Representing "HOMEFRONT ARCHIVES"
Private research / collection centre for Prisoners of War
(and others) artifacts and information.
6015-5th Ave. Regina, Sask. S4T 6V4 Canada
Ph. (306) 5435822
38 years Bob Henderson of Regina, Saskatchewan, has been an exhibitor at
the Saskatchewan Gun Collectors association annual winter show and sale.
With his special interest in artifacts from German prisoners of war
held in Canada during the Second World War, his presence at the show may
not seem obvious. But for Bob, being at the show that features gun, knife,
military and police collectables, is a chance to make contacts.
A sign on his display table asks for any information about guards or
former prisoners form the Canadian PoW camps.
“Most of the guards are dead except for the very young ones that came
at the end of the war. Some have information or photographs. Former PoWs
are dying off fast, but there are still a few around. Many of them moved
back to Canada because of their treatment during the war. I’m able to contact
them. It is a domino effect, if you find one they always know of someone
Bob’s interest in German PoWs began when he was 12. His parents told
him stories of prisoners escaping in Northern Ontario, where he lived at
the time. In 1985 he traded with a friend for a carving made by a PoW.
“I thought, ‘Well this is an area of Canadian history that is completely
ignored and unknown. If everything is as nice as this carving, I’m going
to start collecting it’.”
The most treasured
piece in his collection is a PoW’s painting of a soldier walking with his
machine gun on his shoulder. The 250 cm. X 120 cm. Painting is done in
shades of brown and cream.
This painting hung at Camp 122, Medicine Hat, Alberta. An inscription
on the bottom indicates it was copied from a wooden carving. After the
war it was mailed to Dr. Caldwell, who had been a Canadian doctor serving
at the PoW camp.
Coincidentally, three separate sources resulted in the locating and
final acquisition of the painting. One was via a former Canadian
Doctor by the name of Jim HELMSOTCK who had been posted to the Medicine
Hat PoW Camp. He recalled the very young son of another Canadian Doctor
had been allowed to visit his father, and who in turn received gifts from
the Prisoners and Guards.
A collecting friend had seen the picture, and told Bob of it's existence,
identifying the Canadian Doctors wife as being the owner. That information
was supported by another collector who spoke to Bob of the painting.
Bob located the son of the owner in Saskatoon, Sask., and found the
painting was being stored in the rafters of a forlorn insecure garage.
The roof leaked, and the painting had been placed face up, so that birds
were nesting on it, and lawn chairs were piled on top of it.
After three years of on and off negotiations, a purchase value was agreed
upon. The acquired painting was cleaned of dirt and grime,
suffering minimally from the storage problems.
In SEPT 1996, Mr. George HOEGAL of Munchen, Germany, wrote to identify
himself as the artist who had painted the picture. He had seen the
picture of the painting in Bob Henderson's book, German Prisoners of War
in Canada. The two have corresponded ever since.
A hand stitched RAF wing, dyed with vegetable colouring,
made for an escape attempt by Hermann Boecklin.
Camp 30 Bowmanville, Ontario
Prisoner of War Grave Sites
Woodland Cemetery, Kitchener, Ontario.
In 1970, German Prisoners of War who had died in Canada were moved from
their original burial sites, 36 locations across Canada, to a final resting
place provided by the Royal Canadian Legion at Kitchener., where they receive
A stone plaque at the site states:
IN THIS CEMETERY SECTION REST
187 GERMAN WAR DEAD
After this book
was published, further research and comments from those who read the book
resulted in more information.
For example; on the cover the Naval Officer on the right is Chief Engineer
of the submarine U-35, Gerhard Stamer. The other officer on the left is
Heinz Erchen, of the U-35. The men are being escorted to Gravenhurst
Not only German military occupied the PoW Camps. An internment camp
was constructed at Victoria Newfoundland to accommodate Civilian internees
from Britain who were considered pro-Nazi. ARANDORA STAR, the ship
they were on was torpedoed at 7:00 hours July 2, 1940 by submarine U-47
commanded by Captain Gunther Prien. 671 casualties. The camp at Victoria
A Guide for Historians, Research, and Collectors
C.M.V. Madsen and R. J, Henderson
Published 1993 by R. J. Henderson – address
ISBN 0 – 9697888 - 0 – 0
The extensive collection of both memorabilia and information held by
the combined Museum/Archives has only been made possible by individual
people like you.
