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"DAH" 2008 Obituary


DAHLIN  DAHM  DAHMER  DAHR 

DAHLIN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-06-06 published
Wounded on the sands of Normandy, his one-day war ended on D-Day
His life was saved by a thick letter from home he had tucked into the breast pocket of his tunic. It deflected a bullet into his ribs and his arm, and he spent the rest of his life selling insurance in small-town Ontario
By F.F. LANGAN, Special to The Globe and Mail, Page S8
Don DONER's war lasted just one day - D-Day, June 6, 1944.
The night before, he boarded a ship in Southampton on the southern coast of England. It was pitch dark, but he and the rest of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada had practised the drill so many times they didn't need any light.
They had been in the port since June 4, waiting for the signal for the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe. They knew the real thing was coming when breakfast arrived. "The last meal, so to speak, of the condemned," he said in a memoir written in 1982. "It was bacon and eggs - something unheard of in the army."
A storm had just passed through the area, leaving behind rough seas. Just off the French coast, he and the other men from 8 Section of 9 Platoon, "A" Company of the Queen's Own, left the mother ship, transferred to assault craft A9 and headed toward the beach at Bernieres-sur-mer. It was their bad luck to be among the first to land in Normandy on D-Day, and worse for Mr. DONER. He was second in line to enter the water, right behind his pal Corporal Hugh ROCKS.
"We were elected to be the assault section for the platoon, which meant that we would be first to leap off the assault craft, carry bangalores [long, cylindrical mines], steel ladders, wire mesh and any other material that would assist us in scaling the sea wall and blowing holes in the barbed wire," wrote Mr. DONER.
Don DONER was no gung-ho, Royal Canadian Legion cliché of a soldier. He was just a kid who joined the army at 19 and soon grew cynical about the military and the war. He often went Absent Without Leave, mostly to visit girlfriends. A good-looking young man, he found falling in love rather easy. One time, he got cold feet and backed out of an engagement to a young British woman, although he did leave the material for the wedding dress - he'd had it sent from Canada - at her front door.
Riding toward the beach that morning he felt frightened, and believed most of the young men on the landing craft were no braver. "Just a bunch of ordinary guys thrown together by fate, not mad at anybody, not wanting to die or be maimed or blinded, just wanting to live and let live," he wrote. "Had 90 per cent of us known then what we know now, there wouldn't have been a war because none of us would have been there to fight it."
They may have been scared, but it didn't stop them fighting. As their boat approached the beach, a shell destroyed another landing craft that had been advancing alongside. Their own landing craft stopped in deep water, unable to go closer. Cpl. ROCKS, who was 5 feet 5 inches and a non-swimmer, asked Mr. DONER to go first. Standing 6 feet 2 inches, Mr. DONER stepped off the boat and found the water up to his chin. Cpl. ROCKS gamely followed. Burdened by a full battle kit, ammunition and a rifle, he sank to the bottom. Mr. DONER grasped his friend's hands underwater and led him part way to the beach.
Meanwhile, enemy machine-gun bullets flew thick and fast, and artillery and mortar shells exploded all around. Wounded or killed outright, many of the Queen's Own never cleared the surf.
The soldiers had orders that if a man was hit they were to leave him until the beach was secure. Mr. DONER saw one of his Friends in the water with massive wounds. He ignored his call for help, in part because it was obvious he was close to death. In the confusion, Mr. DONER lost sight of Cpl. ROCKS. A short while later, he went back to look for him. He found him dead, shot between the eyes.
Cpl. ROCKS, a hard-rock miner from Kirkland Lake, Ontario, was 40. Probably the oldest man from the unit to be killed on the beach that day, he had lied about his age to get into the war. As a married man in what was considered a vital industry, it is unlikely he would have been conscripted.
By that time, Mr. DONER had also been wounded. As implausible as it seems, his life was saved by mail from home. A bullet aimed straight at his chest hit the corner of an envelope containing a thick letter from his sister. He had put the letter in his breast pocket, and its many folds absorbed most of the impact. The bullet deflected off a rib and ended up in his arm. He was also struck many times over by bits of shrapnel that entered other parts of his body and would, years later, set off metal detectors at airports.
The key to survival was to get out of the line of fire. All around him, soldiers furiously dug down into the sand. "Steve DE BLOIS and I set a world record for digging a slit trench, wounded or not," he wrote.
The Queen's Own Rifles had landed near Bernieres-sur-mer just after 8 a.m. The rough seas meant the tanks were late coming ashore, and the infantry landed without their support. To make matters worse, the assault craft had taken them several hundred metres away from their planned objective and set them down right in front of a strong German position that included a powerful 88-mm gun.
"They received the worst battering of any Canadian unit on D-Day crossing the beaches," said Steve Harris, director of history at the Department of National Defence, whose father, Lieutenant J.P. Harris, was wounded while landing with the same regiment. In all, 60 men of Queen's Own were killed and another 78 were wounded, the worst casualty figures of any Canadian unit on D-Day.
In spite of the strength of the German positions, the regiment more than met their objectives. "So fast did the Queen's Own move against this and other positions that when the Regiment de la Chaudiere began to land behind them 15 minutes later, the only fire on the beach was coming from snipers," wrote war correspondent Chester Wilmot in his book, The Struggle for Europe.
Medics treated Mr. DONER's wounds on the beach and he was given the job of guarding some German prisoners. Some of them spoke English and they engaged him in conversation while all around the battle raged. "I talked with a German prisoner of war who wondered, much as I did, why he was there and blamed it all on the big wheels far removed from the battle area."
Mr. DONER was shipped back to England that day. A week later, he was sent home to Canada. His one-day war was over.
Don DONER was born in a Prairie village about 100 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon, but grew up in Toronto. His mother had died giving birth to him, and soon after that the family moved east to Ontario, where his father remarried. In Toronto, he attended Northern Secondary School on Mount Pleasant Road. He spent summers at his uncle's farm near Stayner, about 70 kilometres north of the city.
He enlisted in the army in September, 1941, and trained at Camp Borden in Ontario before being shipped to England. Like many young soldiers, he was not used to strong drink and freedom, and he got into a lot of trouble. He was disciplined several times for returning late to barracks, often after spending the evening at pubs and dances.
After the war, he worked for a time at European Silk in Toronto. By 1950, he and his brother Bob had retreated to the peace and quiet of small-town life in Alliston, Ontario Together, they set up an insurance brokerage called Doner Brothers. They got married and bought houses next door to each other. Don and his wife, Josephine, had six daughters; Bob and his wife, Maxine, had six sons.
Today, Alliston is the site of a busy Honda factory, and has grown enormously, but back then it was a typical, small Ontario community. "Alliston was like Mayberry. It had one stop light and my father's office was a drop-in spot for every character in town," said his daughter, Joanna DAHLIN. " Once a month, they ran a poker game in the basement."
Late in life, Mr. DONER was contacted by George ROCKS, son of Corporal Hugh ROCKS, the man he had tried to save on D-Day. George ROCKS was 6 when his father died.
"An uncle of mine read Don DONER's name in a book on D-Day and I contacted him. Speaking to Don brought everything to a close for me, to learn just how my father died," said Mr. ROCKS. "No one in my family ever spoke much about the war. There was no celebration in our house when the war ended. I was 30 before I learned my father died on D-Day."
For his part, Mr. DONER's views of the war and his role in it changed little over the years. While he felt the conflict had a purpose, he believed senior officers did not really know what they were expecting of Canada's young men. For many years, he refused to discuss the whole rotten business, and it was not until he was in his sixties that he began to talk about his experiences.
Donald Grieve DONER was born in Simpson, Saskatchewan, on July 23, 1922. He died at Sunnybrook Veterans Hospital in Toronto, of complications from Parkinson's disease, on May 3, 2008. He was 85. He is survived by his wife, Josephine (Josie), and his daughters Joanna, Christine, Mary, Helen, Martha and Jennifer. He also leaves his half-sisters Marilyn, Kay, Nan and Dorothy. His brother Bob died in January, 1987.

