DOUGALL firstname.lastname@example.org_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-11-08 published
Tales of derring-do
By Rod MICKLEBURGH, Saturday, November 8, 2003 - Page F6
Thunder Bay -- In a senseless war that lasted four years and took millions of lives, it was rare for individuals to stand out amid the carnage. But some managed.
Meet Hector Fraser DOUGALL, a corker of a Canadian with more tales of derring-do attached to his name than you could shake a First World War riding stick at. You think Steve McQueen's motorcycle ride was heroic in The Great Escape? After his shelled Sopwith Camel was shot down behind German lines and he was taken prisoner, Mr. DOUGALL made at least three dramatic escape attempts.
During one dash for freedom, the story goes, he saved the life of fellow escaper William STEPHENSON, who later became the legendary spymaster Intrepid, by tossing him over a stone wall as the pair fled a furious, gun-firing farmer who didn't appreciate his ducks being pilfered. When their capture appeared inevitable, Mr. STEPHENSON impersonated a German officer and ordered Mr. DOUGALL returned to prison. As he was marched away, Mr. STEPHENSON made good his own escape.
It was a typically audacious DOUGALL stunt that yielded the largest and most vivid of the First World War artifacts sent in by Canadians to The Globe and Mail -- the huge German flag that flew over the grim, fortress-like PoW camp at Holzminden, where guards did their best to contain the fighter pilot.
Mr. DOUGALL pinched the flag on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, the day the Imperial German Army surrendered.
"The prisoners woke up that morning and the guards were all gone," said his son, Fraser DOUGALL. " Some of the prisoners went down to the village to cause a bit of wrack and ruin. But dad wanted the flag. He knew how to get to the roof from one of his escape attempts. So he picked a few locks, went up there, took it down, and kept it."
Mr. DOUGALL then managed to lug the bulky flag all the way through Germany, back to England and finally to Canada. When he died in 1960, it was found at the bottom of a trunk full of souvenirs, including grenades, bayonets, old muskets, bombs, diaries, photos, old German money, helmets and his thin, black flying cap.
"This is a piece of work, this is. It went right through the war," Fraser DOUGALL said as he unfurled the old flag across his dining room table in Thunder Bay. The edges fell over the side like a table cloth.
The flag is dominated by a fierce black-and-gold representation of the imperial German eagle, with an iron cross in the top left-hand corner -- the state flag of Prussia from 1892 to 1918. Eighty-five years later, the colours are still bright. A red tongue flickers menacingly in the eagle's open beak, on its head a red-and-gold crown topped by a blue cross, while a mace and a bejewelled orb are clutched in its dark talons.
"It was really meant to convey a sense of power. You can see that, even now."
It has become his son's passion to recount, preserve and even relive Mr. DOUGALL's wartime experiences. Mementos are prominently displayed in the downstairs recreation room, and scrapbooks have been put together meticulously.
Fraser DOUGALL even organized a trip to Europe three years ago to revisit as many of his father's prison stops as possible. To ensure that the lore remained in the family, he brought along his wife and children, enticing them with newsletters, quizzes about his father that brought cash rewards and tapes describing what they could expect to find there.
More than once during the expedition, he knocked on the doors of unsuspecting Germans, asking if they knew that the places they lived were once PoW stopovers. (Few did.) And on his return, Fraser DOUGALL had a 23-minute video, which he will show this Remembrance Day to the local Rotary Club, and the experience of a lifetime.
"The war. The war. The war. The aura of it has always been with me," he said. "When we found the first place where my father was incarcerated -- prison from Napoleonic times -- the others found it interesting. But for me, it was incredibly emotional. It was my first face-to-face meeting with the dirt and filth that my father endured.
"I felt a real sense of closure, of fulfilment."
His father, a tough, intimidating Winnipegger from a family of carriage-makers and blacksmiths, signed up for the war while still in his teens. Hector Fraser DOUGALL had spent 14 months in the trenches when he was wounded. While recuperating in hospital, he decided the infantry was not for him. According to his son, he told them, "There are too many people with missing arms and legs. I want out!"
