe Raid, has led me on quite the excursion - research-wise. I have chased down many excellent photographs, articles related to photographers, videos, newsreels and films by Canadian film producers, and more (e.g., the above photo of Lieut. Ken Bell 'Scooping the Mud' for a slit trench in an article called 'Scooping the War'; see previous entry), but no Frank Royal... until just lately.

The internet, as usual, can lead us to many other closely related Canadian men and women photographers, and the hundreds of videos and films produced in the War Years - and almost immediately shown in theatres across Canada - are often now available to diligent readers. And U.S. WWII film crews got into the action as well, in a big way.

For example:

Fox Movietone Newsreels are now available online "by the dozen"
Newspaper ad found in The Winnipeg Tribune, Aug. 1942

Below are the introductory details re newsreel No. 093

Screen shot, GH

Screen shot, GH

Fox Movietone News volume 25, issue 93 27 July 1943 [[OFFICIAL PICTURES OF THE SICILIAN INVASION]] [[Described by LOWELL THOMAS]] (music throughout) - 

From Africa steams the American invasion convoy. In this assault distinguished by massive power and skillful execution. Expert command, the officers planning with the utmost precision. Here we see a tank commander instructing his subordinate officers concerning the armored drive when they get ashore. American Commander, General Patton gives his orders, to wade right in and slug, keep punching. Old blood and guts Patton favors tough tactics. The landing is covered by the guns of warships, a heavy naval bombardment. (cannon fire and explosion) General Patton surveys the effect of the shelling. The amphibious operation is featured by perfect coordination of all arms, warships, air squadrons, and land troops. The Americans then invade onshore while the British and Canadians have the task of driving up the east coast. The enemy is taken by surprise because the Axis command expected an assault against the western side of Sicily, and not here. General Patton to take Command ashore goes the same way as any soldier, wading to the beach. This is one of the many Allied landings, which striking with coordinated swiftness and power so bewildered the Italians and Germans that resistance was reduced to a minimum. The first successful invasion of enemy home territory, Italian Sicily. (truck engine) Masses of equipment come ashore, and swiftly the Allied forces strike inland. A fighting drive that cuts the enemy force. (cannon fire and explosion) These Signal Corps pictures show Americans as they drive straight across Sicily, and as the British and Canadians push up the coast towards strategic Messina. Axis positions have been pulverized by gunfire and air bombing. For weeks, Allied forces of the sky have bombed the Sicilian bases preparing the way for the invasion. The defeat of the Italians and Nazis proceeds swiftly, and it was foreshadowed by the rapid and smashing successes of the landings and early advances. This important outpost of Hitler’s Fortress Europe is subjugated. Wrecked flying field, Allied bombing was concentrated against the Sicilian air bases, and now these are captured by the ground troops to serve as American bases. An Italian plane bombed on the ground, and similarly, a Nazi plane. Scenes of havoc, but in a brief time the airport is repaired, and used by Allied war plane. The drive through Sicily, Movietone cameraman Jack Barnett landed with the troops and filmed their advance. On they march, and they must always keep a careful lookout for snipers. Thousands of prisoners are taken, and are herded aboard boats. The Italians surrendering cheerfully. Here’s the capture of a Sicilian town, and it shows significantly the attitude of the local population. (engines) In the occupied sections, the Sicilians say they are sick of the war, which they never wanted anyway, and they are glad to be rid of the oppression of the German Nazis whom they hate. (engines) Allied equipment rumbles through the streets hurrying on in the relentless drive to conquer the island. Sometimes it’s rough going through the debris. The town was damaged in the rain of explosives that hit the enemy war points. Sometimes it’s a job to get through the wreckage, but it’s hard to stop a jeep. The welcome the people give to the Allied soldiers is a vivid state of Italian morale in the war. (Transcript included with newsreel)

Please click here to view Newsreel No. 093 - Sicilian Invasion

Another news ad in The Winnipeg Tribune (also from August 1942) informed readers of Canadian-made newsreels:

