Southampton Legion Branch 155: June, 2020

HELLO COMRADES, HELLO SUMMER AND HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!! 

I think I have been doing the newsletter since 2016 and I am running out of jokes so it’s time to pass the job back. I’m sure the next person will put a new and exciting spin on our branch newsletter.

Many thanks to the kind expressions of appreciation and friendship received over the years. It’s been my pleasure to keep you up to date on legion activities and provide you with a smile or groan from time to time.

Covid-19 currently has all events still canceled.

This issue includes:

  • A great story commemorating D-day (June 6) from Bill Streeter (also published on Saugeen Times)
  • Thanks to Dads everywhere!   The best of Dad jokes from the past 5 years
  • Life lessons our Dads taught us.

D-DAY INVASION LOCAL CONNECTION

Ralph George Black

The White School, that still stands next to the main entrance to the Saugeen Golf Club Bruce County Rd. #3, today is a private residence, but for more than 100 years it was the local school for children in the rural area between Southampton and Port Elgin.  During the 1920’s the students included my mother and her 5 Hill family siblings, as well as Ralph George Black, his 2 sisters Jean and Rae and his older brother Keith.  My mother’s family lived on the Doll sideroad and the Black family farmed on Peel Street at Carlisle on the outskirts of Southampton.  I suspect that the Black children would have had a short cut across what today is two golf courses to get to their school.

Ralph was born in 1920 to Melvin and Ellen Black.  After completing school, Ralph and his brother Keith stayed at home working with their dad on their 100-acre mixed farm. With war raging in Europe, Ralph made the decision on August 6, 1940, to travel to London and enlist in the Canadian Army.  Soon after, he found himself in Petawawa, training as a Sapper with the Royal Canadian Engineers.  Although he remained there for more than 3 years, he found time to return home and marry his sweetheart, Juanita Grace Crone from Southampton.   While in Petawawa, he also had the opportunity to continue his musical hobby, playing the French Horn as a bandsman in the R. C. E.  Regimental band and being a camp trumpeter.

In the spring of 1941 Ralph’s father Melvin had a crisis in that he could not manage the farm after the older brother, Keith, had enlisted in the R. C. A. F.  Melvin wrote to the Minister of National Defense requesting that Ralph be allowed to come home to help on the farm in the coming summer as there was no help available in the area.   The family doctor, Dr. Fraser, also provided an accompanying letter indicating that Melvin had heart related health issues and could not manage the farm without help.  Although politely answered, the request went to no avail.

Ralph shipped out for England on December 2nd, 1943 leaving behind his wife Grace and daughter Beverley.  A few months later, on February 6th another daughter, Cheryl Wendy Lee, was born. Upon arrival in England Ralph’s training continued while waiting for the call for the invasion of Europe.  

It was on April 12, 1944 that Ralph received the saddest of news possible. His youngest daughter, Cheryl Wendy Lee, had died in the Owen Sound Hospital. She was two months and six days old.  Death was due to Spina Bifida. 

The Canadian Army invaded France on June 6, 1944, landing at Juno Beach in Normandy.  Ralph and his Royal Canadian Engineers group remained in England awaiting the call for their services at the front.  The Normandy battle went on for many weeks after the invasion before they cleared the Germans from the area around the city of Caen.  Ralph and his comrades, in the 10th Field Park Company of the R. C. E., joined the fight in France on July 16th.   The city of Caen was liberated on July 24th, but the battle continued as the Germans offered fierce resistance.

The quote below is from the book BREAKOUT FROM JUNO by Mark Zuelke.

“The Germans mounted a strong counterattack on August 6 and 7 which the Canadians answered and kept the pressure on.  The allies were attempting to surround the retreating Germans and stop their escape through the only route to the east out of Normandy.  It was known as the Falaise Gap.  On August 8, the Senior Canadian Officer, Lieutenant General Harry Crerar was given this order; “Whatever you do in this attack, don’t let the enemy get away, keep pushing, push, keep the mobility. Don’t stop.”

