November 11, 1945

“And so another Armistice Day rolls around as the years go by, and today members of the VGC have cause to remember this day of days, realizing little that it is 27 years ago today since the cessation of hostilities in 1918. The meaning of this day has, of course, a special significance for VGCContinue reading “November 11, 1945”

A Needle in a Beetstack

Some time ago I acquired a series of forty-five photos documenting a PoW’s time in Canada. As is so often the case, the photos are unnamed and the provenance was unknown. Three group photos of PoWs at Camp 133 at Lethbridge lead me to believe that the original owner of the group was the manContinue reading “A Needle in a Beetstack”

Gone Fishing

Undoubtedly the most unusual find this summer was a PoW-made fishing rod. While I have come across the odd mention of PoWs fishing in labour projects in Manitoba and Ontario, this is the first time I’ve encountered material evidence of this. Made from a broom handle and what appears to be can lids, the fishingContinue reading “Gone Fishing”

Searching for an Artist – PoW Richard Schlicker

Richard Schlicker was among the thousands of German soldiers captured in North Africa and subsequently shipped to Canada in 1942. First arriving at Camp 133 at Ozada, Alberta, Schlicker was later transferred to Camp 133 at Lethbridge, Alberta. With the exception of working on some Albertan farms in 1945, he spent the remainder of theContinue reading “Searching for an Artist – PoW Richard Schlicker”

Ottawa – Summer Research Part II

As I mentioned in my earlier post, the next phase of my research took me to Ottawa. Fortunately, I was able to spend two weeks going through the holdings of Library and Archives Canada (LAC), the Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH), and the Canadian War Museum (CWM). Here’s a quick summary of my timeContinue reading “Ottawa – Summer Research Part II”

Museums, Marshes, and Mountains – Summer Research, Part 1

As some may have noticed, I’ve neglected my blog as of late, with only one post in the last two months. This, I assure you, was not intentional but instead the result of me having been on the road for most of that time. Now, 12,000 kilometers later, I have returned to London following theContinue reading “Museums, Marshes, and Mountains – Summer Research, Part 1”

A Request and a Response – June 1940

On June 7, 1940, High Commissioner for Canada in Great Britain, Vincent Massey, dispatched a telegram to the Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs that would ultimately have a drastic impact on Canadian internment operations in the years to come. At this time, Great Britain was holding 15,000 internees, both civilians and combatants, butContinue reading “A Request and a Response – June 1940”

Intelligence Roundup – Cake, a Flower Pot, and “The Last Wood-Cutter”

Stumbling across this in my search for intelligence reports regarding the VE-Day announcement in Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge, I wanted to share. Unsure of how PoWs would react to news of the German surrender, intelligence personnel at Medicine Hat’s Camp 132 asked a group of PoWs their thoughts as they were being transferred to aContinue reading “Intelligence Roundup – Cake, a Flower Pot, and “The Last Wood-Cutter””

VE Day – May 8, 1945

Today marks the seventieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. At Camp 133 in Lethbridge, Alberta, the Camp Spokesman, Assistant Spokesman, and Interpreter were paraded in the Commandant’s office to inform them of the news. Shortly after, the PoWs were assembled in the camp and read the proclamation. The CommandantContinue reading “VE Day – May 8, 1945”

Mapping PoWs in Canada

Few Canadians realize just how close the Second World War came to home, that from 1939 to 1947, Canada held over 34,000 prisoners of war. While many spent their days in one of twenty-eight internment camps, almost half of them were employed on a labour project by the end of the war. With some freeContinue reading “Mapping PoWs in Canada”