For great Canadian reading on WW2– written by a veteran who lived it– look no farther than the trilogy by George G. Blackburn: Where the Hell Are the Guns?: A Soldier’s View of the Anxious Years, 1939-44, and The Guns of Normandy: A Soldier’s Eye View, France 1944, and The Guns of Victory: A Soldier’s Eye View, Belgium, Holland, and Germany, 1944-45
For a great Canadian multi-part video series, look up Norm Christie’s For King and Empire (WW1), and For King & Country (WW2) here on YouTube.
As I write, and remember, Canada is being threatened with death, along with the West. We are masked, and locked down, and told what to do, and what not to do. We are under threat and direct attack from Global Reset Globalism, a popular and pernicious new form of the very same old totalitarianism we fought last century as Nazis, Japanese Nationalism, and Communism. #UtopiaNow!
~ SO THERE I AM in early May 1995, on stage at the 1945 VE Day event for the entire province, in front of 1500 veterans, family, and guests.. only to realize I’d left my carefully crafted sermon… AT HOME, 45 minutes away. [BRAIN SPAZZ!]
Breathe!.. think!.. I normally wrote out my sermons as I’d speak them, if not for my moderate stage-fright. No time for that.
I start writing it out on a spare piece of paper, hoping the service I helped compose & the other observances will take a few minutes… Phew!
One of the most awkward but most rewarding moments ever, for a young first-time parish minister, proud to represent my grand uncles, my great uncle Gren who died in WW2, and my Grandfather, who served in Burma. Together with the men & women in front of the stage, I refused to fail them all, as they did not fail us.
Current national misleader (and Remembrance Day avoider) Trudeau & his petty minions do not represent or speak for me, or for so many families of veterans, who boldly say, down the years “WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.” Do it.
God gave me enough to preach as I’d intended that day, and I’ve tried to honour the memory of my own family veterans long years since. I also let the vets have their pick of hymns for local Remembrance Day services, without fussing too hard, as some clergy did back then.
~ HE WAS A VERY very large philosopher. A veritable teddy-bear viking of a man.
My mentor and favourite professor– Dr. Rodger Forsman of the Acadia Philosophy Department, and the Religious Studies Department– made my head hurt. Often.
He put me on edge. He made me ask over and over why I thought what I did, not– like so many progressive professors do– to undermine it, but to help me articulate the reasons, truth, and evidence of things, ideas, whole philosophies. He was smart, kind, rigorous, wise, fair-minded and funny. But he made my head hurt.
He was the father of my adult mind, a mentor, a friend. I give thanks to God for him.
For me, Doc Forsman was a trusty truth-lover, not a coddler, and someone that many students and even other faculty went to to discuss issues and problems, as well as the bigger questions.
For this professor, being merely “right” was never enough. Why? For what reasons? Based on what principles? What evidence? What were the strengths and possible criticisms for any given position? Very Aristotelian/ St. Thomas Aquinas, for a Baptist.
His passion was the writings & sermons of Anglo-Catholic theologian Austin Farrer, chaplain to various Oxford colleges, and friend & pastor to C.S. Lewis. A brilliant thinker and preacher, just when the church was going mad in the 1960s, Farrer is often overlooked, or unknown.
Bring On The Derp
The current mainstream of the arts programs in many universities (Marxist thought for dummies ass mental bubble gum– easy to chew, not very exhausting, and full of smug self-righteousness and judgy, too) had not yet taken over Acadia in the 1980s. Thank heavens.
“Muh Feelz” of the safe-space Social Justice Warriors were not going to tantrum about Dr. Forsman’s upsetting the progressive categories back then. We had some politically correct profs and students bumbling about, but they had not taken over the place, gone nuts, and then run the asylum.
Even in the 90s and early 00s, he saw the rot coming– he observed that– unlike the past– the first task in his philosophy classes was to help students believe in objective truth, and that truth was knowable. He also gave ethics courses in the Business School, which expected a magical “one-size fits-all” moral ethics system, to prevent sleazy business practices– this in the era of Wall Street & Corporate crimes, Enron, and the like.
A Great Man
What I learned to love about him most was that Doc F was cheerfully magnanimous– great-spirited. No matter who you were, and what you thought, you learned to respect him (he was pretty much the smartest guy in the place), some to love him. Unless you were very stupid or lazy or very close-minded, you also left his classes actually knowing things about stuff.
