Where The Streets Get Their Names – Chadburn Street

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

A number of streets in Oshawa are named for significant war battles or for Oshawa’s veterans, denoted with a poppy on the street sign. Chadburn Street is one such street. Lloyd Vernon Chadburn was one of Canada’s most decorated pilots of the Second World War.  Chadburn, or “Chad” as he was known to his friends, was only 22 years old when he commanded his first squadron into battle, becoming the youngest flight leader in the history of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

Born in Montreal in 1919, Chadburn moved with his parents to Oshawa as an infant, residing on Masson Street.  His father, Thomas, was the owner of Chadburn Motor Company, located at King and Prince Streets in Oshawa. The family later resided in Aurora.

As a teenager, Chadburn worked as a clerk for the Bank of Toronto and as a salesman for the Red Rose Tea Company.  After completing high school, he twice applied to the RCAF but was turned down both times.  By the time the Second World War broke out in 1939, Chadburn was employed by General Motors, driving cars off the assembly line.

In 1940, Chadburn was finally accepted into the RCAF, only a few months before his 21st birthday.  After basic flight training in Toronto and Windsor, he graduated as a pilot officer from the Number 2 Flight Training School in Ottawa.

Chadburn went overseas on October 2, 1940 to join Number 2 RCAF squadron in England.  He made his first operational flight in March 1941, flying the Hawker Hurricane fighter.  A year later he took command of Number 416 squadron in Scotland, becoming the first graduate of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan to command a flight squadron.  Chadburn’s leadership won him the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and made his squadron the most successful RCAF fighter group.  One of the squadron’s more daring escapades was providing cover for the Dieppe Raid in 1942, saving hundreds of Allied lives.

Image from: RCAF Memories by 420 Wing RCAF Association, Oshawa Public Library Collection.

In the winter of 1942-43, Chadburn returned to Oshawa, where he received a civic reception and a tour of General Motors during war production.  During this visit, Chadburn gave permission for the Oshawa Air Cadet Squadron to use his name which it still retains today, the only such squadron to be named after an individual.1

Upon returning to service in Europe, Chadburn commanded the 402 (Winnipeg), 416 (Oshawa), and 118 (RAF) squadrons, flying escort for American bombers.  The bomber crews came to know Chadburn as “The Angel.”  In 60 sorties escorting the bombers, only one of them was ever lost to enemy fire.  To honour his achievements, Chadburn became the first of only four RCAF officers to be decorated with the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).

In early 1944, following another visit to Canada, this time to promote war bonds on CBC, Chadburn was appointed Wing Commander of Fighter Operations.  At 24 years old, he was the youngest officer to hold that position.  Working behind a desk made Chadburn restless, yearning to be back in the skies.

In June 1944, he was back in the cockpit of a Spitfire warplane, leading the first air assault on D-Day.  The following week however, his fighting came to an end as he was tragically killed in a mid-air collision with another Spitfire.  His body was laid to rest Ranville War Cemetery near Caen, France. He was posthumously awarded the French Croix de Guerre and made a Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion d’Honneur.

The name Chadburn was not only given to a street in Oshawa, but also given to a lake in Yukon.  It is said that the pilots who served with Chadburn during the war wrote to his mother every Mother’s Day until her death in 1968.

We first see Chadburn Street in Oshawa City Directories in 1950 – there is a simple notation saying 12 new houses, indicating that it is newly named and constructed upon. It is located amongst streets named for World War I battle sites, such as Verdun Road and Vimy Avenue.


References:

  1. “Chadburn Squadron History” 151 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron website, https://www.chadburn.org/squadron-history/chadburn-squadron; accessed 11/02/20.

Additional References

Canadian Virtual War Memorial, Veterans Affairs Canada, https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/canadian-virtual-war-memorial/detail/2847750, accessed 11/02/20.

Historical Oshawa Information Sheet, Oshawa Historical Society.

Oshawa Times, Saturday October 10, 1992.

Oshawa Times, March 27, 1987.

“Flying Ace was ‘Real Regular’ Oshawa Boy,” East6; “Aurora Remembers Ideal Fighter Pilot,”Peason Bowerman, North32; Toronto Star, February 28, 1984.