August 8th was one of the worst days that the Canadian Army endured in WWII. The following is from the Canadian Veterans Affairs Normandy 1944 information file.  

“the prolonged confusion on the congested and murky battlefield, combined with obstinate enemy resistance, soon robbed it (the operation) of momentum.  In his plan, Simonds expected air support would break the logjam. Unfortunately, American Flying Fortresses dropped some of their bombs on Canadian and Polish troops, killing or wounding 300 of them.”

Ralph George Black was killed that day, August 8, 1944 at 13:45, a victim of friendly fire.

 By August 21, the Germans had been removed from Normandy and the Canadian Army had been a major contributor to that success but at an enormous cost.

Ralph George Black was buried in the Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery along with 2,791 other Canadians.  There are also two other local boys buried there, Laird Beresford and Angus McLeod.  In total more than 5,000 Canadians soldiers died in the Battle of Normandy between June 6 and August 21 in 1944.

There are several relatives of Ralph, Laird and Angus still living in our community and throughout Ontario. 

May They Rest in Peace

Researched and Written by:  G. William Streeter
With help and support of the Black family descendants

ALSO ON SAUGEEN TIMES COMPLETE WITH PHOTOS

 DADS JOKES

Every Dad busts out a cheesy joke every once in a while. For all the fathers out there who love a good laugh, by making the kids groan!

I never wanted to believe that my brother was stealing from his job as a road worker. But when I got home, all the signs were there.

A Texan rancher comes to Ireland and meets a Kerry farmer. The Texan says, “Takes me a whole day to drive from one side of my ranch to the other.”
The Kerry farmer says, “Ah sure, I know, sir. We have tractors like that over here too.”

What did the guy with the broken leg say to his nurse? “I’ve got a crutch on you.”

The autumn leaves are a lot like raising kids. First they turn on you, and then they fly away. And next thing you know, you look out the window and they’re back!

Q: How do you fix a broken pumpkin?
A: With a pumpkin patch.

“The temptation to sing ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ is always just a whim away a whim away a whim away a whim away.”

Why couldn’t the pony sing along? Because it was a little hoarse.”

Lea says to Ben “Your glass is empty, fancy another one?” Lookin’ puzzled Ben says “Why would I be needing two empty glasses?”

Why do melons have weddings? Because they cantaloupe!

How many apples grow on a tree? All of them!

Did you hear about the guy who invented Lifesavers?  They say he made a mint!

Why do you never see elephants hiding in trees? Because they’re so good at it!

Five out of four people admit they’re bad with fractions!

What do you call a donkey with only three legs? A wonkey!

After dinner, Jo-Anne asked if I could clear the table. I needed a running start, but I almost made it!

Why is Peter Pan always flying? He neverlands!

A woman is on trial for beating her husband to death with his guitar collection. The judge asks her, “First offender?” She says, “No, first a Gibson! Then a Fender!”

If an English teacher is convicted of a crime and doesn’t complete the sentence, is that a fragment?

Which U.S. state is famous for its extra-small soft drinks? Minnesota!

Why did the math book look so sad? Because of all of its problems!

LIFE LESSONS FROM DAD

Buy a plunger before you need a plunger
Learn personal responsibility. Bad things happen. It’s your job to make the best of it.
It’s easy to be a good man when things are good. It’s important to be a good man when things are tough.
You’re gonna put someone’s eye out with that.
Leave your sister alone.

There are three stages of a man’s life: he believes in Santa Claus, he doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus.

We never know the love of a parent till we become parents.

By the time I realized that my father was right, I had 3 sons who think I’m wrong.

A father is the one friend upon whom we can always rely.

Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.

The BEST thing a man can hear from his wife: The only thing better than having you for a husband is our children having you for a daddy.

Many Thanks!

John Willetts