Newsreels produced by The Canadian Army Film Unit "by the dozen"
are on YouTube. Link to playlist for 106 newsreels. See previous post
for a sample of the details re the 5 - 10 segments in each newsreel 

Readers interested in the meaning and purpose of Combined Operations (as a term, organization) can gain some insight from film no. 22, in which a few details are provided from approx. 6min:30sec to the end of the reel:

Please link to Canadian Army Newsreel No. 22 at YouTube

A few details are provided below about the combined ops segment as well (with the reel), but the film provides many more:

Reel 22, Segment 5: United to Conquer - A Black Watch combined operations beach landing exercise; land, climb up rocks, climb on ropes and slide down.

Questions or comments about Combined Operations can be addressed to GH at this email address:

Importantly, my own searches led me as well to a well-organized, informative site about the Canadian Film and Photo Unit (CFPU) and under the menu heading "CFPU Stills Photographers" we find 24 names listed, including Frank Royal of Winnipeg. 

By clicking on the name of the lone female photographer we find an informative page that provides not only details re Sgt. Karen Hermeston, CWAC, but the photographers in general:

Requiring unique skills, members of the CFPU were made up of personnel familiar with the art of photography and film-making. The Unit was comprised of a total of 74 cameramen, both stills and cine. These combat cameramen were a unique bunch, with backgrounds ranging from film studio director’s to Hollywood stuntmen.

Using the 'search option' top of page, I typed in 'Frank Royal' and after landing on a new page, and scrolling through information re filming at Dieppe I spotted a news article from another Winnipeg Newspaper (The Winnipeg Free Press) about the photographer that encouraged this short series of posts. 

Frank Royal appears in a photo with his father and looks happy to be back in Canada. We read the following:

(His) "still pictures were acclaimed by London (UK) newspapers as the best in the Sicilian campaign...He covered the landing at Dieppe and was in charge of the Canadian still and motion picture photographic section in Sicily and Italy..."

And with that information, e.g., re Sicily, a determined hunter might be able to find some of Royal's film work. We shall see!

And, by looking down the same page the article from The Winnipeg Free Press was on, I saw a few lines re the Dieppe Raid and concerns related to the number of Canadian photographers allowed/needed to go ashore on August 19:

“At 1730 hrs, 14 August, 1942 a request reached the P.R.O. office at C.M.H.Q. from Major Wallace, P.R.O. Army, for Cpl. (Alan) Grayston of the Film Unit to report with Lieut. (Frank) Royal the next morning for an unspecified job. Grayston was unavailable, being engaged in another job, so Pte. (George) Cooper, an equally competent cameraman, was sent in his place.”

However, circumstances had changed by the time they arrived. Lieut. McDougall goes on;

“Upon arrival at Army H.Q., Lieut. Royal was told that the job was ‘not important’ enough to warrant sending two men, and Cooper was sent back to C.M.H.Q.” (
From an article entitled Glory of the Innocents: Dieppe Decoded by Richard Tomkies, Nov. 7, 2017)

Readers are encouraged to visit and explore the CFPU website created and maintained by Dale Gervais. Mr. Gervais has put tremendous effort into preserving photographs and films taken by Canadian photographers during World War II, and his website is a portal to very rare material. 

Earlier I encouraged readers to let me know if Frank Royal photographs or films are 'out there' somewhere and I've simply missed them. Well, with a bit of digging on Mr. Gervais' site I located photographs with a definite link to Mr. Royal (linked to Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily beginning July 10, 1943). 

By linking to an article entitled Library & Archives Canada: “Army Numerical” Series (110 Albums) Now Available Online and then using the "Library & Archives Canada Search page HERElink at the half-way point in the article, I was able to locate Army Numerical 18371-22533 - Sicily - Album 61 of 110 [graphic material] at LAC.