RCAF Memories Scrapbook, from the Local History Collection at the OPL, accessed on 11/02/20 from https://archive.org/details/fta082rcafmemoires/page/n43/mode/2up.

Remembering Remembrance Day

By Jill Passmore, Visitor Experience Co-ordinator

This November I was fortunate enough to speak to about 500 people about wars and remembrance in Oshawa. Each November, the Oshawa Museum launches a Remembrance-themed lecture series available free to community groups and schools.

Stories From the Homefront: Oshawa During the Second World War is based on a memory book project that was completed for the 65th Anniversary of D-Day. Local citizens that lived in Oshawa or had to stay home for some reason, tell us their stories about things like Camp X, knitting, rubber and other salvage drives, rationing etc. I have delivered this lecture many times over the years and am always amazed as new stories emerge. This year I met the niece of one of our participants. I was able to ask her a few personal questions to get a better understanding of her stories she contributed. A man also told me about the time a pilot clipped the old water tower and wires near OCVI, and that OCVI had big drums in the gym for fats and scrap salvaging. I joked about how bad the smell must have been and he confirmed my suspicions. Apparently, you could smell it throughout the entire school!

The Letters From the Trenches lecture was developed by Archivist, Jennifer Weymark and features four people who all entered the military for different reasons. Their one connecting thread is that they were all from Oshawa. Two men volunteered, but one was black, a nursing sister also volunteered. The last man faced conscription. Did you know that ‘zombies’ are what the conscripted men were known as? I learned this from one of our Homefront participants.  It is fascinating to hear how their stories intertwined and experiences contrasted.

Finally, Wars & Remembrance highlights institutions such as the Ontario Regiment and city landmarks that include the war memorial and band shell in Memorial Park. It also discusses the reason why some of the street names have a poppy beside them. Since 2003, it has been a policy of the City to name streets within new subdivisions for people who lived in Oshawa and died fighting for their country. These streets are usually north of Taunton Rd. E. and west of Harmony Rd. N. There are also a series of streets with names highlighting different aspects of the various wars. For example,

Festhubert Street, Courcelette Avenue, Vimy Avenue, Verdun Road, and St. Eloi Avenue: northeast of the Ritson Rd. S. /Olive Avenue intersection, these roads have been named for battle sites in France during World War I.

Normandy Street, Dunkirk Avenue, Dieppe Avenue, Sedan Court, Brest Court, Sterling Avenue: located northwest of Wilson Rd. S. and Highway 401, the above street were named after battle sites in France during World War II, with Sterling Avenue possibly named after the Sterling Armaments Company, a company which manufactured weapons during WWII.

Kitchener Avenue, Monash Avenue, and Currie Avenue, Montgomery Street: northeast of Ritson Rd. S. and Highway 401, they are named after officers during World War I.  Kitchener Avenue refers to Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener, British; Monash Avenue is after Sir John Monash, Australian; Currie Avenue after the Canadian Arthur Currie; and Montgomery Avenue is after Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, British.

I have never been in a situation where I felt the call to enlist in the military. With the exception of grandparents, no one else has served. This last month has renewed my interest in wartime history. Researching family history, researching more of what happened in Oshawa during the Second World War, and even watching shows like Band of Brothers. I feel privileged that I am able to talk about these things with my kids and share with them things that their ancestors experienced. All four of their Great-Grandfathers fought in WWII – US Navy, Canadian Army and German Army.

After my last outreach lecture yesterday (November 29 at time of post), myself, the teacher and students had an engaging conversation – trading family histories, talking about WWI-themed video games as teaching tools and resources that they can use to continue explore this genre of history. I left feeling proud and looking back on the last month feel proud of the impact the Oshawa Museum has made on our community. It was always a goal of ours “to present the results of the project through different means of access.”

“This final objective is very important to us. Our project team was committed to ensuring the results of our project would be effectively used and a plan in place to ensure accessibility to the material. We had seen too many community projects designed with good intentions in mind only to have the finished project languish in boxes in an archives. That is where the second part of our goal comes in – to ensure there is a plan in place for the presentation and dissemination of the knowledge. We wanted to connect our research with the community, to find the commonalities that bind us together as a community.”

