Monday, November 11, 2019

The Word Of An Airmen

Of a certain Aleutian airmen to be exact...  my buddy Lt. Col (RET) Bob Brocklehurst.  This Veterans Day is dedicated to him and all those that flew with him in the Aleutian Campaign as well as throughout his 28 year Air Force career.  Please take an hour out of your day, perhaps while you are in the car, cooking dinner or getting ready for work, to hear his story.  

I made this video for Bob's family who are equally as inspiring as their patriarch.  It was taken the first time Bob and I met in February 2017 when I showed up at his home loaded with my grandfather's memorabilia, ready to show all with hopes of it sparking some type of recollections.  Or even better,  that maybe, just maybe- they had crossed paths. Bob did not want to be video recorded that day though.  He just wanted to talk.  So, I hit record and placed my phone down on the table ensuring I would capture every word that he shared with me.

Little did I know, that this day would lead to a special friendship that I will forever deeply cherish.   I miss Bob very much.   Countless times I have wanted to pick up the phone and tell him the latest new discovery in my research.   Or how I have come across his name or the names of the people he would speak about.  It was good to hear his voice.  It inspires me to keep on.  Hopefully it does the same to you.

Today,  I raise my special 41-G glass filled with a velvety scotch and dedicate it to a life well lived and an honorable service.  Here's to you Bob my friend; here is to you! 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Freedom Isn't Free.

Memorial Day is for remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms- their lives.   As I am preparing for another trip to Alaska in honor of those who served there, I am remembering those pilots in my grandfather's squadron, RCAF 111 (F) and some in No. 14 (F), who did not make it back to their families when the war was over.  
So as you are sleeping in, jumping in that pool or firing up that grill, stop and take a moment to remember those who made these luxuries possible. It IS because of the brave that we have these liberties. Freedom isn't free.  It is the most expensive thing of all. It costs lives.  Let's give it the respect it deserves. 

Happy Memorial Day.

Note: after the Aleutian Campaign both squadrons were sent overseas and re-designated:  111(F) Squadron to 440 FB (fighter bomber) and 14 (F) to 442 (F).  Both played active roles in preparation for the allied invasion of Europe and remained there until the war ended in 1945. 

F/O Leslie Ashburner,  23, St. Catherines, ONT
F/S Gordon Baird, 22, Shoal Lake, MB

S/L Kenneth Boomer DFC, AAM,  22, Vancouver, B.C.

F/O William Campbell, 22, Vancouver B. C
Sgt. Richard Christy, 19, Victoria, B.C.
F/O George Costello, 21, Stonewall, MB (second to last)

F/O Frank Crowley, 23, Brockville, ONT (second from the left)

F/O John Dewar, 21, London, ONT
F/L James Doak, 31, Cowansville, P.Q.
F/O Ronald Doidge, 20, Windsor, ONT
F/L Ian Dowling, 35, Brandford, ONT
F/L Odin Eskil, 27, Iron Mountain, MI
F/L Stanley Garside, 24, Edmonton, ALBA (standing center, dark life jacket)

F/L Jim Gohl AAM, 24, Roland, MB

F/L Clifford Hicks, 22, Crediton, ONT

F/L Arthur Jared, 27, Lansing, MI
S/L John Kerwin, 24, Belleview, ONT

F/S "Pop" Frank Lennon, 24, Clifton, NJ (first hammock)

F/O John Lippert, 22, Kitchner, ONT
F/S Stan Maxmen, 20, Moosejaw, SASK
F/O Ed Merkely, 25, St. Vital, MB (on the right)

F/L George Millar, 22, Winnipeg, MB

F/O William Peacock, 24, Noranda, P.Q.

S/L William Pentland, 27, Calgary, ALBT
Sgt. Charles Pierce, 25, Port Rowan, ONT
F/L Arnold Roseland, 22, Calgary, ALBT
F/O George Schwalm, 23, Tottenham, ONT (standing)

F/O Frank Skelly, 24, Kirkland Lake, ONT (second from the left)

Sgt. Doug Stapleton, 20, Hamiliton ONT
P/O Donald Sterling, 20, Ottawa, ONT
F/O Nicholus Stusiak, 24, Vancouver, B.C. (center with life jacket)

F/L Dufferin Wakling, 23, Brantford, ONT
P/O Dean Whiteside, 24, Waterville, KS