DOUGALL, P/O Donald Charles (J3710) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.92 Sq.
This officer has performed consistently good work since joining this squadron and has shown great keenness to engage and destroy the enemy. He was shot down recently when warning his leader, whose radio apparatus had failed, that enemy aircraft were about to attack. The warning was given by visual signals and necessarily took some time after he had sighted the enemy. He showed the greatest devotion to duty and disregard of personal safety. Pilot Officer Dougall has destroyed one enemy aircraft.
Repatriated Canadians Arrive at Scottish Port
by SYDNEY GRUSON, Leith, Scotland, Oct. 25, 1943 - (CP) - Bearing the scars of Dieppe, a small group of Canadians who stormed the French beaches with thousands of their fellows that fateful morning of Aug, 19, 1942, and were captured, made a long-delayed return to Britain today with a message of hope and cheer from the comrades they had left behind in German prison camps.
Others expressed the same sentiment
Ottawa, Nov. 8, 1943 - (CP) - The army and the air force made public tonight; the names of 61 men—50 from the army and 11 from the R.C.A.F. who have been repatriated to the United Kingdom in exchange for Nazis held prisoner in Allied hands.
CANADIAN PILOTS ARE DECORATED BY KINDLY MONARCH
Two Canadian airmen who came home from Germany with the repatriated prisoners a fortnight ago were decorated by the King at a recent investiture at Buckingham Palace.
F/L Morrison & F/L Dougall
HALIFAX, Nov. 24, 1943 - (CP) - Canadian soldiers —wounded at Dieppe and held prisoners for 14 months in chains in Nazi prison camps —were among several hundred wounded and ill Canadian and United States servicemen, including R.C.A.F. personnel shot down over Nazi-occupied Europe, who returned to Canada today aboard the Canadian hospital ship Lady Nelson.
Aboard the vessel, which docked here earlier today to complete its fifth round-trip voyage across the Atlantic, were also wounded Canadian soldiers who had fought in the Battle of Sicily.
The soldiers and airmen who have been held prisoners in Germany numbered nearly half a hundred. They were repatriated from the Nazi prison camps in the recent prison exchange with Germany.
Only a few of the returning Dieppe veterans told of being shackled in the Nazi camps, but all of them related how hundreds of their companions — including officers — not confined to hospital were forced to wear chains. They described the shackles as handcuffs joined together by a chain 12 to 15 inches long, just too short "to allow us to put our hands in our pockets."
"We had to wear them from early morning until 9:30 at night.” said Pte. Joseph Brenner of Windsor, Ont., one of the exchange prisoners returning to Canada. "They were taken off just half an hour before we went to bed. And that was from last December until just a few days ago.”
Pte. Brenner, who has a wife and two small children waiting for him at home, said he got respite from the chains from time to time by working in the Red Cross stores. Others, he said, used to work their chains off during the day and then put them back on again before the guards came around at night to unshackle them.
Fliers Also Chained
Dieppe prisoners weren't the only ones chained according to Sgt. Andrew Michaud of Montreal. Michaud who lay in hospital in France for three months before being taken to a prison camp on the German-Polish, border, said that following an air raid on Hamburg, R.C.A.F. and R.A.F. fliers who had previously been taken prisoners were shackled for six months.
"The Germans told them they were shackling them in retribution for the damage the raid had done," he said, adding that the Dieppe prisoners had had their hands tied cross-wise in front of them by a rope for several weeks, before chains were substituted.
Michaud and other returning Canadians described the Nazi camps as "unlivable," had it not been for the Red Cross which supplied food and clothing for the prisoners once a week.
"A mile away," said the Montrealer "was a prison Camp for Russians. The Russians have no Red Cross. They were dying there by the hundreds, because they could not get enough to eat, nor clothes to wear, nor medical attention. They had to live, and work, on what the Germans gave them. It was the same as what the Germans gave us but it was the Red Cross that came to our rescue."
Had Allied Doctors
Medical attention that they had received in the prison camps won high praise from the returning Canadians.
"They were British medical officers taken prisoners in Africa, Crete and Italy, who staffed the prison hospitals," said George T. Lee, Windsor, Ont., a member of the Essex Scottish, who had both his legs paralyzed by machine-gun fire at Dieppe. "Some of those doctors were the best in all of England. One of them —a colonel— I cannot remember his name, even attended the Royal family before the war. There was nothing they would not do for us to get us back on our feet again."
