Showing posts with label Second World War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Second World War. Show all posts

Monday, August 13, 2018

Grand Falls-Windsor Memories Mug Up - Elizabeth Walters

Storytellers on stage at the Memories Mug Up.
On Friday, July 13, as part of the celebrations for Salmon Festival the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society hosted their second annual Memories Mug Up at the Classic Theatre on High Street. About a hundred audience members came out to listen to the six storytellers share their memories of growing up in Grand Falls-Windsor. The session was moderated by Mary Kelly, a recently retired teacher and member of the heritage society.

There were stories about growing up in during the Second World War, the newspaper industry, memories of High Street and Main Street, and stories about the paper mill. Today's story comes from Elizabeth (Hicks) Walters:

Memories Mug Up at the Classic Theatre.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Knights of Columbus Hostel #FolklorePhoto

Photo courtesy The Rooms Provincial Archives.

While researching jukeboxes for our next Oral History Roadshow project, I came across this photo from the 1940s. It was taken at The Knights of Columbus Hostel which was located on Harvey Road. This was a popular hangout spot for service personnel during WWII. 

On December 12, 1942 a fire quickly swept through the building and resulted in the loss of ninety-nine lives. An "Uncle Tim's Barn Dance" was happening at the time.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Memorial Day Service in Portugal Cove 1962

028.03.160 Memorial Day Service Portugal Cove NFLD Sunday July 1 1962.
Photo courtesy of The Portugal Cove-St. Philip's Archives
In April, I digitized a set of 35mm slides for the Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip's. The slides are included in the Allen and Pearl Squires fonds, which contains photographs, WW2 correspondence, and other material that accompanied a monetary donation which funded the community library. The photographs where taken on two separate summer trips, in 1954 and 1962, to visit Allen Squires hometown of St. Philip's and surrounding communities. With Allen's background in the 166th (Newfoundland) Field Regiment Royal Artillery, they took photographs of multiple war memorials around the Avalon Peninsula, including a Memorial Day service in Portugal Cove. The photographs show the large crowd in attendance, the Portugal Cove War Memorial, St. Lawrence Anglican Church, and the surrounding homes and landscape.  

028.03.158 Memorial Day Service Portugal Cove, NFLD Sunday July 1 1962.
Photo courtesy of the Portugal Cove-St. Philip's Archives.  
One of the images shows the parade heading towards the memorial, and the photographer. Pearl Squires labeled the slide as "Mr. Churchill World War I Veteran in Front,” however the man in the center has been identified by relatives as Archibald Greeley. Two men carry flags at the head of the parade. To the left is the Civil or Pilot Jack and to the right is a Royal British Legion flag. 

028.03.162 Memorial Day Service Parade Portugal Cove. Sunday July 1 1962.
Photo courtesy of the Portugal Cove-St.Philip's Archives.
The Portugal Cove War memorial can be seen in the pictures with many wreaths and the Union Jack flying. Members of the community can be seen sitting on the rocks behind the memorial, and talking to one another. Can you identify anyone in the photographs?

028.03.163 Memorial Sunday Service Monument Portugal Cove. Sunday July 1 1962.
Photograph courtesy of the Portugal Cove-St. Philip's Archives. 
For more information on the Portugal Cove-St. Philip's Archives, contact the Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip's Heritage Programs and Services Coordinator Julie Pomeroy.

~ Kelly

Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Some Thousand Miles Apart, and a War On." The WWII Letters of Allen Squires and Pearl Morcombe, Portugal Cove-St. Philip's

Allen Squires in uniform (028.02.02).  Detail of one of the many letters he wrote to Pearl Morcombe.

In April I had the pleasure to work on a collection for the Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip's, organizing the Allen and Pearl Squires fonds. The couple made a financial donation to the town in the 1980's to establish the community library, and with that donation came a box with some of the couples possessions, 35mm slides, war medals, and stacks of letters written during the second world war. When I first opened up the box, the stacks of beautifully handwritten letters, immediately peaked my interests.

