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OUR FAMILY

AT WAR

The military is an important part of our family's history. Serving on distant battlefields from the South African Veldt and trenches of Europe, to the frozen tundra of Siberia and sprawling hedgerows of Normandy, the tales of my forefathers were remembered and passed down.

My mother's dad, Flight Lt. Lloyd Henderson DFC, is the hero who inspired me to pursue the dream of having a museum. Listening to him tell stories of "The War" was such an incredible experience, and something I will value and cherish for the rest of my days. 

Through research and family lore, I have been able to uncover many family members who fought in the First War. Four were killed, seven were wounded, and a couple bravely stayed in to fight the Second War, as well. They fought at nearly every major battle of the First War, and reading through their service files has been a sobering experience. 

In the Second World War, my family spanned all three branches of service, serving in the British and Canadian Armies across the whole of Europe. I have been inspired by these thrilling, true stories of the wars, reading old commando comics, and seeing the model planes in my Grandfather Lloyd's basement.

It has been my absolute privilege to honor the veterans in my family, by creating displays to preserve their memories. In this section, you can find highlights of the family displays currently available.

The Patriarchs and Matriarchs

Flight Lt. Lloyd "The Wolf" Henderson 

No.10 Sqaudron, RCAF/RAF

My Grandfather Flt. Lt. Henderson's story begins on the plains of Saskatchewan. He would enlist in the Canadian Army to do his part, transferring to the air force shortly after as "It seemed a lot better than walking"

 

He completed 39 missions as the pilot of a Halifax and was awarded the DFC for skill full airmanship resulting in the shooting down of an enemy Focke-Wulf 190. During the war he also met my grandmother and they were married 74 years. 

Blue skies Grandad.

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Leading Aircraft Woman Margaret Henderson (Oakes)

No.10 Squadron, WAAF

My Grandmother served in the Women's Auxiliary Airforce (WAAF) during WW2 as a truck driver. She came from a humble family in Yorkshire where they had resided for nearly 300 years. Her father was serving in the British Army and she enlisted to do her bit early in the war, serving on several different bases and in roles similar to that of Her Majesty the Queen. 

In 1944 she met the love of her life and went on to live a wonderful life in Saskatchewan with my grandfather, raising a large and happy family. 

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W.O. II Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant James Staden Oakes

1/7th Duke of Wellingtons Regiment

My Great Grandfather (Margaret's father) served with the Duke of Wellingtons Regiment from 1914 until 1950, serving at nearly every major battle of The Great War. He would fight with the BEF in France during the 1940 campaign and evacuation.

Outside the small town of Veules les roses, he would lead 28 men armed with fixed bayonets in a fierce counter attack. This act of incredible daring and tactical genius stalled the German advance long enough to allow many of his men to reach the evacuation beaches.

 

For this he was recommended for the DCM and received an MiD.

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Pte. Lorne Andrew Welsh

No.3 Special Wireless Group, RCCS, 1st Canadian Army

My Grandfather, Lorne Welsh, served with the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals throughout Northwest Europe in WW2 with the 1st Canadian Army. View some of the incredible photos he took and see some of the souvenirs he brought home.  

He would return home and live a happy successful life in Fort St. John, BC running the Marshall Wells hardware store for over 3 decades. 

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Our Family in World War 2

The stories in this section covers my immediate and extended family who served in WW2. Most of this information has been pulled from our private family histories and I very much look forward to learning more about this fine men over the coming years. 

Leading Airman William D. Henderson 

Royal Canadian Navy

William would join on June 6th 1944, as he turned 18. Failing to meet the requirements for aircrew in the RCAF, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy, eventually training and qualifying for a posting as Naval Aircrew.

 

Luckily for him and his family the war would end however just before his first posting.

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Sgt. Robert A. Henderson 

Candian Officers Training Corps

Sgt. Henderson would work with the Canadian Officer Training Corps (COTC) at home and no doubt helped to create and form many of the new officers that were to help defeat Germany.