Lee said he had lain for 14 hours on the beach at Dieppe before he was picked up by German searchers. He was taken to a field hospital, he said, where he was given five or six blood transfusions.
The young soldier added, however, that his case was no different from hundreds of other Canadian soldiers who lay on the Dieppe beach for hours after the battle had died down.
Were Taken at Dunkirk
About the most impossible thing that could happen to him would be to gain his freedom from the German prison camp where he was detained for more than a year, so thought W02 Jack Westwood of Toronto.
He said today he didn't really believe it until he saw the shores of Scotland looming before the hospital ship that brought him and other repatriates from Germany by way of Sweden.
It's no wonder he felt pessimistic. He was in the same camp with thousands of British and Allied troops who had been taken prisoners at Dunkirk in 1940. These boys had seen their hopes lifted in 1941 when there was talk of repatriating them, but then the whole thing felt through.
"I decided when I heard that" Westwood said, "I wouldn't be disappointed, so I never even dared hope I’d get out. Evan when we got to Sweden I thought it was still phony and we'd be sent back to Germany. Some of us even thought of leaving the ship and getting interned in Sweden rather than go back."
Westwood was rear gunner on a Wellington bomber that was shot down during a raid on the Ruhr, July 24, 1942. The pilot was killed by flak, and the bomb -aimer died of his wounds two days later in a Nazi hospital. Westwood himself lost his left leg as a result, but considers himself lucky to be alive.
Like all the other repatriated prisoners, Westwood couldn't find words to voice his gratitude to the Red Cross.
"Without their parcels that came just like clockwork every week, I know some of the boys who were sick never would have lived” he said. "We were better fed as a result than the Germans. In fact, it was a standing joke at the camp that the barbed wire was to keep the German civvies out"
Besides that, the Red Cross provided all kinds of sport equipment. The boys left at the camp are making a rink for the winter, and can have a little bit of Canada through a game of hockey because of this equipment, he said.
Many Fliers in Group
Though he may never fly again, F/L Don Morrison of Toronto was feeling mighty happy today "just to be back in Canada again." The dark-haired ace, who knocked 15 Nazi planes out of the sky and won the D.F.C. and D.F.M., was one of a group of repatriated Canadian airmen who arrived here today. Other F/Ls in the group were D. C. Dougall of Montreal, Ross Gillespie of Hamilton and Kitchener, and William MacKay of Calgary.
All had been at the same prison camp, at Sagen about 100 miles east of Berlin. They were unwilling to talk much about the camp or conditions there, and seemed more anxious to forget about it now they were back home— or nearly home.
While on a Flying Fortress escort mission during a raid on Lille, France, Morrison was shot down and lost a leg. About 20 German Focke-Wulf fighters jumped the eight Spitfires in Morrison’s group, but they didn't get away Scot-free. Morrison accounted for one himself before a burst of cannon fire did him in, and the others thinned the German ranks somewhat .
The Toronto flier was in hospital eight months as a result of that, and then went to the prison camp just three months before he was released. "I hardly got acquainted with the place, but I'm not worrying.” He grinned.
F/L Dougall, another fighter pilot, was shot down while on a fighter sweep over the French coast when enemy fighters attacked the squadron. He came down near Boulogne in July, 1941, and was in hospital a year with bullet wounds and injuries before he was taken to the camp.
F/L Gillespie had been in the camp 18 months before he was released, and that was "too long altogether."
"The Red Cross did a damn good job though in keeping those parcels coming every week," he said. "You ask, did they help pad out our regular rations? They were just about our main rations."
Like the others, he thought it wise to say as little about conditions in the camp as possible.
"But you can say that a couple of boys are still in the camp that want to say Hello to the folks around Hamilton. Lieut. Dave Howard of Kitchener, of the United States Air Force, and F/O Harold Beaupre of Waterloo, are feeling swell. I only wish they could have come with us.”
Was With Col. Merritt
Another story of being taken prisoner at Dieppe was told by Major Charles Page, Calgary, who commanded a section of the Calgary Tank Regiment that landed at Dieppe. His tank, he said, was put out of action early in the battle.
