My 2024 Pacific POW Memoir ‘To Be Read’ List
Doing Our Bit | Military & Family History Research Blog
by Jakealoo
5M ago
I don’t normally compile a TBR (To Be Read) list however this year I’ve pulled together my unread POW memoirs written by those that served in the Pacific theatre during the Second World War. There are 18 titles in total although one, “Embracing Defeat”, is not a memoir. This list is part of a much larger TBR that includes dozens of fiction titles, mostly classic Crime Noir, and as such I may not get through all 18 books, however I am committing to at least a dozen. I’m already well into William Allister’s “Where Life and Death Hold Hands“. That will be followed by “Escape from the Bloodied Su ..read more
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The Last Veteran of the Battle of Hong Kong Passes
Doing Our Bit | Military & Family History Research Blog
by Jakealoo
6M ago
On November 29, 2023 the last surviving Canadian soldier from the Battle of Hong Kong, Hormidas Fredette passed away at the age of 106. The Globe and Mail published an article on his passing which I highly recommend you take a moment to read. Mr. Fredette served with the Royal Rifles of Canada and took part in the Battle of Hong Kong, alongside the Winnipeg Grenadiers. He spent 44 months as a Prisoner of War in both Hong Kong and Japan. I have just read “Guest of Hirohito” by Kenneth Gambon M.D., who also served in the Royal Rifles. If you wish to learn more about their experience I recommend ..read more
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WW2 Memoirs – Hong Kong, Part 1
Doing Our Bit | Military & Family History Research Blog
by Jakealoo
7M ago
This is the first in a series of articles highlighting vintage Second World War books, with a special emphasis on personal memoirs published in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. All of the books are from my personal library and by no means represent the complete range of titles that were published. The Pacific war, in my opinion, receives far less attention than the war in Europe. I find it of particular interest and so to begin I’m focusing on books from this theatre of War. Up first is Part 1 of a 2-part article covering covering the fall of Hong Kong and the memoirs of those who escaped after be ..read more
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Mystery Soldier John “Jack” Thomson McCallum Identified!
Doing Our Bit | Military & Family History Research Blog
by Jakealoo
1y ago
In November 2013 I posted an article of a Company Sergeant-Major in the 50th Battalion CEF identified only as “Jack”. I published two photos of the soldier and speculated on who it might be. Over the years there have been several comments however a few weeks ago Garrett Lapp posted one identifying Jack as 434109 CSM John Thomson MacCallum DCM. The identification was based on a named photograph in the Glenbow Archives. I agree that the CSM Sergeant identified in the photo as J T MacCallum is our man so thank you Garrett! Although the military recorded his surname as “MacCallum” it was in fact ..read more
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Liberating the Netherlands – A Remarkable Restoration
Doing Our Bit | Military & Family History Research Blog
by Jakealoo
1y ago
A series of remarkable films documenting the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945 has appeared on YouTube over the past two weeks. The videos have been published by Rick88888888, a Dutch film restorer who has digitally enhanced and colourized the original footage. The quality is outstanding and in some cases is HD quality … resolution so good that it may be possible to identify soldiers documented in these films. The easiest way to view the videos is by checking out Rick’s “Liberation of the Netherlands in 1945” Playlist. All of the videos below include English narration and many are proceed ..read more
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Slava Ukraini!
Doing Our Bit | Military & Family History Research Blog
by Jakealoo
1y ago
Please do your bit and show your support for Ukraine by donating to the Canadian Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal Thank you ..read more
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Update: Service Restored (Temporary outage at LAC)
Doing Our Bit | Military & Family History Research Blog
by Jakealoo
1y ago
December 24, 2021 LAC restored their online services yesterday. You should now be able to access nominal rolls, trench newspapers and any other link from my site to LAC. Merry Christmas! December 16, 2021 My website contains links to many resources at Library and Archives Canada, including but not limited to nominal rolls, trench newspapers and “Sources relating to…”. Due to security concerns LAC has temporarily taken down many of their web services and as such these resources are currently unavailable. The link below provides a bit more information on this outage: https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/en ..read more
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Germans recount life inside Canadian WW2 POW Camps
Doing Our Bit | Military & Family History Research Blog
by Jakealoo
1y ago
The Enemy Within by Eva Colmers, 2003, National Film Board of Canada My most recent research project focused on a First World War veteran who served in the Veteran Guards of Canada (VGC) during the Second World War. Resources pertaining to the VGC are thin on the ground and sadly their war diaries have yet to be digitized. Fortunately I did uncover a wonderful film by Eva Colmers, released through the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in 2003. Eva Colmers is the daughter of Theo Melzer, a former German Prisoner of War who was captured in North Africa and sent to a POW camp in Canada. The fil ..read more
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Remembrance Day 2020
Doing Our Bit | Military & Family History Research Blog
by Jakealoo
1y ago
Photos, ephemera and a wooden chest belonging to Holley Skelton. Source: author’s collection. In 2015 I wrote about two brothers from Essex, 2nd Lieut. Henry Harry Skelton and 2nd Lieutenant Benjamin Dowell Skelton, both of whom died in the last six weeks of the First World War. This year I’m remembering their cousin Private Holley Skelton who served in the 72nd Battalion (Seaforth Highlanders of Canada). I’ve had photographs and ephemera relating to the Skelton family for years however two weeks ago I was given this wonderful wooden chest (thank you Cathy!) used by Holley Skelton in 1907 when ..read more
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Free Digital Downloads from The National Archives
Doing Our Bit | Military & Family History Research Blog
by Jakealoo
1y ago
The saying goes that every dark cloud has a silver lining and that is certainly the case with The National Archives at Kew. COVID19 has forced them to close their doors to the public however during this period they are offering free downloads from their digital collection. You must register to take advantage of this generous offer and are limited to 50 free downloads during a rolling 30-day period. With downloads normally costing an average of £3.50 (~CAD$6) it is well worth visiting their website to check out the full details on accessing their free digital records. What’s available you ask ..read more
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