August 2, 2021. During a recent stay in Fredericton, New Brunswick, we met Ken Barkhouse, and talked about his grandfather’s brother, George Edward MAHAR, who lost his life during WW2.
Born in St George, New Brunswick on June 2, 1914, George was the son of Wellington Dorcas Ellen Mahar of Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick. At the time of his enlistment with the 8th Anti-Aircraft Battery in St John, New Brunswick on September 20, 1939, he was married to Freda Augusta and employed as a tin decorator with Connors Brothers, a canning plant in Black’s Harbour. He and Freda had a daughter, Donna Blanche, born in 1939. A son, Edward, was born in 1942.
After receiving training as a Gunner, he transferred to the 50th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery in Aldershot, Nova Scotia on August 15, 1942, and appointed to the rank of Bombardier.
On February 10, 1944 his request to revert to the rank of Gunner so he could ‘join a reinforcement stream’ was accepted. He was re-allocated to an Infantry unit with the rank of Private.
On July 13, 1944 he arrived in the United Kingdom and assigned to the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders Regiment on August 16. The next day he was with the Regiment in northwest Europe, serving in Belgium and The Netherlands.
On November 22, 1944, the Regiment was in the area of Beek, The Netherlands for a seven day period of training, kit inspections, bath parades, and pay parades.
November 26, 1944 was a Sunday. The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders war diary for that day notes that the “…sun shows signs of being out for awhile today. Mild…” Three church services had been organized that morning.
At 9:50 am, as the “…troops were falling in for first Church Parade, disaster struck. Conflicting reports as to exact missile were received but it is thought either a rocket or bomb struck. It demolished a house across road and broke all windows in Battalion building….”
The war diary notes that “…Anti-Aircraft was active some ten minutes ago so it’s quite likely a plane was responsible for this. One observer reports having seen 4 Foch Wolfs, one of which dropped a parachute, prior to the explosion. Exact casualties not yet known but two little girls were killed. The Battalion casualties are 2 killed and 13 wounded….”
George Edward Mahar was one of the two casualties killed that day. The other was Douglas Reginald SCHOFIELD of Guelph, Ontario. Two more men subsequently died.
George is buried at the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands.
Thank you to Ken Barkhouse for telling us about his grand-uncle. Do you have photos or information to share on George Edward Mahar or about the November 26, 1944 incident? If so, please email Pieter at firstname.lastname@example.org, comment on the blog, or tweet to @researchmemori1.
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