Monday, September 21, 2015

52 Ancestors No. 38: WWII Service Files of Canadian War Dead, 1939-1947

Source: Library and Archives Canada file RG24 24929 added more files to the database "WWII Service Files of War Dead, 1939-1947" and I am happy to report that Leo Joseph Broderick's files are now there. Updated records

When I visited the Library and Archives Canada in September 2014, I took only photographs of file RG24 24929. Now the public can access files by visiting:



There are eighty pages now scanned and archived for Leo J. Broderick.Pages 59-139 (use arrow keys at the bottom to scroll through pages)

WWII Service Files of War Dead, 1939-1947

From the website: 

"More than 44,000 individuals are documented in the Second World War Service Files: Canadian Armed Forces War Dead held by Library and Archives Canada (LAC). is pleased to host selections from the service files for almost 100 Canadian soldiers as part of LAC’s “Lest We Forget” educational initiative, which allows students to discover the stories of Canada’s fallen through primary documents. Only records for those who died while serving during the Second World War are available to the public. However, the files that are included in the collection can be rich in content. Each contains multiple documents related to a soldier’s enlistment and service."

Source: Canada, Selected Service Records of War Dead, 1939-1945 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Second World War Service Files: Canadian Armed Forces War Dead [Selected records.] RG 24. Library and Archives Canada. Ottawa, Ontario.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Perusing the News: Col. Timothy J. Moynahan (1870-1935)

My family knows that I LOVE perusing through newspapers. OLD newspapers. The older the better!

Source: The Lehi Sun, Lehi, Utah June 9, 1921

Recently I have been perusing three (new to me) online treasures:
Source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle 1919

I came across Col. Timothy J. Moynahan ( 1870 Ireland -1935 Brooklyn NY) who was a World War 1 war hero and a prominent figure in Irish-American affairs. I learned that he:

  • was one of the best known officers of the National Guard (*)
  • was sent to France as part of a special detachment in the fall of 1917 (*)
  • was wounded in the spring of 1918 (*)
  • was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the fall of 1918 on the field of battle (*)
  • received the Croix de Guerre four times from the French army (twice with the stars and twice with the palm) (*)
  • received the Distinguished Service Cross from the American army (*)
  • received the Legion of Honor from the French nation (*)
  • won six medals and decorations for "extraordinary heroism under fire"
  • served as a Major with the 69th Regt. at the border (*)

Though research at Family Search, I learned that his father was Michael Moynahan and his mother was Catherine Coughlin. (on the 1910 U.S. census, Timothy was living with his mother)

His brother Patrick A Moynahan was an Irish leader in Brooklyn as well (**)

Source: The Lehi Sun, Lehi, Utah June 9, 1921

I could not locate any informatiion about marriages and I believe Timothy was a bachelor. I love telling the stories of unmarried folks from the past because I belive their stories get lost over time with no descendants to search for them.

Source: FindAGrave
Holy Cross Cemetery Brooklyn, NY

As far as I know, there is no relation. He and his brother arrived in America from Cork, County Kerry, Ireland in the late 1800s (My ancestors arived in the 1820s through Pennsylvania)

I am posting these "Moynahan" stories here for the benefit of other "Moynahan" family historians that might be related. Also,given the history of the infamous 69th, I would like Col. Moynahan's name to be found.

Sources and Links
Google Book: The Shamrock Battalion in the Great War

Saturday, September 12, 2015

52 Ancestors No. 36: “Working for a Living.”

This week's theme for Amy Crow's 52 Ancestors is "Working For A Living" and I thought that I would do a review of various occupations in my family tree.

Our ancestor's "Working For A Living"

Most of the information on our ancestor's occupations can be found through reading census reports (1825-1921) or by looking at voters lists (1935-1980).

The last Canadian census report that has been published was 1921 (and is available on (Note that all Canadian census reports prior to 1921 are available for free on the Library and Archives Canada website)

Below is a list of links to pages where I have previously spoken about our ancestor's occupation:

Parke Davis Clerical
Feather Renovators
Fire Chief
Ice Dealer
Railway Worker
Union Leader

Thursday, September 10, 2015

52 Ancestors No. 35: Still Searching for WW II PoW Stories

My first cousin (2x removed) - RCAF Warrant Officer (Bomb Aimer) Leo Joseph Martin Broderick was born December 22, 1919 and died on 06 September 1943 at the young age of 24.

