Saturday, August 27, 2022

Citizen Soldiers Far From Home

Gordon Fennell survived the war with a whole lot of luck, being one of those who made it back from the Dieppe disaster, serving in the Italian campaign and the liberation of the Netherlands.

He even survived his tank getting blown up- thanks to personal items he had with him- dress shoes. They're on display here.

John Mahony went to war, leading as an officer and winning the Victoria Cross for extraordinary bravery in the Battle of the Melfa River.

His Victoria Cross and the rest of his medal set is here. The cross was personally presented by King George V.

Charles Comfort was a commissioned war artist, embedded with the Canadian military. He painted The Hitler Line in 1944, depicting the ferocity of the Italian campaign.

Families went to war. Thomas Courtenay fought in the Great War. His daughter Irene served in the Second World War as a nurse.

And families would be forever marked by war. A mother displays a framed set of photographs of three sons who died in combat. 

Alta Wilkinson lost her son in the war, and channeled her grief into working with veterans and their families.

A scrapbook with mementos of her son's life is side by side with a certificate from an Italian town naming her an honorary citizen.


  1. In my mother's family 4 brothers went to war.

  2. My father-in-law experienced the Japanese occupation and he almost became a prisoner.

  3. I prefer my son alive then all decorations of the world !

  4. If I had kids I would go with Gattina...

  5. We really haven't learned a lot from all of this, have we? Are you listening, Mr Putin?

  6. @italiafinlandia: such was the way.

    @Nancy: there were horrors across the world.

    @Gattina: totally understandable.

    @Iris: definitely.

    @David: I think all he listens to is himself.

  7. And still sons, fathers, friends have to go to war. So sad.

  8. ...luck can be an important part of life.

  9. Hello,
    I am happy for all the soldiers who came home, some are very important to me like my father and both of my uncles on my mother's side. Have a great weekend!

  10. All the enlisted people in our family survived thank goodness.

  11. It's impossible to think about losing three children in the war. That's what these men were to their mother.

  12. Alta turned tragedy into something positive! Well done!

  13. @Jan: and these days, daughters, mothers, and wives.

    @Tom: it can be.

    @Eileen: good to know.

    @Francisco: thank you.

    @magiceye: indeed.

    @RedPat: definitely.

    @Red: that is true.

    @Sharon: true.

    @Marie: I agree.

  14. Great stories here and photos ~

    Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days ~ Xo

    A ShutterBug Explores ~
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  15. ... and wars still continue and families lose loved ones, so sad.

    All the best Jan

  16. If those shoes could talk what a tale they would tell.

  17. An extensive collection of photos revealing the cruelty of the war

  18. It's people like him who saved our world.Before we messed it up again.

  19. My dad, my grandfather, and my uncle served in the US Navy during WW II. They all survived with no serious injuries.