ESCAPE AND EVASION ~ AIDS TO ESCAPING

ESCAPE AND EVASION ~ AIDS TO ESCAPING

I recently wrote an article on escapees and selected a few individuals and their stories. Throughout history people have escaped from captivity and, from these, many lessons were learned. This came to a climax in World War Two, with the advances in air warfare. Training air crew is an expensive business and to lose those men for the duration when they were shot down was extremely serious. Therefore, it was decided everything must be done to get them back and this became a high priority. There were two types of escapees, the ones shot down and never captured and those who were captured and held in POW camps. It was necessary to not only train these men to fly but also train them to know what to do when shot down. Both from an escaping prospective but also what to do or say during an interrogation. Such training was started in WW2, continued after 1945 and is still on going in the 21st century. In fact I, myself took part in one such exercise in 1952 when, as a member of an army unit, we had to patrol a large area looking for aircrew from an RAF station who were scattered around the area.  We did manage to capture quite a few during this exercise.  A new department was established to decide what tools they would need to assist them in their escape and the allies were fortunate to recruit an officer, named Christopher Clayton Hutton (known as Clutty) who became responsible for arranging for the items which would be needed for an escape. Firstly, compasses and maps would be essential. He arranged for small compasses to be made and hidden in buttons...
NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ PROFILES OF COURAGE ~ POST-WAR YEARS

NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ PROFILES OF COURAGE ~ POST-WAR YEARS

Two Profiles of Courage of note for this time period include:   Ainsworth Dyer ~ Ainsworth Dyer was born in Montreal and grew up in Toronto.  He enlisted in the Canadian Forces in 1996 and would go on to become a member of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Mature and responsible, Dyer was well-respected by his colleagues.  He took on many challenges including training for the military’s gruelling “Mountain Man” endurance competition, qualifying as a paratrooper and serving in Canadian Forces peace support efforts in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2000. Corporal Dyer was taking part in night training in Afghanistan on April 17, 2002 when his position was bomber by an American warplane in a friendly fire incident at Tarnak Farms.  Sadly, he and three other Canadians were killed and eight more were injured.  Dyer was just 24 years old. The fallen soldier was buried with full military honours in the Necropolis Cemetery in Toronto.  The Royal Canadian Legion named his mother, Mrs. Agatha Dyer, the 2004 National Silver Cross Mother.     Mark Graham ~ Born in Jamaica, Mark Graham moved to Hamilton, Ontario as a child.  In 2004, he answered the call to serve and enlisted in the Canadian Forces.  Private Graham was sent to Afghanistan with the Royal Canadian Regiment.  He was an excellent role model for the younger soldiers and had an excellent record of efficiency in his unit.  Tragically, the then 33 year old was killed by friendly fire on September 4, 2006, when his platoon was mistakenly attacked by an American warplane during an operation to capture a Taliban stronghold. Graham is buried at the National...
NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ WWII PROFILES OF COURAGE

NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ WWII PROFILES OF COURAGE

There are two profiles of courage I’d like to share with you relevant to the Second World War:   Edwin Erwin Phillips ~ Edwin Erwin Phillips was born in Montreal and worked as a printer’s apprentice before volunteering for service with the RCAF in 1942.  Only 21 years old when he enlisted, he would go on to work as a mechanic with No. 168 Heavy Transport Squadron and rise to the rank of sergeant.  As part of his duties, Phillips would sometimes accompany transatlantic cargo flights. The eastern European country of Poland had suffered greatly during WWII and there was a serious shortage of medical supplies.  The Canadian Red Cross donated tons of penicillin in response to the humanitarian crisis there after the end of the war and the military agreed to transport it overseas from Canada. On November 4, 1945, the Flying Fortress aircraft carrying the vitally needed medicine to Warsaw crashed into a hilltop near Halle, Germany and burst into flames.  Phillips and the four other crew members onboard were killed in the accident.  The fallen Canadian airmen are buried at Munster Heath Cemetery in Germany.     The Carty Brothers ~ Military service was in the Carty family blood.  Five brothers from the Saint John, New Brunswick family served during the Second World War.  They came by this dedication to duty honestly as their father, Albert Carty, had served with the No. 2 Construction Battalion during the First World War. At a time when recruiting regulations restricted the ability of Black people to serve in the RCAF, all five overcame the odds and became airmen.  Four of...
NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ THE FIRST WORLD WAR

NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ THE FIRST WORLD WAR

Like so many others swept up in the excitement and patriotism  that the First World War initially brought on, young Black Canadians were eager to serve King and country.  At the time, however, the prejudiced attitudes of many of the people in charge of military enlistment made it very difficult for these men to join the Canadian Army.  Despite the barriers, some Black Canadians did manage to join up during the opening years of the war.  Black Canadians wanted the chance to do their part on a larger scale, however, and pressured the government to do so.     On July 5, 1916, the No. 2 Construction Battalion was formed in Pictou, Nova Scotia - the first large Black military unit in Canadian history.  Recruitment took place across the country and more than 600 men were eventually accepted, most from Nova Scotia, with others coming from New Brunswick, Ontario, the west and even some from the United States.  The Black Battalion’s chaplain was Reverend William White, who had also played a leading role getting the unit formed.  He was given the rank of Honourary Captain - one of the few Black commissioned officers to serve in the Canadian Army during the war. The segregated battalion was tasked with non-combat support roles,  After initial service in Canada, the battalion boarded the SS Southland bound for Liverpool, England in March 1917.  Its members were sent to eastern France later in 1917 where they served honourably with the Canadian Forestry Corps.  There they helped provide the lumber required to maintain trenches on the front lines, as well as helped construct roads and railways.  After...
NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ AN INTRODUCTION

NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ AN INTRODUCTION

Since this is Black History Month, I thought we should look at how they have served Canada in peace and in war.  I have selected a few individuals to show their stories although it is not possible to include all those who have served.  There are many who showed enormous bravery and service who are not mentioned here. The first reference is about the many who served to defend Canada in 1780.  A number were offered their freedom if they fought against the Americans.  Then in 1812, they formed a “Company of Coloured Men” who fought at Queenston Heights. During the rebellion in Upper Canada 1837-1839, about 1000 black militia formed 5 companies and helped put down the uprising. In World War I, military enlistment personnel made it difficult for black Canadians to join up but in spite of these barriers many wanted to serve. Reverend William White played a large role in the formation in Pictou, N.S. of No. 2 Construction Battalion.  The Rev. White was the Battalion chaplain who was given the Honorary rank of Captain, one of the few black commissioned officers to serve.  The unit served in a non-combat role in France. In World War II, Michael Manley served as aircrew in the RCAF and subsequently in 1972, he became Prime Minister of Jamaica. Lincoln Alexander, Leonard Braithwaite and Lloyd Perry all became lawyers.  Lincoln Alexander became the first black Member of Parliament and later, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.  Eric Watts served in the RCAF and rose from airman to squadron leader.  He served as Wing Air Armaments Officer with 1 Wing Merville France and...

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