Leo died while flying in a Halifax aircraft performing air operations over Germany during WWII. There were seven young men on the aircraft

Leo Joseph Martin Broderick
On that fatal night that my cousin Leo died, two other men were killed: the pilot RAFVR Sgt A.C.Brunton and the mid upper gunner RAFVR Sgt G.E.Agate. One man was injured Sgt J.E.Vidler and three were taken as prisoners of war:

  • Sgt C.Hewitson 535857 RAF (Flight Engineer) 
  • Sgt R.Thomson 1550695 RAFVR (Navigator) 
  • Sgt J.H.Briggs 1082027 RAFVR (WOp Gunner)
I have searched previously for these POWs in the hopes of locating their stories so that I could learn more about what happened to Leo and the other young men back in September 1943.

 One Million World War II POW Records Now Online

In September on the 70th anniversary of the end of WW II, "Find My Past" released a million prisoner of war records at

The publication, in association with The National Archives, marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II on all fronts on September 2 and the anniversary on September 5 of the liberation of the notorious Changi Prison camp, located on the eastern side of Singapore.

I wondered what the newly released records said and would they help me understand what happened that night? Here is what I found:
  • Sgt J.H. Briggs was held in camp L6 and his POW number was 43105
  • Sgt C. Hewitson was held in camp 4B and his POW number was 222824
  • Sgt R.Thomson was held in camp 4B and his POW number was 222773
I wondered why did the three have different POW numbers and why were they sent to two different camps? To determine information about the camps, I am grateful for the webpage created by the 49 Squadron Association (

POW Camps

Camp L6


L6 stood for Stalag Luft 6 which was in Hydekrug (Silute), Lithuania. Stalag Luft 6 was the northernmost POW camp within the German Reich.

"The opening of the camp was forced upon the Luftwaffe by the large number of PoWs captured during the first half of 1943" (Source:

Sgt J.H. Briggs was seperated from the rest of his crew and sent there for reasons unknown.

Camp 4B


Camp 4B stood for Stalag IVB which was in Mühlberg an der Elbe, Germany. Both Sgt C. Hewitson and Sgt R.Thomson were sent there.  

"This is the location of one of the largest German prisoner of war camps between 1939-1945. In total, approximately 300,000 prisoners from over 40 nations passed through the camp and more than 3,000 Soviet PoWs died here.

When the Soviet Army liberated the camp in April 1945 there were about 30,000 prisoners crowded into the facilities and, of these, 7250 were British."

An impression of Stalag 4B by N Uchtman, a Dutch PoW.

Although I did not locate any detailed accounts from these POW survivors, I have moved closer to knowing what became of them following that fateful September night in 1943.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

52 Ancestors No. 34: Brother Berchmans F.S.C. - A "True Son of De La Salle"

I have written previously about Bernard Broderick who I met in November 1987. The transcript from that brief meeting has proved to be invaluable to me in my Broderick family history research over the years.

Recently, my sister Kelly gave me a new document written in 1992 for Bernard Broderick's memorial that fills in a lot of the gaps in my earlier research.

1992 Memorial document excerpt
The Memorial document stated that Bernard entered the Juniorate at De La Salle College, Aurora in 1929. He was born in 1916 so he was thirteen years of age. His mother Clara (Moynahan) Broderick died ten years earlier when Bernard was only three years old on December 12, 1919.

It's important to differentiate between the Brothers' vocation and that of priesthood. The Brothers' life is centered upon community life and educational ministry. They take the traditional religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, along with a special vow of association for the educational service of the poor.

Boys enter the Juniorate usually with Grade 8. When Bernard received his Senior Novitiate he took the name Brother Berchmans.

Bernard Broderick as a Novitiate
What surprised me most about Brother Berchman's memorial document was that I learned for the first time that:

  • His tour of duty from 1933-1992 took him to many countries all over the world. 
  • He received his B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1950 ( he was 34 years old)
  • He received his Master of Education from the University of Ottawa in 1971 (he was 55 years old)

Source: Amherstburg Echo, 1956

Brother Berchmans in Nigeria with craftsman who had made a cross for the church.
He founded the mission in Nigeria and was "a true pioneer missionary"

Brother Berchmans visiting my grandfather Ernest Moynahan in Windsor, Ontario

Memorial document describes Brother Berchmans as a "true son of De La Salle"

Bernard is pictured below in 1989, two years after I met him at LaSalle manor in Scarborough, Ontario and after he had a new stone made for his parent's grave in Maidstone, Ontario.