Inside the album are several pages of black and whites by Frank Royal. A few are shared below (captions are not provided in the albums, but I have found - over the years - similar photographs online from other sources with captions included), and I have shared a few words where I can:

Name of 'Royal' penned in by someone who organized the photos

I will say Royal Navy' (UK) sailors ferrying Canadian Army officers ashore in
a Landing Craft Personnel (LCP) on the southern shore of Sicily, July 10 1943
(At the time, RCNVR sailors in Canadian landing craft flotillas transported
Montgomery's 8th Army ashore at locations on Sicily's eastern shores) 

I'll add here a map from Combined Operations by Londoner Clayton Marks which shows where Canadian landing craft flotillas were at work (manned by RCNVR incl. my father) and where the Canadian Army landed:

Canadian Landing Craft Flotillas (LCAs: No. 55 and 61. LCMs: No. 80 and 81)
ferried British 8th Army to beaches south of Syracuse, e.g., at Noto and Avola.
Canadian Army landed on beaches south of Pachino, west of Cape Passerro
As found in Combined Operations, by Clayton Marks, Page 76

Members of RCNVR/Combined Operations, including C. Marks
As found in Combined Operations, Page 89

Doug Harrison (right) with shipmate Joe Malone, RCNVR/C.Ops while
aboard S.S. Silver Walnut, June 1943, on way to Operation Husky, aka
invasion of Sicily, beginning July 10, 1943. Photo - Norwich Gazette
Questions, comments re Combined Ops?

Frank Royal gets his due; his name is neatly typed onto another page

Small landing craft speeds toward shore while troops and supplies wait a
mile or two from the shoreline. Photo by Frank Royal, Album 61, pg. 48

Navy and Army personnel work together to unload a Landing Craft, Tank (LCT)

Is this photo banned because it reveals an LST (landing ship, tank) in background
or there's a guy wearing short-shorts (another bare-backed) in the foreground??

A busy beachhead with all manner of landing craft at work. The round
disc upon a tripod likely bears a number, to designate a landing zone

Photo 21092 reveals how two LSTs (landing ship, tanks) can easily dwarf
an LCI(L) (landing craft, infantry, large). LSTs carried their own bridges 
(tough, floating  'Rhino bridges') to help vehicles and troops get ashore.

Gen. 'Monty' Montgomery addresses troops (Rhino bridge in background)

Something I found in my files. Source Unknown. GH

Gen. B. L. Montgomery. Photo by Lieut. (or was it Captain?) Frank Royal

War correspondents, including Ross Munro, in Sicily

Terry Rowe's name, N. Africa location crossed out, and corrected.
Terry Rowe was a casualty of the war, did not make it back home.

I remarked earlier that I have seen similar photos from the above group, with captions included. I now share an example, as found in my own files. Yes, "I simply missed" Frank Royal as some readers may have been guessing:

Captain or Lieut.? I'm not sure, but I know it felt good to discover that 
F. Royal's photographs are available for today and tomorrow. GH

I made an effort to find a better copy of the news article shared at CFPU (D. Gervais' site) re Frank Royal returning to Canada, as seen in The Winnipeg Free Press, March 28, 1944. The article did not appear, as far as I could see, in The Winnipeg Tribune (an excellent online resource). That being said, I did find in The Trib an article - reported on the same date - about the death of Lieut. Terry Rowe, a WWII photographer mentioned earlier in this entry. 

I share it here as it reminds us that some members of the Canadian Film and Photo Unit (CFPU) - in an effort to record history for our benefit - paid with their lives:

Unattributed Photos GH 

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Research: Canadian WWII Photographers, Videographers, Films (Part 2)

 The Search for the "Local Man" who 'Shot' Dieppe Continues

While We Easily Learn More re Canadian Photographers...

News clip re Frank Royal, "Canadian Army photographer."
Found in The Winnipeg Tribune, August 28, 1942 


Though the task of learning more about a particular WWII photographer - and finding samples of his work - shouldn't be impossible, thanks to Google and other resources, I'm still searching for Frank Royal's photos taken at Dieppe and at earlier combined operations training exercises (some in which my father was likely involved). Surely I won't come up empty handed (!) re legitimate photos, and while searching there will be other rewarding finds.

