From Bismarck Survivor to Canadian Citizen: Helmut Keune

Today is the 81st anniversary of the sinking of the #Bismarck. From a crew of over 2,000, only 114 survived. The survivors were subsequently interned in Canada until 1946, but one POW, Helmut Keune, would remain in Canada for the rest of his life. Here is his story.

From Norway to Northern Ontario: One POW’s Journey to Canada

Most of the roughly 40,000 German prisoners of war (POWs) sent to Canada during the Second World War were captured in now well-known campaigns like that in North Africa and Normandy or they were shot down during the Battle of Britain or plucked from the cold Atlantic waters. But some came from lesser-known battles andContinue reading “From Norway to Northern Ontario: One POW’s Journey to Canada”

“Unknown, Foreign Soldier, WWII POW”

Tucked away among the graves in the cemetery in Indian Head, Saskatchewan is a simple white cross bearing a plaque, “Unknown / Foreign Soldier / WWII POW.” Having learned about the grave from a fellow researcher, I visited the cemetery back in 2015. Since then, I have unsuccessfully tried to identify who may be buriedContinue reading ““Unknown, Foreign Soldier, WWII POW””

An Update and “Held Captive: Prisoners of War and Their Pets in Canada during the Second World War”

It has been a while since my last post here but I’m still researching and writing about POWs in Canada. I’m happy to say that I finished my dissertation and successfully defended my PhD. I’m hoping that this (and the current pandemic) will give me more time to share some of my research here. SpeakingContinue reading “An Update and “Held Captive: Prisoners of War and Their Pets in Canada during the Second World War””

Requesting Canadian WWII Service Records

One of the more popular emails I receive is from individuals wanting to know more about their relative’s service in the Second World War so I thought I’d write a short post explaining how to do so. Although my requests are usually for men who served in the Veterans’ Guard of Canada, this request willContinue reading “Requesting Canadian WWII Service Records”

Camp 40 (Camp A) – Farnham, Quebec

I whipped this map up for a reader researching his father earlier today and thought I would share. The image shows the layout of the internment Camp at Farnham, Quebec overlaid on some modern satellite imagery from Google. Camp A, as it was initially known, opened in October 1940 and initially held civilian internees andContinue reading “Camp 40 (Camp A) – Farnham, Quebec”

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”

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”

Mapping Canada’s Internment Camps

From 1939 to 1947, German Prisoners of War, Enemy Merchant Seamen, and Civilian Internees were held in twenty-eight different locations in Canada. While thousands were eventually employed in small, low-security labour projects, these twenty-eight camps formed the backbone of Canadian internment operations. As part of my research for my PhD, I am attempting to mapContinue reading “Mapping Canada’s Internment Camps”