The following article first appeared in The Echo of Cantley Volume 23 no 6, December 2011. This article is made available for the enjoyment of others with the express permission of the Echo of Cantley.
Last month we brought stories of just of few of Cantley's unsung war heroes. In this article, Mary Holmes ofCantley 1889 tells us more of the history of Cantley families who sent their young to war.
The Thompson families, who lived in the Cantley area between Ch. Hogan and Ch. Mont-Cascades on Montee de la Source, had a few members go off to the War. Maynard Thompson, the son of Benny and Mrs. Thompson, and Lesley Ashby, who was or became his brother-in-law by marrying his sister, Audrey Thompson, both saw service. Two daughters of William Thompson and Annie Gates, Gwen and Hazel, held the rank of A.W. 1 (Aircraftwoman 1st class) in the Royal Canadian Air Force Women's Division. They were two of the approx. 17,400 women who served while the RCAFWD was active from 1941-1946.
Edward Hogan, one of the sons of Alfred Hogan and Mary O'Boyle, grew up on his family's farm in the beautiful valley before Mont Cascades Ski Hills. War was declared on a September Sunday in 1939 and Edward signed up the following week. He eventually served in the Italian Campaign as a Corporal in the Royal Army Service Corps. Marshall and Mrs. Clarke watched three of their sons leave their farm in Mont Cascades, which is now part of Mont Cascades Golf Club: Willard, Douglas and Harold. Arthur Chretien was one of the sons of Hermenegilde (Emeril) Chretien and Marguerite Thibert and set off from his family home in the Ch. Lamoureux area.
During World War II, J.H. Connor & Son Limited, already well known for the washing machines they manufactured, produced airplane parts. Unfortunately this was not the only contribution the family was to make to the war effort. Flying Officer Donald Daubney Connor, only son of William Connor and Effie Daubney, was killed in action over Holland on November 1, 1944 at the age of 22. He was a member of the RCAF, 431 Squadron, and had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He is buried in Linne Roman Catholic Churchyard in the Netherlands. The Connors's home was on Ch. Connor in Mont Cascades.
André Poulin was the son of Ernest and Mrs. Poulin. Ernest had a general store at the corner of Ch. River and Montee de la Source and was Cantley's postmaster from 1926 to 1937. André's grandfather, Edward, was mayor of Cantley from 1921 to 1933. This was a family well acquainted with service to the community. Baptiste Dubois is thought to have been in the Engineer Corps. He lived on a farm in the Ch. Pink area, which was formerly known as Gardiner Road.
Hector Gauthier and Florida Millette saw six of their sons, Hector, Clement, Edgar, Maurice, Rheal and Gaston, and one of their sons-in-law, Aldège Bertrand, go off to serve their country. Hector served in Italy, while Maurice served in Germany and Holland. Edgar was in Europe but returned before D-Day, however Clement took part in the D-Day operations in Normandy, France. Rheal served in Belgium and France while Gaston was stationed in Newfoundland. Aldège was married to Irene Gauthier and was the son of Adrien Bertrand and Jane Matthews. The Gauthier's lived in the area of Ch. Fleming. The O'Hara brothers, Frank and William, were the sons of Dominic (Denny) O'Hara and Mary Dean. They lived in the area of Ch. Burke.
Ernest Gobel is thought to have been a Home Child from England and may have arrived in Canada in 1911. Another Home Child who had landed in Cantley and who served in the War was Fred Sargeant. He and two brothers and a sister are thought to have come to Canada separately in the 1906-1909 time period.
There were many other sons of the Cantley area who volunteered for King and Country: George Cooper and Philibert Lepage, along with H. Thompson, L. Brown, B. Brown, Max Morran (who was the brother of Russell Blackburn), Clarence Derouin (who grew up in a log cabin on a small cleared plot of land to the east of St. Andrew United Church), K. McGlashan, Neville and Vernon Brown (sons of Fred Brown and Salome Chamberlain), Edmond Easey, W. Easey, and James Fuller.
Among us is one veteran who moved to Cantley as a result of World War II. Jan Turko is a veteran of the Polish Army who came to Canada in 1947 through Pier 21 in Halifax. Speaking very little English, he arrived in Cantley to work on the farm of Tom Fleming (Ch. Fleming). Over time, Jan became one of the family and continues to make his home in Cantley.
This article draws on lists of names of World War II veterans that are kept at St. Andrew United Church and St. Elizabeth Roman Catholic Church.Cantley 1889 would appreciate receiving more information on the veterans or their families.
Thanks to Reta Milks, Doreen Holmes, Doug Smith, Maurice Gauthier, Ambrose Holmes, and Greg Dean for their time in assisting with this article, as well to Mervyn Hogan, Mary Ann Carss, Theresa Cashman, and Bertha Crilly for help with specific details of their family.
Mary Holmes is a director of Cantley 1889, a volunteer association to promote Cantley's heritage: email@example.com