MAY, 1943

NO. 11

Published at the Hespeler, Ontario Plant of Dominion Woollens and Worsteds, Limited


John O'Krafka
A35354 Gnr. John O’Krafka

School of Artillery,
Canadian Army Overseas.

John O’Krafka was born in Hespeler on August 17th, 1920, and made it his home town until the time of his enlistment. He received his education at the Hespeler Public and Continuation School.

On leaving school, John became a member of the D. W. & W. staff in April, 1937. His first job here was with the floormen in the Worsted Spinning Department, but after a few months at this work he became a spinner. In December, 1939, he was made a yarn inspector in the Worsted Twisting Section where he remained until his enlistment.

John took a keen interest in all sports and was particularly adept at hockey, baseball and lacrosse. He was a member of the first Hespeler troop of Boy Scouts and took an active part in this work for several years.

On June 7th, 1940, John enlisted in Guelph with the 16/43 Field Battery. During the period of his training in Canada he was stationed in Guelph, Petawawa and Sussex, New Brunswick. He sailed for England in September 1941. At present he is stationed at a School of Artillery in England.

Ken Parr Back in the Air Again

Ken Parr

Sergeant Instructor Ken Parr, despite the loss of a foot amputated a year and a half ago after a crash, is in the air again. On April 20th, he left for London to take up an appointment as a pilot on the staff of the Navigation School at Crumlin.

D. W. & W. Airman Saved When “Harvester” Sunk

Edgar Wilkins

Pilot Officer Edgar Wilkins, one of ten members of the R.C.A.F. who survived a torpedoing of the “Harvester” on the Atlantic en route to duty overseas, describes his exciting trip over in a letter to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Wilkins, part of which they have kindly allowed D. W. & W. News to publish.

“We sailed along peacefully for eight days, one of which I was sea sick. On the eighth night what we had been warned to expect came. We were just finishing supper when we were blown off our chairs by a great explosion. It was rather terrifying and for a minute, I must admit, I did not know what to do. After the first shock was over it took very few minutes for us to get up on deck and by our life boats, but my knees were quaking all the time. We discovered that our ship was hit well in the stern and was not sinking fast so the captain decided to try to hold out till morning. We stayed on ship for eight hours and at one o’clock in the morning we took to the boats which were packed with double the usual number as two of the four were washed away by the heavy seas. One hour after we left the ship we were picked up by a Corvette of the Free French Navy. For these fellows I have the utmost respect. They have no home but the ship, and love nothing better than to get into a fight with a U-boat. We were very cramped on the Corvette as there were forty-five officers cramped into quarters for ten, but nobody grumbled as we were all glad to be there and not on the open water.

“Only one man, the third engineer on the ship, was lost. When jumping from the lifeboat to the Corvette he slipped and went down.”

Letters from the Boys

The Editor:

Here I am again, late as usual, but better late than never. Thanks a million for your cigarettes and paper which are coming regularly and always very welcome. The smokes always seem to come at just the right time and for the paper, it is “tops.” I am always anxiously waiting on the next one, to see what’s new at the mill.

I see by this last paper I received that the girls are all joining up, too. Good luck girls and the best of luck to you all

The list of addresses you publish comes in very handy too. Gosh, there can’t be very many left in the mill now. You may have something too, when you said that if the list goes much higher, that we should start publishing the paper and put D. W. & W. on the mailing list. Maybe you had better carry on, you’re making a grand job of it.

The December issue has a dandy picture of the Queen Street corner. The Empire Coffee Shop still looks as appetizing as ever. It also shows a good picture of Tubby Washburn and Bern Flynn. Just between you and I, I wonder if they are heading for the “Queens’ for a quick one! Anyway, it’s good to see snaps of the home town. Tommy Davis made a good suggestion when he asked for snaps of the town to be published.

I haven’t any news for you friends, but before closing I’d like to say thank you, one and all, once again for making it possible for us over here to receive the cigarettes and your paper. It means a lot and also proves that you aren’t forgetting about any of us. So I’ll say so long for now, wish you all the best.

