December 23, 2021. Sometimes you just get plain lucky. That’s the only explanation we have over the outcome of a several years long search for a photo of WW2 soldier Bernard ‘Barney’ Reuben MCGUIGAN of Sturgeon, Prince Edward Island, who is buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands.
Barney enlisted in 1943, claiming to be 18 years old, but was actually only 15, and was 16 when he lost his life on February 26, 1945 in Germany, just over the Dutch border, during Operation Blockbuster. He’s believed to be the youngest soldier buried in Groesbeek.
This story so tugged at Pieter’s heartstrings that he did media interviews in the hope of finding a photo. Family members came forward, but no one had a photo of this remarkable young man. (Read Barney’s story at https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2020/08/07/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-search-for-barney-reuben-mcguigan/)
….WW2 soldier John ‘Clifford’ Rogers was the key….
In 2021 the very long search for another WW2 soldier from the Island, John ‘Clifford’ ROGERS, was successful when the family of his sister, Gladys O’Reilly, contacted us. (Read Clifford’s story at https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2021/08/24/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-search-for-a-photo-of-john-clifford-rogers-is-successful/)
In addition to having a photo of her brother, Gladys explained that in 1944, Clifford had received training at Coldstream Ranch in Vernon, British Columbia, and was there with 3 other Islanders. One of them was Barney McGuigan!
How did she know that? Pieter asked. Clifford had sent a platoon photo home and on the back he had written down everyone’s names.
With a bit of photoshopping magic, Barney’s image was extracted from the photo by Earle MacDonald and was now visible. Restoration by Earle and Pieter did the rest.
….The Coldstream Ranch photo sent home by John ‘Clifford’ Rogers ….
John ‘Clifford’ Rogers was diligent in labelling this Coldstream Ranch photo he sent home, allowing for the photo identification of Barney McGuigan.
Photo identification per John ‘Clifford’ Rogers:
Top row, left to right: Pte MACRAE of Sydney, Nova Scotia; Pte HAMILTON of Hamilton, Ontario; Pte SINCLAIR of Selkirk, Manitoba; Pte FANCY of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Pte UNDERHILL of New Westminster, British Columbia; Pte YORK of Goose Lake, Alberta; Pte BODDY of Maidstone, Saskatchewan; Pte MCLELLAN of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; Pte AHL of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Pte FAULKNER of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Pte BRUNELLE of Montreal, Quebec.
Second row from the top, left to right: Pte BUCKLAN of Calgary, Alberta; Pte WEBE of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Pte ROBERTSON of St Mary’s, Nova Scotia; Pte GOWER of River Hebert, Nova Scotia; Pte TOEWS of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Pte John ‘Clifford’ ROGERS of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Pte Barney Reuben MCGUIGAN of Montague, Prince Edward Island; Pte BAILEY of Niagara Falls, Ontario; Pte STARCHUK of Kamploops, British Columbia; Pte NOLAN of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Pte GOODRICH of Ottawa, Ontario.
Third row from the top, left to right: Pte JONES of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Pte PHYLIPALE of Moosehead, Saskatchewan; Pte BLANCHARD of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Pte LAFRANCE of Ottawa, Ontario; Pte LAFONTAINE of Big River, Saskatchewan; Pte BRIMICOMBE of Halifax, Nova Scotia; Pte LAFONTAINE of The Pas, Manitoba; Pte CHARLES of Regina, Saskatchewan; Pte GALLANT of Hope River, Prince Edward Island; Pte ROBISON of Fort William, Manitoba; Pte SMITH of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia; Pte PALMQUIST of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Pte DUPLACEY of Jacquet River, New Brunswick; Pte JUSTICE of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Bottom row, left to right: Pte YOUNG of Vancouver, British Columbia; L/Cpl SQUARK of Winnipeg, Manitoba; L/Cpl HOLLOWAY of Vancouver, British Columbia; Pte AUPINER of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; Pte THOMAS of Calgary, Alberta; Pte FLUHE of Chiliwack, British Columbia; Lt CASEY of Brantford, Ontario; Sgt CLARK of Toronto, Ontario; Cpl MELVIN of Edmonton, Alberta; Cpl GRAHAM of Vancouver, British Columbia; Pte ECHEMSMILLER of Galt, Ontario; Pte MERRIMAN of Ottawa, Ontario; L/Cpl WARD of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Cpl RENARD of Portage La Prairie, Manitoba; Cpl WHITLIDGE of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Pte PIKE of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Thank you to Jan and Gladys O’Reilly for sharing the Coldstream Ranch photo, and to Earle MacDonald for help in photo extraction and restoration. If you have photos to share, or recognize any of the names listed in the photo identification, please contact Pieter at firstname.lastname@example.org, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.
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© Daria Valkenburg