1944 - 1948 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT DIARY HANDWRITTEN BY A YOUNG CANADIAN SERVICEMAN IN IRELAND, ENGLAND AND BACK TO TORONTO CANADA AND THE HAGERSVILLE SERVICE FLYING TRAINING SCHOOL WITH HIS ENGLISH WAR BRIDE
On offer is a unique, original 1944 - 1948 manuscript 5 year World War II diary handwritten by a Royal Canadian Air Force [R.C.A. F.] serviceman named, we believe, Cross as evidenced by the note: "CAN. R. 97172 LAC. CROSS. T.d. R.C.A.F." on the personal identification page. [The diary covers 1944 through 1946 which are full of entries and then just a few for 1947 and 1948.] The diary covers this Canadian's service in Ireland at the renowned 423 Squadron Castle Archdale until November 1944, then to Warrington, England until December 1944 and then back to Canada to the SFTS (Service Flying Training School) Hagersville near Hamilton Ontario. [During World War II, Hagersville was the home of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan station 16 Service Flying Training School, teaching trainee pilots how to fly the Harvard and Anson aircraft.] This diary offers a unique perspective on a number of levels: on the one hand our writer details the war effort as only an enthusiastic serviceman itching to be in the thick of it will report but then he also provides a fascinating look into the transition from War to peace and his reintroduction into non-service life with his new wife as of June 1944 and then a baby son a year or so later making for a Canadian War Bride story too. Lastly one gets a feel for the home front in Ontario in the last year of the War and shortly thereafter. One fascinating entry in November of 1944 relates: 'Zombies' rioting in Canada burning flags striking officers because of talk of conscription for overseas service.' Here are just a few snippets of the many notable entries: 1944 "January 1st & 3rd, Lectures on grenades and drill in morning. OM drill later in morning. Off in afternoon. Wrote letters all evening. Berlin raided again. Tonight 1,000 tons down….I was flight commander today. Down in hangers all morning. On drill in afternoon. In camp all evening. Played snooker and wrote letters." "March 11th, Worked on hull of "D.3" all day and finished at 1900 hrs. "W2" sank sub last night and got shell through front of hull. Wrote letters and played poker." "May 27th, Up at 0500 hrs. Same old trip over. Had fun (sober) in Belfast with (wing). Ral. prisoners reported at Belfast today. Swedish. "Grisholm." Saw "This to the Army." "June 5th, Stayed in hotel all day. Played darts and dominoes. Dolly left on 4:50 train and I for hotel. Back to hostel, clubhouse and dance. 5th Army into Rome suburbs today." "June 12th, Cable came from mum at 0930. Dolly and I married registry office L'pool south 11:30. Her mum and Mr. Harvey witnesses. Fred Ash for pictures. Stork Hotel for dinner. Just the 4 of us. Train. Exchange St. 1:45. Arrive Windermere 6. Staying Mrs. Hogarth's, 3 Cross St. to Brookside for drink. Met "Taffy" and May." "July 20th, Dental at 0900. All of Echelon's picking weeds. Washed "3a" out. P.M. Kit inspection 1330, worked on mum's lighter. Early show, "Adventurers of Tartu". Russians over Gerry's 1941 starting point. Gerry's finished and should throw in towel soon, I hope!!!" "August 12th, My day off so slept till noon. Hiked to Enniskillen. Snow in afternoon. "Devil with Hitler" and "Hi Diddle Diddle." Dance in evening. No. _____ back to camp on 23-30 liberty transport. "T-2" crashed on island at noon today in Lough. 3 killed. Can't find bodies because she burned." 