Thank you BC Ferries

Written by Harold McNeill on November 15th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


BC-Ferries

The following letter was first published on Facebook following a rant by an Island resident, Sean Smith of Nanaimo.
After making the post it seems many FB friends also think highly of the service.

November 15, 2014
Victoria, B.C.

Dear Sean Smith,

Re: Your Rant about BC Ferries (Link Here)

I went through your rant point by point and while some of what is said seems superficially reasonable, if one delves in deeper, I think you’re wrong on almost every point. Having ridden various coastal ferries thousands of times over the past fifty years, I find the service to be exceptional and would stack it above every other ferry service in the world (e.g. England, NZ, Mediterrean, USA, etc.). Many of the others provide good service, they just don’t match BC Ferries. (32)

Facebook Photo Albums Easy Access

Written by Harold McNeill on November 14th, 2014. Posted in Editorials


Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 9.29.13 AM

Facebook Screen Shot
(Double Click to Open in Full Size)

Facebook Photo Albums Easy Access

Have you ever tried to locate a specific Photo Album in your Facebook files?  When writing stories, as well as at times on the request of others, I have had to locate a specific photo album. If the file was a few years back, it can be a tedious process. Those who are more experienced in the technology, you may have a quicker method, but after sitting down one day in an seemingly endless search for one album in the 400 or so on my regular FB and another 150 on McNeill Life Stories FB pages, I decided to index.   It took me only an 45 minutes.  Given I have wasted that much time on a single search, I can now do the search in less than a minute.  How?

Bookmarking: Am I just slow or what?

Starting at the top (or bottom if you wish), hover over the name of the album, and the drop down box allows you to index on your Bookmarks Page.  Simple stuff I know, but until I figured this out I had wasted dozens of hours finding specific albums.  Below is one same of the albums uploaded back in 2008 at Mom’s 90th Birthday Party.  It is so nice just to be able to click on the specific file and be taken back six years to the exact file.

Cheers,

Harold

Facebook Screen Shot

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Bert Ramsden (1921 – 2014): A Canadian War Hero

Written by Harold McNeill on November 10th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


In Memory of Herbert W. Ramsden
1921 – 2014

Herbert (Bert) W. Ramsden

On November 3, 2014 Pilot Officer Herbert (Bert) W. Ramsden, passed away peacefully at his home in Saanich, British Columbia. The young war hero and others who fought with him in the Second World War shall not be forgotten.

“At the age of 93, Bert joins his beloved wife, Marie who predeceased him in 2004, as well as parents, Joseph and Mercy and brothers, Cal (Eleanor) and Cec (Bess).  Born in Castor, Alta., Bert is survived by his son, Don (Nancy); daughter, Karen (Chip); grandchildren, Andrea (Chris), Jennie (Trevor), Jon, Jamie and Jeff and great-grandchild, Zachary.” (McCall’s Funeral Chapel)

memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm on Friday, November 14, 2014  at
St. Aidan’s United Church, 3703 St. Aidan’s Street in Victoria.  

After a chance meeting at a Son’s of Norway dinner in early 2012, I continued to meet regularly with Bert over that spring to learn more about his years as a bomber pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force.  Bert still had many photographs along with all his log books from the time he began training, until he mustered out in 1945.

His service with the RCAF included dozens of missions into the Fjords of Norway, where, in one battle that became known as Black Friday, eleven of Bert’s fellow pilots and navigators were killed. Bert and his co-pilot along with a few other aircraft from the 404 Beaufighter Squadron  managed to escape and return to base.  Over the course of several meetings Bert told me the full story of his war experience.  Thaty story, titled Black Friday in Norway, was written and posted in June, 2012.

Ninety-one at the time of our meetings, Bert was ever the affable pilot officer who was still more than able to charm the young women at our various coffee stops and restaurants we frequented along the way. While his vision was failing, his mind remained sharp as a tack and his easy going manner made him a hit.  Bert was also a humble man who did not think his actions in war were anything extraordinary – he was just doing his job.

The photos in the post and in the photo album attached to the post were copied mainly  from Bert’s personal files and from various Web Sites that carried information about Black Friday battle.  During the period of research and writing, an amazing coincidence became apparent with that coincidence being written up in a separate post (linked in the main story).

Tomorrow we shall take some time to remember Bert and the thousands of other young men and woman who left their homes, families, farms, businesses and careers to join in the Second World War effort in Europe and other parts off the world.  While Bert returned home without injury, many of his comrades in arms were not so lucky and it is on November 11 of each year we celebrate these young men and women whose sacrifice made to made our world a better place.  While I say that Bert returned without injury, it is clear he still carried with him, even at the age of 91, great sadness that he returned while so many of his flying comrades died in the battles in the skies above Norway and elsewhere.

