Published at the Hespeler, Ontario Plant of Dominion Woollens and Worsteds, Limited
ON ACTIVE SERVICE
AW2. Jean Masterson
No. 4 Wireless School
Just twenty-one years ago last October 25th Jean Masterson first saw the light of day in Hepworth, Ontario. She attended Hepworth Public School. On completion of her education she moved to Southampton with her family.
On January 10, 1941, Jean came to Hespeler to commence her employment with D. W. & W. She started as a floorgirl in the Mule Spinning Department and was at that work for only three months when she began to learn spinning. She proved to be an apt pupil and soon became an experienced spinner. She remained in the Woollen Spinning Department until the time of her enlistment.
Jean was what might be classed as an out-door-girl. Hiking, softball and bicycling were her chief interests in the warm weather and when winter came around skating was her favourite pastime.
On September 17, 1943, Jean enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Contrary to her outdoor life before enlistment, she chose the kitchen for her new interest and commenced her training as a cook at Rockcliffe, Ottawa. On completion of her course there she was posted to Burtch and since to Guelph where she’s stationed at the present time.
Minnie Geddes to E.D. Fowler. Will reside in Preston.
Katherine Bartels to Jake Peters. Will reside in Kitchener.
Dec. 11th, a daughter, Donna Mary, to Tpr. And Mrs. Ronald Lindhorst.
On Dec. 9th the girls of the Worsted Spinning and Twisting Depts. entertained at a miscellaneous shower at the home of Hilda and Vera Karch in honour of Katherine Bartels, whose marriage took place on Dec. 31st.
Lieut. Ted Hodges was one of a group of officers in training who received their certificates in graduation ceremonies at Brockville training centre on Dec. 10th.
Earl Constant was a member of the graduating class at the R.C.A.F. station at Yorkton, Sask., on Dec. 9th. In addition to receiving his wings he was commissioned as a pilot officer.
Minnie Geddes was presented with a coffee table by the members of the Burling & Mending and Finishing Depts. when she left to be married.
We wish to take this opportunity of expressing our appreciation to the Lab staff and those who assisted them in decorating the Lunch Room for the Christmas season. They did a splendid job.
LETTER FROM ITALY
I have a few spare minutes and as I’ve just received a copy of your paper I thought I’d take this opportunity of answering it and expressing my appreciation for all the copies I have received to date. Pardon the pencil and improvised writing paper but when we are moving around so much we don’t have a great deal of time to get supplies or much room to carry them, so we just pick it up as we go along. Just now we are set up rather permanently, which means we haven’t moved since last night and may not move before morning. We are handling a lot of malaria cases and I can tell you they take a lot of looking after. (Any M.O.’s in the house to contradict me?)
I saw your note about me in the Sicilian campaign. That part about us being camped in an olive grove sounded very enticing but I forgot to mention the ants, to say nothing of malaria carrying mosquitoes, and the odd scorpion. If my memory serves me correctly, we were camped at the time in quite a large grove situated not far from a town called Monterossa de Rosalini. Quite a pretty little town, at least it was before the butterfly boys started dropping eggs on it. They really paved the way for us all the same.
We had rather an interesting time of it in Sicily while we were there, more especially around Mount Etna. The boys tell me there was quite a bit of fighting done around there. We suffered a few minor discomforts such as being eaten alive by ants, plagued by flies and any other type of insect you care to name, a standing temperature of around 110 degrees, sleeping on the ground and waking up drenched in dew, being roused out of our beds (hand made slit trenches to the uninitiated) and tearing down our equipment in pitch dark, loading and moving on again, having a bath whenever it rained which it never did during the dry season, and a few little incidentals like that, but all in all it was a lot of fun. I wouldn’t have missed it on a bet. If I were an accomplished journalist I could write pages about the rugged beauty of this old land, and maybe even a chapter or two concerning the not so rugged beauty of some of the not so old female population, but maybe some day I’ll pop into George Thorlby’s and tell you all about it over a pint of mild and bitters, no I’m getting confused, that’s in Canada, isn’t it, maybe a bottle of Black Horse. Anyway I’ll tell you about it over something.
