The Canadians in Headley during Wartime

Headley and the surrounding areas have fostered a special relationship with the Canadians during two World Wars when troops from Canada were stationed here.

The story of their 'benign invasion' of Headley during WW2 is told in All Tanked Up by John Owen Smith.

EXTRA! for stories which arrived too late to be included in the original book

War Diary of the Calgary Regiment while in Headley Down, Oct–Dec 1941
War Diary of the Fort Garry Horse Regiment while in Headley/Lindford, Apr–Aug 1942 & Feb–May 1943
More Information on the Fort Garry Horse Regiment
The Story of a Dog, 'Whitey', the mascot of the Fort Garry Horse Regiment
19-part check list on How to start a Grant Tank
Complete Order of Battle for Canadian Regiments in 1945
1942 Training film for Canadian despatch riders, including shots of them going through Headley Mill ford

Youtube clip of reminiscences of Dave Friesen, a veteran of the Fort Garry Horse Regiment
Audio clips of WW2 reminiscences of Headley villagers

Contacts . Lost fathers . Other books


There are links to other WW2 interests at the site run by Patrick A. Tillery

If you are searching for a wartime Canadian father, the following information may help you.

Project Roots was founded in 1980 by Olga and Lloyd Rains of Haarlem, the Netherlands.  Olga, a Dutch War Bride, and Lloyd, a Canadian veteran who liberated Holland with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) in 1945, have made it their life's work to help Dutch, British and European war children find their roots in Canada.

From 1995, the Rains worked with Melynda Jarratt of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada and produced a website, now run by Canadian Roots UK

The three worked by internet across the Atlantic and together they produced Voices of the Left Behind, a book that was nearly three years in the making. Find out about it on the book's website - you can also buy it there.

Voices of the Left Behind contains the personal stories of nearly 50 Canadian war children who have been helped by Project Roots since 1980. It is filled with fascinating archival images and documents as well as original war time correspondence between the mothers and their Canadian boyfriends or husbands, the Department of National Defence, Veterans Affairs, Immigration Branch, Canadian Red Cross and the Canadian Wives Bureau. Letters from the war children to the Military Personnel Records Unit of the National Archives of Canada requesting information on their Canadian fathers' whereabouts illustrate the historic pattern of denial of access to information that has gone on for nearly 60 years since the end of World War Two. What these institutions all have in common is their consistent refusal to help the war children find their Canadian fathers. Introductory essays frame the subject and give a historical context to the tragic situations these women and their children often found themselves in at the end of World War Two.

226 pages - Contains more than one hundred original b&w archival photographs, documents and correspondence from private collections and the National Archives of Canada.
Colour soft cover. Published by Project Roots, Copyright 2004. ISBN 0-9735703-0-X

In addition to Project Roots, there is also a Canadian War Brides website and a website run by by John Boers

Other books of interest to those wishing to know more about the Canadian contribution to this part of Britain in two World Wars:—

Poem inspired by the Canadian contribution to D-Day and the invasion of Europe in 1944

'Juno Beach and Beyond'

On the 50th anniversary of D-Day, I was privileged to introduce a Canadian veteran to a class of 14-year olds at a local school in England.
They asked him some direct questions, and he gave them direct answers.
These are largely his words . . .

Fresh-faced fourteen, beautiful children,
boisterous scholars, with freedom to talk and argue, make their point,
and put their hats on back to front, in England, 1994.

That's why we fought and many big men cried
on Juno Beach and through the weeks beyond.

"And did you hate the Germans?" -
Fifty years ago, we had a job to do,
a Bully, if you like, to put in place,
and men like us but dressed in grey had their job too.
We didn't know of Belsen, Auschwitz and the rest;
not then. Perhaps, who knows, if we'd known half the truth
we farmers from the prairies, loggers from the seaboard,
might have hated more the conscripts from the hamlets of the fatherland
who traded shots with us among the stinking orchards there in Normandy.
But as it was, we had a job to do,
a worth-while job, and did it to our best.

"How old were you?" -
Eighteen, and scared of never seeing nineteen,
never having all the good things life had promised,
scared of dying, but, above all, scared of showing I was scared.
Just eighteen,
volunteered at sixteen, anxious then to see the world,
and found my future led across the bar of Juno Beach.

but we were men compared with some of those in grey -
young boys, by-products of a system:
fresh-faced fourteen, beautiful children,
earnest students, with no freedom to talk or argue, make their point,
or put their hats on back to front like you in England now.

So let me look at you again,
your cheeky grins, your mischievous ways;
and let me remember the reason why -
it was all for you, and your smiling eyes
that we soldiered on and comrades died
on Juno Beach and beyond.

© 1994 JOS

This page maintained by John Owen Smith