 

Most interestingly he worked with the Intelligence Corps in Washington D.C. from 1942 until 1947.

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Kenneth Henderson

E Battery, Canadian Artillery Training School.

Kenneth Henderson would serve on the home front, working to train soldiers as part of E. Battery at the Canadian Artillery Training School (CATC), as well as working to train NCOs. 

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Donald Henderson

Canadian Officer Training Center

Donald Henderson would serve at home in training units, a critical role to our victory. 

 

Between the years 1940 and 1943 he worked to train troops at the Canadian Officer Training Center and Army Training Centers. 

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Pte. Mark Mckain

Loyal Edmonton Regiment

Mark Mckain would serve with the Loyal Edmonton Regiment throughout the Italian Campaign. He would be wounded 3 times while fighting in Italy, including being blown out of a truck that was hit by an 88 being one of the only survivors.

 

The final time he was wounded quite badly and after some time in hospitals he returned home for good in March 1945. 

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Robert Gordon

Mackenzie Papineau Battalion

Very little so far is known about this man. He is listed in the family histories as being killed in the Spanish Civil War.

 

Research is ongoing, although it's confirmed he went over with the famous Mackenzie Papineau Battalion.

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Our Family in The Great War

The following are accounts from both sides of my family during the Great War. Combined, they fought at nearly every battle on the Western Front. I sadly do not have anything that belonged to them but, through this website I intend to create memorials to these men and those with whom they served. 

This information has been pulled directly from the Regimental War Diaries and Personnel Files available at Library and Archives Canada, free of charge. 

Sgt. Frederick Duffield 

Machine Gun Section, 14th Battalion "Royal Montreal Regiment" 

My Great Uncle Frederick Duffield served in the Royal Canadian Regiment from 1895, until enlisting with the 14th Battalion in 1914. 

 

He was killed in action along with most of his men in 1915 during the Battle of Ypres. His final morning would be one commanding  unit of machine guns. Hours after the attack his CO reported 

 

"By 11am we returned to their postions to find none left alive" 

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Cpl. Thomas Oakes 

2nd Battalion, Duke of Wellingtons Regiment, BEF

Brother of my grandfather James served in the same regiment and enlisted shortly after his brother. He served in France with the 2nd Battalion,  4th Division. 

Serving the duration of the war he took part in many famous battles including, Ypres, the Somme, Arras 17/18, and many others.

 

One day while walking through the trench he heard someone say "Thomas ? is that you ?" he had run into his brother James in the trenches who didn't know he was there ! 

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Robert & James Stewart 

20th Battalion, CEF

A tale of brotherly love and loss, two of my uncles Robert and James Stewart served together side-by-side in the 20th Battalion and their service numbers are even consecutive. 

They fought at several major engagements but at the battle of Hill 70 their fates would be decided. James was severely wounded by a shot through the spine, he was taken prisoner by the Germans and ended up dying several days later in a field hospital in Tournai France. 

His brother would be awarded the Military Medal for bravery during the fighting for this desperate hill. (James pictured)

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Pte. Stewart Welsh 

Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps,

Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force

My Great Uncle Stewart Welsh served with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps as part of the Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force.

 

This was one of the last aspects of WW1 and is largely forgotten, a coalition forces of the allies went to Siberia to fight against the red army. They did their best to  shore up and support the White Army which was loyal to the tsar. This campaign was a total failure in that regard as the red curtain would fall over eastern Europe for the next 70 years. 

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Pte. James George Wilsie Welsh 

54th "Kootneys" Battalion, CEF

My Great Uncle James Welsh would serve with the 54th Kootneys Battalion between February and July 1918. He was drafted and served only a short time in the trenches, the day they moved into reserve for a well earned rest he would sadly be killed by enemy artillery fire.

He is buried in the Roclingcourt Cemetary in France. 

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Pte. Alexander Welsh 

31st Battalion "Bells Bulldogs", CEF

My Great Uncle Alexander would enlist and serve with the 31st Battalion of the CEF during 1916.