So we travelled all through Sicily from Pochina to the southern tip of the island, to the Straits of Messina where you can look across at Italy. Right along the eastern coast of Sicily is where we got our first view of coral beds – the prettiest sight I’ve ever seen – even prettier than the heather along Loch Ness. We were high up on the side of a mountain and we could look straight down several hundred feet to where these multi-coloured patches below the water looked like a fairy carpet. It was a sight that will live long in my memory. Then we crossed the straights into Italy where the first sight that met our eyes was, no, not a line of Jerries crouching behind tommy guns, but a beautiful big grove of luscious looking bananas – and some twerp told me bananas don’t grow on the continent. But we had to keep going so we couldn’t stop to see if they were ripe. All along the line we passed olive groves, orange groves, vineyards and what have you. Sometimes when we stopped long enough near these places we made up for all the peaches, melons, grapes, etc., we got gypped out of England; result: you might call it the current summer malady but in the vernacular of the Army it has a much more accurate term. But we enjoyed it anyway.
Still, it wasn’t all a bed of roses, especially when some of our sections ran into heavy mortar fire, or once when our H.Q. were operating in a town and they turned their 88 m.m. guns on us and brought our improvised dressing tents around our ears. We were set up in a building and every time it was hit I got plaster in my eyes. I was scared out of about five years’ growth, but I was working with the most cool headed medical officer I’ve ever seen. He never batted an eyelash even when the roof collapsed about ten feet away and nearly smothered us in dust, so what could I do. We managed to get out of there without too many causalities, but I don’t think I wanted anything in my life as much as I wanted to get away from the town. I think I skinned my knuckles hammering on the pearly gates.
Well, I guess they want to close up the tent so I’ll say so long just now and hope to see you all soon.
A17013 L/Cpl. Kenneth McLaughlin,
Hdqtrs. Coy., No. 5 Cdn. Fld. Amb.,
Central Mediterranean Forces.
ON ACTIVE SERVICE
Cpl. Gordon Fisher
No. 1 Wireless School,
Gordon Fisher was born in Toronto on August 27, 1917. He became a member of the D. W. & W. staff in December 1939 and enlisted from the Time Study Department on February 28, 1942, with the R.C.A.F. He is an instructor in wireless at No.1 Wireless School, Montreal.
A67851 Pte. Bruce Jackson
Bruce Jackson was born in Peterborough on February 10, 1917. He became a member of the D. W. & W. staff in January 1939 and he left our Weave Room when called for military training on March 10, 1942. He enlisted from the training centre with the active Army and is now stationed at Barriefield Camp in Kingston with the Ordnance Corps.
R150338 LAC. John Gowing
No. 6 Repair Depot,
John Gowing was born in Waterloo Township on July 20, 1920. He became a member of the D. W. & W. staff in September 1936. On December 9, 1941, he left our Worsted Cap Spinning Department to tak four months’ military training at Kitchener, and was transferred from there to the R.C.A.F. on March 18, 1942. At the present time he is stationed at Trenton, Ont., as a wireless operator.
Seaman Cunnington Home
Able Seaman John Cunnington arrived home from Sicily on December 17th to deliver his Christmas greetings in person.
Able Seaman Cunnington has been serving in the Mediterranean war area since March with the naval men who operate landing barges. He took Yanks ashore for the invasion of North Africa and later he operated on barges carrying supplies between ships and the shores of Sicily. He has also been to South Africa since leaving Hespeler.
Previous to his sailing for home he suffered from an attack of malaria and was in the hospital at Malta for two weeks.
LETTERS FROM THE BOYS
Well here goes for a short scroll to thank you for your paper which I received today. It was really welcome and although I don’t go in much for reading, I read it from start to finish and enjoyed all the gossip of the “Old Mill.”
It’s not too bad over here. I guess you could call England a pretty place with its twisting narrow roads, green hills, flower gardens and many squatted little towns, but I’d much rather have good old Canada with its wide open spaces.