1945 "February 3rd, Up at noon. Around hut all day. In canteen in evening. To dance in opera house. To bed right after. Russian's 30 miles from Berlin." "March 3rd, Up at 7 A.M. in officer's mess at 9 A.M. Out at 10:30. Our argument worked. Downtown with Doll in P.M. She bought grey coat in Simpson's. To Tivoli, saw "Fighting Lady" and "Sunday Dinner for Soldier." Had dinner in Diana's Lunch. Home at 11 P.M. Canadians and Yanks in Cologne. Went to Hamilton with dad in truck at 11:30. Home at 4:30 A.M." "April 28th & 29th, Missed train so took bus at 0745. Finished at 12:45. Saw Victory Parade. To Laplaza. Saw "Yellow Canary." Mussolini captured by Italian Partisans today…..Slept late. Fixed flat! Dad helped. Painted spare tire cover. Mussolini, his mistress and some of his friends shot in Milan Italy. Talk of peace from Heinrich Himmler, Chief of Gestapo." "May 1st, Clear. Work as usual. Back in final assembly. Same crew. M. St. Clair to decorate our rooms. Hitler reported killed in Reich chancellery in Berlin! Not confirmed, believed suicide! Admiral Doenitz taken over. Used to U-Boat Boss." "May 4th, Work as usual on stripping with Stella all day. Bed early. German armies surrendering all over the place so it seems the war is over. We captured Munich, Heart of Nazism!" "May 25th, Work as usual on strips of F. M. 178, all day with Jean. Fell asleep in easy chair in evening. Heinrick Himmler captured and committed suicide-poison-Ribbintrop only one loose now." "August 6th, All morning getting ready to go to Musselman's. Down to 83 at 4 P.M. Loaded car with bedding, grub, carriage, Eileen, Bob, Doll and 3 kids. Quite a load! Left for lake at 7:15. Arrived at 9 P.M. Just put stuff in house, had supper and went to bed! Cold night so no swim. U.S. used atomic bomb on Hiroshima Japan! City flattened, 150,000 killed." 1946 "January 3rd, William Joyce, Nazi Lord Haw-haw hanged this morning at Wadsworth Prison, London England, at 4 A.M. this morning. To work at 7. Crafted 16 units. Home at 5:30. In house all evening. Doll had Butch inoculated for Diphtheria and Whooping Cough today at clinic so his arms, left and right, bothering him tonight." "January 12th, Dwight D. Eisenhower in Toronto today at U. of T. for degree in Doctor of Laws. Drove down to 83 in evening. Bought ½ doz. large beers. Jim and I had 1 apiece. Home at 1:30 A.M. Roads like glass! So done some sliding." "June 18th, Work as usual. Joe Louis vs. Billy Conn fight tonight in Yankee Stadium N.Y. Seats $10 to $100. Joe K.O'd Billy in 8th round for his 22nd win!" "June 30th, Down to N.Y.P. at 1 P.M. Only worked till 4:30 on taking head off SO's to do valve job. Developed films in cellar in evening. Listened to radio description of atom bomb drop on Bikini Atoll. 3 ships sunk and 52 damaged or fired of target fleet." "August 3rd, Down to beach in A.M. All gang came down in swimming and had swell time. Packed up in P.M. and pulled out at 6 P.M. into Picton shopping. Also went to see Walter Boyer about 1925 Overland he sold for me in 1941. Brought Doc. McEvilla home with us. Home at 2 A.M. Had to move Marino off our Chesterfield so Doc could sleep there. Stinky smelly city to come back to!!" Cross does a super job mentioning the people and places he meets including: Bronte Beach, Enniskillen, Wolverhampton, Belfast, Preston, Hagersville, Hamilton and Toronto and many, many more. The cover of the diary has pulled away from the spine in the front and so has the first page but the binding and the rest of the pages are together but there is a bit of foxing on the edges of the pages. The diary measures about 4 ¼" x 5 ½". Overall G.; Manuscript; 16mo - over 5¾" - 6¾" tall; KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF, ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE, WORLD WAR II, R.C.A. F., SQUADRON CASTLE ARCHDALE, SERVICE FLYING TRAINING SCHOOL, WAR BRIDES, SFTS, HOME FRONT, HAMILTON ONTARIO, IRELAND, WWII, WW2, WORLD WAR 2, HITLER, ATOMIC BOMB, MUSSOLINI, LAC. 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