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DAHM o@ca.on.middlesex_county.london.london_free_press 2008-07-07 published
GUY, Marjorie " Mickie" (née JELLEY)
Of London passed away peacefully at her Mount Hope Residence on Thursday July 3, 2008. Mickie was born in Weybridge, England in 1924 and came to Canada in 1946 as a bride with her dashing Canadian serviceman Harold John. She was predeceased by him and her parents Fred and Hilda JELLEY and her dear sister Audrey BAREFOOT. Mickie lived a full and generous life. She brought laughter, music and joy to every occasion. She was a wonderfully loving mother to Vaughn and Derek, a very warm and generous friend to her daughters-in-law, Mary Ann and Debbie. She indulged her four grandchildren Pamela (Toby JONES,) Andrew (Karin DAHM,) Devon and Darien with love, stories, gifts, songs and dance steps. She is also survived by her dear sister Vera Harrison and many nieces and nephews. The family recognizes the wonderful care and support provided by Doctor BRUBACHER, Pauline COUSINEAU and the 2nd Floor Staff of Saint Mary's. The thoughtful daily attention provided by Ann STEMP is remembered fondly. Mickie's family will receive her relatives and Friends at Forest Lawn Memorial Chapel, 1997 Dundas Street (at Wavell), London, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thursday July 10th, 2008. A celebration of Mickie's life will follow in the chapel at 11 a.m. Interment will be at Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens. A reception will be held afterwards in the Forest Lawn Chapel. Memorial donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation are suggested. Online condolences are welcome at www.memorialfuneral.ca

