November 12, 2012 Features & Images » Feature Story

Lest we forget 

click to flip through (5) Roy Buchholz (right) with a friend at Trafalgar Square, London, U.K. during his service in WW II.
  • Roy Buchholz (right) with a friend at Trafalgar Square, London, U.K. during his service in WW II.

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The youngest boy, Barney, served in the artillery in England and on the continent. In 1945 he returned to Selkirk and married his sweetheart — a nurse!

How did three German-Canadian farm boys wind up fighting for their lives and their country from 1939 to 1945?

It was a different time and the world a different place. Do the same mindsets exist today? Yes, but not so much.

"For King and Country" was the patriotic cry during WWII. Not going, for so many young men, was not an option.

Even though that war ended 67 years ago and my dad has been gone for more than 45 years, every November 11 I still think about my old man and my uncles Carl and Barney. I am always amazed and infinitely proud!

I think I'll give my uncle Barney a call tonight!

The Pathfinder's way

By Ali Van Gruen

My father, Herbert Alan Millar, was a flight navigator in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during World War II. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on October 5, 1922, he interrupted his studies at medical school at Queen's University in Belfast to volunteer his services for the war effort. Based on memories retold to members of our family, the data contained in his flight logbook and some research found in Jennie Gray's Fire by Night, I can share with you some of my father's role in WWII.

Shortly after volunteering, H.A. Millar was based in Miami in August 1942 for training on a Commodore. His logbook mentions Great Abaco, Gun Cay, North Bimini and Anguilla Island as various locations where he flew. He also trained in Georgia, U.S.A. and remembers the locals being very hospitable to all the Brits.

On his Air Observers Navigation Course, dated July 6 to Oct. 15, 1942, he achieved 93 out of 100 for Navigation Theory, 88/100 for Navigation Plotting Problem, 90/100 for Meteorology and 90.8/100 for Navigation Flights. Remarks on these results were "Exceptional in flight and theory." Not bad marks for a 20 year old, who was studying to be a doctor.

After completing his training, my father was assigned to No. 35 Squadron, Path Finder Force, based in Gravely, Cambridgeshire. The Pathfinders were considered a special group in the air force.

They were the guides of the Main Force, or the bomber command. The bomber command grew from approximately 14,280 men in September 1939 to 192,494 by July 1943. They marked the route over the long, dangerous trip to the targets in Northern Europe.

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