For example, a link to Library and Archives Canada (LAC), provided in the first post of this series (Research: Canadian WWII Photographers, Videographers, Films (1)), has a SEARCH DATABASE feature enabling us to make many discoveries related to WWII, Combined Operations, the Canadians in Combined Ops (C.O.), etc.

I typed in 'landing craft'  and found several photographs of C.O. activities. The first below was shared in the previous post:

Canadians in Combined Operations were involved in many landing rehearsals
Image 59 (link) - Canadian infantrymen disembarking from a landing craft during
a training exercise before Operation JUBILEE, the raid on Dieppe, France.
England, August 1942. MIKAN number - 3194482

Below I share a few other discoveries accessed by this link - Search Results: Faces of War:

Image 1810 - Infantrymen of an unidentified Canadian Scottish regiment in a
landing craft during an assault landing exercise, England, ca. 14-26 April 1942.
Photo - Library and Archives Canada, A113243. MIKAN number 3519167

Image 1783 - Infantrymen of the Royal 22e Régiment boarding a 
Landing Craft Infantry (LCI) to move 150 miles along the coast,
Catanzaro Marina, Italy, 16 September 1943. MIKAN 3516224

Landing craft en route to Dieppe, during Operation Jubilee, 19 Aug.1942.
Photographer: Unknown. MIKAN Number: 3192395 Item Number: 43
[Could this have been taken by Frank Royal? Help Wanted]

Leading Seaman (L.S.) J.B. Cloke (left) of the Royal Canadian Navy Beach
Commandos talking with (L.S.) J. Forsyth aboard a Landing Craft Infantry
(Large) [LCI(l)] en route to France, 20 July 1944. Photographer: Arless,
Richard Graham. MIKAN Number: 3201129 Item Number: 160

Editor's Note: Leading Seaman Cloke's shoulder patch (above) is an early version, with the rifle pointing to the right. Later versions pointed to the left. 

Earlier versions of shoulder patches:

A gift from former curator of Combined Ops Museum, Inveraray

Navy hammock from collection at Navy Museum, Esquimalt, Vancouver Island
S/Lt. Davey Rodgers added names of members of 80th Canadian Flotilla of 
Landing Craft, including D. Harrison, my father

C.O. patch on baseball jackets, Comox, Vancouver Island
D. Harrison (front, first on left) and RCNVR/C.Ops mates

Later versions of Combined Operations shoulder patch:

Navy veterans stories

One last discovery from Library and Archives Canada (LAC) follows:

Title: Unidentified Canadian infantrymen taking part in a Combined Operations
training exercise, Inveraray, Scotland, 27 August 1943. Photo: Game, George A.
Inveraray, Scotland, August 27, 1943. MIKAN Number: 3203273 Item No. 302

Additional, informative photographs and links to videos can be found with the help of an article entitled Scooping the War (September 12, 2016). A short excerpt and a few of the accompanying photographs follow. Still no Frank Royal!

For the cameramen of the Second World War, half the battle was about making their film the first to hit the newsreels.

Lieutenant Donald I. Grant of the Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit,
who holds an Anniversary Speed Graphic Camera, England, 11 May, 1944
Lt. L.F. Dubervill, Canada Dept. of National Defence (DND) LAC, PA-137026

“We scooped everybody!” wrote Lieutenant Jack McDougall, head of the Canadian Army Film Unit (CAFU), to the Canadian cameramen in Sicily in July 1943.

McDougall’s exultant declaration celebrated a remarkable moment in film coverage of the Second World War — dramatic footage of Canadian troops landing on the beaches of Sicily.

The CAFU filmed and photographed the Canadian army during the war, documenting day-to-day activities and battles to create a visual record. These films and photographs eventually numbered some 1.5-million feet of footage and over sixty thousand still photos.