He learned to fly and joined the Royal Flying Corps. "I once asked him why he became a pilot," Fraser DOUGALL said. "He said it was simple: 'I could shoot back.' "
Even in the trenches, however, Mr. DOUGALL was no pussycat. Once, his father kidnapped a piano player so "the boys" could enjoy a bit of a sing-song. Mr. DOUGALL noticed one of the soldiers singing much louder than the others, so he took out his pistol and shot him in the face. Mr. DOUGALL believed the man was a German spy, trying too hard to fit in. He turned out to be right.
In his diary, Mr. DOUGALL nonchalantly recorded a close call on a patrol, 10 days before he was shot down: "Went eight miles into Hunland.... Came back about a foot off the ground with machine guns blazing after me, three bullet holes thru my machine. Froze my nose."
As a prisoner, Mr. DOUGALL was forever getting into trouble, whether for insubordination or for his actual escapes. One time, he and flying mate S.G. WILLIAMS jumped from a train transporting them between prisons, a 500-kilometre trek from Holland. For 17 days, they travelled only at night, swimming rivers to escape pursuers and raiding farms for food. At one point, Mr. WILLIAMS reported, " DOUGALL jumped a six-foot fence with a half-dozen eggs, basin of milk, jam, large pot of honey and many other articles. Everything was intact."
When the two were finally nabbed just short of the frontier, Mr. WILLIAMS bolted again. As a guard prepared to shoot, Mr. DOUGALL tussled with him and ruined his aim. His friend lived to make it back to England.
Mr. DOUGALL's last escape effort at Holzminden was typically brazen. He rounded up two ladders, bound them with rope from the camp's flagstaffs, and was just about to project himself on the end of the ladders out a second-floor window and over the barbed wire to safety when he was discovered by guards.
At war's end, he hid the flag from his desultory German captors until arrangements finally were made to have the prisoners sent home. He was no slouch after that, either. He earned money stunt flying for a while; was the first pilot to venture into Northern Ontario; captained an early version of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers started CKPR, the first radio station in Port Arthur, Ontario took a leading role in training pilots for the Second World War and, in 1954, opened the Lakehead's first television station.
Today, DOUGALL Media owns four radio stations, a community newspaper and both television stations in Thunder Bay.
Mr. DOUGALL accomplished all this in spite of permanent leftover pain from his war wounds, according to his son. "He had a brace on his back. His ribs hurt. He was always ill." Mr. DOUGALL was eventually worth millions, but could never get life insurance or a pension because of his injuries.
After all his research, Fraser DOUGALL, a trim, athletic 61-year-old, said he feels closer than ever to his larger-than-life father, who was in his late 40s when Fraser was born.
"I'd been living away from home since I was 13," he said, gesturing toward his lovingly preserved collection of war relics. "For me, all this is my father.... I wanted to preserve his story. It's part of me, and now, I think I understand him a lot better."
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DOUGLAS/DOUGLASS email@example.com_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-02-15 published
ADAM/ADAMS, Robert ''Bob'' Watson
Born January 22, 1921 in Windsor, Ontario, Bob died February 10, 2003 at the age of 82, from complications arising from heart disease and cancer. Bob started Adams Rent-All in 1967, with his first store on Avenue Road. The business grew to include six stores in the Toronto area. He retired in 1989 upon selling the business. An active member of the Rental Association of Canada until his death, he served as president in 1973 and 1974. The son of Dr. Frederick ADAM/ADAMS and Essie (née WATSON,) Bob was a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Air Force. In November 1943, his Wellington aircraft was shot down while bombing a ship in Naxos harbour, Greece, and for the next six weeks he and his crew evaded enemy capture before returning to Allied territory. In 1965, he became a member of the newly formed Royal Air Forces Escaping Society (Canadian Branch). Its 140 members were Canadian airmen who, after being shot down over Europe, escaped or evaded capture with the help of the underground. The Society's purpose was to honour and assist the individuals who guided airmen to safety, and who often suffered from imprisonment and torture as a result. Bob was president of the Society's Canadian Branch in 1995 and 1996. Bob is survived by his loving wife and best friend, Joan (née BERKELEY;) his children John, Patricia, and Mary; his sons-in-law, Lawrence SOLOMON and Steve DOUGLAS/DOUGLASS; and his granddaughters Essie and Catharine. He will be missed dearly by them, and by his many Friends. Bob is predeceased by his brothers, Frederick Coulson and John Charles, both Royal Canadian Air Force pilots, who were killed in action in 1941 and 1945. A celebration of Bob ADAM/ADAMS' life will be held on February 23, at 2900 Yonge Street. All who knew him and his family are welcome to drop by, anytime from 1: 00 pm until 5:00 pm. If desired, donations can be made to Toronto's West Park Healthcare Centre in Bob's memory.