We shall remember Bert.

Harold McNeill
November 10, 2014
Victoria, B.C.

Link to Black Friday in Norway

Link to an Amazing Coincidence

Remembering Viet Nam

Link to Remembrance Day 2012  (with photo of Lynn’s Dad and Mom at their wedding, in England, just before Lynn’s Dad left for the front in Italy).

  (59)

Local Communities: Keeping the Spirit Alive

Written by Harold McNeill on November 3rd, 2014. Posted in Editorials


 

IMG_6476

New Years Eve 2013 (Brentwood Inn):  While young people are always a big part of the spirit of every community, the current demographic is a new breed committed to maintaining and improving small communities and they have the power to greatly influence how life in the Capital Region will unfold by Keeping the Spirit Alive.

November 9, 2014: A new post on McNeill Life Stories Facebook Page:
Thirteen Communities and Ninety-Two largely Volunteer Councilors 

The Real Costs of Amalgamation (Time Colonist November 23, 2014)

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.776629185742800.1073741925.347263575346032&type=1

To our younger family members and friends in the Capital Region,

Do you think it possible that one morning you might wake up and your community, as you know it, was suddenly changed forever?  I am not referring to a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane, but to a political change that would effect the very fabric of your community and the social glue that holds it together.  Please take a few minutes to digest the attached post and other links provided in the footer. (133)

Remembrance Day 2012

Written by Harold McNeill on November 10th, 2012. Posted in Editorials


November 11, 2012: Remembrance Day

Edna and Earl Davis (Lynn McNeill’s mother and father) at their Wedding in August 1943.  Earl met Edna while serving in England and they married shortly after. After spending one night together, Earl shipped out for combat in Italy where he spent the rest of his war years fighting in the Italian Campaign. The couple were not reunited until after the war when Earl returned to Canada and Edna joined him shortly after as one of the hundreds of young war brides. Chapter 1 of Black Friday (see notes below) provides more of the history of the Davis Family as they criss crossed the Atlantic.

Remembrance

Nations have always found many reasons to go to war and although worldwide conflict has decreased significantly since the end of World War 2, conflict between nations and ideologies still take far to many lives. Perhaps within this century, a lasting peace will be attained.

November 11th is set aside as a day too remember the millions of military personnel and civilians (men, woman and children) that have been killed, injured, orphaned, displaced or otherwise had their lives drastically changed as a result of war.

The following articles trace some of the history as well as well as the experience of one soldier, a bomber pilot, Bert Ramsden, now 92 years of age and living in Victoria:

A Pittance of Time (For Video Link Here)

Black Friday in Norway (Link Here)

Chapter 1:   The World at War: Remembering our History includes a bit of the history of Lynn’s Mom, a War Bride from England who came to Canada after the war with her Dad who served in the Italian campaign during the closing years of World War 2.

Chapter 2:   Meeting a World War 2 Veteran, Bert Ramsden

Chapter 3:  In The Early Years Bert traces his path through High School and into the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941.

Chapter 4:  Basic Training in Alberta and Saskatchewan

Chapter 5:  Off to War with Prime Minister Winston Churchill  (as surprise passenger on the ship that took Bert to England)

Chapter 6: Black Friday (An Attack in Norway)

Chapter 7: Allied Losses on Black Friday

Chapter 8: End Notes

Link to an Amazing Coincidence

Remembering Viet Nam

Photographs (Link Here)

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Black Friday in Norway

Written by Harold McNeill on June 9th, 2012. Posted in Biographies


Above: Artists depiction of Beaufighters from the Australian 455 Squadron attacking German Ships in a Norwegian Fjord.
Along with the Australians, the RCAF (Royal Canadian) Squdron 404 (pictured below), RNZAF (Royal New Zealand), Squadron 489 and RAF (English) Squadron 144,
took part in one the the largest Air Battles to ever take place in the skies over Norway. Bert Ramsden was part of battle.

In Memory of Bert Ramsden
1921 – 2014

Bert Ramsden

November 3, 2014
Pilot Officer Bert Ramsden, the subject of this story, passed away peacefully at his home in Saanich, British Columbia. The young man who fought in the Second World War shall not be forgotten.

At the age of 93, Bert joins his beloved wife, Marie who predeceased him in 2004, as well as parents, Joseph and Mercy and brothers, Cal (Eleanor) and Cec (Bess).  Born in Castor, Alta., Bert is survived by his son, Don (Nancy); daughter, Karen (Chip); grandchildren, Andrea (Chris), Jennie (Trevor), Jon, Jamie and Jeff and great-grandchild, Zachary.

A memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm on Friday, November 14, 2014  at
St. Aidan’s United Church, 3703 St. Aidan’s Street in Victoria.  

