Sunday, January 8, 2017

Article: Canadian War Correspondents on the Move

Remember Their Names

 Photo - The Montreal Star (microfiche at University of Western Ontario, London)

The photograph above appeared in The Montreal Star on Monday, July 5, 1943, just a few days before Operation HUSKY commenced, i.e., the Allied invasion of Sicily. It depicts Canadian war correspondents living out-of-doors, perhaps as they accompany Canadian troops during manoeuvres or prepare to find an assigned troop ship, very likely in or near Algiers, North Africa.

The caption above the photo ('Sampler: No Savoy Suites Available Now!') is interesting, in my opinion, because many of the Canadians in Combined Operations - who participated gallantly in the task of transporting troops and all material of war ashore on landing craft during the upcoming invasion - lived in caves near Avola for 3 - 4 weeks and called their accommodation 'The Savoy'.

A caption accompanying the above photo in the Star reads as follows:

London's Savoy is headquarters for the foreign press corps in the United Kingdom. But for Canadian reporters assigned to accompany invasion forces, days of hotel service may be just about over. Digging into his kit for a toothbrush - or a morning seltzer - in the centre of the picture is Sholto Watt, The Star's war correspondent, during extensive manoeuvres with Gen. McNaughton's men. At left, in stocking hat, is Ross Munro. Still abed, right foreground, is a sleepy fourth-estater identified as Francis H. Fisher, formerly of Montreal, now head of British United Press in Britain. Seated, right rear, are Fred Griffin, Toronto Star; Capt. Kim Beattie, and Bill Stewart, of the Canadian Press.

For those who are attempting to locate more information about Canadians in Combined Ops or other details about the role of Canadians during WW2, I would recommend they remember the names of the Canadian war correspondents and try to locate their news releases. Many newspapers of the era are still available today, often as microfiche, and can be found in libraries, archives, universities, etc.

(Editor: For example, the above photo was found in microfiche copies of The Star in my home city, London, Ontario. I became interested in that newspaper after reading, in a Canadian veteran's memoirs, that someone from The Montreal Star accompanied him on a landing craft from Sicily to Italy in 1943).

The following story, which features the names of many correspondents linked to Canadian WW2 stories, appeared in The Toronto Globe and Mail on July 15, 1943:

Photo is of a PDF file displayed on a computer screen. GH

The articles states:

Algiers, July 14 (CP). - Seventeen war correspondents accredited to the Canadian forces are reporting the invasion of Sicily for the Canadian people. Four of them accompanied the original assault force. The rest came to North Africa with reinforcements which arrived just as the invasion started.

The four at the front are Ross Munro of the Canadian Press, Peter Stursberg of the CBC, Bill Wilson of the British United Press, and Lionel Shapiro of the Montreal Gazette. Shapiro was chosen by lot from among Canadian independent war correspondents in Britain.

Of the 13 other correspondents, one is accredited to Allied headquarters, five are accredited to air force headquarters and seven others are awaiting their chance to move up toward the front. All but two are from Canada. Bill Stewart of Riviere-du-Loup, Que., is at Allied headquarters for the Canadian Press.

Others on the Scene

Accredited to air force headquarters are Andrew Cowan of the CBC, formerly of Calgary; Bob Vermillion, recently attached to the B.U.P. by the United Press of America; Ralph Allen of the Toronto Globe and Mail; J.A.M. Cook of Sifton newspapers, and Louis V. Hunter, Canadian Press.

Maurice Desjardins of Montreal, fourth Canadian Press man in the area, covers French-language newspapers on events of special interest to them.

The other Canadian war correspondents on the scene are Jim Chambers, recently attached to the B.U.P. of Canada by B.U.P. of Britain; Sholto Watt, Montreal Star; Fred Griffin, Toronto Star; Major Bert Wemp, Toronto Telegram; Dick Sanburn, Southam newspapers, and Wallace Reyburn, Montreal Standard.

Technicians Assist.

The CBC has two technicians assisting Cowan - Alex McDonald of Kingston, Ont., and Paul Johnston of Edmonton.

A number of Canadian Army public relations officers now are in the Mediterranean theatre to assist the war correspondents in their work. Lt.-Col. C.S. Wallace of Toronto is in charge of all arrangements at this end. Major Royd Beamish, formerly of the Globe and Mail, commands No. 1 Canadian Public Relations Detachment. 

Please link to Article: News Clips Linked to the 'Dieppe Report'.

Unaccredited Photos GH

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