I am on an R.A.F. station at present and with a good bunch of “blokes”. My crew is a mixture of Englishmen, Australians and Canadians, so when Jerry gets a mob like that after him he better head in the other direction. They are a swell bunch of guys, and we all hope to get dropping a few “cookies” on Germany sometime.
Well my news line seems to be pretty well shrunk for this time or as the English say, “You’ve had it”, so will close by wishing D. W. & W. and staff a very Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year.
Thanking you once again for your paper.
R200870 Sgt. Loren Small,
Ruth and Marjorie Hodder spent Christmas and New Year’s at their home in Hanover.
Marie Morton spent Christmas and New Year’s at her home in Durham.
Lorna Westlake and Georgina Mills motored to Goderich where the latter spent the holiday, and Lorna proceeded to her home in Bayfield for the holiday.
Georgina White spent the holiday with friends in Mount Forest and Durham.
The girls from Gordon Hall celebrated their Christmas party on Tuesday night, Dec. 21st.
Norma and Edna Lindsey spent the weekend in Durham.
Evelyn Lewis spent the weekend at her home in Rothsay.
Doris Reading spent Monday in Guelph.
Rose Pepin of North Bay and Alma Hewitson of Owen Sound returned to their homes, after working at the mill for some time.
Edna Mundy joined the happy family at the Hall the first of the week.
A number of the girls attended the recreation dance Saturday night and a lovely time was had by all.
On Tuesday, Dec. 21st, a Christmas dinner was held for the girls of the Lodge. The table was very pretty, decorated with candles and centrepiece in keeping with the Christmas season. After dinner we sang Christmas carols. One of the girls tried her luck with indoor photography and we are all waiting patiently to see the results.
Bill Turnbill has kept woollen yarn stock in both Peterborough and Hespeler.
A few days ago in trying to stir up an argument in municipal affairs, particularly with regard to recreation for the children, I made a few very critical remarks. The press accused me of turning a nice quiet nomination meeting into a brawl. Maybe so, but I want you to know I did so as an individual, not as President of the Woollen Workers’ Union. Unless directed by the stewards’ council to do so, I think it would be unfair to the Union to drag it into municipal affairs, and I have no intentions of doing anything like that.
Well, 1943 has gone. In reviewing the past year, I think we have started something that can be an asset to us and the community. The Union’s objective is, of course, to be able to bargain with the Company, to improve working conditions, to cooperate in improving production methods.
The Union’s Safety Committee is functioning satisfactorily. While it would not be fair to claim all the credit for the improved accident record it has helped some. The plant has now operated for 48 days without a lost time accident. Let’s try and break the record of August, 1934, to January, 1935, when the plant operated 160 days without a lost time accident. I think we are all becoming a little more safety conscious whether we realize it or not, and this is commendable.
In 1943 we also set up a file to keep on record, for purposes of emergency cases, the types of blood donated by employees to the Red Cross Clinic. So far we have on file the types of 146 blood donors.
We have had thirteen people trained as time study stewards by the Company. These stewards now are able to break down the piece work and bonus system, and are at the disposal of employees to help them figure their bonus, and of the union stewards to check piece work and bonus set-ups. At the request of the Company a committee of these stewards will sit in with the Time Study Dept. to discuss methods of incorporating cost of living bonus into wage rates as outlined in a recent order of the War Labour Board.
You all had a week’s holiday with pay. We have had some pay adjustments made. We have had a lot of kicks from both members and non-members and we have tried to satisfy everyone. Our membership is steadily increasing. If you care to join, ask your steward for a membership card—the more the merrier. Our finances are growing steadily, too, and our expenses are low. Your stewards are now reviewing the Agreement to see if they can improve on it. The larger the membership, the more we can do. Unity is strength.
To you all:
May 1944 bring peace and the beginning of a new era to Canada, and to the whole world, so that “Peace on earth, good will to all men” will become our everyday slogan.
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