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DOUGLAS/DOUGLASS firstname.lastname@example.org_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-03-01 published
Ex-pilot aided foreigners who hid soldiers
By Kelly HAGGART Saturday, March 1, 2003 - Page F11
Robert ADAM/ADAMS, past president of a society set up to honour and assist individuals who risked their lives helping Allied airmen evade capture during the Second World War, died in Toronto this month of cancer. He was 82.
Mr. ADAM/ADAMS was a 22-year-old Canadian pilot on loan to Britain's Royal Air Force when his plane was shot down after bombing a German ship in southern Greece. Stout-hearted people on two small islands in the Aegean, risking torture or execution for their actions, sheltered the six-man crew for a month until they were rescued.
After the war, Mr. ADAM/ADAMS founded a chain of tool-rental stores in the Toronto area called ADAM/ADAMS Rent-All, which he sold when he retired in 1989.
In 1965, Mr. ADAM/ADAMS joined the newly formed Canadian branch of the Royal Air Forces Escaping Society. The group vowed to assist the citizens who had helped Allied airmen who fell into their midst escape or evade capture; thanks to their courage, almost 3,000 men had made it back to safety.
"The object of the society is to remember, " the group's literature says, "and to aid our helpers who may still be suffering the results of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the enemy, and to maintain the very strong Friendships that developed during those years."
(Ernest BEVIN, Britain's foreign secretary in 1945-51, told the first chairman of the group's British chapter: "Your society does a damned sight more good in Europe than all my ambassadors rolled together.")
John DIX, a fellow member of the Escaping Society's Canadian branch, said that, "in most cases, we only knew our helpers a week or less -- we were just passing through. But the nature of the relationship and the tension of the times were such that they became lifelong Friends. We never forgot them, we had them over to Canada every year, we kept in touch. We owed them a debt of honour."
Flight Lieutenant ADAM/ADAMS and his crew of four Britons and an Australian left their base in Benghazi, Libya, on the night of November 6, 1943, scouting for targets to bomb. They spotted a German ship anchored off Naxos, an island in the Cyclades group south of Athens.
After dropping 16 bombs, one of the plane's two engines was hit by German flak. "Luckily, it kept going for 10 minutes, which gave us time to make a getaway, Mr. ADAM/ADAMS told his daughter, Patricia ADAM/ADAMS. " Then it conked out and we had to slowly descend."
He ditched his disabled Wellington bomber flawlessly into the sea. The crew escaped through hatches, and a dinghy and a parachute popped out of the aircraft before it sank within 30 seconds of hitting the water. The men paddled ashore to the island of Sifnos, half a kilometre away.
"After complaining about our cigarettes being wet, we slept in the parachute under an olive tree, Mr. ADAM/ADAMS recalled. "In the morning, we were discovered by a girl riding by on a donkey. She went to fetch her father [George KARAVOS], and he went and got someone who could understand English and who decided we weren't German."
The initial suspicion was mutual. When Mr. KARAVOS took the men to his home and offered them water, they were afraid to drink it, until the farmer reassured them by taking a first sip.
