November 2000 Remembrance Day Edition
Compiled by Bill Hillman
Wherein we share an eclectic assortment of items 
- whacky and wise -
gleaned from the 
Internet, media and contributing readers.

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As You Were Editor: Bill Hillman

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Wolfe Nottelman

A few years ago, as part of my

our VICTORY section 
featured a 1945 letter and enclosed Globe and Mail
clipping from a close family friend who was 
raised in Minnedosa, MB. 

Now, 55 years later the Globe pays tribute
to the passing of this friend - Wolfe Nottelman.

Wolfe Nottelman:
Serviceman posed in famous Globe photo
Subject of picture symbolizing Allied triumph in Europe was born in Germany
by Donn Downey
Toronto Globe and Mail
Friday, October 6, 2000
TORONTO -- For The Globe and Mail, it was the face of victory, a young man in uniform gazing upward in what was obviously a studio photograph. The newspaper didn't bother to identify him; he was simply the symbol of a war that was over.

The Globe ran the photograph on its front page on May 8, 1945. The black headline above the picture read, THIS IS VICTORY. The story alongside reported that "Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Allies today . . ."

The man in that photograph died last Saturday in a nursing home in North Vancouver. His name was Wolfgang Frederick Nottelman and he was 82. His son Thomas said his father had been ill for about six years, suffering the after-effects of a series of strokes. He also had Alzheimer's disease.

He was proud of the front page picture. "He had it hanging on the wall," the son said.

Although the photograph suggests that the soldier was in the army, Mr. Nottelman was, in fact, in the Royal Canadian Air Force. And although he did pilot planes during the war, he never went overseas, working instead as a test pilot at the air force base in Churchill, Man.

While he was there he tested a prototype of an antigravity suit, a precursor of the suits worn by astronauts. He was discharged at war's end with the rank of pilot officer.

The history behind the taking of the photograph is fuzzy. The back of it bears the stamp of a now defunct Toronto photography studio, suggesting that it was commissioned by The Globe. Mr. Nottelman's name does not appear anywhere.

The picture went on to have some history of its own. It was used as an illustration in Ross Munro's Gauntlet to Overlord, the story of the Canadian Army during the Second World War. Mr. Munro was a war correspondent for The Canadian Press who went on to have a distinguished career in Canadian journalism.

Mr. Nottelman was an electrical engineer, but airplanes were his passion. After working as an engineer with various companies across Canada he devoted the later years of his life to building slightly scaled-down copies of the planes that were used during the Second World War. He completed two before his first stroke, his son said.

The man who bought one of them did not take off according to procedure on the maiden flight and was killed.

Mr. Nottelman held the patents for several materials used to protect against electric shock and lectured at several universities across Canada, including the University of Toronto.

From 1955 to 1960, he was part owner of a horse-racing track in Regina. He did it, his son said, "just for fun."

He was also a former chairman of the Canadian Standards Association.

Wolfgang Nottelman was born in Germany on July 14, 1918, and came to Canada as a boy. "He immediately fell in love with Canada and called it home," the son wrote in an e-mail to The Globe.

The family first settled in Winnipeg. His father died when he was about 12, leaving him to take care of his mother and younger brother, Hans. He managed to graduate from the University of Manitoba with his degree in electrical engineering. He studied further in the United States until the war intervened and he joined the RCAF.

After the war, his engineering career took him across Canada. He worked for Ontario Hydro for a while before moving to Edmonton where he worked for Pyle-National of Canada Ltd. He ran his own businesses after moving to Vancouver.

His first wife died of cancer after 15 years of marriage. Mr. Nottelman leaves his second wife Christel and his son Thomas. Also left are his two nieces, Sharon and Jeannie, daughters of brother Hans.

