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WW2 Canadian Prisoners of War


Canadian Prisoners of War

    Murder by the Nazis
    By Wesley Perrin
  February - Japanese-Canadians sent to internment camps.
  April - Canadians vote in plebiscite to support conscription.
  August - Raid on French port of Dieppe by Canadian and other
  Allied forces, about 900 killed 1200 wounded 1900 captured.
  July - Canadian troops take part in the invasion of Sicily and
  mainland Italy.
  December – Canadians win battle of Ortona, Italy.
  June 6 – D-Day, Canadians join with British and Americans in the
  Allied invasion of Normandy in Northern France.
  June 7 – Lt. William Ferguson, along with many other Canadians
  are murdered by Nazis.
Lieutenant William (Bill) Ferguson
      “On the morning of 8 June, the 2nd battalion of the 26th PGR had
   overwhelmed Putot-en-Bessin and scores of prisoners were taken. Most
   were from the Royal Winnipeg Rifles. The one officer captured, Lieutenant
   Bill Ferguson, was perhaps typical of the combat leaders in the 3rd Division.
   An athlete and RCMP constable before the war, he hoped that a decent war
   record would stand him in good stead. On departing Canada, he was
   miserable over leaving his wife and infant daughter but he steeled himself
   „not to think of that and [to] do such a good job that the sacrifice Sala [his
   wife] and I are making will be worth all heartaches.‟ Ferguson was one of
   about thirty prisoners (several of them wounded) marched south from Putot-
   en-Bessin. Another group of about ten prisoners joined them, and were all
   herded to the battalion HQ at Le Mensil-Patry where they were „looked over‟
   by some officers. Although they were kept in a barn for several hours, the
   prisoners were not mistreated or even interrogated. In the late afternoon
   they continued south until their column was halted by an officer in a vehicle.
   He began to berate the sergeant in charge, and one prisoner who
   understood German thought the sergeant had been instructed „to get rid of
The Murder of Canadians
     About dusk, the column came within sight of the Caen-Fontenay-le-Pesnel
  road and the men were moved to a grassy field and told to sit down with the
  wounded in the middle. They watched as a convoy of field artillery and
  armoured vehicles passed along the road. One of the guards who could
  speak a little English commented reassuringly that it was only another three
  quarters of a mile to the camp. But ominously, one of the field was left
  behind and trained on the massed prisoners. They watched with even
  greater alarm as the guards pressed the men to sit closer to each other.
  Suddenly a vehicle pulled up and another nine soldiers joined the guards.
  As two soldiers dismounted from the vehicle, they were saluted. In the
  presence of these officers, a line of guards, automatic rifles at ready, they
  approached the huddled prisoners. One Canadian, Weldon Clark, realized
  that they were poised for slaughter, and he prepared to run. Ferguson and
  another officer, Lieutenant R.D. Barker, cautioned the men to hold fast while
  they tried to reason with the guards. Barker called out, „It looks as if we are
  going to get the gun. Stand steady and I will try to talk them out of it.‟ He
  never had the chance. Moments later rifle fire poured into the massed
  Canadians. Those that could ran. As Clark fled he looked back and „saw
  the Germans going among our fellows and shooting as fast as they could.‟
  As well, he heard the screams of men being finished off as the Germans
  went through the dead and dying prisoners.”
   This is a letter sent
    from Bill and Sala
    Ferguson about the
    hardships they are
    going through, and
    how sad they are that
    Bill has to leave to
    fight soon. They are
    sending it to some
    close friends of theirs,
    but they cannot give
    them many details due
    to security. The letter
    says that although
    they are not happy
    about him leaving it
    will probably be for the
    best, and will all be
    worth it when he
   William Stewart Ferguson was a constable in the RCMP (right), and a
    member of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles (left) before he left for the war.
                                     Dear Bill,

       It has been a while since either of us have written each other, I feel
   sort of bad for that. I have been telling little J’anne that this will all be
  over and we will get to see you soon. She has been asking me to read
    your letters over and over again, we both miss you so much. I am
 slowly teaching her to read from your letters, she is growing up so fast.
 I have enclosed some warm socks because yours must be getting old, I
have also sent you some cigs and a lighter. I can’t wait to see you again,
                    hopefully soon. I love you very much.

                                     Love Sala
Two Dozen Don’ts For Prisoners Of War
                      This is list of don‟ts for
                       soldiers in case they get
                       taken as prisoners of war.
                       “D.O.Y.D.M.” is repeated
                       several times, it stands for
                       Don‟t Open Your Darn
                       Mouth. They believed this
                       to be important to get
                       across to prisoners because
                       when you are a prisoner of
                       war they often interrogate
                       you and you may end up
                       giving away confidential
                       information that could
                       jeopardize battles, lives,
                       and even the war.
                               Dear Daddy,

             Mom is writing a letter to you for me, it is also helping me to
  learn how to read. It has been a long time since I have seen you, I am
  starting to forget what you look like. We are sending you presents for
Christmas, I hope you like them. Mommy says that you would probably
need socks because of how much time you spend walking and running.
 I heard that war is a very scary thing, but I know that you are brave and
  not afraid of anything! There are posters around telling us that people
like you are hero’s, I know that you are my hero! Mommy also says that
you will be coming home soon! I cannot wait to see you. When you get
home mommy says that you will teach me how to swim in the lake! I will
                               see you soon!

                           Love your daughter,
   This was a letter
    sent to Sala long
    after her
    husbands death.
    The letter was
    sent to try to let
    her know that her
    husband was a
    good soldier and
    that there are
    many people who
    feel sympathy for
    her because of
    her loss.
                          Dear Sala,

                         Thank you very much for the warm
 socks, lighter, and cigs. They arrived just in time, my old
      socks had worn thin and there were many holes
throughout them. It has been a fairly rough journey so far,
but I hear that it will get worse before it gets better. I miss
  you and J’anne now more than ever. It feels like it has
 been a lifetime since the day I left, but hopefully I will be
                     able to see you soon.

                      Love you always,
First Letter of Burial Place
   This letter was sent to Lt. William
    Ferguson‟s wife. It states the
    location of his burial place (Beny-
    sur-mer, France). The letter also
    tells her that there is not yet a
    permanent cross, and she will be
    able to create an inscription on the
    cross when the permanent one
    goes up. The letter is dated
    September 28th 1945. Lt. William
    Ferguson was murdered in France
    on June 8th 1944, only two days
    after D-day.
A Temporary Cross Ferguson‟s mother. It is
     This letter was sent to William
           dated July 8th 1947, two years after the original letter was
           sent to Lt. W. Ferguson‟s wife, and three years after he
           had been murdered. There has still not been a permanent
           grave made for him.
The Final Resting Place
       A photograph and location of Lt. W. S. Ferguson‟s final
        resting place.


   „Casual Slaughters‟ – A book of war crimes and murders in WW2.

   **Many of my sources/articles came from items which I already had.

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