Wednesday, October 26, 2016

World War Wednesdays: Heroes of North Dunwich

Ten acre maple bush on the Campbell farm, north half lot 19, concession 3, Cowal
     Being home always makes me want to post about the Elgin County area, and this week's search for original content brought me right to my own backyard. I thought it would be nice to pay tribute to my familial home of North Dunwich this week by compiling just a few of its Second World War servicemen and women. With Remembrance Day just around the corner I like to shed some light on individual stories, so this post marks the beginning of that trend for the 2016 edition. 
     For those readers not from the area, or those who are from Elgin but haven't had the pleasure of making an acquaintance with North Dunwich, I'll try and clarify the area in question this week: travelling north from Dutton, towards Glencoe is a network of small rural villages. These include Largie, Campbellton, and Cowal, all of which were once booming agricultural settlements with schools, churches, baseball teams, and annual outdoor concerts, inhabited by closely-knit neighbors of primarily Scottish descent. All of the individuals in this post came from those places, and from what I consider to be unique circumstances for war service. Since food production was a top priority for the Canadian government during the war, our farmers were highly valued as contributors to the war effort, with young men often being exempted from overseas service so that they could remain on the farms. While they could have achieved the same satisfaction of having served their country in the crucial agricultural capacity, the individuals in this post chose to also serve in the Canadian forces. Please join me in recognizing these remarkable individuals and their service:


Duncan Kenneth Campbell
SON of Mr . and Mrs . Alex Campbell, who reside near Cowal. Enlisted in the R. C. A. F. on September 8th, 1942. He was trained at Manning Pool, Toronto, and at No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School, McDonald, Man., where he graduated as an air gunner. He proceeded overseas in October, 1943, and continued his operational training in England near Stratford-on-Avon, eventually joining 408 Squadron (R. C. A. F.), a unit of No. 6 Canadian Heavy Bomber Group. F/Sgt. Campbell completed 38 operational flights including a ten-hour trip to Freidrichshaven in southern Germany, and the 1,000 bomber attacks in support of the Canadian and British forces at Caen in July, 1944. He returned to Canada i n November, 1944, and was discharged in February of 1945, and is now farming in North Dunwich.
Edgar St. Clair Campbell
 BORN in Dunwich Township, September 13th, 1909. He enlisted on August 13th, 1942, i n Toronto, and went overseas on January 30th, 1944.- He served with the Royal Canadian Engineers in England until May, 1945, and in Germany and Holland until September, 1945. He is now back in England.
John Stuart McWilliam
BORN near Campbellton, the son of Mr . and Mrs. A. N . McWilliam , and enlisted in the R. C. A . F. in May, 1944. He trained at Manning Pool in Toronto, and after receiving two months farm leave during the summer of 1944, was discharged as "services no longer required" in November, 1944.
Clarence McPhail Campbell
SON of Mr . and Mrs. A. M . Campbell, Cowal, enlisted for active service June 11th, 1942. After training in Canada at Petawawa and Debert, N.S., he went to the United Kingdom in August, 1943, as a member of the 33rd Anti-Tank Battery, 6th Anti-Tank Regiment. He went to France on D-Day and was then attached to the Elgin Regiment with B Squadron, 25th Canadian Armoured Delivery Regiment and continued with this unit through France, Belgium and Holland, in which country he still is stationed.
Lloyd McCallum
SON of Mrs . J. A. McCallum and the late Mr . McCallum, Cowal. Enlisted i n the R. C. A . F. in August, 1941. He served i n the fire department of the Ai r Force in Canada for over three years, when he was transferred to Newfoundland. L. A. C. MoCallum was discharged on November 17th, 1945.
Andrew St. Clair Duncanson
 SON of Mr . and Mrs . A. G. Duncanson of Largie. He enlisted for active service in October, 1939, with the Canadian Dental Corps. He served i n Canada at London, Stratford, Listowel and Kitchener, then was sent to the United Kingdom. He spent five months on the continent, serving in Normandy, Belgium and Holland. He has returned to Canada and has commenced dental practice in St. Thomas, Ont.
Lloyd George Leitch
SON of Mr . and Mrs. Thomas Leitch, Largie, was born January 14th, 1921. He entered the army Apri l 13th, 1944, and was at training depots in Chatham and London. He was discharged on May 31st, 1944, on medical grounds.
Don Allister Duncanson
SON of Mr . and Mrs. A. G. Duncanson, North Dunwich. was born on November 15th, 1919. He graduated from Dutton High School and attended University of Western Ontario. After enlisting in the R. C. A. F. i n June, 1941, he was trained at Toronto and Oshawa and graduated from Hagersville as a commissioned pilot. S/L Duncanson, after taking a general reconnaissance course at Summerside, P. E. I. , proceeded to the United Kingdom in October, 1942. He received his operational and torpedo training on Beauforts at Dunberry, Scotland, and in Northern Ireland, going to the Middle East and on to India in May of 1943. I n September, 1943, he was returned to the United Kingdom for conversion to Beaulighters and joined 144 R. A. F. Squadron at Wick, Scotland, i n April , 1944. S/L Duncanson completed forty-two operational flights, and was awarded the D. F. C. for securing a torpedo hit on a German merchant ship after being wounded by shrapnel. He returned to Canada in September, 1945, and was discharged on October 24th, 1945.
Clara Wrightwood
—ENLISTE D in London, Ont., June 10th, 1943. Took her — basic training in Kitchener through July, 1943, then _ took a driver's course i n Kitchener for six weeks, finished the middle of September. She was then sent to St. Anne de Bellevue on September 23rd, 1943. On June 11th, 1944, she was transferred to London, Ont., and September, 1944, worked at C. M . D. on Highbury Ave., until February. Then went to Meredith Bks. until ready for a discharge. She received her discharge from 101 Depot Co. July 6th, 1945. Clara also attended Largie School in Dunwich, where her father has resided since 1927. Her brothers, John Maurice Fox, Joseph Fox and Frank Fox, are also in the service.

     All of the photos in this post come from Elgin County Archives, with the information originating in A Tribute to Valour as compiled by Elgin County Archives. I'm proud to have showcased some relatives and community members this week, and of course recognize that they are a few of many more servicemen and women from the North Dunwich area. Please feel free to pass along the stories of any more individuals I may have missed!
     Thanks for reading,
Delany (@DLeitchHistory on Twitter)

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