October 17, 2000
This morning, just to see what would happen, I did a search of the name Nottelman on the internet & came up with your web site.  Much to my surprise. My name is Sharon Morrison (formerly Nottelmann) and I now live in Edmonton Alberta.  I read the letter from my Uncle to Louise; with much surprise. The "kid brother Hans" that my Uncle mentions near the end of the letter was my father, he died of a heart attack in 1980.  I wasn't sure if you knew or not but my Uncle died, in a nursing home in Vancouver, on September 30/00, he was 82.  There was quite a large obituary in the Globe & Mail, along with a reprint of the front page of the Globe from 1945 containing the picture.  If you go to the Globe & Mail web site & search Nottelman you will find the obituary that was printed on October 6/00.  (The reprint of the 1945 front page does not show up on the net) I would be interested in hearing from you if you would like to contact me.
Sincerely, Sharon Morrison
October 18, 2000
Any more information you might come up with about our previous family history would be appreciated.  My sister Jeannie & I really enjoy hearing about that kind of stuff.  My Dad & my Uncle were not very close so we didn't see him as much as we would have like to.  Some of my fondest memories as a child, though; are when Uncle Wolfe would drop in with his plane and visit us and take us for a ride or give us a treat.  We really loved him a lot.
Thanks, Sharon & Jeannie

On October 23, Mr. Nottelman's son, Thomas, contacted me via the Air Museum website and contributed the following information:
Wolfe Nottelman in WWII RCAF Uniform My dad, Wolfe Nottelman,  had been very ill for many years during which time my mother and I looked after him.  I only became close to him over the past 8 years, during which time he was primarily unable to respond in any coherent manner.  He suffered from many illnesses which left him in poor shape, unable to properly communicate.He has been in hospital for the past 4 years with full time care having suffered a series of strokes, alzheimers, dementia and various other problems. It's not a happy story or happy ending. He was a very proud man, a very hard worker and a very honest guy. He tried to make the best of things and always worked hard to give me what I needed. He made a few bad choices in his life, and unfortunately it left him an overstressed old man. It's sad to write these things, but they are reality. I'm sure my mother could give you many of the happy stories that were part of his life prior to my arrival in 1970. He worked at many things and accomplished many interesting achievements.  I was so glad to have the Globe write that story for me, as I felt terrible that I could not do more for this once great man. It was very sad for me to see him go after all the time I had spent with him in the past few years. But I was so glad that he will no longer suffer such a terrible existence. No one should go through that type of life.
Thanks, Thomas Nottelman

Sadly, this March we said goodbye to the museum's founder and friend, Wes Agnew

Wes was gentleman whose love of aircraft and connection with the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan inspired the creation of our memorial museum. 

We are thankful for his vision and dedication; for after almost 20 years, his dream is still a reality. We send our deepest condolences to his wife Joyce and the entire Agnew family.

Stephen Hayter
Executive Director, CATPM

From the Brandon Sun Obituary: Saturday, March 11, 2000

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Wesley George Agnew at Brandon Regional Health Centre at the age of 78. He was born on October 18, 1921 in Hartney, Manitoba. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force on January 6, 1942 in Edmonton, Alberta. He was trained in eastern Canada and was later stationed at #23 EFTS as a flying instructor in Davidson, Saskatchewan. He met Joyce Burrill and later married her on December 26, 1944 in Langbank, Saskatchewan. Wes was posted to Vulcan, Alberta for six months and then to Yorkton, SK until 1945 at war's end. After his discharge he returned to Hartney to farm. In addition to farming, Wes was self-employed at aerial spraying and hunting. Wes enjoyed the outdoors with a love for hunting and fishing. He belonged to the BPO Elks and was a 50-year member of Royal Canadian Legion Branch #26 in Hartney.

His passion and interest in World War II aircraft started him on his long journey and dream of starting an aircraft museum to honour the memory of the airmen who lost their lives during the war. Along with his wife, Joyce, many, many hours were spent on the road across Canada in search of WWII aircraft. After 33 years of farming, Wes and Joyce moved into Brandon in 1982 and became Founding Members of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum, Inc. Aircraft from the Agnew collection became the first exhibits when the museum occupied Hangar No. 1 at the former No. 12 Service Flying School in Brandon. He held the position of CATPM Curator for five years and continued to volunteer at various tasks around the museum until his passing.  In 1990, Wes was awarded the RCAFA Distinguished Service Award. His funeral service was held on Thursday, March 9, 2000 at the First Presbyterian Church in Brandon. Internment was at the Rosewood Memorial Gardens near Brandon where pilot Howard Pahl executed a flyby in the CATPM Harvard as arranged by President Reg Forbes. 