Bernard Broderick pictured at the new stone made in 1989 for his parents
Patrick and Clara (Moynahan) Broderick

Toronto Star May 3, 1992 (H8)

My previous posts about Bernard Broderick:

Other links of interest:

Friday, September 4, 2015

Update: My Grandparent's Funeral Cards

On a recent trip to Michigan I had the joy of meeting with cousins and shared more family history stories. I was so excited when cousin Shelly Coughlin MacKinnon gave me some of her prayer cards (see below) that I have added to my original blog page entitled: "My Grandparent's Funeral Cards"

Michigan Moynahan-Coughlin cousin gathering August 2015

In updating this page, I have also added the prayer card for James Annals Jr that I recently received (and wrote about on "Meeting Distant Cousins from the Annal-Hess Clan") from a distant Annal-Hess cousin (from the Private collection of Graydon Douglas Simpson (son of Nellie Annal))

From the private collection of Graydon Douglas Simpson (son of Nellie Annal)

NEW Additions to Alphabetical Listing


ANNALS; James Jr. (1873-1921) 


COUGHLIN: Lawrence (1916-1992)


HARRISON: Bessie (1913-1978)


LANGLOIS: Alexander (-1936)
LANGLOIS: Gretta M. (1910-1968)
LEFAIVE: Viola V (1906-1985)


MOYNAHAN: John (1934-1987)


RIBARSKY: Joan M (1935-1984)


SCHOFIELD: Arthur J (1901-1981)
SCHOFIELD: Margaret (1904-1984)

From the private collection of Shelly Coughlin MacKinnon 

From the private collection of Shelly Coughlin MacKinnon 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

52 Ancestors No. 33: The Landers Brothers Part I

This is the story of my stepmother's cousins the Landers brothers.

I learned that both men were convicts in the Canadian penitentiary system, activists in the struggle for Prisoners Rights in Canada and both died in the prisons that held them: Bobby died in the segregation unit of Millhaven prison in 1976 and Glen died while attempting another escape in 1977.

Prisoner's Justice Day in Canada is held every August 10th and three people’s deaths: Eddie Nalon’s in 1974, and Bob Landers’ in 1976 and Glen Landers’ in 1977 mark the passing of respected men who stood up against a dangerous and unaccountable prison system.

Genealogists inevitably come across black sheep in their family tree and as the story gets passed along through generations it often becomes diluted. In the case of the Landers brothers, they were remembered as convicts but the details of their fight to improve the brutal conditions that existed in the prisons in the 1970s was not known.

There are so many more details to the Landers brothers' story that have yet to be found. This is Part I of their story.

The Landers Family

Mary, Glen and Robert were the children (born in Pontiac, Allumette Quebec) of Henry Edgar ("Harry") and Mary Ethel ("Ethel") (Carroll) Landers. (There were other children, this is still being researched)

Ethel (Carroll) Landers "worked as a nurse in women’s prisons across Canada including B.C. where the Doukhobor women were being held. She trained in a post WWII Ottawa hospital, the Royal Ottawa I believe. Her first child, a daughter, was born developmentally delayed, and later died." (Source: Ritual Abuse)

Saint Paul the Hermit cemetery
Sheenboro, Quebec, Canada

Glen Thomas Landers 1946-1977

September 1973 - Montreal

We know that at the time of his death in 1977, Glen had " a record dating back to 1963" (Source: Ottawa Citizen: 28 Oct 1977) but in 1973 he was a featured convict in the Montreal Gazette.

According to the Gazette, in 1973 Glen Thomas Landers was serving a four year sentence with a year to go because "He had this bad habit of walking into a bank with a gun and running away with other people's money" (Source: Montreal Gazette Sept 29,1973)

Glen Thomas Landers 1946-1977
From the Gazette article we also learn that Glen Thomas Landers was six feet tall, 146 pounds, smoked forty cigarettes a day and took medicine for his nerves four times a day.