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If you would like to find out more about William Garrow and some of the industries that existed in the 1940s, please check out the Oshawa Museum’s online exhibits at

https://lettersfromthetrenches.wordpress.com/

https://industryinoshawa.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where The Streets Get Their Names – The Poppy on the Signs

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

This is the time of year when we remember.  From late October to November 11, as a sign of respect and remembrance, I wear a poppy on my left lapel, honouring those who fought for Canada’s freedom.  If you drive around Oshawa, you might notice that poppies can be seen year round, on certain street signs: Vimy Avenue, Verdun Road, Veterans Road, Spencely Drive, Chadburn Street, to name only a few.  Some streets, like Vimy and Verdun, have been named as such for several years; the poppy is a newer addition, signifying that the street’s name is in honour of a battle, veteran, or one of Oshawa’s war dead.

The poppy has been a symbol of remembrance since the Napoleonic wars, however, a poem written by Canadian soldier John McCrae helped to solidify its position in our collective memory.  After the death of a friend, McCrae was moved by his grief and his surroundings, and he penned the 15 lined poem in 20 minutes.

The poppy was adopted by the Great War Veteran’s Association in Canada (later the Royal Canadian Legion) as its official Flower of Remembrance on July 5, 1921.  Lapel poppies began being made in 1922 and are still sold every fall leading up to November 11.

Vimy & Verdun
Vimy & Verdun

In the 1920s, Oshawa saw growth in our city, not only in population, but also in urban planning, for it was during the 1920s that Verdun Road, Vimy Avenue, St. Julien Street, Courcellette Avenue, St. Eloi Avenue, and Festhurbert Street appeared.  These streets have been named in honour of significant World War I battles. Interestingly, as was seen with Phillip Murray Avenue and Gibb Street, the spelling of Festhubert Avenue has changed over the years.  The spelling was originally Festubert, which accurately reflects the spelling of the Battle of Festubert.  As well, St. Julien is no longer in use; sometime between 1954 and 1956 the City consolidated three consecutive streets into one name. Yonge Street and St. Julian St. all became known as Oshawa Blvd.

Dunkirk Avenue
Dunkirk Avenue

Located northwest of Wilson Road and Highway 401 is a cluster of streets, including Normandy Street, Dunkirk Avenue, Dieppe Avenue, Sedan Court, and Brest Court, all named for battle sites in France during World War II.  They were named in the mid-1950s.

Since 2003, it has been a policy of the City of Oshawa to name streets within new subdivision plans in honour of individuals who lived in Oshawa and died fighting for their country. Many of such streets can be found north of Taunton Rd. E. and west of Harmony Rd. N.

A nomination form can be filled out with information that includes length of service, community service and length of residency in Oshawa, and handed into City Hall to be considered for the street name reserve list; this list is used for the naming of new street subdivisions.

If used, the war dead/veteran’s name will be put on a street sign with a poppy motif. Nomination forms can be found on the City of Oshawa’s webpage.

In April 2015, Chick Hewett Lane became the 51st street named for an Oshawa Veteran, named in honour of a local veteran who flew 35 bombing missions during the Second World War.

It may be a small gesture, but by naming certain streets after battles or soldiers, this helps to keep their efforts at the forefront, and it is one of the many ways that we show our respect and remember their sacrifices.  Lest we forget.

Lest We Forget: Profiling Alfred Hind

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

For the past few weeks, I have been deep into research/writing mode, which admittedly isn’t out of the ordinary.  We were asked by a local Scout troop to lead a Union Cemetery tour, focusing on soldiers in honour of Remembrance Day.  We talk about the Veteran’s plots in general on many of our tours, but we did not have one looking at specific individuals.  Speaking with the leader, I became excited about the possibilities of this tour and about filling in a gap with our current program offerings.  So I turned to the archives and various online databases, and I began my research.

There are two Veteran’s Plots in Oshawa’s Union Cemetery: World War I and World War II.  Looking at the stones and learning more about these brave men and women was truly fascinating, that I could have written this post about any one of them.  There was Ernest Bush, who in WWII fought with the Princess Pats, married an English woman while stationed overseas, but succumbed to military Tuberculosis upon his return home.  There is also the mystery of Nursing Sister Hayes, for whom we need to do more research to learn more about this brave woman who enlisted and helped the wounded.  Of course, we have the story of Private William Garrow, who enlisted for WWI and was killed in action less than 10 months later.  He was 22 years old.