In Flanders Fields

 In Flanders fields the poppies blow
 Between the crosses, row on row
 That mark our place; and in the sky
 The larks, still bravely singing, fly
 Scarce heard amid the guns below.

 We are the Dead. Short days ago
 We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
 Loved and were loved, and now we lie
 In Flanders fields.

 Take up our quarrel with the foe:
 To you from failing hands we throw
 The torch; be yours to hold it high.
 If ye break faith with us who die
 We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
 In Flanders fields. 

 - John McCrae


Reply to Flanders Fields 

 Oh! sleep in peace where poppies grow;
 The torch your falling hands let go
 Was caught by us, again held high,
 A beacon light in Flanders sky
 That dims the stars to those below.
 You are our dead, you held the foe,
 And ere the poppies cease to blow,
 We'll prove our faith in you who lie
 In Flanders Fields.
 Oh! rest in peace, we quickly go
 To you who bravely died, and know
 In other fields was heard the cry,
 For freedom's cause, of you who lie,
 So still asleep where poppies grow,
 In Flanders Fields.

 As in rumbling sound, to and fro,
 The lightning flashes, sky aglow,
 The mighty hosts appear, and high
 Above the din of battle cry,
 Scarce heard amidst the guns below,
 Are fearless hearts who fight the foe,
 And guard the place where poppies grow.
 Oh! sleep in peace, all you who lie
 In Flanders Fields.

 And still the poppies gently blow,
 Between the crosses, row on row.
 The larks, still bravely soaring high,
 Are singing now their lullaby
 To you who sleep where poppies grow
 In Flanders Fields.

 - John Mitchell
Excerpt from "Welcome to Flanders Fields - The Great Canadian Battle of the Great War : Ypres, 1915", by Daniel G. Dancocks, McClelland and Stewart (Toronto, Canada), 1988

Although he had been a doctor for years and had served in the South African War, it was impossible to get used to the suffering, the screams, and the blood here, and Major John McCrae had seen and heard enough in his dressing station to last him a lifetime. As a surgeon attached to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Major McCrae, who had joined the McGill faculty in 1900 after graduating from the University of Toronto, had spent seventeen days treating injured men -- Canadians, British, Indians, French, and Germans -- in the Ypres salient.

It had been an ordeal that he had hardly thought possible. McCrae later wrote of it:

     "I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done."

One death particularly affected McCrae. A young friend and former student, Lieut. Alexis Helmer of Ottawa, had been killed by a shell burst on 2 May. Lieutenant Helmer was buried later that day in the little cemetery outside McCrae's dressing station, and McCrae had performed the funeral ceremony in the absence of the chaplain.

The next day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the dressing station beside the Canal de l'Yser, just a few hundred yards north of Ypres, McCrae vented his anguish by composing a poem. The major was no stranger to writing, having authored several medical texts besides dabbling in poetry. In the nearby cemetery, McCrae could see the wild poppies that sprang up in the ditches in that part of Europe, and he spent twenty minutes of precious rest time scribbling fifteen lines of verse in a notebook.

A young soldier watched him write it. Cyril Allinson, a twenty-two year old sergeant-major, was delivering mail that day when he spotted McCrae. The major looked up as Allinson approached, then went on writing while the sergeant-major stood there quietly. "His face was very tired but calm as we wrote," Allinson recalled. "He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer's grave." When McCrae finished five minutes later, he took his mail from Allinson and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the young NCO. Allinson was moved by what he read:

     "The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. The word blow was not used in the first line though it was used later when the poem later appeared in Punch. But it was used in the second last line. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene."

In fact, it was very nearly not published. Dissatisfied with it, McCrae tossed the poem away, but a fellow officer -- either Lt.-Col. Edward Morrison, the former Ottawa newspaper editor who commanded the 1st Brigade of artillery (4), or Lt.-Col. J.M. Elder (5), depending on which source is consulted -- retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. "The Spectator," in London, rejected it, but "Punch" published it on 8 December 1915.