Source: Montreal Gazette Sept 29,1973

March 1976 - Vancouver

Ellensburg Daily Record - Mar 11, 1976

1977 - Kingston

" In 1977 – Glen Thomas Landers died after being shot off the perimeter fence and left to bleed to death. Glen was also serving time in Millhaven when his brother Bobby died the year before. Glen had to struggle with being around the same guards who had allowed his brother to needlessly die, alone and suffering.

Within a year Glen and a group of other prisoners had planned to escape Millhaven. They managed to cut the security bars over a window in the common room area. However, on the night that Glen and the others had decided to escape, the Special Handling Unit (SHU) guys had refused to go back into their cells at the end of their exercise period. While this may (or may not) have been part of an orchestrated diversion for the escape attempt it had resulted in a police presence around the SHU yard which was in the front area of the Millhaven compound......

As time goes by we begin to think of people as historical and we don’t pause and consider their lives and their feelings, their desires, hopes and dreams. I was recently speaking with Barbara (Bob and Glen’s younger sister) and she told me how poetry and drawing were very important to her brothers. After all these years she and her family still had questions and still struggle with the heavy weight of loss and sorrow." (Source: Prisoner's Justice Day)

Source: Ottawa Citizen: 28 Oct 1977

 Glen Thomas Lander: A Poet

"Glen’s poems were so prescient, and powerful — and I learned more about him at the ICOPA conference at Ryerson University in Toronto ..... I didn’t realize the impact that he had on the political advocacy and prison movement in the seventies until meeting a Dr. Bob Gaucher, University of Ottawa, who had been incarcerated as a young man with Glen and Bobby in a Saskatchewan federal prison."

"He wrote about one hundred of them altogether".  

Robert "Bobby" Landers (1947-1976)

Picture drawn of Robert Landers
The Millhaven Momentum August 1976

Bobby was very active and outspoken in the struggle for Prisoners Rights. He had been doing his time at Archambault Maximum Security Prison, near Montreal, Quebec. He was on the Inmate Committee at Archambault, where prisoners were in the process of organizing a prisoner strike to better conditions inside.

Bobby was involuntarily transferred to Millhaven just before the strike in January 1976 and thrown into the Hole.

"Bobby was placed in punitive isolation as retribution for his continuing efforts to get better living and working conditions for prisoners. Bobby was working with other prisoners in Millhaven to arrange a work stoppage to protest the intolerable prison conditions and to call public attention to the treatment they were receiving. 

In the manner typical of the Millhaven administration, prison guards perceived the efforts to generate positive change for prisoners as a danger to their status and used punishment to deal with the prisoner’s efforts to form some kind of union. 

Back in those days the CPS had recently been compelled to accept the formation of Prisoners’ Committees at each prison and there was considerable animosity between the Guard’s Union and the Prisoners’ Committees and Prison administrations. There were often running conflicts that escalated into serious incidents with each side blaming the other. 

Bobby and others were thrown in the hole in a move designed to stymie efforts to improve working and living conditions. Prisoners, who were also in the hole, heard Bob calling out to guards that he was in trouble and experiencing serious chest pains. 

After some time passed, a guard actually did show up in front of Bob’s cell and asked him what he wanted. Bob explained and pleaded that he needed to go to the hospital but the guard just told him to wait for the nurse to do her nightly rounds. 

When the prison nurse did show up she didn’t conduct a real assessment, and simply refused to have him brought to the hospital, telling him to wait until the doctor came in the following day. 

That night, after scrawling his symptoms on a piece of paper, Bob died from a heart attack in those same isolation cells. 

It turns out that the emergency button alarm and all the subsequent banging and screaming from other prisoners were ignored by the guards in favour of their nightly poker game. 

At the coroner’s inquest it was established by a heart specialist that medical negligence killed Bob and he should have been in an Intensive Care Unit and not in solitary confinement." (Source: Prisoner's Justice Day)

A Comrade is Dead - Millhaven Momentum 1976
A Comrade is Dead - Millhaven Momentum 1976



Source: Montreal Gazette Sept 29,1973

Source: Montreal Gazette Sept 29,1973

Source: Montreal Gazette Sept 29,1973
The Otawa Journal March 11, 1976