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Elinor Florence (Company name) Elinor Florence

Stories That Inspire

Dear Friends: After five years and more than 100 wartime stories, this will be my FINAL Wartime Wednesdays blog post. But since I’m so eager to stay in touch with all you lovely people, I have an entirely new blog titled Letters From Windermere. My monthly letter will be just that — a chatty update across the digital […]

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Willa Walker rose rapidly through the ranks in 1941 to become head of the newly-formed Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division. Only 28 years old, grieving the recent death of her baby son, her husband locked away in a German prison camp, Willa rose to the challenge with courage and dignity, breaking down barriers for future generations of women […]

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A group of young men from Cranbrook, British Columbia, members of the Rover branch of the Boy Scouts, built this cabin deep in the forest to use as their private clubhouse in the happy days before the Second World War. Four of them died while serving their country. Now all that remains is the stone […]

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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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Let the bells ring out and the banners fly! After seeing this program in Ontario, I pitched the idea of honouring our local veterans by putting their photographs on individual banners. It meant months of hard work by my partner Sandi Jones and me, but the banners are now hanging downtown in our dear little town of Invermere, British Columbia. Read […]

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The Christmas season was especially lonely for the homesick men and women serving overseas in wartime, as well as their families on the home front. Here are just a few examples of the many thousands of Christmas cards and letters that winged their way between loved ones in both world wars. When I went searching for images […]

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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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This year, 2016, marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the writing of one of the most beautiful poems ever composed – “High Flight,” by John Gillespie Magee Junior. A few months after creating this lyrical work of art, the brilliant young Spitfire pilot died in a tragic air accident. He was just nineteen. “High Flight” has […]

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For hundreds of thousands of families around the world, 1945 marked the first happy Christmas celebrated together after the sad and lonely years of war. After the war ended in May 1945, it took months to transport all those men and women home again, and some didn’t arrive until just before Christmas. My own father, who […]

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