A giant humble gentle man, and gentleman-scholar, teacher, student, husband, father, and mentor to many. And an unashamed Christian, active in the university, his local church, and in the community.
I can only imagine what he’d say of the current Rick Mehta circus-crisis at an institution he loved & served for 40 years of his life. It would not please him in the least, I suspect.
Love you, Doc F. May you rest in peace, and rise in Glory.
The death of Rodger Ernest Winfield Forsman occurred on Sunday, August 13, 2017 at Valley Regional Hospital, Kentville, Nova Scotia from acute myeloid leukemia.
Rodger was born on May 28, 1934 at the farm of his pioneer parents, Ernest Bror Forsman and Margareta Isabella Johanson, east of Strasbourg, Saskatchewan. Rodger had three sisters, Joyce (Lee), Estelle (Anderson), and Yvonne Brown (deceased). Rodger attended both elementary and high school in Strasbourg, and excelled in all of his studies. He attended B.L.T.S. in Calgary in 1951-52.
Working and studying in the automotive trade, he earned his journeyman papers in Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair in 1957. Rodger married Lois (Anderson) on July 28, 1956 in Congress, Saskatchewan. In 1959 they moved to Hamilton, Ontario where Rodger earned his M.A and M.Div degrees at McMaster University. He then attended the University of Toronto where he earned an M.A. and a Ph.D that he completed in 1973. He also taught at York University and Brock University when he lived in Ontario. In 1971 the family moved to Wolfville, Nova Scotia where he taught for 40 years at Acadia University in the Departments of Religious Studies, Philosophy, and the School of Business.
He was acting Dean of Arts, Senate member, and served on many committees. As a member of Wolfville Baptist Church he sang in the choir for over 30 years, was a deacon, served on the Board of Trustees, and other committees. He also sang in the University Chorus and the Gentlemen’s Chorus.
Rodger is survived by his wife of 61 years, Lois; two sons, Jon (Dominique), La Desirade, Guadeloupe; Andrew (Hooban), San Diego, California; and three precious grandchildren, James, Alexander, and Heidi. He will be missed by many relatives. Cremation has taken place. There will be no visitation, by request. A service of Thanksgiving to God for the life of Rodger Forsman will be held at Manning Memorial Chapel on Monday, August 21, 2017 at 2 pm., Reverend Timothy McFarland and Reverend Doctor Roger Prentice officiating.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Manning Memorial Chapel Endowment Fund or charity of your choice. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the White Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Kentville.
1 Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us.
2 The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning.
3 Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms, men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding, and declaring prophecies:
4 Leaders of the people by their counsels, and by their knowledge of learning meet for the people, wise and eloquent are their instructions:
5 Such as found out musical tunes, and recited verses in writing:
6 Rich men furnished with ability, living peaceably in their habitations:
7 All these were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of their times.
8 There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported.
9 And some there be, which have no memorial; who are perished, as though they had never been; and are become as though they had never been born; and their children after them.
10 But these were merciful men, whose righteousness hath not been forgotten.
11 With their seed shall continually remain a good inheritance, and their children are within the covenant.
12 Their seed standeth fast, and their children for their sakes.
13 Their seed shall remain for ever, and their glory shall not be blotted out.
14 Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore.
15 The people will tell of their wisdom, and the congregation will shew forth their praise.
16 Enoch pleased the Lord, and was translated, being an example of repentance to all generations.
17 Noah was found perfect and righteous; in the time of wrath he was taken in exchange for the world; therefore was he left as a remnant unto the earth, when the flood came.
18 An everlasting covenant was made with him, that all flesh should perish no more by the flood.
19 Abraham was a great father of many people: in glory was there none like unto him;
20 Who kept the law of the most High, and was in covenant with him: he established the covenant in his flesh; and when he was proved, he was found faithful.
21 Therefore he assured him by an oath, that he would bless the nations in his seed, and that he would multiply him as the dust of the earth, and exalt his seed as the stars, and cause them to inherit from sea to sea, and from the river unto the utmost part of the land.