For some soldiers, there was little information available, but for the more prolific, like Albert Hind, we were able to learn quite a bit about him.

From the Daily Reformer, 1927
From the Daily Reformer, 1927

Albert Frederick Hind was born in England in 1877, and came to Canada in 1907.  He was a police chief constable for the Town of Oshawa at the time of the outbreak of World War I.  He earned the rank of Major with D Company of the 34th Regiment, and would serve overseas with the Canadian Expeditionary Force.  Upon returning from the war, he was promoted to Police Magistrate, a position he would hold until his death.

Certificate appointing Alfred Hind to Police Magistrate
Certificate appointing Alfred Hind to Police Magistrate

He passed away at age 53 in 1930.  His cause of death, heart inflammation, was attributed to his service during WWI; the maple leaf on his headstone is indicative of this.  His funeral was at his house on Simcoe Street in Oshawa, and he was buried in Union with full military honours.  The regiment paraded from the Armouries on Simcoe Street to the cemetery, and three traditional volleys of the gun were fired at the graveside.

Hind Headstone, World War I Soldier Plots, Oshawa Union Cemetery
Hind Headstone, World War I Soldier Plots, Oshawa Union Cemetery

Because of the position he held in the community, his death was reported in the local newspapers, and his colleagues remembered him fondly.  Magistrate Willis of Whitby said of Hind:

“He placed many an erring young man on the path of right.  His work has left the world the better for his acts of kindness in placing men on the right path.  He is a victim of the Great War, and just as much a hero as those who died on the field. He went to fight for freedom and liberty and returned broken in health.  Since his return he has not been the physical man be was before he went… Major Hind used his best judgement at all times, without prejudice of vindictiveness. He will be missed in Oshawa.”


 

Hind was only one of many men and women from Oshawa who fought for Canada.  We owe a debt of gratitude to those who came before us and those who still see action in combat.  On November 11, we will pause and remember.  Lest we forget.

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

‘European War’ Stereographs

The Victorians were ahead of the game when it comes to the latest trend of 3-D entertainment.  Before you needed sill glasses to view all the summer blockbusters, and before the even sillier blue and red eyed glasses, there was the Stereoscope, all the rage in trendy Victorian Parlours.

963.14.1abc - Stereoscope
963.14.1abc – Stereoscope

The stereoscope was a devise that allowed the viewer to see 3-D images.  Stereoscopic cards would have two nearly identical images side by side, and when viewed through the stereoscope, our eyes would view the images as one, and certain elements would become 3-D.  Remember when you were a kid and you had the plastic ViewMaster?  The stereoscope worked the same way.

A998.21.1ab - European War Stereograph Collection
A998.21.1ab – European War Stereograph Collection

In 1998, the Oshawa Community Archives received a fascinating collection of Stereographs.  They were published by Underwood and Underwood in New York, and these 22 cards were housed in a brown case, labeled ‘European War.’  Depicted on the cards are various scenes from World War I, and the images range from stoic to devastating.  A harsh reminder that war is bitter and real.  It does not care for nationality, religion, or status.  War devastates.

A selection from the collection.  Some images may be disturbing to the reader.  Please be advised.

A998.21.2a - Stereoview - Captured German guns on view in Parade grounds, St. James Palace, London
A998.21.2a – Stereoview – Captured German guns on view in Parade grounds, St. James Palace, London

A998.21.2d - Stereoview - Where all is still and cold and dead, Lens France
A998.21.2d – Stereoview – Where all is still and cold and dead, Lens France

A998.21.2h - Stereoview - Canadian artillery proceeding to the front
A998.21.2h – Stereoview – Canadian artillery proceeding to the front

A998.21.2n - Stereoview - 'And now we lie in Flanders Field', Vallee Foulon, France
A998.21.2n – Stereoview – ‘And now we lie in Flanders Field’, Vallee Foulon, France

A998.21.2t - Stereoview - Three British motorcycle despatch riders passing through Senlis
A998.21.2t – Stereoview – Three British motorcycle despatch riders passing through Senlis