The man I never met

I never met that man.

Gagnon gets his wings - April 1942

Eugene Gagnon receiving his wings
Collection Jacques Gagnon

But I met his nephew.

I never met this man also.

GH Legion Poppies - LeVerne Haley

LeVerne Haley

Collection LeVerne Haley’s family
Use only with permission

Writing about Eugene Gagnon in 2010 led me in 2014 to LeVerne Haley’s grandson whom I never met except on the Internet. Trusting someone with personal pictures of your grandfather tells a lot about someone. Writing about a French-Canadian Mosquito pilot who died in a plane crash on October 21, 1947, tells a lot about someone also.

plane crash 21 October 1947 Windsor Mills, Quebec

Collection Jacques Gagnon

Using pictures without permission by an university student for a term paper in a history course tells a lot about someone also.

This is what happened to me two months ago. I won’t go into this story. This is why I am asking you to please contact me if you want to use pictures on this blog. I will gladly give permission if you ask and tell me why.

This blog is all about paying homage to the young men who gave so much.

If you think likewise then you are more than welcome to share these pictures unless you add a “Please donate button” on your Website.

please donate

It always starts like this…

A comment…

I found this very specific information about Lester Charles Jones, the American buried in the Alliance (Nebraska) Cemetery (All text is copied directly from the listing for the sale of this medal…!)

!

An exclamation point!

Good grief!

Was this reader trying to tell me something…?

I guess so because he is the one who shared these.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

He added this heartfelt comment.

It feels that way, Pierre.

When I found the decoration and read his story, I cried. It seemed – and is! – so wrong that anyone can sell medals awarded by governments to individuals for exceptional sacrifice in war. It would be like buying someone’s grave marker for a Halloween event to scare the kiddies, in my mind. A disgrace. The only good that came of it is we now have a very full description of his life and death. I will never walk by that grave again without a moment of silence, a salute from one old soldier to another. It should be against the law to sell such things. This man is more than a $225 (or whatever it was) chunk of cash in someone’s pocket for shameful behavior.

The irony is that there is a place where that medal not only could have been on display with the story of Lester Charles Jones, it and Lester would have been given the full respect he earned through his sacrifice. As I’ve mentioned, I volunteer Thursday afternoons at […] Nebraska.

Most of the displays and resources there are donations from family who found military memorabilia in Dad or Mom’s closet after they died, realized there was no equitable way to share it with survivors or no survivors particularly wanted it because it would end up in their closets for lack of better ideas on what to do with it.

But, the family recognized its importance. The museum gave them a way to honor a loved one by sharing his or her memorabilia, and visitors to the museum gain knowledge of the impact of war on ordinary people in a small, isolated town in Western Nebraska. Heroes walk among us, silent in life many times because of the horrors they experienced in service to their country, but revealed and honored after they are gone because

we all need to recognize the fact John Wayne was just a fiction, but these people lived, fought, and sometimes died to save a world from tyranny. It’s a small museum, but it serves a large purpose.

If we can’t have the medal for the Museum, I can, at least, make sure his story isn’t lost. There is a project in the USA (I think Canada, too) to photograph each grave marker in every cemetery in the country, and to put together as much information as possible for the stories of the individuals buried there. The other history museum in town, is in charge of the local project. My friend, the director of the museum, has a small staff and volunteers who’ve been deeply involved in that project, but there over 8600 graves in the city cemetery, more than live in town! Little by little, though, they are working through the task, and it seems only fitting that I pass on what I found on Lester Charles Jones in case they don’t have some or all of it, other than a photo of the grave marker.  

How to reach me…

You can use the comment section like this reader…

I noticed you identified my father, Donald C. Ford.  Are there other links with additional information?  My dad passed away in 1975.  I have his log books and training record.

Or use this contact form…

I know more than you think about No. 4 EFTS Windsor Mills.

Click here.

Sid’s granddaughter

Who would have thought Millenna would comment more about Sid Seid?

Sid Seid Mosquito VI from 418 Squadron

Thank you! You know more about him than I do! He passed away when my father was 8 years old. . . I’m from Palau! You should tell some of your friends and come visit; it’s a great place! Anyways, I’m writing a report on him so if you have anymore info on him will you please share?

Thanks !

I was sure she would comment more on her grandfather.

Course 63 No. 2 S.F.T.S. Uplands

Feel free to comment

This is the reason I am writing this blog with all the scanned images Greg Bell sent me when his grandfather was an instructor at No.2 S.F.T.S Uplands in 1942 and 1943.

Comments like this one.

He’s my Grandpa ! Sid Seid

Sid Seid Mosquito VI from 418 Squadron

Sid Seid

Course 63 No. 2 S.F.T.S. Uplands

Back Course 63 No. 2 S.F.T.S. Uplands

You can contact me using this contact form, or just feel free to write a comment in the comment box.