The six men were hidden first in a mountaintop monastery on Sifnos, and then in a cave used as a goat pen on the neighbouring island of Serifos. Their presence was kept from local children, in case they unwittingly tipped off the German patrol that visited the islands several times a week from the nearby occupied island of Milos.
"During the war, 180 people on Sifnos died because they didn't have enough to eat, Mr. ADAM/ADAMS said. "But the locals made a big fuss over us, bringing food and cigarettes."
The men spent 10 days in the monastery, with a stream of hungry people climbing the steep path to bring them bread and cheese, oranges, figs, retsina and handfuls of precious, rationed cigarettes.
Then the Sifnos chief of police, Demetrius BAKEAS, who was determined the men should not be captured, arranged for them to go to Serifos, because "there are people there who can help you."
A fisherman took them under cover of darkness to Serifos. There, housed in the goat pen, they found five British commandos spying on German troop movements. Conditions were primitive in that cave for the next 20 days, but the spies had a wireless and were able to arrange the air crew's rescue. A Royal Navy gunboat disguised as a Greek fishing vessel picked them up and, moving by night, took them to safety in Cyprus.
All six men survived the war, and later learned they had succeeded in sinking that ship in Naxos harbour.
Mr. ADAM/ADAMS kept in touch with his helpers after the war, with his letters translated for him by a Greek neighbour in Toronto.
"I remember being taken to Greek community functions, " Patricia ADAM/ADAMS recalled. "And every Christmas Dad would send a parcel to the school on Sifnos, with paper and pencils, and little dime-store gifts for the children. Putting that package together every year was very emotional."
"Bob was a very great guy, with a great sense of humour, " said Roy BROWN, secretary of the Escaping Society. Mr. ADAM/ADAMS was treasurer of the society at his death, and served as president in 1995-96.
"We have about 100 members now across the country, who are in their 80s and beyond, Mr. BROWN said. "Most of our helpers are in the same or worse shape, so we're not bringing them over as we did up until five or six years ago. But we still help out when we see a helper in need."
Robert Watson ADAM/ADAMS was born on January 22, 1921, in Windsor, Ontario, where his father, Dr. Frederick ADAM/ADAMS, was the medical officer of health for more than 20 years. If he had returned to base that night after the raid on Naxos harbour, he would have received the cable informing him of his father's death back home.
After graduating from Windsor's Kennedy Collegiate in 1939, Mr. ADAM/ADAMS worked in a bank before enlisting in June, 1941. A few weeks later his older brother, Coulson, was killed during training in England, shot down by a German night fighter that had sneaked across the Channel. His other brother, John, was also a bomber pilot killed in action, shot down during a raid on Hanover, Germany, just a few months before the war in Europe ended.
Robert ADAM/ADAMS's story was featured in a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation-Television documentary in 1966, when a Telescope camera crew followed him and his wife, Joan, back to Sifnos, where they received a hero's welcome.
"Those Greeks had nothing to gain and everything to lose, " Mr. ADAM/ADAMS told the show's associate producer, George Ronald. "They were starving, and yet they gave us everything. They were superb.... I don't think they know just how kind and generous and how brave they were."
Mr. BAKEAS, who had moved to Athens after retiring from the police force, returned to Sifnos for the emotional reunion held 23 years after he helped save Mr. ADAM/ADAMS's life. Earlier, he had written to "my dear friend" in Canada: "It is not possible for me to forget the danger which connected us in those terrible war days. We shall be always waiting you."
In addition to his wife, Mr. ADAM/ADAMS leaves his children John, Patricia and Mary, sons-in-law Lawrence SOLOMON and Steve DOUGLAS/DOUGLASS, and granddaughters Essie and Catharine.
Robert Watson ADAM/ADAMS, chain-store founder and past president of the Canadian branch of the Royal Air Force Escaping Society born in Windsor, Ontario, on January 22, 1921; died in Toronto on February 10, 2003.
