PICTURES AND STORY BY FRED STRINGFELLOW
As a representative of the 8 Recce I did the Normandy Tour
with fellow veterans from
on the 1st of June, arrived at Kamloops , where we all Ottawa
gathered for a meet and greet prior to departure on the 3rd.
on the 4th, we had a hectic tour. However, I did have Caen
time to contact Arlette and Theirry Hollier-Larousse and we had a nice
visit at my hotel. Theirry seemed fine but Arlette said he forgets sometime.
Dr Richard Alway, son of our Colonel Alway, as Chairman of Historic
Sites and Monuments Board of Canada accompanied us on the tour and
was at the unveiling of the new Canadian Memorial Plaque at
. Juno Beach
At the Canadian Cemetary at Bretteville Sur Laize I paid
homage to two of my friends - Frank Townsend and
Cliff Cushing (Story in press release).
MY LOCAL PAPER
Shushwap Market News,
60 Canadian World War II veterans made an emotion-filled journey back to towns along the
French coast to mark the 55th anniversary of D-Day and the battle of
ADDED NOTE BY FRED: Here I am with Arlette and Theirry Hollier-Larousse
of Louvigny (
By Joyce Bradley
Fred Stringfellow of Anglemont recently undertook a journey which vividly rekindled memories of his time in the 1940's serving with the 8th Canadian Reconnaissance Regiment (14th Canadian Hussars).
Along with 60 Canadian veterans and 60 youth sponsored by veterans affairs, Stringfellow, 76, traveled to France to mark the 55th anniversary of Canada's role in the June 6 D-Day landing and the Normandy campaign.
There he met others who had served their country and together they traveled by bus to
various sites on the
"They were good guys." says Stringfellow, of the
war-time friendships formed so many years ago.
Stringfellow says he preferred the Recce Regiment "because you could ride instead of walk and I was interested in machinery."
Ride he did - driving trucks, scout cars, Bren-gun
carriers, jeeps, half-trucks, motorcycles and more, throughout England, Belgium, the
Netherlands, France and Germany. The regiment provided vital information for the
divisional commander and assisted in the liberation of
Stringfellow recalls his regiment having "many close calls. We drove over land mines held down by machine-guns, houses were blown up around us, we were shelled by artillery."
After the war he returned to
He also keeps active as a veteran of the 8th Recce
Association and says he will be making a report on his trip to
A regimental reunion is being organized in
Tom Mason in
WE HAD A CEREMONY AT
DEDICATION OF A NEW CANADIAN
AT Chateau d'Audrieu NEAR
TRIBUTE TO THE FRENCH RESISTANCE
the grave site of Gunnar Wium, who lies alongside Russell Owchar.
Both had received a direct hit in their slit trench on our first night of
action at Le Mesnil, on the outskirts of Louvigny in the
8 RECCE BADGE WITH 14TH CANADIAN
HUSSARS AND SEE THE BLACK BERET
ABBAYE d'ARDENNE STORY
the names of 21 murdered Canadian soldiers were solemnly read out in a small garden here
yesterday, gusts of wind shook rain from the green canopy above.
It was as if even the trees were crying for the dead men, prisoners of war who were executed by German SS troops in June 1944.
As each name was read, a Canadian student placed a single maple leaf at the base of a monument erected in their honour.
The men had been taken prisoner by the 12th SS Panzer Division as the Germans counterattacked in the weeks following D-Day. As many as 156 Canadian prisoners of war may have been executed by the SS in scattered groups across the countryside.
Here, the men were held in a collection of medieval buildings in the Abbaye d'Ardenne, including a Gothic church and farm houses.
When the Canadians refused to give more then name, rank and serial number, they were led up a short flight of stone stairs behind the church and into the tiny garden, where they were executed.
Germans told them they would all be killed.
"Lined up together at the base of the stairs, hearing their comrades being murdered one by one before they entered the garden, they all shook hands as a gesture of comrades in friendship," said Jacques Vicco, whose family owned the land since the 1920s and who were in the French Resistance.
"The Canadian soldiers here were the victims of this ideology of death," said Vicco. "They joined the second world war's long list of martyrs."
After the service, Vicco said: "what happened here was a reflection of what happened during the war, democracy and freedom versus fascism."
Cliff Chadderton, 81, was a captain with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles when news of the atrocity first got out months after the killings. Some of the dead were his closest friends. The event has haunted him ever since.
"This has been with me since 1944."Can you imagine the courage of these men when they heard their friends being shot and yet they too refused to tell the Germans anything but name, rank and serial number?" said Chadderton, who later in the war rose to acting major.
whole story of the bravery of the ordinary Canadian is in that garden," said Chadderton, who, as chairman of the National Council of Veteran
Association in Canada, has made a one-hour documentary of the killings and works to keep
the story alive with other writings.
Former ordinary Canadian soldiers, 60 of them, older now, are touring part of northern France to commemorate the 55th anniversary of D-Day and the Normandy campaign. Sometimes the crowds are large. Usually the veterans outnumber the French.
There are five youth delegates and five cadets from across Canada traveling with the veterans.
Today's events, especially the scene in the garden, was deeply affecting for these youngsters.
"There's evil in there," Ryan Price, 17. said of the garden. "It's like a presence that gets inside you. When I walked out there I couldn't smile."
Ryan, of Sidney, B.C., said he was especially disturbed when the names of the men were read out, some of whom were barely in their 20s.
NATURALLY I HAD TO HAVE A PICTURE WITH
SMOKEY SMITH VC WHO WAS WITH US ON THE TOUR.
MY ROOM MATE AND TRAVEL COMPANION
THE CANADIAN SCOTTISH. A GREAT GUY.
On the 11th, we went by ferry to
and returned Portsmouth
to Ottawa on the 13th and so on home.
I can honestly say that I couldn't have spent a nicer time
with a greater bunch of fellow veterans and the memories
of the tour will be treasured forever.
FOR FULL COVERAGE - PLEASE USE THE LINK TO
VETERANS AFFAIRS CANADA
WHEN I GOT HOME AFTER THE TOUR I RECEIVED THIS LETTER:
June 23, 1999
Dear Mr. Stringfellow:
Just a short note to say thank you for everything you have done
for our country, Canada. You faced almost insurmountable challenges
during the Second World War, but rose to those challenges and
showed that those who truly believe in democracy will, in the end,
As a federal Member of Parliament, I must say how humble I was to
be in your midst. The free world owes you a tremendous debt of
Your friend and admirer,
Hector Cloutier, M.P.