Friday, November 26, 2021


Gordon Fennell was one of the lucky ones, surviving the war after serving throughout.

His luck extended to a particular pair of dress shoes, displayed here in the exhibit, and kept for years after the war. They were kept in his tank where they probably saved his life.

Officers were, by and large, sharing the risks with the men they commanded in each branch of the services. Such was the case with John Mahony, who would be decorated by a king and end up a lieutenant-colonel.

This is his medal set.

Among those medals, the Victoria Cross, for his actions over five hours on May 24, 1944.

And here's him getting it, from King George VI.

As was the case elsewhere, generations of Canadians served. Fathers who had served in the First World War saw sons do the same in the Second World War.

Included below are the medal sets of father and son: Harry Campbell, who served in the South African and First World Wars and died in the second of those conflicts, and those of his son Alex Campbell, mentioned yesterday, who was driven by the death of his father.

Letters by Alex to his mother are included here.


  1. Gordon Fennell sure was a good looking lucky guy! Reminds me of some actor.
    A lot of medals. But who knows if Mahony led a happy life, he must´ve seen awful things.

  2. Great exhibit, sharing these brave men. I wish more soldiers were lucky to come home.
    Take care, enjoy your day and the weekend!

  3. Without luck, no one prospers, not even true heroes.

  4. Dress shoes in a tank! He was ready for every occasion, it would seem. :-)

  5. @Iris: I imagine they all did.

    @Italiafinlandia: especially in war.

    @Eileen: thank you.

    @Jan: that is true.

    @Revrunner: indeed.

  6. ...he was one of the lucky ones.

  7. Not everyone was as lucky as Gordon Fennell. Many precious lives were sacrificed in the wars.

  8. Thanks for the uplifting post about those who survived the war. And I like seeing all the medals. :-)

  9. @Tom: very much so.

    @Nancy: many suffered.

    @Magiceye: definitely.

    @DJan: you're welcome.

    @Catarina: if only.

  10. Luck plays a big role in a war.

  11. Lucky shoes ~ intriguing ~ Great exhibit and photos ~ ^_^

    Living in the moment,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  12. Shoes that saved his life! Wonderful touch of real life in the museum.

  13. Buena fortuna tuvo al salvarse en tan terrible contienda...nunca olvidará esos zapatos que le trajo la suerte.

    Feliz fin de semana.

  14. @Sharon: that appears to be the consensus.

    @Bill: it does.

    @Carol: thanks!

    @RedPat: it is.

    @Ventana: thank you.

  15. If those shoes could speak. Sobering these tales of war.

  16. Crazy that a pair of shoes would save someone's life but I wasn't there so sounds like he was very fortunate

  17. This entire series about veterans has been very powerful. William. Pardon me for not commenting what each one. It's very good of you to give these people the light they deserve, and to remind us of the courage we must find to serve one another. Wishing you all the best my friend