The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

August 17th, 2016

July 26, 1945 Springhill Record Tells Story of Plane Crash

     The sad and anxious mystery of the fate of a dear son, endured for two years by Mr. and Mrs. George Calder have been somewhat dispelled by the receipt of a letter from W/O Smooker, England, a prisoner of war, following the crash of their plane.

    Flt. - Sgt. A.G. Reginald Calder, R.C.A.F. arrived overseas in August 1942.  He was reported missing July 1943 after an operational flight.  Last July for official purposes he was “presumed to have died July 9, 1943 while on Active Service Overseas.”  (His posthumous promotion came through in January 1944.)  He had completed his 30th operational flight over enemy country, including the Ruhr Valley and as far afield as Italy.  The letter which follows tells the tragic story:

  1. Dear Mrs. Calder”

  2.      I received your letter a few days ago and since I have been visiting Seaside and Newcastle I haven’t had time to answer until now.

  3.      I suppose you would remember that yesterday was the end of the second year after we were shot down.  I can scarcely realize it is so long ago.

  4.      I will try to tell you how it all happened.  We had bombed Boulogne and everything was quite normal, until we had to cut out one of our engines, because of it overheating.  Our return route, was across the north of France and it is while we were flying across here that we were fired upon by an unseen fighter.  Unfortunately, one of three remaining engines caught fire and although Gene, the Skipper, did his utmost to carry out the orders given by the two gunners, Reg and Arnie, he was helpless when the remaining two engines stopped dead. 

  5.      The order to bale out came, even as were plunging to earth in flames.  I, being bomb aimer, was directly over the escape hatch in the nose, and it is due to this that I owe my life.  Reg’s position was not near mine.  I was in the nose, behind me were the pilot and engineers and second pilot and navigator, all clustered together.  Behind them was the W/Op and then came Reg with Arnie right at the rear. 

  6.      So far as I knew no one was wounded, I only heard Reg, Arnie and the Skipper speak after we were attacked.

  7.      I was living with the French people until Sept. 12th, when I was captured on the train, south of Bordeaux by the Gestapo.  I spent two months in solitary confinement in a civilian prison near Paris before being sent to Germany. 

  8.      Well, Mrs. Calder, it looks as though space forbids any more, but I will write again.  I go back to my unit on the 13th of July. 

  9. Yours sincerely,

  10. Fred

Aug. 2, 1945McDermott Home Burned to Ground

     The home of Mrs. McDermott, South Brook, was burned to the ground at 2 a.m. Saturday morning by fire of unknown origin.  The occupants escaped with only what they had on.  Those at the home at the time of the fire were Mrs. McDermott, her daughter Mrs. W.R. Huntley, two sons, Albert and Murray, and her brother Milleage Brown.  Murray McDermott was said to have a very close call for his life as overcome by smoke, his brother Albert made three attempts to reach him in bed, finally succeeding in rolling him down the stairs. 

Aug. 16, 1945Liquor and Beer Flows Freely

     While no official announcement has been made it is understood on reliable authority that beer and liquor sales for Springhill for Tuesday alone amounted to well over $4,000.  From the time the store opened (the only one which besides the Record was opened) customers crowded the doorway and the line ran onto the sidewalk.  But they weren’t all Springhillers by any means.  They came from miles around.  If the Record turnover had run into figures of that kind, we would probably close up for the rest of the week. 

     While there was evidence on the street of considerable drinking it was surprising how well everything passed off.

June 19, 1947Oxford Journal64-Year-Old Miner Killed at Springhill

Springhill June 15Samuel Miller, 64-year-old Springhill miner, was killed on Friday when he was struck on the head by a piece of falling coal.  The accident occurred at No. 2 mine.

     The fatality marred the miners’ return to work here.  As is the custom all miners left the pit for the day. 

     The deceased had been a resident of Springhill for many years and was held in high regard by fellow miners and the citizens in general. 

     Surviving are his wife, one son John, Halifax; three daughters: Mrs. Thomas Burton, Hamilton, Ont.; Mrs. Margaret Paige, Cornwall, Ont. And Betty, at Moncton.


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