Tillsonburg's 'From the Archives' - November 1945

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Observing that it was the first service of its kind in modern times, commemorating the fallen of two wars, Capt. L.E. Mason, the pastor of First Baptist Church, in addressing the community's Remembrance Day service in the town hall Sunday afternoon, said the marking of the day next year may have to be determined as there is November 11th for the First Great War, and May 8th and August 12th for the Second Great War. He thought that all three days might be observed.

A parade was formed on Harvey Street prior to the service, with R.M. Moir as the parade marshal. It proceeded south on Harvey, swinging over to Broadway and marching to the cenotaph for a short service. The parade was led by a universal carrier manned by members of C Company of the Oxford Rifles, followed by the Tillsonburg Community Band, the Tillsonburg Branch, No. 153, Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League, the Oxford Rifles' Bugle Band, C Company of the Oxford Rifles, town officials, firemen, and Boy Scouts.

The parade groups assembled around the cenotaph where wreaths were placed.


Gordon F. Johnston of Tillsonburg was notified during the weekend that his award of 'mentioned in dispatches' while in Northwestern Europe has been changed to the award of the Military Medal.

Johnston has recently returned from nearly five years overseas. He received shrapnel wounds in the Shelde Estuary, fighting in Holland. He received his discharge on November 6th and is now employed as district agent for the Crown Life Insurance Company, working in conjunction with Blake McDonald of Tillsonburg.

Johnston was born in Tillsonburg and received advanced education in Toronto, and finished with a year at the Toronto College of Art. His grandmother is Mrs. James Coyle. His sister, Miss Erma Johnston, and his mother Mrs. Ila B. Johnston of Tillsonburg.

He was married in Walberton, England on July 21, 1941, and is at present waiting for the arrival of his wife, Bonny, and their two sons, Gordon and Carl, ages 3 and 1. They will reside in Tillsonburg in their new home, now under construction on Lisgar Avenue.


Capt. R.J. Stallwood, who has been overseas since June 1944 is returning to Canada aboard the Queen Elizabeth, which is expected to dock at Halifax on Monday. Capt. Stallwood, who has held the rank of acting major since July, has been serving with the Civil Affairs Branch of the Canadian Army in Belgium, Holland and Germany.

Before he enlisted, Capt. Stallwood was the tobacco representative of the Ontario Agricultural College, Guelph, for this district, having an office in the local post offfice building. He is being recalled to a teaching position at the college, of which he is a graduate.

Captain Stallwood served in 'C' Company of the Oxford Rifles and was the commanding officer of the unit when he went on active service four years ago last May.

After enlisting for active service, he served on the West Coast, where he was liasion officer for the brigade staff.

Mrs. Stallwood and children, David and Janet, reside on Bidwell Street. Capt. And Mrs. Stallwood are members of St. Paul's United Church.


An impressive Remembrance Day service was conducted by Rev. W.L. Davidson, minister, in St. Paul's United Church on Sunday morning, when the congregation paid tribute to the memory of the eight members of the church who gave their lives during the Second Great War and the eight members who paid the supreme sacrifice in the First Great War. The service opened with two minutes of silent prayer.

Rev. Davidson spoke of the events transpiring after the First Great War and the hopes during the Second Great War that the world would emerge to a more settled peace. He prayed that “we may be worthy of the sacrifices of these men from our congregation.”

His sermon subject was “The Spirit of Remembrance Day,” and for his Bible text he selected Romans 12:19.

“If they died for a cause, what are we living for?” the minister asked. “Are we living for self?”

He stated that only the cross of Christ is the power that can accomplish the seemingly impossible task of saving the world.

While the congregation stood, Rev. Davidson read the names of the following members who paid the supreme sacrifice in the Second Great War: Frederick John Myrick, August 11, 1942; Arthur Harold Down, Oct. 26, 1942; Louis Ross Rodgers, May 26, 1943; Harry Edward Rouse, July 4, 1944; Frank Lester Fisher, July 10, 1944; James Grant Hagell, Oct. 5, 1944; Oakley Lorne Davis, Oct. 10, 1944; Phillip Rex Myrick, Feb. 9, 1945.


Lieut.-Col. C.R. Ostrander of Ostrander, who returned recently from overseas service with the Canadian Army, addressed the dinner meeting of the Lions Club of Tillsonburg at the Royal Hotel on Monday evening.

“I think it is a sad thing,” he said, “that the people of Canada did not see what they produced in their armed groups overseas.” He said it was a great honor for Canada to have its own army corps, and outlined briefly the complement of an army.

