Wednesday, June 22, 2016

World War Wednesdays: The Dutton Advance During WWII, Part Two

Main Street of Dutton ca. 1930

     We're back in action with some featured articles from the dearly loved and lost Dutton Advance during the Second World War. As I mentioned last week, it is always of great interest to me to see how the war was brought into the homes and everyday lives of the people of Dutton through their newspaper. It is also interesting to see the advertisements from local businesses who adapted their public messages to serve a wartime purpose. This week's post is especially fascinating for me because it includes an article about the films that were playing in local theaters at the time-- besides all the war-related material, the Advance was also trying to help take people's minds off of their struggles. As mentioned previously, all material in this series comes from Maridon Duncanson's wonderful book, Heaps of Love, Mum: Stories of the Second World War Years in Dutton, Ontario From the Letters of Elona Bambridge, which is available for purchase at Backus-Page House Museum.

January 16, 1941
First Elgins Parade
     The First Battalion Elgin Regiment, C.A.S.F. went to St. Thomas on Sunday when the regimental colors were deposited in the sanctuary of the Memorial Chapel, Trinity Church. The farewell service following the depositing of colors was brief but impressive. The Elgins moved from London to Toronto on Monday and large crowds were on hand to witness the parade in St. Thomas on Sunday.
     Capt. the Rev. K. R. Taylor, padre of the regiment, recited the prayers for King and all in authority, for the Empire, for the sailors, soldiers and airmen, for the regiment.
     Our prayers go with you, our real selves go with you. We not only pray for your safety, but also that you will be true to the cause and the purpose for which you have enlisted. May God's blessing go with you and keep you loyal to Your King and country, to the cause of freedom, justice, and to God.

January 30, 1941
Given Send-Off
     A very pleasant evening was spent at the home of Elder and Mrs. Ruston last Thursday when between thirty and thirty-five of his friends in Dutton met to say good-bye to Sergeant J. B. Ruston, who was home on leave for ten days before leaving for overseas. Dr. Arthur Graham made a capable chairman. During the evening, Miss Margaret Leitch read an appropriate address and Mrs. G. E. Ross presented John with a signet ring attached to a miniature airplane suspended from a staff wrapped in the national colors. In a few well-chosen words Sergeant John fittingly replied.
     A dainty lunch was served by the ladies, after which the gathering closed with a prayer by Elder Ruston. 

May 1, 1941
Evacuating Dutton
     Although we are many miles from the scenes of conflict and the possibilities of local air raids are quite remote, there has been an evacuation in progress here since hostilities overseas began that is proving rather depressing to those left behind. In this case it isn't the women and children or older people who are leaving; it's the young men. Many have joined the armed forces, a large number of high school lads have volunteered to work on farms, while several other young male citizens have left to enter industrial plants turning out war material.
     The most disturbing aspect of this evacuation is the last-mentioned... The possibilities of the return of the young men who have entered industries are not very great. True, they will not always be required to turn out war supplies, but they will likely be needed for the part industry will play in the re-adjustment program which inevitably follows war. 
     No company will settle in a town unless encouraged to do so by the citizens. Dutton is ideally situated for an industrial establishment, being close to two main highways, on two principal railroads, yet in recent years we can't remember any real effort being made to have industries locate here and thus provide some mean of keeping the best of our young people with us.

July 10, 1940
Local Young Men Head Western Class
     Placing first and second, respectively, in the graduating class at No. 4 Service Flying School at Saskatoon, Sask., Donald Graham and Walter W. Nichol have brought honor to themselves, their families, and this community.

November 11, 1943
"My Friend Flicka" At Glencoe
     "My Friend Flicka" is a heartwarming story out of the heart of America itself. Young Ken McLaughlin, a high-strung, sensitive youngster, is not completely understood by his rancher-father, Rob. Rob offers the boy his choice of any horse on the ranch. "Flicka" almost kills herself trying to vault a barbed-wire fence. Ken almost loses his own health in caring for Flicka. At last, tearfully, Ken consents to Rob putting the animal out of its misery. That night Ken finds Flicka seemingly on the verge of death, her body immersed in a cold mountain stream. Overcome, the boy stays with the filly throughout the night. 
     Several weeks later Ken is carried by Rob to the pasture- where hsi unbelieving eyes behold Flicka, completely well.
     Playing at the Fox, Glencoe, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, November 18th, 19th and 20th.
     Hopefully you've seen My Friend Flicka at some point and that last article wasn't a major spoiler alert! It seems as though the write-up was meant to intrigue people into heading to Glencoe to see it for themselves, rather than completely ruin the plot (or at least I hope so). Films were such a major part of wartime life that even the people in our small towns would wait for each new release, but we'll be discussing that topic in a future post! 
     Thanks for reading,
Delany (@DLeitchHistory on Twitter)

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