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DOUGLAS/DOUGLASS email@example.com_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-06-21 published
TARRANT, Dr. Michael - April 15, 1937 - June 17, 2003
Dr. Michael TARRANT died peacefully at home in Calgary on Tuesday, June 17. He leaves to mourn his wife of 40 years, Elizabeth Jean, and his children, Neil (Alison), Paul (Rosalie) and Sarah (Sheldon) and his grandchildren Evan TARRANT, Eric, Bronwyn and Michael TARRANT and Kathryn DOUGLAS/DOUGLASS. Michael was pre-deceased by his granddaughter Avery TARRANT. Michael was born in Yorkshire, England and went to school in Chesterfield. He received his undergraduate education at Cambridge University and he completed his medical training at University College Hospital in London, England. He interned at University College, the Whittington and the City of London Hospitals; and he did a residency in pediatrics at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, London. He came to Calgary in October 1964 and worked as a family physician serving his patients and community for over 38 years. Initially in group practice at the Cambrian Clinic, he joined the University of Calgary Family Medicine Clinic in 1977. Michael had been an active staff member at the Foothills Hospital since 1966. Michael served as Residency Program Director for the Department of Family Medicine, then as the Undergraduate Coordinator for the U of C Medical School. His commitment to the development of the Rural Family Medicine Clerkship over these 15 years has been a great service to education and society. Medical students and Family Medicine residents will always remember Dr. TARRANT. He enjoyed participating in the History of Medicine Society. Michael was an original member of the National Research Group of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and was Alberta's coordinator of the National Influenza Surveillance Project. He was particularly proud of his Viral Watch program that he directed for 26 years. In 2002, Michael received the Reg L. Perkin Award as Family Physician of the Year. Michael's passions in life were his family and his practice as a family physician. His grandchildren filled him with great joy and happiness. Funeral Services will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church (290 Edgepark Blvd. N.W.) on Monday June 23rd, at 3: 00 pm followed by a reception at the Calgary Winter Club (4611-14th Street North West) If Friends so desire, memorial tributes may be directed to a charity of choice. To e-mail expressions of sympathy: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject Heading: Michael Tarrant. In living memory of Michael Tarrant, a tree will be planted at Nose Creek Valley by Mcinnis & Holloway Funeral Homes' 'Crowfoot Chapel', 82 Crowfoot Circle N.W., Calgary, Telephone: (403) 241-0044.
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DOUGLAS/DOUGLASS email@example.com_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-10-16 published
MOYER, David S.
Born March 5, 1922 in Clinton Township, and died Tuesday, October 14, 2003, at his home in Beamsville. son of the late Ira C. MOYER and the late Georgina Isabella MacLEOD of Beamsville and brother of the late Margaret Irene BROWN, Etta Jean BLUMGOLD of New Jersey, Ronald Claus MOYER of Grimsby and Ralph Levi MOYER of Carruna. In 1930 Ira Claus married Agnes Rohde HANSEN of Denmark and had additional children, Elizabeth FRACCHIONI of Troy, New York, Inge VIAU of Kingston, Peter MOYER and the late Samuel MOYER of Beamsville. Mr. MOYER was uncle of Paul MOYER of Vineland, Thomas MOYER of Beamsville. He is also survived by his daughter Julia Grace DOUGLAS/DOUGLASS and her husband Steven and four grandchildren, Richard, Sarah, Cordelia and William, all of Whitby.
Mr. MOYER attended Queen's University in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering and graduated in 1951 with a B.Sc. in Physics. He worked in Toronto as a project engineer and later as a production engineer for most of his professional life. He attended the Vineland Mennonite Church as a child and later the Beamsville Baptist Church. After his marriage he converted to the Anglican Communion and lived mainly in Toronto. In later life he returned to Beamsville and attended services in both the Baptist Church and the Anglican Church.
Mr. MOYER is at the Tallman Funeral Home, 4998 King Street, Beamsville, where the family will received Friends on Thursday 2-3: 30 and 7-8: 30 p.m. The funeral service will be held at St. Alban's Church, 4341 Ontario Street, Beamsville, on Friday, October 17 at 7 p.m. Cremation to follow. If desired, donations to the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital Foundation would be appreciated by the family.
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