What do a First World War bugle, three Second World War daggers and a bayonet, a silk escape map and a Zippo lighter (not to mention a pile of badges and other insignia) have in common? They all belonged to my grandfather – Doc Alexander – and have been passed on to me via my uncle, Don, and his brother, my dad, Bob. It’s a veritable treasure trove and I’m really excited as I have the mate to two of the daggers and have never seen the other two, one of which is a German bayonet. My grandfather did not play the bugle during the First World War. He was in a mortar unit and then served as a stretcher bearer, but somehow, he came to have this beautiful, but very battered bugle in his possession. Along with all of that is a King’s Own Calgary Regiment Zippo lighter from 1950 that has obviously been well used. I’m not a smoker, never have been, but there is something about flicking a Zippo lighter open and closed. It’s incredibly satisfying, especially knowing that my grandfather would have done the same thing with it. The silk escape map is of Germany and some of the badges would have been on his uniforms at different times during the war. The two white rams lying on the escape map can be seen in a photograph of my grandfather taken in his Regimental Aid Post in Seaford, England early on in the war. The rams were early insignia of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps. I’m a pack rat by nature and I love old objects, so I’m thrilled to have this little treasure trove of my grandfather’s fall into my lap and many thanks to my uncle for passing it on to me!
Saw DuBarry was a Lady last night. Am all changed into battle dress now, going to have lunch, then down town to pick up my stuff and then to the station. There should be some mail for me when I get back. Caught train at Glasgow Central at 3:50 p.m. and arrived at Carlisle at 6:40 p.m. Met at train by Bert and Jim with my jeep.
May 17 Went down to Hilliards and bought some surgical instruments – then met Mr. Binning at Grosvenor for lunch. He introduced me to the Wholesale Drug House and I bought the drugs I needed. Last night Mrs. Muir and I went out to watch Mr. Muir bowl.
May 18: Had lunch downtown with Mr. Muir – Mrs. Muir and I are going to the Alhambra tonight to see “DuBarry was a Lady.” Phoned the Unit today – they will meet me in Carlisle tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. – and I will go back to work again.
May 11: After Officer’s board this afternoon, Poop and I went down to meet a Tank train in Langholm – stepped into a little tea room and had a swell tea. Jill’s photo arrived last night.
May 13: Have finished boarding the entire Unit tonight and am absolutely exhausted. Expect to go to Glasgow early on Saturday morning – phoned Rena Ferguson tonight, but she will not be there. I have never seen it rain any harder than it has for the last two days – everything is drenched. All the Unit with the exception of HQ Sqaudron is out on the ranges and will remain for another week. Two letters from home tonight, but expecting me back, but I am afraid it will be a long time before that happens.
May 15: at 7 a.m. – Dawson drove Ralph and I into Carlise, where he caught the train for Blackpool and I caught the train for Glasgow. Arrived in Glasgow at 12:29 and made connection with train to Giffnock station. Saw Rena before she went on holiday, then came home and had a sleep. In the evening Mr. Muir and I went to the Royal Theatre to see “Tonight’s the Night”. It was a grand show. Mrs. Muir’s sister is here for the weekend – we are having a grand time.
May 16: Mrs. Muir, her sister, Mr. Muir and I went to Church this a.m. This afternoon Alex Greenshield (the man who drove me to Loch Lomond) came in to tea and spent part of the evening here. Mr. and Mrs. Bruce were in for supper and have just gone home. Tomorrow I am to meet a Mr. Binning at Grosvenor for lunch – he is a drug manufacturer and I am trying to get a supply of drugs for the Unit. I am not on leave, but do not know when I will return to the Unit. As soon as I get my work done I guess. Now to bed.
According to the museum the Dambusters pulled off “one of the most daring and tactically demanding air operations in history,
the legendary Dambusters Raid utilized a bouncing bomb released at an altitude of sixty feet to destroy enemy hydroelectric dams.
A brilliant tactical success was achieved but eight of the nineteen Lancaster bombers did not return. Of the 133 airmen who flew on the raid, 53 were killed
and three became Prisoners of War. Of the thirty Canadians who flew, only fifteen returned safely to base. Albertans were prominent,as seven of the thirty Canadians were from our province”
The event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and it offers the opportunity to climb into the museum’s Lancaster bomber and to hear the roar of its Bristol Hercules engines. It’s a remarkable sound and a remarkable plane.
An interview on CBC Radio Calgary about the Dambusters can be found here.
A FULL DAY EVENT FEATURING:
-Lancaster Engine Runs and Cockpit Tours
-Aviation Art Exhibit -“The Dambusters –The Legendary Raid in Art”
-Book Launch: “Big Joe McCarthy –The RCAF’s American Dambuster”
-Commemorative Program and Display Opening
-Special Guests including a wartime 617 Squadron Veteran and Family Members of several Canadian Dambusters
-Bristol Hercules (14 Cylinder Radial; Sleeve-Valve) Bomber Engine Run-ups
-Premiere of the video: “Dambuster Terry Taerum”, a Calgary Dambuster
-Replay of 50th Anniversary Speech by Canadian Dambuster pilot Ken Brown CGM
-Special Display of Dams Raid items from the Museum’s Archives
CHECK: http://www.bombercommandmuseum.ca/event2013dambuster70.html for details, updates, and timing.
VISIT: http://www.bombercommandmuseum.ca/damsraid.html for background information and Dams Raid articles.
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org (403-646-2270)
May 7: All week we have been reboarding the entire Regiment. What a job – 60-70 men per day, on top of all our other routine work, certainly makes a full day. I still can’t exactly remember the name of this place – I believe it is Langholm, or something like that. Famous Mess meeting last night – St. George’s Mess dinner tomorrow night. WE haven’t had any entertainment for so long – we are just crazy about it.
May 9: Mess dinner last night – everybody present. A lovely lunch, then everybody sat round in the lounge until quite late. Only seven of the same men who were with us at the first St. George’s dinner were present tonight. Johnnie Cross, Tom Ward and Jack McKinly Kee, struck off strength today. Had a long talk with John this afternoon, he is being sent back to Canada I believe. Had a wire from John Begg a couple of days ago. It is colder than the devil here today. The reboard still goes. on.