Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

Remembrance Day – “Yield Not To Difficulties”

I was going to write a memorial post about my Grand-uncle, Stanley Fairbairn, but I didn’t know much about him, my mother hadn’t seen him since he left Essex County. I didn’t think it would do him justice, so I asked his daughter, Judy, if she would like to write something about him so this is her Remembrance Day post:

My Father Stanley Gerald Fairbairn was in WW11. He enlisted in the Canada’s Armed Forces 27 Jul 1940 at North Bay, Ontario, Canada. Stanley’s army number was #B.54545. He was sent to Shiloh, Manitoba, Canada to do training. He was in the Military Police promoted to LP Captain. He was trained for mechanics of trucks and war machinery and had his Class 111 Track and Class 111 Wheel. Father was transferred to Balwood,Newfoundland 19 Oct 1942 for hernia surgery.

He left Canada 9 May 1944 from Debert, Nova Scotia belonging to the Algonquin Regiment and had reverted to private at his own request to go overseas.

After disembarking in England by ship, he was merged to the Scottish Essex Regiment 15 Aug 1944. The D-Day invasion 6 June 1944 on the shores of France left almost every man dead. My Father was in the second wave shipped to France by boat 17 Jul 1944. The assignment was to try to fight their way inland. On 26 Aug 1944 at Elobef, France tanks were crossing a clearing when the Nazi’s started firing at the tanks. My father managed to get out of the tank along with a buddy, they ran for a trench and dove in . Exploding mortar fragments hit the back of the trench killing Father’s friend and leaving Father in very serious condition.

He had a penetrating wound in left chest with shrapnel, part of his left hand was missing fingers, his arms were mangled , his face was cut, his lips were shredded and shrapnel had went into the left side of his neck. He was rescued and flown back to England. There were no drugs to ease the pain on that flight, my father was conscious the whole time, not expected to live.

In England he was listed with the Black Watch. at Leavesden Military Hospital on 26 Aug 1944, amputations of both arms: the left arm below the elbow and his right hand. He ran raging temperatures. They sent cables home to Canada, notices of serious wounds.

Black Watch # 54545 PTE Fairbairn Stanley Gerald,
diagnosis..DANGEROUS 27 Aug 44, Cable No. to Ottawa 341A, sent 6 Sep 1944.

Gas gangrene set in, they sent my Father back to surgery 21 Sep 1944, this time they amputated the left arm just below the shoulder leaving a small stump.

Note on 1 Oct 1944 right stump … graft did not take; 12 Oct 1944 the right arm was amputated just below the elbow bend. His temperature raged. The English Hospital discharged him 5 Nov 1944, “fit to travel” home to Canada by ship. 25 Nov 1944 on Voyage 1 from Liverpool to disembarking at Hailfax, Canada on 11 Dec 1944.The whole crossing he had raging temperatures.from Essex Free Press, Essex, ON

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs sent him by train to Toronto to recuperate. The war wives were told to not be shocked by what they would see. How could they not be shocked? They sent healthy husbands off to war and mangled men came back. The official date of discharge from
the army was 17 Feb 1945. Stanley was 29 years old 4 months.

My Father was fitted with a hook on his right arm and had to learn to use it instead of a hand. Father learned to feed himself, drive a car and a boat and to write all using a hook. Stanley took great pleasure in fishing and hunting and raised his four children to enjoy country life.

It took great strength of character to learn to live his new life. Father never talked about the war, I learned about the double amputations of both arms after his death. This Remembrance Day 2009 I will share my Father’s wisdom with you. He said remember you are a Fairbairn …

“Yield Not To Difficulties”

On this Remembrance Day I challenge every family member to do something worth writing about to make this family proud. May my words help you to understand the price our family paid for freedom.

Author: Judith Lynn Fairbairn-McGinnis
Dedicated to the Memory of Stanley Gerald Fairbairn

Name: Stanley Gerald Fairbairn
Birth: 7 Oct 1915
Birth Place: Essex,Ontario, Canada
Death: 27 Nov 1984
Place: Sudbury,Ontario,Canada
Burial: Park Lawn Cemetery
Tier 1A,Veterans
Place: Sudbury, Ontario,Canada

Filed under: Fairbairn, Family Files, Genealogy, Photos, Special Events, , , ,

2 Responses

  1. Earline Hines Bradt says:

    Remembrance Day has always been a special day for Judy's family as it is also her mother's birthday and she will be spending the day with her.

  2. Michele says:

    Thank you so much Judith Lynn for sharing such an inspiring and historical information on your father, he is one of my Fairbairn relatives I just found out about today. I am in Sudbury as well and have been by that cemetery without even knowing him. But with you taking the time to write about him its lovely that I can share insight into your father and the journey he had.
    Thanks Michele

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November 2009
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