How New Glas­gow’s crest ended up on a Lan­caster bomber

Ef­forts on the home­front by students helped Sec­ond World War fundrais­ing ef­forts

The News (New Glasgow) - - REMEMBRANCE DAY - BY HUGH MUIR Hugh Muir is a mem­ber of Branch 34 Royal Cana­dian Le­gion, New Glas­gow

Each year on Re­mem­brance Day, Cana­di­ans gather at their lo­cal ceno­taph to re­mem­ber those who died in their coun­try’s ser­vice and to hon­our those who served.

It’s also a time to re­mem­ber those who served the war ef­fort at home. I’m sure there are many in­ter­est­ing sto­ries of groups and in­di­vid­u­als who did ex­tra­or­di­nary things to sup­port our men and women in uni­form.

This is a story which should be told and should also be re­mem­bered. In 1943, the Sec­ond World War was rag­ing and the Nazis were in­flict­ing ter­ri­ble ca­su­al­ties on our armies as well as civil­ians in Europe. Gov­ern­ments needed huge amounts of money in or­der to sus­tain the cost of the war. One of the meth­ods used to raise funds was the Vic­tory Loans Cam­paign. In­di­vid­u­als were en­cour­aged to pur­chase these bonds through­out the war. Com­mu­ni­ties and com­pa­nies also sup­ported these cam­paigns and to come up with novel ideas to raise aware­ness.

In the spring of 1943, New Glas­gow res­i­dents Hymie Good­man and Harold Smith came up with a pro­mo­tional idea for a Vic­tory Loan Cam­paign that would pit the town against ma­jor Cana­dian cities and would even­tu­ally gain na­tional recog­ni­tion for the Town of New Glas­gow. Their idea was named “Bonds or Bondage” with the hope that it would bring res­i­dents the mes­sage of what the war should re­ally mean to peo­ple. Help­ing drive home that mes­sage were the students of New Glas­gow High School (NGHS). I will try to tell the story as ac­cu­rately as I can, with much of it com­ing from old Evening News clip­pings about this great event. The pho­tos are in my own col­lec­tion. Although the pub­lic had been told about this demon­stra­tion, many peo­ple were not aware it was tak­ing place and there would be some sur­prises.

On Satur­day, May 1, 1943, at about 4:30 p.m., groups of NGHS students made their way from the form up lo­ca­tion at the Good­man Au­di­to­rium to Provost and Ma­cLean streets, where large crowds were wait­ing. The 219 NGHS Army Cadet band was lead­ing, along with other mem­bers of the army cadets. The band was fol­lowed by four girls, wear­ing uni­forms with the school’s green and white colours, and car­ry­ing a ban­ner with the words “Back the At­tack with Vic­tory Bonds”. Not far be­hind them was a sin­gle girl hold­ing a poster with the sin­gle word “OR”. This girl was fol­lowed by four more girls hold­ing an­other ban­ner “Be the At­tacked With Nazi Bombs.” Fol­low­ing these ban­ners were dozens of students, along with some adults and chil­dren, who were por­tray­ing peo­ple in bondage and look­ing down­trod­den. They were wear­ing tat­tered cloth­ing and were chained or roped to­gether. Other students played Nazi sol­diers and pre­tended to whip those in the pro­ces­sion.

Re­ports in­di­cate that spec­ta­tors were moved by these sights. As they moved, an el­derly man dropped with ex­haus­tion and the Nazi guards un­chained him and threw him to the side of the street and the march con­tin­ued. A Red Cross am­bu­lance had been fol­low­ing a dis­tance be­hind and un­no­ticed by the crowd. It came up to this man and a nurse got out to aid the man. This scene was re­peated a num­ber of times along as the group made their way along Archimedes Street onto Ge­orge Street and then down Provost Street.

When the pro­ces­sion was out­side the post of­fice (now New Glas­gow town hall), a young girl did this and she was un­chained, bru­tal­ized by the ‘Nazis’ and rolled to the curb. As fate would have it, a man who knew noth­ing about this event was just leav­ing the post of­fice and wit­nessed this hap­pen­ing. So con­vinc­ing was the act­ing of the young girl that he im­me­di­ately in­ter­vened and picked this girl up and was try­ing to carry her into the post of­fice when the crew of the Red Cross am­bu­lance was fi­nally able to con­vince the man that this was part of the per­for­mance.

Even­tu­ally, the pro­ces­sion ended back at the Good­man Au­di­to­rium. Re­ports from peo­ple who wit­nessed the skit in­di­cate that many of the on­look­ers were in tears while watch­ing this un­fold be­fore their eyes. Sev­eral of them re­ported af­ter­wards that noth­ing they had seen in news­reels or read in the news had struck them as strongly as what they had just wit­nessed.

Hymie and Harold were quick to in­di­cate they merely had the idea and had su­per­vised the “ac­tors” and that all credit for its suc­cess was due to the hard work of the NGHS students. They had also reg­is­tered their idea with the Fourth Vic­tory Loan Head­quar­ters and would now be com­pet­ing against the rest of Canada, with the prize be­ing a brand new Lan­caster bomber be­ing named af­ter the win­ning mu­nic­i­pal­ity. Ev­ery­one was hope­ful that New Glas­gow would win.

When asked about the pos­si­bil­ity of win­ning, many of the students said they did it to hon­our for­mer school mem­bers from just a few years prior who had al­ready lost their lives dur­ing the war and for those for­mer students who had joined the forces and were now train­ing.

On July 5, 1943, the Vic­tory Loan Com­mit­tee met in Van­cou­ver to pick the best pro­mo­tional idea and to grant the hon­our of nam­ing the bomber. En­tries were judged on a stan­dard of orig­i­nal­ity and ef­fec­tive­ness. The ex­pense wasn’t a judg­ing point but it is in­ter­est­ing to note that Hymie Good­man said the New Glas­gow en­try cost a to­tal of $2, which was the cost of the posters and ban­ners.

At the end of that meet­ing, it was an­nounced that the en­try from the Town of New Glas­gow had won the Fourth Vic­tory Loan Cam­paign. On Nov. 10, 1943, Canada’s new­est Lan­caster bomber rolled out with the Town of New Glas­gow crest on the fuse­lage just be­low the cock­pit.

CON­TRIB­UTED

A Lan­caster bomber with the New Glas­gow logo on it is un­veiled Nov. 10, 1943.

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