by Mabel Brannigan
Across the Atlantic on the war front, bravery and superior soldiering was taken for granted among Canadians. Because exceptional skill and coolness was not always reported to higher authority, many persons who deserved special awards did not receive them.
However, I mention the few of whom I know from Haliburton County and I would like to hear from soldiers’ families from whom I am unaware.
Sgt. Clifford Skelding of the Lincoln and Welland Patrol was detailed to send a fighting patrol across Brugges to gain enemy disposition. He secured the enemy’s patrol with accuracy, leading his men with heroic action, and without the loss of life that would have been expected. Sgt. Skelding received the Military Medal. He and his wife raised their family at Carnarvon.
Company Sgt. Major Cecil Yearwood of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, along with his captain, rushed a strong point north of the Moro River in Italy, disregarding hearty enemy fire. They surprised the enemy with their Thompson submachine guns and stormed the post. Fourteen of the enemy were casualties and 18 were taken prisoners. By the dauntless and ferocious attack, the enemy was completely bewildered, and the position fell to Canadian troops. Enemy morale was lowered, and confusion was caused in enemy ranks. Sgt. Major Yearwood received the Military Medal. Cecil and his wife Louella raised their family in Minden where he retired from Ontario Hydro.
Many boys from Haliburton County fought bloody battles in Italy against the best Nazi troops and were wounded or killed. One who fought there with the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment was Corp. Aubrey Maxwell. His platoon was north of the Moro River. The company sergeant was wounded and Cpl. Maxwell was ordered to continue the attack. He laid a smokescreen which aided the company in its attack.
Ensuring that the men were in good position, he went forward in full view of the enemy, under heavy fire, and rendered first aid to the wounded men. He brought back the commander to the platoon. He rushed and got the sergeant before he was taken prisoner of war. By his calm determination and total contempt for the enemy, Cpl. Maxwell was awarded the Military Medal. He, his wife, and most of his large family lived and died in Minden.
Many veterans in Haliburton served with the Hasty P’s, a loyal, proud group. Once a Hasty P, always a Hasty P. When he died, he was transferred to the White Batallion, the last posting for a Hasty P.
Harold Rowden stormed Juno Beach as a dispatch rider. He is featured in Reader’s Digest, written by his daughter. If you search Reader’s Digest/Harold Rowden, World War II veteran, there is an excellent account. For his bravery, he received France’s highest honour, the rank of Knight of the French National Order. He and his wife Nellie Miscio raised a large family in Blairhampton, Haliburton County.
There are 135 veterans buried in Minden.
More veterans from Haliburton County:
Lieut. Ross Davidson, killed in action. His brother, Col. Bernard Davidson, wounded in Normandy. Mervyn Harrison, killed in the Netherlands. Arthur Carnohan, killed in action and buried in Groesbeck Cemetery, Holland. Russell Dean, wounded in Italy with Hasty P’s. Sgt. Frank Hargreaves, wounded in Italy. John Calhoun, Jack Dart, Glen Dart, Harold Douglas, Ralph Daniels, Wilfred Carey, Sgt. Joe Day, Wm. Carducci, Harvey Iles in North Africa. Lloyd Whittaker. Robert Carnohan, a brother of Arthur in the navy. W.A. Crofts. Burt Fielding died during the Second World War, D.J. Carnoyer. More veterans: Lance Easton, Ray Jones, Clifford Lytle, Frank Barnum, Oliver Barnum, Ray Scott, Bob Barry, Reg Cook, Bill Woodcock, Charlie Woodcock, Wallace Woodcock, Arthur Cooper, Russell Packard, Bob Packard, both fought in Italy, Maurice Cooper, Ray Cooper, Wes Cooper, Verne Cowen killed in action in Holland, Lyle Boice, killed in action in Holland. Walter Winn, killed in action. James Wright, killed in action, Vance English, Russell Woodcock. Gord Martin and his two brothers. Gord was past president of the Minden Legion. Harvey Cowen, Richie Harrison, Ken Lewis.