22 With Isaac did he establish likewise for Abraham his father’s sake the blessing of all men, and the covenant, And made it rest upon the head of Jacob. He acknowledged him in his blessing, and gave him an heritage, and divided his portions; among the twelve tribes did he part them.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost: as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
~ HISTORY BELONGS to the victors, etc., blah blah blah. That may be a healthy warning against one-sided records of history; it can also be a way of denying what really happened, and saying “we’re no better than them.” It is possible to win the war, and lose the peace in what is later said about that war.
After WWI, the pacifists and other pro-militarist West-haters among the victors watered down Germany’s war-record, partly enabling the lie that Germany was “stabbed in the back” from within (socialists, communists, Jews), and thus led to the rise of Hitler. There was a horrible inevitability to it all.
The Real Problem
Versailles was a flawed peace not because it was too harsh, but because the gnawing cancer of Teutonic Supremacism had not been chopped out of the German heart. Germany– thought all right-thinking Germans– was simply better; supreme & destined; a race of supermen could not to bow to lesser races, even in apparent defeat. Hitler was inevitable, in that sense, and the pacifists and the militarists agreed in one thing: might makes right. Even in 1918-19, Germany utterly refused to learn their needful lesson.
Let’s remember the actual WWI record: to get to France, Germany had to toss aside a treaty with Belgium; when the Belgians fought back, the Germans began a policy of mass executions of innocent civilians across Belgium and Northern France; the Germans invented and the Kaiser’s forces were the first to use poison gas against allied troops, and to declare unrestricted war via u-boats. Belgium was literally and economically raped: the Germans packed up whole factories worth billions and sent them home. The Germans invented and used zeppelins to bomb cities. German troops burnt the city of Louvain, including a medieval library full of treasured manuscripts. They also used famine as a weapon of war against millions of Belgians and French citizens. They were allowed: the rules don’t apply to the Superior Races.
That is, the many German atrocities of WWI became a rehearsal for the atrocities of WW2. A history of denial in the West covered up, minimized, or argued that the allies were no better or worse than the Germans (the tu quoque fallacy); that the treaties including Versailles were an unjust punishment; that Germany had been betrayed, treated shabbily, and just needed a fair chance. Combined with Darwin-inspired Aryan racial theories, such Teutonic Supremacism boiled along merrily under the superficially democratic potlid of the Wiemar Republic.
Auschwitz & More
The little horrors of the early 20th century would be sown like dragon’s teeth across Europe, and– as in the Soviet Union– would become matters of far greater horrors, as total war and atrocities became almost normal… just part of ordinary war-making, society-molding, and totalitarian world-grabbing.
Those who, in the modern setting, ignore a resurgent Russia, or a clamorous Islam for reasons of cowardice, misunderstanding, pacifism, are much like their fellow panderers in the 1920s and onwards. They float along in a willed ignorance and blindness, hoping luck and apologies will prevent greater evils. Even worse are those who misuse the freedoms of the West to act like dictators, as if 1914-1945 never happened.
Those who refuse to read history properly are doomed to have it happen all over again, on fire and with bells on. ~
~ I’M NOT SURE, but I may have rolled my eyes. Or, more likely, just looked down and hid my expression.
It was the local RC priest preaching that year for the area Remembrance Day church service, and for some reason he was going on about how war is bad, the evils of war, and the military-industrial something or other, and the assembled veterans and family and community members were restless, and angry at this harangue. How needless, and stupid, and offensive. I suppose his college and seminary professors would have all approved.
And Now, The Rebuttal
The next year, it was my turn to preach. I remembered what had been said the year before. Does anybody really need to tell honest-to-God war veterans that war is horrible, regrettable, wasteful, and messy? No. All I could remember was poring over the photos my Grampa George took of India and Burma, and then– after a certain point– he’d just stop, and get up, crying. The great adventure had that dark side, of deeds done, things seen, friends missing or worse.
I asked God for the wisdom and strength and sensitivity not to waste such an opportunity, nor to ever throw contempt into the faces and hearts assembled there. So I preached to my Grampa, looking out on a sea of gray hair and wrinkled faces. I spoke about the good and bad of war, of people and places remembered, of God’s love known and seen in the worst of times and present with us still in times of peace and freedom, and I actually said “nobody needs to tell the eyewitnesses that war is hell”. I told the story of my Grampa and his happy memories, and his tears. I also said that the peace and freedom for which so many suffered and died was still worth fighting for, so that in the Canada of 1995, we might look to save our unborn, 2 000 000 dead in the last 20 years, that Hitler’s dreams of control over others and the weakest might die once and for all. That the sacrifices of those years not be cast away in our time.