They matter a lot to us today, as they are used in countless books, documentaries, and other cultural products. But at the time, what propelled the unit was more immediate — getting newsworthy photos and films of the Canadian Army back to the newspapers and newsreels as quickly as possible.

What drove the cameramen was getting the scoop. (Scooping the War, Sarah Cook)

Infantrymen of the 48th Highlanders of Canada dealing with a German
counterattack, San Leonardo di Ortona, Italy, 10 December 1943.
F. J. Whitcombe, Canada DND, LAC, PA-166566

Lieutenant Ken Bell of the Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit digging a
slit trench in the Normandy beachhead, France, 10 June 1944. 
Photo Credit - Canada DND, LAC, PA-131443

Lt. I. Macdonald (with binoculars) of the 48th Highlanders of Canada preparing
to give the order to infantrymen of his platoon, San Leonardo di Ortona, Italy,
10 Dec. 1943. Lt. F. G. Whitcombe, Canada DND, LCA, PA-163411

Photographers and videographers not only dug their own trenches but suffered the ultimate consequences of war alongside Canadian troops:

Funeral of Sergeant Jimmie Campbell of the Canadian Army
Film and Photo Unit, Fleur-sur-Orne, France, 22 July 1944.
Photo - Lt. Ken Bell. Canada DND, LAC, PA-130160

Please click here to read more of the article (incl. more photographs by various Canadian men and women) by Sarah Cook, i.e., Scooping the War, from September 2016

The article provides a link to a collection of newsreels (as found on YouTube) produced by The Canadian Army Film Unit.  (There are scores of them, each covering various topics. Happy hunting!)

On YouTube, each newsreel comes with an outline of what is profiled during each film segment. E.g., on Newsreel 96 we find the following helpful description (so, if you're looking for something in particular...):

96.1 “Queen Elizabeth”* Arrives in Canada - The Queen Elizabeth passenger ship on its way to Halifax; with returning soldiers; boat drill; dinner; berths; rough seas; Halifax Harbour; the Toronto Scottish disembark; a train in motion; Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal march to a baseball stadium in Montreal where Archbishop Joseph Charbonneau and Brigadier J. G. Gauvreau, former commanding officer of the regiment, preside over a religious ceremony; families greet soldiers.

*my father arrived home in December, 1943, aboard the Aquitania

96.2 Dominion Swells Meat Exports to the UK - Activities at a pig farm; record keeping; pigs at a test station; Ponoka livestock trains are loaded; packing plant; cutting the meat; packing the meat into containers; refrigerator car.

96.3 Round-Up Time in Germany - Troops of the Nova Scotia Highlanders are briefed on procedures for searching the occupied German countryside; a German family is questioned; a bootlegger is caught; people whose identification papers are not in good order are put into a truck and taken to headquarters for further questioning.

96.4 Occupational Training for Amputation Cases - The staff of an office of the Canadian Department of Veterans Affairs creates wooden limbs; amputees exercise; amputees try out their new limbs; they are trained on their use; a man with z hook arms drives a car and enjoys a meal with his wife.

96.5 C.W.A.C. Band Tours Paris - The Canadian Women’s Army Corps parades on the Champs Elysées, with pipe leader Lillian Grant in the lead; General Georges P. Vanier, the Canadian Ambassador to France, takes the salute; the band members are received in the Tuileries Garden by General and Mrs. Vanier.

96.6 1945-46 Hockey Season Opens - The Toronto Maple Leafs play the Boston Bruins at Maple Leaf Gardens; Nick and Don Metz put on the padding while Frank McCool, the Toronto goalie, prepares for sensational saves. Private Ernest A. Smokey Smith, V.C. does face-off honours; six V.C. winners watch the game as guests of the Leafs; Conn Smythe and Major Frederick Albert Tilston watch the game. Tie game – 1-1.

More details re photographers, videographers, films, etc. soon to follow.

Please click here to view Research: Canadian WWII Photographers, Videographers, Films (1)

Unattributed Photos GH