B83470 Gnr. Tommy Richardson.
29 Bty., 11th Army Field Regt.
Canadian Army Overseas.

Home Port

Bob Wilford and Frank Russ

Bob Wilford and Frank Russ check the Hespeler Flyer into its home port after a record breaking run.

Active Service Addresses 

R84257 Cpl. Gordon Conner,
R.C.A.F., J.S.H.Q.
Vancouver, B.C.

A64172 Pte. J. E. Cain,
Div. Sect. 1st Cdn. Inf.
Div. Sub. Park, R.C.O.C.
Canadian Army Overseas

R169936 AC2. Earl Constant,
R.C.A.F. No. 7 I.T.S.
Saskatoon, Sask.

V-38366 O/D Jack Chapman,
(A) Block C.21,
H.M.C.S. Cornwallis, C.F.M.O.,
Halifax, N.S.

D-135797 Pte Francis Conroy,
4 Coy. 1 Pl.
A. 11 Inf. Advanced Training Centre,
Camp Borden, Ont.

B84186 L/Cpl. George Edmonds,
No. 13 Coy., Canadian Provost Corps,
Canadian Army Overseas.

A104178 Pte. Fred Glanville,
No. 7 C.I.R.U.
Canadian Army Overseas.

A105010 Pte. Jack Hortop,
C. S. T. C., Vimy Barracks,
Kingston, Ont.

R214796 AC2. Dolph Little,
No 1 “Y” Depot, R.C.A.F.
Halifax, N.S.

A67857 Sgt. Harry O’Krafka.
S. 10 Battle Drill School,
Vernon, B.C.

Can. J-21586
P O Picken A. S.
R.C.A.F. Overseas.
W300860 Sgt. Gladys Parker,
No. 6 S.F.T.S.,
Dunnville, Ont.

W1638 Pte. Jessie Phillips,
No. 3 C.W.A.C.—B.T.C.
No. 14 Pl. “C” Coy.,
Kitchener, Ont.

W308694 AW2 Norma Payne,
No. 7 Manning Depot,
R.C.A F. (W.D.)
Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ont.

R183855 AC2. Edgar Stremble,
No. 3 I.T.S.,
Victoriaville, Que.

W1443 Pte. Sault H.,
17 Yale Street,
London, Ont.

R193145 LAC. John Unger,
Entry 60-D, Hut 13-B.
No. 2 W.S.
Calgary, Alta.

A28421 Gnr. Jack Woods,
Administration Wing,
No. 3 C.A.R.U.
Canadian Army Overseas.

P O Edgar Wilkins,
Royal Canadian Air Force, Overseas.

R214780 AC2. Jack Welsh,
No. 1 Manning Depot, R.C.A.F.
Toronto, Ont.


Army……………………. 96
Air force ………….…… 62
Navy………..……………. 9



The engagement is announced of Rosalie Highton to L/Bdr. Leslie McIntosh, now stationed at Woodstock. The marriage is to take place some time in July.


Hilda Smith of St. Marys to Fusilier William Smellie of the Scots Fusiliers, Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Vera Claydon of Preston to Sydney Zieman.

Jean Barron to LAC. Murray Seeley, now stationed at Jarvis, Ont.



April 1st, a daughter, to Captain Charles H. Barrett and Mrs. Barrett.

April 18th, a son, Larry Scott, to Mr. and Mrs. Chester McEwen.

Ed Coffey who recently was transferred to the head office of D. W. & W. in Toronto, was informally presented with a “Sunbeam” shavemaster and a Ronson cigarette lighter on behalf of the office staff and overseers before he left.

AC2. Dolph Little has been posted to Halifax with the R.C.A.F.

D. W. & W. was well represented at the annual safety convention of the Industrial Accident Prevention Association held in Toronto last month. Those attending were Nurse Baker, Helen Westgate, Wm. Johnston, Gordon Klager, Cameron Macnab and Herb. Shoemaker.