The local RC priest looked daggers at me, partly because he knew this was a rebuttal– but directed to speaking the truth in love, and to those gathered men and women. Afterwards, the centotaph ceremony down, a good number of the vets thanked me for my words.
To my surprise, a big old fellow came up to me, and asked about my Grandfather, and the unit he served in during his Burma days (435 “Chinthe” Transport and Rescue Squadron). “Yes, I thought it might be.” He had known my Grampa, and as we talked, he also broke down in tears. He promised to send me something, and a few weeks later, a photocopied 3-4 page article arrived, detailing the unit, the work, and lo and behold, there in the front row of the picture, sleeves rolled up and brown as a nut was my then-young Grandfather, with all the men of his section posing proud and strong.
In 1995, I head the great honour of helping prepare the service, and preaching at, the provincial gathering for the 50th Anniversary of VE Day, in Louisbourg. I did not tell them that war was bad. 1500 gathered vets, family, military officers, chaplains, and all the rest. I did forget the printed copy of my sermon at home, and spent the first 20 minutes of the ceremony surreptitiously writing down my main points on a stray piece of paper. Eep!
Still, And More
For we are ever more at war, against enemies outside and within, of cowards and surrender-minded folks, of people who really aren’t sure if what we have and who we are is worth believing, defending, let alone dying for. Abortion is down slightly, but most of our murdered pre-born kids are killed for reasons of pleasure, hedonism, and social convenience. 100 000 every year; since I preached that sermon, we’ve slaughtered another 900 000. Hitler’s favourite eugenics– getting rid of the handicapped, elderly, and inferior– is now called family planning. The possible next Prime Minister of Canada is an intellectual and moral lightweight, who panders to militant Islam, and acts the dictator within his own party. You’ll remember his spoiled rich father, Pierre Trudeau, the anti-semite and wartime fascist who thought it a great joke to dress up as a Nazi soldier and drive around in Jewish neighbourhoods of Montreal during the war he avoided serving in.
In 2014, political correctness and totalitarian progressivism represent an auto-immune disease of Western Societies, weakened inwardly, prey to opportunistic infections like radical Islam, abortionism, feminism, intellectual Leftism, open Communism and anti-semitism, racism and so much more. The battle is not over by a long stretch in each year and age– Hitler may be dead, but Hitlerism, Stalinism, Maoism, and other homegrown forms of dictatorship, death, and societal suicide abide with us. And outside, creeping in the gates, comes the wolfish bloody-handed hordes of Mohammedism, head-cutting and seducing, and presenting an impossibly simplistic universe for the same kind of souls who eagerly joined the SS in Germany. Evil is alive, ever seeking opportunity, blood, souls to mislead, and good things to bring down to ruin.
These our our times, our battles. As the spiritual leader of the war against evil in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Gandalf the Grey says:
‘Other evils there are that may come; for Sauron is himself but a servant or emissary. Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.’ ― Gandalf, ‘The Lord of the Rings’, Book V, Chapter 9.
~ FOR SEVERAL years, on Remembrance Day, I’ve sent people to my memorial-page for my great-uncle Gren Stanley, shot down in 1943. Feel free to go read it again, to get the background. He fought and died for the freedom we enjoy from that day to this.
Out Of The Blue
As it turns out, there is an amazing second chapter to Grenville’s story, all because of that original posting. This e-mail arrived last Remembrance Day, 2013, from the Wings Museum in England.
I am writing regarding the brother of your grandmother, Flight Sergeant Grenville Gordon Stanley RCAF. I am writing on behalf of Kevin Hunt, curator of Wings Museum in England. He and others have located the Halifax bomber remains that your great uncle was on and are erecting a memorial in honour of that flight crew. They are looking for relatives to attend this memorial service in 2014. It looks to me like you should be one who is invited to attend. Can you help me out with more information and likewise I can reciprocate.
ps: I was at a similar memorial service this last May, 2013 for my uncle whom I am named after and was very satisfied with the respect and dignity bestowed upon the flight crew that the memorial and what it represented to both the locals and the relatives who attended.
My post, Googled, led to this museum doing something wonderful & moving.
