My uncle, F/O Bernhard W. Martin, visited the family farm near Golden Prairie, Saskatchewan, during the summer of 1944, just before he went overseas. I am so pleased that someone – probably my Father – made this photograph with a Kodak box camera. It’s the only photograph in which my Uncle and I were both present (I’m the second from the left).
My Uncle was a pilot in 419 (Moose) Squadron, RCAF. He flew Lancasters on 16 bombing missions over Germany. His aircraft was shot down on Feb.2/3, 1945 and all but one of his crew were killed. I have the wire sent to my Grandmother and the letters sent by the RCAF immediately after he and his crew were declared missing – and the letters sent months later when further information on his flight was shared (See Aircrew Remembered).
My Uncle Ben was 23 years old when he died.
We continue to remember him, especially at this time of year when we and many other Canadians wear poppies proudly. I would be pleased if you were to read the (above) story of the crew on that dreadful night.
There are countless other stories of soldiers and airmen, sailors and others who gave their lives or had their lives changed radically. Let’s be thankful for what they did – and let’s find ways of eliminating hatred, intolerance, greed and warfare.
Attend a local Remembrance Day ceremony, or watch the ceremony from Ottawa on TV: and don’t be afraid to shed a tear or two for those who did not come home and for all those who served with courage and conviction.