Fred Hutchings, who underwent an operation for appendicitis several weeks ago, has recovered and is back on the job.

D. W. & W. enlistments for this month include Douglas Johnson with the Air Force and Robert Henry with the Navy.

Robert Henry who left on April 26th to report for duty with the R.C.N.V.R. in Hamilton, was presented with a money belt and a sum of money on behalf of the dyehouse staff.

Letters from the Boys

The Editor:

Once again I take the opportunity of thanking you for the cigarettes and also the paper which I have been receiving regularly. The cigarettes are most deeply appreciated, as I don’t imagine any of us would want to go very long without them, and reading the paper with the pictures of the mill and the home town in it is about the next best thing to being there.

The weather over here lately has been just like spring or I might even go so far as to say summer. We have had very little snow, but I guess we’ve had our share of rain for we certainly have had a lot of it.

Yours sincerely,

LAC Graydon Farnsworth,
Can. R103382,
R.C.A.F. Overseas.

Easter Parade

Easter Parade

Ilene Johnson, Ruth Murray, Margaret Welsh and Phyllis Bloomfield.

W. W. U. Column

To the Boys and Girls in the Forces.

The W.W.U. stands for the Woollen Workers’ Union. It is an independent union of men and women who work at D. W. & W. It doesn’t take orders from anybody and it can fight its own battles without any help from anyone but its members. When the old Works Council broke up because it thought it was illegal, some of us decided it was about time D. W. & W. workers had a Union that they could run themselves without any outside interference. It will cost its members a tenth of what any outside organisation would cost and can get them, in the long run, just as much with half the trouble.

We drew up a charter, (I didn’t have anything to do with it at the time) and held an election. The Shop Stewards elected were Hilda Coley, Mary Brown, Helen Westgate, Ruth Foss, Gladys Shier, Ralph Armstrong, Frank Featherstone, John Wildman, Allan Jones, John Foss, Albert O’Krafka and me. I’ve been elected President, Hilda Coley Vice-President, Mary Brown Secretary, and Frank Featherstone Treasurer. We have asked the Company to recognize us as sole bargaining agent for all employees and they have agreed. Now we have negotiated an agreement with the Company that gives everyone vacation with pay, time and a half for overtime (if the Labour Board allow it), seniority rights and a say in setting our own rates. The agreement provides for arbitration when we get into arguments we can’t settle between ourselves and we have agreed there’ll be no strikes or slow downs while the agreement lasts. This time we took a nibble instead of a bite because we didn’t have much information to go on. Next time we’ll have facts and figures that we’ll have collected ourselves.

When you come back you will have an organisation that will see you get your fair share of the work at fair pay. You are all members until you say differently and your dues are nothing until you get back to work. I went through three years of it last time and I know damn well how much this can mean to you.

The Company has agreed to let us use this space every month as long as they don’t need it for anything else.

When you come back there will be 1,000 members of your union.

Alf. Shepherd.

To Union Members in the Mill.

We would enjoy hearing your thoughts on our Newsletter.

We appreciate comments from our men and women based in Canada and overseas. If you have anything to add, we encourage you to also leave a comment here. If you'd like to contact us privately, please write to our switchboard operator. Our Office will respond to your letter as time permits.

1 Comment

  1. Bruce Ellis

    As usual I’m a little late in writing, but I still think of the Mill, and well I may. As regular as the day, the cigarettes you send come, and I wish to thank you. They are certainly appreciated and I assure you that all the other boys over here will say the same.

    I also receive the paper you send and look forward to it each month. Helps us all to keep track of what is going on over there, as you have really made a number of changes and improvements.

    Thanking you all,

    Yours sincerely,

    A37994 Pte. Bruce Ellis,
    “E” Company,
    3 Cdn. Inf. Reinf. Unit,
    Canadian Army Overseas.


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