Looking around the Military Section of the Library and Archives Canada website I came across a link to a searchable database of WWII Canadian Army Overseas Honours and Awards. For fun, I put in a couple of surnames in the hopes of finding a relative mentioned. You how it is, if there is a searchable database we genealogists go through our list of names in the hopes of a hit.
And BINGO! I found my 2nd cousin once removed and the record had some amazing details! Leslie Gordon Norton, the son of Ernest Thomas Norton & Catherine Whiting was a Regimental Signaller with the Essex Scottish Regiment.
On October 16, 1944, the Company was near Woensdrecht, Holland, the rest of the information comes from the document found in the database:
“Enemy fire in this sector was quite heavy, and the slit trench which Private Norton was occupying, received a direct hit, killing one occupant and wounding Private Norton and the other two occupants. Private Norton allowed the other wounded men to be evacuated, but insisted on remaining to work on the damaged wireless set and complete artillery fire orders, which he had been transmitting. He remained on duty giving clear and accurate call signs for an hour, despite the intense pain from his wounds and the continual enemy fire, until relief signal personnel arrived.
Private Norton’s calmness, calmness, courage, devotion to duty exceptional, and he was instrumental in maintaining vital communications within the company.”
This earned Leslie the Military Medal.
In 1948 he was married to Margaret Brown.
1948 news clipping of my grandmother’s
Have a look at the WWII database at the LAC website and hopefully, you will find a relative listed there too!
While I was working on the book I was compiling for the Jordan family I learned that William or Syd as he was known had served in WWII. I filled out the paperwork from Libray and Archives Canada, sent away for the file, and waited.
Yesterday it arrived, an initial look through of the file and it seemed similar to the WWI service files that LAC has uploaded on their website. During my quick flip-through, one page caught my eye and I let out a little (well maybe a big) squeal. The very first time I laid an eye on my relative as an adult, and in uniform. Not only one picture but 4, all photocopies, I wonder if they have the originals?
I went back through the file a second time examining each page and there were a couple more things that I found quite interesting. It listed Syd’s education level, where he attended school and a list of the places he worked since leaving school. Anyone know what a pin boy is?
If you are familiar with the Canadian WWI service files, similarly there are also the pages listing what courses he took, where he served during the war and any promotions.
Once discharged, Syd went on to work at other jobs but included in the file is that he reenlisted, was stationed in Germany and received permission to marry while there. In 1961 he was again discharged from the army.
This service file has really added to my knowledge of Syd and I am grateful that LAC has allowed us to order them (with some restrictions).
If you would like to order a service file I have heard the wait time has been extended to 18 months. More information on ordering a WWII service file can be found on the LAC website.
I have happily arrived at the OGS 2014 conference held at the Brock University in Ontario.
My first session yesterday was with Glenn Wright. I have been wanting to attend one of his presentations for the past couple of years and I am happy I did.
The session with Glenn was focused on Canada World War I service records and getting the most out of those service records many of us have sitting on a shelf at home. The first thing to help us gather the most from those records is to create a time-line of them. Start with their enlistment and work your way through the records until you get to their demobilization papers. This will give you a great working perspective to research further into the records. Once you have gathered all the information in a much easier to use format you can then proceed to the Library and Archives website and peek at those war diaries that have been added. You can then get even more details on your ancestors time in the war!
I must have about 20 of those files at home and have decided my #1 project will be to create these time lines.
This is a wonderful project just in time for the 100th anniversary of the Great War!