To assist in expanding the collection, your assistance is requested.
Anyone with either memorabilia or information relating to the German PoW's
and /or Veteran Guard of Canada Members from the 2nd World War time are
requested to contact Mr. Robert Henderson @ email@example.com
It is essential that this brief period of Canadian History be preserved.
Sgt. Peter Engbrecht CGM
424 Squadron RCAF Air Gunner Ace
Bursts June 1991 Issue #34
On the passing of Peter Engbrecht
Oh how time flies and Oh how quickly our memories dim.
Peter’s obituary in the Winnipeg Free Press was just six inches in length.
Just a few family facts and a mention of his once receiving the Conspicuous
Gallantry Medal. No reference to his wartime service as an Air Gunner with
RCAF 424 (Bison) Squadron.
For Sgt. Peter Engbretch, age 18, it all starter on the night of May
27, 1944, when his Squadron was part of a raid on the German supply line
at Bourg-Leopold. The first enemy fighter attack knocked out the rear turret.
Peter, in his mid-upper turret, not only successfully fought off the ensuing
thirteen separate attacks, but shot down two of the enemy aircraft.
Two weeks later on another operation, he shot down two more enemy fighters.
He then followed this up by scoring another two victories during a future
raid on Brunswick. This truly amazing feat was completed when, on the Falaise
Gap raid Sept. 14, 1944, he shot down two more enemy aircraft. Eight officially
confirmed victories. He was a real Ace.
Sleep well Peter, rest in peace. Amen Brother, Amen.
Fast forward to 2007. Why was Peter only awarded the G.C.M. and C.D.?
He should have been awarded, at least, the DFM and three Bars!
This 1991 article was resurrected due to the following letter received
from Colin James.
From: COLIN JAMES
Sent: Tuesday, January 02, 2007 5:22 PM
Subject: Fwd: Re: Engbrecht's Photographs (Copies)
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Moyles,
My name is Colin James and I am a collector of RAF/RCAF medals and
display them in various history classes to help students learn about WWII.
I have put together a reproduction group of medals for Sgt. Peter Engbrecht,
CGM and would like to have your permission for Stephen Hayter, the Executive
Director of the CATPM, to make copies of the three photographs in Sgt.
Engbrecht's display and the Air Museum.
Regards, Colin James
Thanks to people like Colin and the CATP Museum, Peter’s memory lives
on. . .
In my travels through cyberspace on Sunday, I came upon a poem that
interested me -- an RCAF wartime poem written in the style of William Henry
Drummond. Remember him? In school we studied his poetry written in a French-Canadian
accent. I wonder if his writing is still in the curriculum, or in these
days of political correctness he is no longer read by junior high school
I thought you might enjoy the poem, "Dat Goddam Bird, De Link," so I've
attached it. I re-typed it from the image I found on the 'net, but included
the graphic which appeared with the poem. I think this may have originally
appeared in a station newsletter. I have also added a photo I found in
my research that shows a Link Trainer room in operation during RCAF training.
I’m working on an unpublished manuscript by my father, which is a history
of aviation in Alberta from the first powered flight to the amalgamation
of the Canadian armed forces.
Last week I sent his book of RCAF memoirs to a publisher. It's about
serving as a navigation student and instructor in Canada, in the BCATP.
I finished the book late in the year and have qualified for a grant from
Alberta Historical Resources Foundation, to be used only for actual printing
costs when it is published, with grant funds actually going to the publisher.
So now I wait a few weeks to see if the publisher is interested.
We're going England in August, and at the beginning of September will
attend the 90th anniversary of RAF 101 Squadron, with which my F/S Navigator
uncle Alfred R. Chalmers, flew and died, along with all other crew in their
Lancaster. I hope the trip will provide a chance to see some of the major
air museums in England, and Linda would like to include a visit to Vimy
Ridge as well. The monument there is scheduled to have its restoration
completed in April.