Grandmother Mary Crabb hoping to find World War II heroes who saved her life

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Re: Grandmother Mary Crabb hoping to find World War II heroes who saved her life

Post by CdnHowitzer » Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:34 am

According to the Guide to Sources (https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/ ... _final.pdf), 113th Fd Bty converted to 113th AT Bty of 7th AT Regt on 1 Jan 1941, the same date 61, 71 and 107 Fd Bty's are documented as returning to separate batteries.

It would appear this break occured in October 1940 but was officially recognized in Jan 1941.

Interestingly, the 7th AT Regt didn't stand up until Mar 1941.

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Re: Grandmother Mary Crabb hoping to find World War II heroes who saved her life

Post by CdnHowitzer » Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:49 am

Kevin, I missed your discussion about Q Bty in your last reply. (For others, Kevin referenced the following website http://www.spiritofcanada.com/veterans/ ... ddayDodger)

I had already asked the Royal Regiment historians if we could confirm if it was 61 or 71 that was called Queen/Q Bty within 8th Fd Regt. This appears to confirm it was 71 Fd Bty from Brandon, especially in light of the History of 8 Fd Regt SP document which clarifies that C and D Tp were in 71 Fd Bty.

It would be interesting to know how the Battery nicknames were applied, especially in light of the fact that traditionally lettered batteries were not used within the non-horse artillery regiments. I'll definitely be watching for this as my research of Alberta batteries continues.

From the perspective of my position as the current BC of 61 Fd Bty, I'm sad that we now know it was NOT my battery, but from a pure historical viewpoint as a battery of 8th Fd Regt, it's great that we've identified this linkeage. When I get a free moment, I'll update my FB posts to reflect the proper linkeage.

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Re: Grandmother Mary Crabb hoping to find World War II heroes who saved her life

Post by Phil » Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:40 pm

My humble colourization, please let me know if anything is not as it should be.
Abandoned Baby Found by Canadian RCA Soldiers in Woking September 23 1941 Colourized.jpg
Abandoned Baby Found by Canadian RCA Soldiers in Woking September 23 1941 Colourized.jpg (398.56 KiB) Viewed 2953 times
Abandoned Baby Found by Canadian RCA Soldiers in Woking September 23 1941 - Black and White Original.jpg
Abandoned Baby Found by Canadian RCA Soldiers in Woking September 23 1941 - Black and White Original.jpg (215.59 KiB) Viewed 2947 times
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Re: Grandmother Mary Crabb hoping to find World War II heroes who saved her life

Post by CdnHowitzer » Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:09 pm

BLUF: It was soldiers from "Q" or "Queen" Bty, 71 Fd Bty (previously 71/133 Fd Bty) that found Mary that day, clearly in line with the activation batteries of the three soldiers.

I spent a good part of the last 24 hours looking through war diaries. Sadly, it appears that the "letters" of the batteries within 8th Fd Regt had been misunderstood at many levels. (It is also interesting that the initial regiments of the Royal Canadian Artillery used letters within their units to reflect batteries - something that was not common with the units raised later in the war.)

Note that 8th Fd Regt (SP) was initially raised as the 4th Army Field Brigade, RCA on 1 September 1939, before Canada declared war.

At the time of Mary's rescue, it was still 8th Fd Regt, RCA. Just prior to her rescue, the Regt became the first Commonwealth regiment to be fully equipped with 25 Pr (not 18/25 Pr) and the wartime establishment vehicles. 8th Fd Regt did not become self-propelled until October 1943.

I've been able to confirm through various war diary entries that the battery letters were reflected as such:

"P" Bty - 61st Fd Bty (61/107 Fd Bty until 1 Nov 40), raised in Edmonton
"Q" Bty - 71st Fd Bty (71/113 Fd Bty, until 1 May 41), raised in Brandon
"R" Bty - 107th Fd Bty (from 1 Nov 40 on), raised in Cranbrook

113th Fd Bty was raised in Regina. In early 1941, 113th Fd Bty became 113th AT Bty and was never given a separate letter. "Q" battery was referred to in the war diaries as 71/113 Fd Bty until May 1941, and entries in the war diaries show that 8th Fd Regt was tasked to provide 1/3 of the establishment of 113th AT Bty when they left.

I've pushed this information to the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery.
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Re: Grandmother Mary Crabb hoping to find World War II heroes who saved her life

Post by Phil » Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:40 pm

I've spoken with one of Alonzo's great nephews, also the last family member to see him before his passing in 1981, he related to me that the man in the photo could very well be Alonzo who he characterized as tall, thin and with a pronounced nose. It is this great nephew's recollection that Alonzo did not remarry and had no children, it is also his opinion that it is unlikely that any other relatives will be able to offer clearer confirmation.

The only other avenues, that I can see, of positively identifying Alonzo would be to compare his likeness in a photo, military or otherwise, to the photo in question of the three soldiers and the potential that other members of the unit (more likely their relatives at this point) have information relating to Alonzo James Brackett.

Personally due to the other evidence pointing to Alonzo James Brackett, I am confident that it is indeed him, though for the purposes of Mary Crabb contacting relatives in order to connect and/or express gratitude it seems that window may have closed.
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Re: Grandmother Mary Crabb hoping to find World War II heroes who saved her life

Post by CdnHowitzer » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:20 am

Phil, it may be worth reaching out to retired Shilo gunners - I've seen a fair amount of discussion that Sgt Brackett transferred to the regular army after the war and served in Shilo.

I'll investigate from my end.

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Re: Grandmother Mary Crabb hoping to find World War II heroes who saved her life

Post by Phil » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:28 am

CdnHowitzer wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:20 am
Phil, it may be worth reaching out to retired Shilo gunners - I've seen a fair amount of discussion that Sgt Brackett transferred to the regular army after the war and served in Shilo.

I'll investigate from my end.

Steve
This was Gunner Brackett, rather than Sgt, it also seems that he joined the R.C.M.P. after the war and was stationed in Dawson (corrected) for some time.
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Re: Grandmother Mary Crabb hoping to find World War II heroes who saved her life

Post by Ludford 101 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:47 pm

Brackett was with the RCMP in Dawson. The Alaska connection was the American boat he and two other RCMP constables took from Prince George, BC to Alaska, final destination Dawson.

As WWII Canadian army files don't, in 90% of the cases, contain photos I'm sure it would be possible to get one from his RCMP service file.

And there has to be someone in Terrace, BC, who knew him. This site has plenty of information, including headstones of those buried in the military cemetery. Brackett isn't there as he was buried in the city cemetery. https://www.gent-family.com/terrace.html

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Re: Grandmother Mary Crabb hoping to find World War II heroes who saved her life

Post by Phil » Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:32 pm

Ludford 101 wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:47 pm
Brackett was with the RCMP in Dawson. The Alaska connection was the American boat he and two other RCMP constables took from Prince George, BC to Alaska, final destination Dawson.

As WWII Canadian army files don't, in 90% of the cases, contain photos I'm sure it would be possible to get one from his RCMP service file.

And there has to be someone in Terrace, BC, who knew him. This site has plenty of information, including headstones of those buried in the military cemetery. Brackett isn't there as he was buried in the city cemetery. https://www.gent-family.com/terrace.html
I've reached out to a contact at the R.C.M.P. hopefully they'll be keen to help so that if it is Alonzo, he can be duly honoured for his actions.
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Re: Grandmother Mary Crabb hoping to find World War II heroes who saved her life

Post by Phil » Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:17 am

A new article in The Brandon Sun,

The Brandon Sun: He was the first one to hold me
https://www.brandonsun.com/local/he-was ... 63152.html
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