Sunday, November 28, 2021

The Hardest Task Of All

Alta Wilkinson lost her son Arthur, a private killed in combat in July 1944. She would channel her grief into preserving his memory and working with veterans organizations and families after the war.

This is her scrapbook of her son's life, and a certificate from an Italian town honouring her.

Hugh McCaughey spent his war as a combat cameraman, often in harm's way as he accompanied the Canadian army from Normandy right through to Germany.

This is his diary.

D-Day was the great turning of the tide in Europe.

Gustave "Guy" Bieler wouldn't live to see the end of the war. A Canadian agent for the Special Operations Executive, he was captured in January 1944, tortured, and executed.

His false identity card is accompanied by a letter from Maurice Buckmaster, one of the SOE leaders, to his widow Marguerite.

Here we have Drifting Down, painted by George Tinning in 1944.


  1. The work of volunteers was essential in wartime.

  2. A decidedly different take on the war, I think.

  3. It is sad to think about all the loss of lives from wars. Families had to find ways to live without their loved ones.
    Have a great day and a happy new week ahead.

  4. I go with Tom. So many lives wasted... So many people left in tears.

  5. My mother's first name was "Alta". She hated it and always went by her middle name Maxine. It's funny but this is the first other person I've ever heard of with the same name.

  6. I love the storyboards which highlight peoples’ contributions!

  7. Very sad for the loss of life in war.

  8. These are very interesting and important parts of our war history.

  9. @Italiafinlandia: indeed.

    @Revrunner: which makes it work.

    @Eileen: that was true.

    @Tom: such is the case.

    @Iris: indeed.

  10. @Sharon: small world.

    @Anvilcloud: quite sad.

    @Marie: I do as well.

    @Bill: I agree.

    @Red: they are.

  11. Another honorable tribute exhibit ~ divine ~ great photos too.

    Happy Holidays,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  12. Interesting small stories in a big and awfull war.

  13. Debe ser muy doloreoso, perder un familiar en una cruel guerra. esta mujer ha sabido encauzar toda su pena, haciendo trabajos muy meritorios.

  14. What sad but remarkable stories. So many lives lost. So tragic.

  15. @RedPat: indeed.

    @Carol: thank you.

    @Jan: very much so.

    @Ventana: thanks.

    @Jeanie: I agree.

  16. These are sad stories, but you have made a heartfelt tribute.

  17. I agree with Michelle. Also, the painting is beautiful!

  18. It is good that they mentioned Mrs Wilkinson -- the kind of hero I can relate to more personally. What brave men and women (I was especially interested in Mary Greyeyes as well (she may have been in one of the succeeding posts; I am touring through several of yours today). Thank you for being such a good docent.

  19. That's neat she had a scrapbook, good for others to see her life and who she was

  20. How precious that scrapbook is.