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.

Where The Streets Get Their Names: Kitchener Street

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

Just east of Ritson Road, between Olive and Highway 401, one can find Kitchener Street. This street bears the name of Horatio Herbert Kitchener, the 1st Earl Kitchener. Kitchener Street appears in directories as early as 1921.

Kitchener was born 24 June 24, 1850 in Ballylongford, County Kerry, Ireland, the son of an army officer. He was educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He first saw action in the Franco-Prussian War, in which he was an ambulance driver and faced reprimand for participating in a conflict in which England was neutral. He later commanded the British army in Egypt, the Sudan, India and in South Africa during the Boer War (1899-1902).

In 1914, at the start of World War I, Kitchener was appointed the Secretary of State for War, promoted to Field Marshal, and became the face of Britain’s recruitment campaign, ‘Your Country Needs You.’ Kitchener was onboard the HMS Hampshire on June 5, 1916 when it was sunk by German mines off the coast of Scotland.

This Oshawa street is just one of many namesakes for the Field Marshal. Perhaps the most notable is Kitchener, Ontario. Before 1916, the city was named Berlin, however, anti-German sentiments were on the rise during WWI, and by mid-1916 there was a controversial referendum to rename; Kitchener was the winner, beating out Adanac (Canada spelled backwards), Brock, Benton, Corona, and Keowana.

The topic of renaming the City of Kitchener arose again in the summer of 2020. In a statement by Kitchener City Hall:
“We acknowledge that the legacy of our namesake, Horatio Herbert Kitchener, a decorated British Earl who established concentration camps during the Boer War, is not one to be celebrated. While we in no way condone, diminish or forget his actions, we know that more than a century after our citizens chose this name for their community, Kitchener has become so much more than its historic connection to a British field marshal.”

As a knitter, I would be remiss to not bring up the Kitchener Stitch. This form of grafting is very common for finishing top-down socks – while he in no way ‘invented’ the stitch, the story goes that Kitchener was a promoter of knitting for the war effort, and this way of finishing the sock is very comfortable on toes, a relief to soldiers who were fighting a very hard, nasty war and whose feet were often in great discomfort.

Monash Avenue, Currie Avenue, and Montgomery Street are also found in this general area of Oshawa, and all of these streets were named after First World War officers.


References

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Horatio-Herbert-Kitchener-1st-Earl-Kitchener

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Horatio-Herbert-Kitchener-1st-Earl-Kitchener

https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/person/mp02564/horatio-herbert-kitchener-1st-earl-kitchener-of-khartoum

https://www.therecord.com/news/waterloo-region/2020/06/19/petition-wants-kitchener-renamed.html

knithistory.academicblogs.co.uk/the-kitchener-stitch-knitting-in-wartime-study-day/

Street Name Stories – Normandy Street

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

May 8 is the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the end of World War II in Europe. WWII lasted from 1939-1945; approximately 1,159,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders served, and the number of deaths totaled 44,090¹.  Looking locally, WWII impacted our community with 177 Oshawa residents who died during the conflict, while thousands more enlisted, served, were part of the ordinance corps, or did their part by working on the homefront.

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VE Day was not the end of World War II, which continued until September 1945 when the official terms of surrender were signed with Japan, however, VE Day was widely celebrated in the community.  As described by Oshawa resident Murray McKay, “That was a celebration. You wouldn’t believe it. People were dancing in the street downtown Oshawa.”

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Photo Credit: Oshawa Times- Gazette, Canada, Oshawa Community Archives

 

There were several complex campaigns of WWII taking place in theatres all over the globe; one of the best known was the invasion of Normandy in June 1944.  This co-ordinated attack by the Allied partners was intended to re-establish an Allied presence in Western Europe, and Canada was a full partner in the invasion.  The objectives of D-Day, 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings, were to take five beaches, and capturing Juno Beach was the responsibility of the Canadians, under the command of General Harry Crerar.  This victory wasn’t without cost; according to the Canadian War Museum, 14,000 Canadians were part of the Allied Troops at the Normandy invasion, and on D-Day, Canadians suffered 1074 casualties, while 359 were killed.²  The campaign lasted 10 weeks, and the casualty list grew to more than 18,000 casualties, 5000 of them fatal, and this number is just representative of the Canadians. There were substantial losses on all sides. It represented a turning point in the war – opening up the western front, leaving the German forces to defend to the west and east, but it was not without cost of life.  By September, the Normandy campaign, known as Operation Overlord, was over, and just over eight months later, Victory in Europe was being celebrated.

Normandy (2)

Normandy Street is found north of Highway 401, west of Wilson and east of Ritson, along with Dunkirk Avenue, Dieppe Avenue, Sedan Court, Brest Court, and Crerar Street, all of which are related to the Second World War, be it battle sites or after General Harry Crerar. In terms of dating the street, due to emergency orders, access to the directories at the archives is challenging.  Thankfully, our friends at the Oshawa Library have digitized a number of City Directories, helping me with this research!   The 1955 Directory lists Normandy Street, but also notes that it is ‘Not Built On,’ and the same listing appears in the years 1957 to 1961.  This suggests this street dates to the mid 1950s with development taking place in the early 1960s.