Stacks of correspondence from the Allen and Pearl Squires Fonds, Portugal Cove-St. Philip's

The letters were all sent to Pearl Morcombe of Melrose, Massachusetts during the Second World War. Pearl corresponded with fifteen different people, family and friends who talked about their own lives and life during WW2. A large portion of the correspondence is from Allen Squires of St. Philip's, who had known Pearl years before, and had reconnected as penpals when Allen's sister Edna Tucker sent Pearl his address. Pearls mother was from St. Philip's, so Pearl already had some connection with the area, and Allan often wrote about the area, telling Pearl she should visit. They wrote about the war and their homes and families. He often talks about everyday life at war, the food they ate, where they slept, and their entertainment. While stationed in England, Allen wrote in a letter on March 13th 1941:

Souvenir sent by Allen to Pearl, Sept. 15, 1940 
"If Hitler thinks he will brake the moral of the British people, he is making a big mistake. There's a little girl drives a van in every morning about 10 o'clock, with coffee and buns for the boys. The other morning she came in and told me she was up all night. I asked her what the trouble was, and she said there was about thirty fire bombs dropped in her back yard that night. So she said she worked on them all night with the men and helped to put them out, and still she was on the job at nine in the morning with her little van, with buns and coffee for the boys. I told her she ought to get a medal and she just laughed about it. I never saw people with such wonderful pluck. They are really marvelous. If there is any holes in our socks, they will take them and darn them, or if we want anything done, they are quiet willing to do it. They post all our letters. I don't think I shall ever forget them."
Through out his letters, Allen often talks about the women he meets at war, and tells Pearl she should find herself a boyfriend. As they continue to write to each other, and their relationship grows, Allen's writing becomes more romantic and he talks of their future together. On April 24th 1942 Allen wrote:
"I am living in hopes that some day I will be able to make you my little wife and we can live happy for the remainder of our life. That may sound funny. Some thousand miles apart, and a war on, but such things can happen." 
028.02.01 Allen and Emma Squires. Courtesy of
the Portugal Cove-St. Philip's Archives.
Pearl also receives letters from other people, including those related to Allen and from Portugal Cove-St. Philip's. She writes to Allen's sister Edna Tucker, and his brother Leslie Squires who moved to the USA for work. There are letters from Edna's son Jacob J. Tucker who first writes when he is 16 and a member of the 1st St. Philip's Troop Boy Scouts and leader of the Boy Scouts orchestra in St. Philip's. He eventually goes to live with Pearl in Massachusetts for his health and seeking opportunity. Allen's mother Emma Squires writes to Pearl, primarily when she has not heard from her son and to ask if Pearl has received any letters. Emma Squires emotional letters are those of a worried mother, wondering if the war will ever end, and her sadness over the death of her husband Gus Squires. Most of her letters are steeped in melancholy, including one letter from September 26th 1944:

"Just as I am writing this I look [through] my window at such a lovely sunset, I never saw before. Just like a picture as it shined on the church just by my house, its red roof and all white. It made me feel so sad. And when I see anything looking so lovely it makes me think of things very sad. Well Dear, what do you think of the dread full time is going on now. I suppose this is the finishing of most of our Dear ones. I am thinking there isn't many of them going to be left by the time it's finished. I guess they will be most all thru with it all. I was in hopes of my Dear boy coming some time, but since this hard time have started I am feeling pretty bad at it all."

In one of the last letters, a August 14th 1945 letter forwarded to Pearl from Leslie Squires, Emma Squires writes about the end of the war and news that Allen is returning home to Newfoundland. She once again describes the view out her window, but this time with the joy and relief:
"The church bell is ringing now and Bell Island is all a light guns firing." 
028.03.201 View of St. Philip's Church and Bell Island. Taken by Allen and Pearl Squires August 10th 1962
Photograph courtesy of the Portugal Cove-St. Philip's Archives.
For more information on the Portugal Cove-St. Philip's Archives, contact the Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip's Heritage Programs and Services Coordinator Julie Pomeroy.

~ Kelly