He spoke about Montgomery at El Alemein, but mostly about the plans for the D-Day invasion and the fighting of the Canadians through France and Belgium. Fighting, he said, always comes where the movement is slow. He paid tribute to the work of the supply columns in keeping the men supplied with food – and even the copy of the Tillsonburg News sent to them by the Lions Club.

Lieut.-Col. Ostrander, who was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the Free French government for his services in the Dieppe Raid, was introduced by Lion H.F. Johnston.


The poppy sales on Remembrance Day were the largest they have ever been, according to H.V. Peacock.

Mr. Peacock convened the poppy sales for the Tillsonburg Branch, No. 153, Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League. The sum of $355 was received by the branch, which after the expenses of the poppies are paid, will be retained here for the carrying on of welfare work by the local branch among ex-service men.

The poppies are made annually in Vetcraft Shops, by disabled veterans.

“We are very grateful for the generous response to our poppy appeal on Saturday,” Mr. Peacock and E.T. Grass, president of the branch, said. “We particularly wish to thank R.D. Alexander and the school children and others who sold the poppies for Remembrance Day.”


The Tillsonburg Committee for the National Clothing Collection packed and shipped during the recent campaign 14,633 pounds of serviceable used clothing for the destitute people of the wartorn Allied countries in Europe. The work of packing the clothing in cartons was carried on in the entrance rooms of the Gospel Tabernacle and the I.O.D.E. House.


“Once again the citizens of Tillsonburg have expressed their gratitude to the members of the fighting forces for the sacrifices they have made during the Second Great War by purchasing Victory Loan bonds far in excess of the quota established for them, thus making it possible for our Canadian government to see that every member of the forces is properly re-established into civilian life,” W.W. Shaver and E.I. Torrense, chairmen of the successful Ninth Victory Loan campaign in Tillsonburg, stated this morning.

At the commencement of the campaign, a quota of $451,750 was established for Tillsonburg. This amount was $50,000 more than had ever been realized during a Victory Loan campaign in Tillsonburg.

“In reaching this tremendous figure, we were in fourth place in Oxford County on a percentage basis, being exceeded only by Norwich Village, and the Townships of West Zorra and East Nissouri.

“Dereham Township did an outstanding job, as did North Norwich Township and the Township of South Norwich.”


Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Arthur were the recipient of many messages of congratulations on the occasion of a birthday dinner for Thomas. On Monday morning he received a call by telephone from his son, Pte. Kenneth Arthur, who has been overseas for nearly a year. Several members of the family were able to talk with him and all conversations were very distinct.

This is the first overseas message to come through the Otterville office of the Bell Telephone Co. of which Miss Maude Hussey is the representative.


An almost suicidal dive on a Japanese fleet won post-humous award of the Victoria Cross for Lieut. Robert 'Hammy' Hampton Gray of Nelson, B.C., nephew of R.H. McAllister of Tillsonburg, who becomes Canada's 13th winner of the Empire's highest award in the Second Great War.

A fleet arm pilot with the Royal Navy, the 27-year-old Canadian in a flaming aircraft pressed home his attack and sank a Japanese destroyer six days before the end of the war.

The British Pacific Fleet was ranging close to Tokyo and Lieut. Gray sped off the deck of the big aircraft carrier 'Formidable' to lead an attack on August 9, 1945.

Sweeping over Onogawa Wan, a gulf outside Tokyo Bay, he spotted a number of Japanese warships and immediately started an attack.

A terrific fire was returned by warships and ground batteries. Lieut. Gray weaved his way through the deadly barrage which was concentrated on his light aircraft.

The plane was hit again and again, but he had sighted a destroyer and was not to be turned away from the target. As he neared the Japanese warship his aircraft burst into flames but he managed to keep it airborne until he was within 50 feet of the ship.

He then released his bomb load with deadly precision. A great explosion followed. Lieut. Gray had found his mark and the destroyer sank almost immediately. But the little aircraft was mortally wounded, could not get away and it plowed into the sea, killing its gallant pilot.

Gray's younger brother, Jack, also met death in the air. Jack was killed in February 1942, flying as a flight-sergeant air gunner with the RCAF.


In Canada may might be worth,

Her broad and wide domain,

Where ships sail in and ships sail out,

Out from the fog and rain.

Her tall trees stretch into the skies,

Her rivers mark the land,

The blue skies shine overhead,

Where Canada doth stand.

The lofty mountains dotting the land,

And the cities in between,

She is the most wondrous

Of all the wonders seen.

Her deep harbors along the sea,

The ships go in and out,

She is the most wondrous land,

Of all the lands about.

Walllis Hoyle of Tillsonburg, age 10 years.



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