"Our tank was at such an angle" he said, "that we could not use our guns. So we abandoned ship. There wire five of us. We took hand grenades and Tommy guns with us. We got behind the seawall and let them have it. We were taken prisoner after one of us had been killed and two wounded. I myself was untouched"
Major Page stated that 100 other Canadian officers, including Col. Cecil Merritt of Vancouver, had been in his prison camp in Germany. Col. Merritt, who was the first Canadian to win the Victoria Cross in this war, was moved later to another camp, said Major Page, adding another officer prisoner was Lieut. Jack Taylor, Hamilton athlete.
Major Carl Aberhart, Toronto, formerly with the Toronto General Hospital, was another arrival. He has been in hospital in England since the North African campaign, a victim of a tropical fever. He served with a Canadian hospital unit.
Among Sicilian casualties returning were Cpl. Jack Stiles, Grande Prairie, Alta.; Sigmn. Joe Caldwell, London, Ont.; Pte. Don Easter, Brockville; Pte. Martin Reid, Drumheller, Alta.; Cpl. Don Makaig, Hensall; Sgt. George Abbott, Montreal; Sgt. Ford Smith, Vancouver; L-Cpl. Ron McNaughton, Guelph; Pte. Laberge, Levack Mines.
Dieppe prisoners of war included Pte. Carl Juhlke, Hamilton; Pte H. W. Bradley, Lakeview; Pte. Charles Hoskins, Windsor, Ont.; Cpl. R. Ostiguy, Montreal, and L-Cpl. G. Jalbert, Montreal.
The Germans did a lot of groaning especially about the food, and were not feeling too happy about all the bombing they were taking, Pte. Jack Napier of Toronto opined. He had been taken prisoner at Dieppe after a hand grenade struck him and amputated his left leg.
"That's the only reason they didn't put me in chains too,” he said.
"The prisoners used to be allowed a little while each night to talk to the guards through special interpreters, he said, and sometimes "you could see the Germans were just about fed up with it all. They couldn't say much, but you could see how they felt."
Some Sicily Casualties
Wounded Canadian fighting men who stormed into the rocky terrain of Sicily in the invasion last summer were included in the passenger list.
One of them was Lt. Guy Robitaille of Lauzon, Que., who won the Military cross for his part in a hot engagement July 27. Lt. Robitaille and his platoon of the Royal 22nd Regiment of Quebec attacked and destroyed four vital Nazi machine-gun posts during a battle near Mont Santa Maria.
Robitaille was wounded in the thigh about one-half hour after the engagement started, but kept on for another hour until a burst of shrapnel caught him.
Killed in the same action was the company commander. Capt. Leo Bouchard of Riviere du Loup, Que. who had won the M.C. only a short while before.
Another wounded officer was Lieut. S. E. Atkinson of London, Ont., a member of the Royal Canadian Regiment since the war broke but. It was on July 24 he was wounded, the same day the R.C.R. commanding officer, Lt. Col. R. M. Crows of Guelph, was killed.
Captain James Edmond of Montreal had been the victim of a land mine explosion. He was riding in a jeep with three others when the mine was set off, throwing him 10 feet away from the vehicle.
Dislikes Sicily's Flies
"Sicily was all right, if you only could get rid of the fleas, flies and heat," said Sgt. E. D. Levittoff, Provost, Alta., otherwise known as Dusty. A member of the Edmonton Regiment, he had "got it" when a mortar shell exploded hardly five feet away from him.
The Sicilians treated the Canadians and British "swell," he said, in more than one case tipping them of about German minefields or warning them where the Nazis were waiting in ambush.
Sgt. Jerry Howard of Toronto had the unique distinction of getting into trouble two miles behind the enemy line. He and an officer "a Lieutenant Carter from somewhere out west" were on reconnaissance when they got too far from their own lines. The enemy spotted them and a well placed mortar shell "blew us off the motorcycle. Then they machine-gunned us as we tried to get over a wall.”
The officer was killed and Howard took six bullets through his body and was left for dead until his own troops came up later.
Others wounded in Sicily who returned today included Pte. Chester Harcott of Lac Labicke, Alta.; Tpr. R. R. Bryant of Montreal, and Pte. Hugh Munro of Vancouver.
|23 June 1941||one Me109F||destroyed *|
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* Escorting Bristol Blenheims
Thanks to nephew Chris for the photos !
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