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Elinor Florence (Company name) Elinor Florence

Prairie Provinces at War

Named for the future British prime minister, 100-year-old Winston Churchill Parker of Okotoks, Alberta, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, served as a Wireless Air Gunner in a Wellington bomber, was shot down on his unlucky thirteenth mission, and spent the rest of the war as a POW in a German prison camp. Note to readers: The following […]

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Jean Brims Hubbard, now aged 92, joined the Canadian Women’s Army Corps on her day she turned eighteen. Wearing her red and white polka-dotted dress, she is likely the only recruit ever welcomed into the armed forces with a birthday cake! In all my years of interviewing veterans, both male and female, I have never […]

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When I discovered this photograph online, I was struck with the lovely elegance of RCAF Women’s Division member Dorothy Chapman Garen in her blue uniform. I was even more thrilled to find that Dorothy, now aged 95, is living not far from me in Canmore, Alberta, where I was able to thank her in person for […]

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A case of mistaken identity thwarted Jim Milne’s plans to fly against the enemy, so he spent the war in Canada as a navigation instructor instead. When not on duty, he sketched some very amusing cartoons in his flying logbook! Now 97, Jim Milne lives with his wife Betty in the pretty mountain resort of […]

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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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Sixty-eight years ago this month, a German submarine torpedoed the SS Caribou, a ferry travelling from Canada to Newfoundland. Within five minutes, the ferry sank to the bottom of the Atlantic. Margaret Brooke valiantly tried to save her friend Agnes Wilkie, who became the only Canadian nursing sister to die from enemy action in World War Two. […]

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Eight Métis brothers from Battleford, Saskatchewan served in the Canadian Army during World War Two, following in their father’s footsteps. One brother married and fathered a son while stationed in England, but returned to Canada without ever seeing the boy. The marriage ended, and Ben Ballendine died without knowing that both his British son Colin, AND his British […]

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When this Manitoba farm girl joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, she proved to be such a whiz at Morse Code that she was assigned to instruct the air crews. Now almost ninety-three, Merle Taylor still practices her dots and dashes every day, claiming that Morse Code keeps her mind sharp. Merle Taylor of Lochaber, […]

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Seven decades after German artillery fire blew up the Sherman tank Stan Stachera was riding in, as he crossed a muddy intersection in the Netherlands, the folding leather cribbage board he made during his hospital recovery remains his family’s favourite link to his wartime past. (This guest blog was written by my talented friend Kelsey Verboom, writer and […]

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A wartime scrapbook kept by Alice Spackman of Okotoks, Alberta, stuffed with letters, photographs and clippings, is the foundation for a new book titled She Made Them Family. It’s a fascinating glimpse of life in a small prairie town during World War Two. I became acquainted with Anne Gafiuk of Calgary through our mutual love of […]

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