Former POW donates artifacts to New Waterford museum
NEW WATERFORD — Whenever Dr. Mike Laffin discusses his experiences as a prisoner of war, he is always asked the same question.
“People always want to know what it was like in prison,” said Laffin, who was a bomber pilot with the Canadian Air Force during the Second World War.
Laffin, 94, was shot down over Holland in 1944. Two days later he became a PoW and remained in prison until the war ended a year later. He was one of 1,600 prisoners in the prison camp.
“We only got one small potato and half a can of soup a day. We would be taken on a death march, if you couldn’t keep up you would be shot, which is why it was called the death march.”
Laffin was the guest speaker at the New Waterford and District Historical Society, Thursday.
“I am here to donate some of my artifacts and documents from the war and to answer questions,” said Laffin, who is also a former provincial MLA.
One of the documents was a telegram his mother received to inform her he was missing in action. Other documents detail how his Halifax bomber plane was shot down and how he tried to find someone to hide him.
“No one would do it as it was too dangerous.”
Nick Burke, a summer student worker with the historical socie- ty, said these artifacts and documents from Laffin will be a great addition to the museum located at the Colliery Lands Park.
“We have some original documents including when he was captured as a PoW as well as some of his original speeches as a MLA from the 1960s and 1970s.”
Burke said Laffin’s documents are on display at the museum this week.
“The displays are changed each week, but Dr. Laffin’s artifacts and documents will remain a permanent part of the museum.”
Laffin, a retired dentist, was born in 1918 in New Waterford. He served as an MLA for 18 years. He retired in the late 1980s but remained active in his community.
The museum officially opened for the season July 1 and remains open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., until the end of August.
Dr. Mike Laffin (right), a Second World War PoW, shows a model of the Halifax bomber he flew during the war, to (from left) Pat Larade of New Waterford and historian Lenny Stephenson of Dominion, Thursday at the New Waterford and District Historical...