The following story was written after several interviews with Bert first at his home in Saanich and then at various coffee shops along Shelbourne Street during May and June, 2014.  At 91, Bert was ever the affable pilot officer who was still more than able to charm the young women at our various coffee stops along the way.

The photos in this post and in the attached photo album were copied mainly  from Bert’s personal files and from various Web Sites that carried information about Black Friday.  During the period of research and writing, an amazing coincidence became apparent. This coincidence was written up in a separate post that may be linked below the names of those show in the photo below.

Bert was one of thousands of young men who left their homes, families, farms, businesses and careers to join the Second World War effort in Europe and other parts off the world.  While Bert returned home without injury, many of his comrades in arms were not so lucky and it is on November 11, each year that we celebrate these young men and the sacrifice they made to make our world a better place.  While I say that Bert returned without injury, it is clear he still carried with him, even at the age of 91, a degree of guilt that he walked away when so many of his flying comrades died in the battles in the skies above Norway and elsewhere.

We shall remember Bert.

Harold McNeill
November 9, 2014
Victoria, B.C.

Pilot Officer Bert Ramsden and the Flying 404

RCAF Squadron 404 (Circa Spring, 1945, Banff, Scotland)

Ramsden Photo Files: RCAF 404 Squadron, Bert Ramsden is standing
immediately below and to the right of the ”V3“.

Ramsden and 404 Squadron

A high resolution copy of this photo, in which all the faces and printing is clear, can be obtained by leaving a note on this posting or by sending an email to: harold@mcneillifestories.com
(double click to open in larger size)

Top Row on Wings
F/L Stewart (standing), F/O Bondy, P/O Wade, P/O Michael (standing centre), P/O Flynn (below Michael), F/L Foord (standing), F/O Nelson (front of Foord), F/O Gibbard, W/O Gracie, F/O Catrand.

Second Row Down (immediatly below wing L/R)
F/S Aube(y), F/S Orser, F/O Mallilieu, F/O Williams, F/Lt Hill, F/O Cook, F/O Burns, P/O Bryce, P/O Ramsden, P/O Elliot, F/O Jones, F/O Bedwell, P/O Wright, P/O Camanella

Second Row Below Wing
F/S Henderson, F/Lt Ball, P/O Landry, F/O Aljoe, F/O Coyne, F/O Tomes, F/Lt Rancourt,
F/L Toon(e), F/Lt Jackson, F/O McKnight, P/O Temple, F/O Lee, F/O Johnson, F/O McCallan,
P/O Moe, F/O Stansak, F/O Miller, F/O Jasper.

Bottom Row (L to R)
F/O Panuk, not named, F/Lt Wilkinson, F/Lt Hill, Capt Chodoroff, S/Ld Inman, F/Lt Bolli, S/L Schoales,
W/C Pierce, S/L Christinson, S/L Jones, F/L Watlington, F/L Beacook, F/L Spencer, F/L Corder
F/O Hines, F/O Keele

Missing from Photo
F/O Elbury, P/O Wallace, W/O Rumble (P/O Ramsden’s Navigator)

For an Amazing Coincidence regarding placements in the above photo
LINK HERE

To view the full set of photos of events surrounding this story:
Link here to McNeill Life Stories Facebook Page

A Pittance of Time (For Video Link Here)

Black Friday: An Epic Air Battle of World War II

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Comments

  • Karen

    September 28, 2014 |

    Hi Harold!
    Great Post! LOVE the pictures and story! Would love to know if you have any photos of my Mom or other stories about her. I never knew she lived at Peggy’s or worked at A&W. :)
    K

  • Harold McNeill

    September 28, 2014 |

    Thanks Sis will add his name. The opening comment was also updated. It was the 1961 Honour Roll was it not. Tell Frank that if I missed anything, let me know and I will add it. I’ve gone this far, no use holding back now.

  • Louise

    September 27, 2014 |

    The drummer is Gary McLaughlan

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  • Harold McNeill

    September 14, 2014 |

    Hi Kenneth. A little history in some of the other posts and at one time I spoke with several people who lived in the area (or were relatives of those who did. Probably the people I spoke too were relatives of yours. I will send a note out to a few people who may have something to add. Cheers, Harold

  • Hutchinson,Kenneth

    September 14, 2014 |

    My great uncle,Arthur Leland Mason,I believe lived(homestead?) in “Harlan” just after WW I,in which he served.I was under the impression Harlan was in Alberta,but I have no record of his exact farm site.Would anyone reading this be able to tell me anything more about Harlan and whether I can find any buildings ,people ,etc. Acquainted with Harlan.In honor of Uncle”Archie” as he was known and WW I ,I am trying to piece together what my living relatives cannot help me with.
    Thanks

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