Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Lest We Forget V

On pages 20-21 of his booklet A Short Historical Sketch of The Village of Sturgeon Point, Village Clerk Gavin Lucas wrote:

Serving Canada and the Empire on land, on sea and in the air are many young volunteers from the Point.  Johnston Ellis Taylor, son of Mr. Frank Taylor is reported missing in an air raid and presumed dead. [103rd (RAF) Squadron, RCAF, killed in action 06/08/1941, burried Calais Canadian War Cemetery.]  His brother Stewart is also in the Air Force.  Don Cooper is an officer in the Artillery overseas.  Jack Scholes is in the RAF [Flight-Lieutenant John Francis Scholes, RAF, killed in action 28/12/1943, burried Bath Haycomb Cemetery] and Lou is the RCAF.  In this service are also Flavelle Barrett and Frank McEachren.  Donovan and Romney Lowry are Flight-Lieutenants while brothers Grant [Warrant Officer Class II (Air Bomber) Frederick Grant McCardle, 51 (R.A.F.) Sqdn., RCAF, killed 14/04/1943 over Czechsolvakia, burried at Burnbach War Cemetery] and Bud McCardle are in air training camps.  David Flavelle is in the Navy.  Besides these there are Captain F.J. Smith, Flavelle MacMillan, Gilbert Campbell, Jack Cooper, Harold Sutton, Hec Crighton, Clarence Fisher, Dr. Mulligan overseas, Captain John A. Baine of the 63rd Battery, Jack Brown of the YMCA, and also Charlie Stewart who is in the US Army.  Colonel Phillips and Mr. J.S. McLean occupy very important executive positions not to mention the many ladies who give so generously of their time and labours, Mrs. Milner, Mrs. Ryerson, Mrs. Wisener, Lady Flavelle, to mention but a few of the scores engaged.  Mrs Clara F. McEachren has been overseas on Red Cross Service while Miss Ethel Neelands' niece Mrs. Strachan, a passenger on the ill-fated "Zam-Zam", is now a prisoner in Germany.

Photo of "The Berlin Seven", Winter 1941-1942 (left to right): Kathleen "Kitsi" Strachan, Vida Steele,
Clara Guilding, Isabel Guernsey, Olga Guttormson, Doreen Turner, and Allison "Jamie" Henderson.
Courtesy of Carolyn Gossage from her 2009 book Wild Journey: The Odyssey of Seven Canadian
Women in the Third Reich

The Montreal Gazette – 27 Jun 1941
Mrs. Robert Strachan Was Zamzam Passenger
Toronto. June 26 – Word that Mrs. Robert Strachan of Toronto, a passenger on the Egyptian steamship Zamzam which was sunk by enemy action, has been taken to Berlin and will be interned in Germany for the duration of the war, was received by relatives here today.

The Zamzam was sunk by a German raider in the South Atlantic April 17 and in May her surviving passengers and crew were landed in Occupied France.

Miss Alice Landis of Lancaster, Pa., another passenger left Mrs. Strachan at St. Jean de Luz, France, and has just returned to her home.  She wrote that the American passengers were separated from the Canadians at St. Jean de Luz.  “Authorities assured us the Red Cross would look after the Canadians at Bordeaux, and then they were to go on to Berlin and to an internment camp.”

Miss Landis wrote that Mrs. Strachan “was terribly brave about the whole thing.”  Mrs. Strachan’s baggage was transferred from the Zamzam before the sinking and she saved many personal belongings.  Mrs. Strachan left here early in the spring for Arabia, where her husband is financial advisor to the Sultan of Seiyun.

The sinking of the ship would likely have not received more than a foot note except that on board happened to by a Life magazine photographer, David E Scherman, and Fortune magazine editor, Charles J.V. Murphy, who were headed to South Africa on assignment.  Their article on the sinking of the ship, complete with photographs, appeared in the 23 June 1941 issue of Life magazine.  Kitsi Strachan wrote of her experiences in an article entitled "I was a German Prisoner" which appeared in the September 1942 edition of the Canadian Red Cross Despatch.

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