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DAHMER o@ca.on.middlesex_county.london.london_free_press 2008-07-16 published
HESSE, Stanley John
Called home to be with his beloved wife on or about May 23. 2008 at his winter home in Hollywood, Florida. Summers he spent at his Canadian home in Goderich, Ontario. Stanley was born in Stratford, Ontario on August 23, 1929 and was predeceased by his parents Wilfred John HESSE (1956) and Elimna Salome (DAHMER) (1945) once niece, Cheryll Anne HESSE (1997;) and his wife Myrtle Adeline (CLARK) (2006.) Left to mourn his passing are his brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Lucy HESSE of Brussels, Ontario, three nieces; Linda VANKOOLEN of Stratford, Ontario, Barbara WAHL of Medicine Hat, Alberta and Beverly HEARN of Calgary, Alberta and one step-nephew. Norman WELSH of Kitchener, Ontario. A celebration and memorial service of Stanley's life and his travels will be held at the Salvation Army Citadel, Suncoast Drive, Goderich, Ontario on Saturday, July 19, 2008 at 1: 00 p.m. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Cremation has taken place. Memorial donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Huron-Perth Branch or to the Salvation Army. Goderich as expressions of sympathy would be appreciated and may be arranged through McCallum and Palla Funeral Home, Goderich 519-524-7345. Friends may sign the book of condolences at www.mccallumpalia.ca

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DAHR o@ca.on.middlesex_county.london.london_free_press 2008-05-02 published
Suspect arrested
Police won't say if they've established a motive
By Joe BELANGER and Joe MATYAS, Fri., May 2, 2008
Police search the area around an apartment building at 24 Gammage St. where the city's first homicide of the year took place early yesterday. (Susan BRADNAM, Sun Media)
Police arrested a suspect and seized a vehicle yesterday as they probed the killing of a Halifax man visiting the city.
The body of Wayne Fulton DAHR, 54, was found late Wednesday night in a walkup apartment at 24 Gammage Street, north of Oxford Street.
The Nova Scotia man had been visiting London for the past month, police said.
Yesterday afternoon, about 17 hours after police were first alerted to concerns about DAHR, an unidentified suspect was arrested.
Tight-lipped police weren't talking about the suspect, or who rents the apartment where the body was found.
But the building registry shows an occupant at unit 306, where the body was found, with the surname DAHR, suggesting the dead man had been visiting a relative.
Police had already found the victim's vehicle, a PT Cruiser, blocks away from the apartment building where his body was found, near a four-storey walkup at 1284 Gramercy Park Place, off Brydges Street.
The vehicle was seized for forensic examination, said Const. Amy Phillipo.
DAHR was found dead with "obvious trauma," police said, declining to be more specific.
Police wouldn't say if they've established a motive for the killing.
An autopsy is expected within two days, they said.
Residents of the Gammage Street apartment complex said they saw police knocking on doors early yesterday and asking questions.
Residents in the clutch of six, three-storey walkups were clearly taken by surprise.
"A homicide? Really? Here? Who?" asked one.
None of nearly 24 residents interviewed said they heard anything unusual before police arrived about 11 p.m. Wednesday to "check the welfare" of someone in the apartment.
"The police knocked on my door around 1 a.m. or 1: 30 a.m. and asked if I'd heard anything, but I'm in the basement with a floor between us, so I wouldn't have heard anything," said Darren EEDEN, EEDEN and other residents in the well-kept complex said the area is generally quiet, but for the occasional loud party.
"You'll see some sketchy characters around sometimes, but I haven't seen any violence," EEDEN said.
EEDEN and other residents said they suspect a few drug dealers live in the area.
Curious residents came and went, watching from windows and balconies as police and reporters worked the scene.
Officers searched on rooftops and through dumpsters and the grass around the apartment buildings for clues.
A lock to the building. smashed and broken, lay on the sidewalk. Police also removed an object from a clothing bin they searched.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 519-661-5670.

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