As it turned out, on June 21st 2014, Gren’s great-nephew and great-niece (my brother Michael, and 1st cousin Karin), and Gren’s nephew and his wife (John, above, & his wife Maxine) attended the special ceremony for the crew of Halifax DT556 in Kasterlee Belgium, on the actual site where Gren’s bomber crashed. They also visited his grave in the war cemetery nearby.
Simply awesome. What a gift for our family, and so many others. A proper museum doing such an important work, for relatives, for those times, for airplanes lost, for many in Europe who are still grateful for their freedoms paid for at such a price. This work continues– please consider a donation.
On Saturday 21st June 2014 a memorial was unveiled at Gootress near the town of Kasterlee in Belgium to the crew of a 76 Squadron Halifax bomber which was shot down in the early hours of 2nd March 1943. The memorial was a joint venture between the Wings Museum, the Heemkundige Kring a local history group in Kasterlee and the community of Kasterlee. 11 relatives of 2 of the crew attended the memorial service traveling from England & Canada.
The investigation into the circumstances of the loss of Halifax DT556 & her crew were first investigated in 1998 when the Wings Museum wrote to the local Mayor for information on the incident. Several searches were made over the years by the Wings Musuem with lots of small fragments being recovered, these findings backed up eye witness reports that the Halifax exploded over the small hamlet of Gootress scattering wreckage on the surface of the fields. These pieces also confirmed that this was indeed a Mark II Halifax by identification from part numbers located on the wreckage. The investigation came full circle when finally in 2014 a memorial was unveiled to commemorate the crew.
The Last Flight of DT556…
Handley Page Halifax II Serial Number DT556 MP-U was one of two 76 Squadron Halifaxes lost on the night of the 1st/2nd March 1943. The crew of DT556 took off at 18.27 from RAF Linton-on-Ouse to bomb Berlin. A second pilot by the name of Arthur Thomas Wheatley was on board DT556 to gain combat air experience.
After bombing the target and on the homeward leg of the flight DT556 was shot down by a German night fighter at 00.13 at Grootrees near Kasterlee in Begium. The aircraft exploded in mid air scattering wreckage over a 1km radius. Tragically out of the 8 crew members on board only 3 managed to bale out, 2 being captured by the Germans and 1 managed to evade back to England. 5 of the crew were buried at SCHOONSELHOF Cemetery.
On 1/2nd March 1943 a bomber force of 302 aircraft which was comprised of 156 Lancasters, 86 Halifaxes, and 60 Stirlings were briefed to bomb Berlin. During the raid the Pathfinders experienced difficulty in producing concentrated marking because individual parts of the extensive built-up city area of Berlin could not be distinguished on the H2S screens. Bombing photographs showed that the attack was spread over more than 100 square miles with the main emphasis in the south-west of the city. However, because larger numbers of aircraft were now being used and because those aircraft were now carrying a greater average bomb load, the proportion of the force which did hit Berlin caused more damage than any previous raid to this target. This type of result, with significant damage still being caused by only partially successful attacks was becoming a regular feature of Bomber Command raids. Some bombs hit the Telefunken works at which the H2S set taken from the Stirling shot down near Rotterdam was being reassembled.
The set was completely destroyed in the bombing but a Halifax of 35 Squadron with an almost intact set crashed in Holland on this night and the Germans were able to resume their research into H2S immediately. 17 aircraft, they being 7 Lancasters, 6 Halifaxes, and 4 Stirlings were lost on the raid. Returning from the raid shortly after midnight the aircraft was intercepted by an German night-fighter and shot down at 0013 hours, crashing between Kasterlee and Turnhaut (Antwerpen), Belgium. Five of the crew were killed and are interred in the same cemetery, two were captured, but Flying Officer E. L. Souter-Smith avoided capture and reached Switzerland where he was interned. After the Second World War he moved to Australia, but was sadly killed in a motoring accident in 1973.
Saith Teh Binks
We learned a few things about the loss of Halifax DT556: first, that indeed Gren had a fiancee; second, that three of the aircrew bailed out, and survived– “2 being captured by the Germans and 1 managed to evade back to England” according to museum research.
I give thanks this Remembrance Day 2014 for the good people at the Wings Museum in England; the people of Kasterlee, and the local historical association, my relatives for attending (I cannot travel much), and for a young man 71 years ago, who made the supreme sacrifice, that we might be free. Thanks, Great-Uncle Grenville. You are still missed. ~