 

He would fight through and survive the Battle of the Somme only to be severely wounded during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, where the first tanks were used.

 

He received Gunshot wounds to his thighs and shoulder, likely as a result of machinegun fire. these wounds resulted in his discharge.

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Pte. Frederick Hadden

58th Battalion, CEF

Frederick Hadden would enlist in the CEF to do his part, Pte. Hadden would fight with the 58th Battalion in the later part of the war. Fighting through the famous "100 Days Offensive" 

 

He would suffer a gunshot wound to the hip during the Battle of Cambrai, but return in time for the Pursuit to Mons.

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Pte. William Hadden

52nd Battalion, CEF

Arriving a couple years before his younger brother, Pte. William Hadden would fight at Arras, Vimy Ridge and Hill 70 with the 52nd Battalion.

 

During the brutal Battle of Hill 70 he would be severely wounded by gunshot wounds to the hand and hip, barely surviving.

This would be the end of his war and he would return home safely. 

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Pte. Alfred Corbett

58th Battalion, CEF

Pte. Corbett would enlist in the CEF mid war and serve with the 58th Battalion from November 1917 to October 1918, during his time with the battalion he would fight at Passchendaele, Scarpe and finally the Drocourt–Quéant Line where he would be wounded.

He was wounded in the ankle during a lewis gun demonstration after arriving overseas but returned to the unit shortly after. 

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Gunner John Cleghorn

15th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, CEF

Gunner James Cleghorn enlisted in December 1916 and served with the 6th Brigade, 15th Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery.

 

He would fight in France and Belgium during the final year of the war, supporting the advance of the Canadian Corps during the Hundred Days Offensive.

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Pte. Edgar Smith

5th Battalion "Tuxfords Dandys", CEF

Edgar Smith would serve overseas with the 5th Battalion "Tuxfords Dandys".

 

During his time with the Battalion he would fight at the battles of Thievpal, Ancre Heights and finally Vimy Ridge.

It would be the last time he went over the top as he was killed in action during the battle for this famous ridge. He is immortalized with so many others on the memorial. 

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Pte. John Mcallister

4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF

Pte. John Mcallister would arrive at the front in early 1917 afdter enlisting in Canada. He would fight with the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles at the Battle of Vimy ridge where he would be lightly wounded. After a spell recovering he returned to the unit just in time to take part in the fight for the nightmarish mud bound hell of Passchendaele.

In August 1918 he was wounded badly by a gunshot wound to the leg and invalided home.

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The Victorian Age and Beyond

Here is a small collection of stories that focus on the pre World War One period. Research is ongoing and i look forward to finding more out about these men over time. 

Jack Henderson

Loyal Subject of the Crown

Great Uncle Jack left Scotland before the rest of the family and lived a life of adventure from the 1849 Gold Rush in California to freighters in Saskachewan and runnin cattle for the HBC in Manitoba.

 

He was captured by hostile natives from Oak Lake during the 1866 Red River Rebellion. Many years later he would fulfill a personal vendetta as he would be engaged as the Executioner for the Hanging of Louis Riel in 1885, following Riel's trial and conviction. 

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Pte. James Oakes 

Derbyshire Regiment

My Great Great Grandfather James Oakes Served with the 1st Volunteer Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire Regiment). During his 12 years with the regiment he would served in Garrison duty in England and Singapore.

 

During his time in Singapore he had a very very good time and was arrested no less than 7 times for all sorts of shenanigans. 

The gravest being striking an officer, this poor decision resulted in 14 months hard labor in Burma. He would return home and live a quiet life in Yorkshire for the remainder of his days. 

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James Welch

Cupar Fife Militia 

James Welch is my great times a lot Grandfather and served with the Cupar Fife militia around 1803 to help fend off Napoleons failed invasion of Scotland and England. 

No doubt he marched around the rolling hills and forests of the area with a Brown Bess and snappy wool uniform with to many buttons.

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