McCrae's "In Flanders Fields" remains to this day one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915.

McCrae House logo

Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada
Billy Bishop: WWI Air Ace William Avery Bishop was born on February 8th, 1894, in Owen Sound, Ontario.

While serving with the Royal Flying core, Billy Bishop became the highest scoring Canadian Ace of WWI with 72 confirmed victories.

The Billy Bishop Museum is dedicated not only to the memory of Billy Bishop, but also to the contribution of everyone who served to protect the freedom of all Canadians.

Read the fully illustrated Billy Bishop Story

The Armistice Demands 
Official release by the German Government, published in the Kreuz-Zeitung, November 11, 1918.
The following terms were set by the Allied powers for the Armistice:
1. Effective six hours after signing. 
2. Immediate clearing of Belgium, France, Alsace-Lorraine, to be concluded within 14 days. Any troops remaining in these areas to be interned or taken as prisoners of war. 
3. Surrender 5000 cannon (chiefly heavy), 30,000 machine guns, 3000 trench mortars, 2000 planes. 
4. Evacuation of the left bank of the Rhine, Mayence, Coblence, Cologne, occupied by the enemy to a radius of 30 kms deep. 
5. On the right bank of the Rhine a neutral zone from 30 to 40 kilometers deep, evacuation within 11 days. 
6. Nothing to be removed from the territory on the left bank of the Rhine, all factories, railroads, etc. to be left intact. 
7. Surrender of 5000 locomotives, 150,000 railway coaches, 10,000 trucks. 
8. Maintenance of enemy occupation troops through Germany. 
9. In the East all troops to withdraw behind the boundaries of August 1, 1914, fixed time not given. 
10. Renunciation of the Treaties of Brest-Litovsk and Bucharest. 
11. Unconditional surrender of East Africa. 
12. Return of the property of the Belgian Bank, Russian and Rumanian gold. 
13. Return of prisoners of war without reciprocity. 
14. Surrender of 160 U-boats, 8 light cruisers, 6 Dreadnoughts; the rest of the fleet to be disarmed and controlled by the Allies in neutral or Allied harbors. 
15. Assurance of free trade through the Cattegat Sound; clearance of mine fields and occupation of all forts and batteries, through which transit could be hindered. 
16. The blockade remains in effect. All German ships to be captured. 
17. All limitations by Germany on neutral shipping to be removed.
18. Armistice lasts 30 days. 
October 26, 2000
Groundbreaking for aviation museum

STERLING, Va. (AP) - A row of shovels bit into hard Virginia clay on Wednesday, ancient technology symbolically breaking ground for the Smithsonian Institution's massive new air and space center, celebrating the technology that transformed travel in the 20th century. Able to display just one-tenth of its aviation treasures at the National Air and Space Museum in downtown Washington, the Smithsonian is building a new annex at Dulles International Airport. The $238 million project is scheduled to open in December, 2003, the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight. The ceremony opened with the roar of four Marine Corps FA-18 fighters passing overhead in diamond formation. Sleek jetliners taking off from the nearby airport rumbled by regularly. Truth be told, the groundbreaking by a dozen or so dignitaries was purely ceremonial, as massive machines have already begun to transform the 176-acre site in preparation for the new museum. The connection was kept to the current Air and Space Museum - the second most-visited museum in the world - by using the same shovel that broke ground for that building in 1972. The original Air and Space Museum will remain open.

See our list of recommended Remembrance Day sites in the
November 1999 edition of AS YOU WERE...

World War I Image Archive: Hundreds of Photos, Medals, Documents
Memories of World War I
Why Wear A Poppy?
Memorials to Canada's War Dead
My Mother's War: Mementos of WWI
A List of WWI Reference Links
McCrae House: National Historic Site
Australian Remembrance Day Ceremonies
WW I Photographs
The French Army Museum
D-Day Recollections by Jim Wilkins Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, B Company
Canada 411: Find the phone number & address of anyone in Canada
Naval Website List

Veterans' Week 2000

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