  1. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/second-world-war/second-world-war-dead-1939-1947/Pages/files-second-war-dead.aspx
  2. https://www.warmuseum.ca/cwm/exhibitions/chrono/1931d_day_e.html

Street Name Stories – McGrigor Street

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

Like many other streets found in the city, McGrigor takes its name from early landowners, John & Eunice McGrigor.  A note on spelling – it has been spelt as McGrigor and McGregor.  To keep with consistency in the spelling of the street name, McGrigor will be used.

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John McGrigor was born around 1784 in Perth County, Scotland. He arrived in Upper Canada before the start of the War of 1812 and settled here around 1817.  According to Samuel Pedlar, it was “while guarding military stores being transported from Kingston to Toronto [that McGrigor] formed a favourable opinion of East Whitby and especially the land he afterwards purchased.” Pedlar claims service during the War of 1812 wasn’t the only time he took up arms, for “in the Rebellion of 1837 he likewise was to the front in the service of his country.” This seems to imply that he assisted the British army in stopping the rebels.  While military and militia records exist for this time, John McGrigor/McGregor was a common name, and it cannot be determined with certainty if, when, and where he served.  Muster rolls from the 1830s have information regarding ages and wages paid for time served.

By 1837, McGrigor owned well over 100 acres of Lot 11, Concession 1, and it appears shortly afterwards he began selling building lots.  Author M McIntyre Hood, in his 1968 book Oshawa: Canada’s Motor City, claims that McGrigor and JB Warren both saw potential in taking their large acreages, subdividing and creating a village around the Oshawa Creek.

John married a woman named Eunice, born c. 1803, and together they had a sizable family before John’s passing on September 17, 1846 in his 62nd year.  In the 1850s, Eunice’s name appears on land records, registering a plan of subdivision, continuing what was started with John with creating and selling building lots from their original 100+ acreage. She died in 1890, and both John and Eunice are buried in Union Cemetery.

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Eunice McGrigor Headstone in Union Cemetery; Photo from FindAGrave.com

McGrigor is also credited by J. Douglas Ross, as helping to establish one of the first schools in the Village of Oshawa, donating land towards to building a log schoolhouse at the southwest corner of King and Simcoe.

As aforementioned, McGrigor Street is named for the family.  In a letter written to the archives, a descendant from the family suggests that Athol was named by the family after the area in Scotland from which they emigrated.  John & Eunice’s son, Royal Gregor McGrigor also registered a plan with town, and Royal Street is located within the limits of the RG McGrigor Plan, so perhaps the street has been named for him.

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Where the Streets Get Their Names: Maddock Drive

By Melissa Cole, Curator

In honour of Remembrance Day and remembering those who fought in the war, it was appropriate to share a street name story related to one of Oshawa’s World War II fallen soldiers.

Frederick Daniel Maddock was born to Frederick and Minnie Jane Brown on June 2, 1922 in Toronto.  Frederick had three brothers, Gordon, Clifford and Leslie, and three sisters Maude, Viola and Shirley.  When the family resided in Oshawa they lived at 34 Elgin Street West.

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Frederick Daniel Maddock, circa 1941; image from OPL Book of Remembrance

Frederick, nicknamed “Red” because of his red hair, attended Centre Street Public School and went to the University of Toronto.  He was employed at General Motors before he enlisted on December 10, 1941 in Toronto.

After enlisting, he received training at Toronto, Moose Jaw, Trenton and McDonald, Manitoba.  In September 1943 he was sent overseas where he was a registered Flight Sergeant in the Royal Canadian Air Force, Division 15.

An article published in the Oshawa Daily Times on July 22, 1944 had a headline reading “Oshawa FL-SGT is believed killed – F.D. “Red” Maddock Reported Missing Some Weeks Ago.” The International Red Cross at Geneva reported that he had lost his life on May 25, 1944.  He is buried in Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, Netherlands.

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F.D. Maddock Grave Marker, Groesbeen Canadian War Cemetery, Netherlands; image from Find a Grave

When the message was sent home that he had died, his brother Clifford, the only other brother who was eligible to fight in the war, was honourably discharged and sent home to his family.  The loss of one son was enough for the family.  It was common practice during WWII when a sibling died and there was more than one child fighting for our country, they would be honorably discharged and sent home.

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From Google Streetview

The veteran streets named Maddock Drive and Maddock Court in Oshawa are located at the east end of Oshawa, off Townline Road, north of Adelaide Avenue East and south of Beatrice Street East. Like other veteran’s streets, there is a poppy on the sign for Maddock Drive.