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November 4th, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 43
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Remembering the Dunlops
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Mr. and Mrs. Dunlop pictured in front of their home.
WO Charles (Chuck) Gresl, CD
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
This year will mark 100 years since John McCraes’ poem In Flanders Field was first written and published. It is a somber reminder that our nation paid a heavy toll for the freedoms we enjoy today. I think it is only fitting that we remember two families from the Crowsnest Pass this year on November 11th. The Dunlop family from Frank and the White family from Bellevue. The families would both played a significant role in two World Wars with two different outcomes.

The Dunlop family from Frank emigrated from Scotland at the turn of the century settling in Frank around 1905. In August of 1914 the world went to War for the first time. It was truly the first global war that affected every nation on earth. Like most families new to Canada the Dunlop’s felt it was their duty to defend the British Empire for King and country. This call to duty would come at a heavy price with three sons and a father enlisting in the Canadian Army. Daniel Dunlop Sr. 56 th Battalion , Daniel Dunlop Jr. Canadian Mounted Rifles , James Dunlop 52 Battalion, John Burt 49th Battalion. By June of 1916 all three Dunlop boys would be killed in action in the fields of Flanders . John Burt the youngest was only 16 years old. For our society it is inconceivable to think that boys went to war at such a young age to defend the freedoms of Canada . But by the spring of 1916 the youth of Canada was destroyed in the fields of Europe. Recruiters would often turn a blind eye to age and enlist boys as young as 15 years old. One can only imagine the pain of Mrs. Dunlop having lost three boys in a conflict on the other side of the globe with no known grave as all three of the Dunlops will forever rest in the fields of Flanders. Upon hearing the news of John Bert, Daniel Sr. their father, was sent home from the front and returned to Canada. His medical records state that upon hearing the news of the death of his son Daniel. “He was a tired old soldier after the news of his last son.” In a lasting tribute to his sons after the war Mr. Dunlop erected the memorial in Frank dedicated to the memory of his sons. We can take solace in the fact that although their bodies were never recovered they are remembered each night in Ypres, Belgium where at 8 O’ clock sharp the last post has been played every night since 1927 only with an interruption of World War 2 when the German army occupied the town .
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When the gate was opened in 1927 the names of almost 55,000 soldiers of the commonwealth who have no known grave were etched in stone as solemn reminder of the price of freedom with these words from Field Marshall Plummer “He is not missing he is here”

The next family is very similar to the Dunlops with the exception all three brothers would survive World War 2 and come home to reside in Bellevue after the War. The White boys, Joe, John Dan and Jim would all enlist in the Canadian Army to serve in some of the deadliest battles of the Second World War. They also were no exception to heart break as Mrs. Rose White (nee) Gresl would lose three of her brothers in the Coalhurst Mine Explosion in December of 1935 only to see three of her boys march off to war five years later.

As the Nazi war machine rolled across Europe in the fall of 1940 and spring of 1941 a student was attending school to become a teacher only to drop out and enlist with the Calgary Tank Regiment . Years later when asked in an interview “ Why did you join the army ?” Trooper John Dan White would reply “Because Hitler was trying to take over the world “ His enlistment would be followed by his two brothers Joe and Jim. All three brothers would serve proudly until the wars end in 1945.

The Calgary Tank Regiment was stationed in Camp Borden Ontario until June of 1941 where they would train the newly acquired Churchill tank . Once overseas in England the Regiment would continue to train on the Salisbury plains in England until a fateful day in August of 1942. On 19 August 1942 the Canadian army would receive their baptism by fire on the beaches of Dieppe. Known as operation Jubilee the Canadians would take the German army head on for the first time with devastating results . Upon embarking on this mission the Canadians were told, “this will be a raid and you will be back in England for supper later that day”. This was not to be, of the 5000 Canadians who landed at Dieppe 3,367 would be killed ,wounded or taken prisoner with a casualty rate of 68%.

One of these prisoners would be Trooper White who would later recall upon hearing the word to surrender “I took off my pistol and dropped it in the bottom of my tank in fear that the Germans would take it from me and shoot me on the beach”. This of course did not happen as he and so many other Canadians would spend the next three years in a POW camp until the war ended in 1945. What has always amazed about soldiers is the ability to find the silver lining in the worst of all situations. As Trooper White and his pal Elmer Cole were being lead off the beaches of Dieppe with their arms in the air , John Dan looked at Elmer and said “Well Elmer guess were not going back home for super tonight.“
continued below ...
While Trooper White was a POW in Germany his brother Private Joe White, was busy with the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps with Operation Torch in North Africa. As a member of the RCASC it was Joe’s job to deliver supplies to the front line troops as they advanced across the battle fields of Africa and Europe. Joe would participate in operations in North Africa , Italy and Holland. While I visited Europe a few years ago I sat in a bar enjoying a beer when I had some elderly couples ask where I was from. Of course I proudly said Canada. As we chatted and I told them that one of my family members had served in Holland they were forever grateful explaining that is was the Canadians who liberated and saved them from starvation. I too am forever grateful to Private Joe White for what he and so many others did 70 years ago.

In the summer of 1942 the Canadian Army adopted a new form of moving soldiers onto the battlefield for the first time in history. Soldiers would parachute in behind enemy lines ahead of advancing allied troops. One of these new paratroopers would be Private Jim White. At only 17 Private White needed his parents’ consent to enlist. Much to his mother’s dismay she told her husband, “we might as well sign the papers because he’s going to join anyway”. With papers in hand Private Jim White would join the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, the elite of the Canadian army. Because paratroops were so new to Canada Private White completed his parachute training in Fort Benning Georgia where only the fittest and most mentally resilient soldiers would complete this grueling regime. The next few years would be spent in England in preparations for the largest assault force in the history of warfare, Operation Overlord D –DAY June 6th 1944 the invasion of fortress Europe. Just after midnight on the 5th of June the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion would jump behind enemy lines ahead of the allied forces. Private White was one of these elite soldiers. The Battalion was the only unit who secured all objectives and never lost a battle during the war. Cpl Jim White would survive the jump but would not return home unscathed. In April of 1945 just weeks before the greatest conflict in history would end, he was shot in the shoulder by an enemy soldier. Much to the delight of his parents their youngest son was the first to return to Canada followed by John Dan and Joe . After the war all three White brothers would reside in Bellevue until their deaths.

So why do we remember ? All of us alive today were not even born during the First World War and only a few remain who lived through the great depression of the thirties and the Second World War. We remember because it’s important we remember families like the Dunlops , the Whites and thousands of other families who gave so much for the freedoms we enjoy today. We take time because we need to remember, to quote Ken Dryden the goalie for the Montreal Canadians in the 1970s “But when we pass the torch and someday we must ,if you dont hold it high ,if ye break faith with us , we shall have died for nothing . We shall have served no purpose and be truly dead.
It is you who comes after us that make us matter . It’s you who keeps us alive.

The Crowsnest Pass Herald would like to thank Warrant Officer Charles (Chuck) Gresl for providing us with this article and photo and also for his service to this country. Thank you.
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November 4th ~ Vol. 85 No. 43
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