Thursday, November 13, 2008

bonus features: a wartime letter

Like DVDs of motion pictures, sometimes posts I write for other web sites merit bonus features. Before browsing this entry, read "A Wartime Letter", posted on Torontoist on Remembrance Day.

Douglas Morrison Waldon Air Force Portrait and Death Notice
The material I used for the story comes from a box sitting in Mom's basement. It appears to be material my paternal grandmother collected, mostly photos and newspaper clippings. The earliest photos are probably from the 1920s, while the newest content consists of my first regular media gig, writing the monthly highlight column for my elementary school in The Amherstburg Echo while I was in grade 8. Much of the material is World War II vintage and revolves around my great-uncle Morrey.

Pilot Officer from Toronto Listed Missing
This is the notice that appeared in The Toronto Star on August 11, 1941, when Morrey was reported missing. A similar story appeared the same day in The Evening Telegram. The loss was devastating to the family. His name lived on among several nephews, including my father, who was given Douglas as a middle name when he was born the following year.

The box contains two other letters that he wrote home, but those will be saved for future Remembrance Days.

"They Died For Freedom's Sake"
Morrey was one of 26 airmen honoured by the city in a Remembrance Day ceremony the year after he died (source: The Evening Telegram, November 11, 1942).

Official Opening of Mountain View RCAF Station
While he was overseas, it appears the family journeyed east to attend the opening of an RCAF station near Picton. My grandmother is getting a crash course in how to operate a plane in the middle picture (source: The Globe and Mail, July 21, 1941). - JB

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