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Elinor Florence (Company name) Elinor Florence

Our Allies at War

After a bullet from a Japanese machine gun tore through her body, Australian nurse Vivian Bullwinkel floated face down in the sea and feigned death. She was the sole survivor of the 1942 Bangka Island Massacre, in which 22 nurses were forced to wade into the ocean at gunpoint and then shot in the back. It’s […]

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Plucky Iris Porter of the British Women’s Auxiliary Air Force slept in a tent for two long years, swam in the Mediterranean Sea, rode camels, and visited the pyramids – all while serving her country in the burning Egyptian desert during World War Two.   Chatting With Iris It was an absolute pleasure to chat with Iris Porter […]

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Ben Scaman of Banff, Alberta, was flying Spitfires with the Royal Canadian Air Force when the V-1 flying bombs, often called doodlebugs, began to rain down on England in 1944. Remarkably, Ben pioneered the technique in which a skilled pilot could tip one of these murderous missiles off balance, causing it to crash harmlessly into the countryside. […]

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Bud Abbott was just twenty-three years old when he strapped himself into his cockpit, took off from the deck of an aircraft carrier, and headed into aerial combat for the very first time. His target: the Tirpitz, one of the deadliest German battleships ever built. (Bud Abbott passed away in Cranbrook, British Columbia on January 30, […]

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Violet Milstead of Toronto was a ferry pilot, one of the elite few Canadian women who served with the Air Transport Auxiliary in Great Britain during the Second World War. She flew forty-seven different types of aircraft, including fighters and bombers, from factories to airfields. My guest post about Vi Milstead was prepared by the official historian […]

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Nobody remembered the fascinating history of a humble brass pitcher owned by this Canadian family, until Brenda Blair of Calgary discovered that it was once a prized souvenir of Holland’s liberation by the Canadians. By Brenda Blair Growing up, I knew I had Dutch roots. I had an Opa and Oma instead of a grandfather and grandmother. […]

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This week marks the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, so I’m updating a post that I wrote last year. The Scheffer family hid a Jewish couple for two years in their home in a small town in Holland, saving them from certain death. The Scheffers had six children of their own. If […]

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When I began to research my wartime novel about an aerial photo interpreter in World War Two, the woman who made the most impact – not only on my book, but on the world we live in today – was the brilliant, beautiful Constance Babington Smith. (My wartime novel Bird’s Eye View is fact-based fiction, the story of a […]

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Danesfield House is now a luxury hotel, but during the war it was requisitioned by the Royal Air Force, renamed RAF Medmenham, and served as the headquarters for aerial photographic interpretation. It has personal meaning for me, too. My wartime novel Bird’s Eye View is fact-based fiction, the story of a Canadian woman who works at RAF Medmenham as a photo […]

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My friend Russ Jeffs was a Royal Air Force veteran who rose to the rank of RAF Wingco, or Wing Commander, before leaving England in the 1950s and moving to Canada. He was an inveterate story-teller with an endless stream of anecdotes about his days in the air force. After Russ moved to Canada, he spent the next […]

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