Archive | September 2012

Sept. 30, 1942

A lot of big bugs in the Medical world were here for a meeting today. John got very disgusted which pleased me greatly as they always shoot a lot of bunk.

This entry is a good example of where I wish my grandfather had written more. Who were these “big bugs in the Medical world?” Why was John Begg (commanding officer of the Calgary Regiment) disgusted and why did that please my grandfather? And why did he say “they always shoot a lot of bunk?” I have a vague idea about the last comment: My grandfather was not impressed by rank but by the person behind the bars or the stars and I know from other entries in the journals he did not like the military way or the command structure. It frustrated him and that led him into trouble on a number of occasions after speaking his mind. But the rest, who knows!

Second World War Commando Knife

One Sept. 26, 1942, Doc Alexander wrote that he had packed up four commando knives to send home to Calgary with a member of the Calgary Tanks. This knife, which belongs to my dad, has sat on my parents bookcase for my entire life. It’s been a fixture in their home and my life. But all I know about this knife is that it was made from tank parts and bone. My grandfather told my dad it was German made, but I find that troubling as I can’t help but wonder, if that is true, where could he have gotten four German made commando knives? Dieppe was the closest he had gotten to mainland Europe and the German armies. I’m wondering if it is more likely Canadian or British made. My grandfather didn’t say where he got the knives in his journal so I’m left with more questions than answers. What I do know is that it is remarkably light and fits well within the hand. And as a friend of my uncle’s just pointed out, my uncle took one of these knives with him to show-and-tell. Can you imagine arriving at school today with a knife of this sort – of any sort for that matter – for show-and-tell. Goes to show that times have changed but also the importance and interest objects, such as this knife, sent home from overseas would have generated. Please let me know if you can tell me anything about this knife.

Military tanks – Library and Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada has just posted a selection of tank photographs, including images of tanks from the First World War, a selection of remarkable colour photographs of Sherman tanks (and a Ram tank) and a photograph of a Sherman tank in Italy belonging to the Calgary Regiment.

Sept. 27, 1942

Sunday at 6 a.m. Frenchie, Gordie Adams and I drove Carl to Brighton to catch the train en route for Canada, to speak on Dieppe. Carl was very excited, but felt a little lonely at the parting. I go out to tea this afternoon at Mr. Frison’s.

Sept. 26, 1942

Have just had the parcels packed for Cal to take home. Four Commando knives and some other small things. Harold and a Captain Southam were here for lunch today. They are on the ranges near here. Am sort of half expecting Ed Brown tomorrow.

Sept. 25, 1942

Inspection by Post Master General of Canada. I was called to “A” Squadron from H.Q. to recite my little story about Dieppe. Tonight I am packing up things ready to send home with Cal when he leaves on Sunday. It is a lonely feeling to see him go and a homesick feeling as well, but I would be so selfish to spoil his joy with my homesickness that I will get busy and get over it.

Sept. 24, 1942

The silliest thing happened today. We had an air raid warning at 8 a.m. but saw no planes. At noon the official photographer was here to take my picture and was taking some for me of the R.A.P. I had just assured him that we were never bothered by air raids – when two German planes came in at a terrific speed – dropped a bomb – the first one actually saw leave a plane and hit a house, then circled and swooped right over us machine gunning the street. No soldiers were hit but one house was blown to pieces and the windows and doors were blown off several houses in the vicinity. Several people were hurt but I don’t think any were killed. They were just skimming the tops of the houses – silly asses, better be careful or they’ll hurt somebody.

Doc Alexander’s RAP (Regimental Aid Post) in Seaford, Sept. 24, 1942. Alexander family collection.