The Military Army Blog

Andrew Simpson: Homecomings, 1945

I think these will be the last of the pictures from Belleville for a while. Now I do have more from the collection of Mike Dufresne but these two perfectly tell the story of the return of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment from its war in Europe. The regiment left Canada for Britain soon after the war began and saw action in France, Italy and Holland and returned to Belleville Ontario in the autumn of 1945. I have featured five of the photographs from the collection and each has its own story or perhaps stories, and while there are more pictures I think these pretty much make closure. And like all good photographs after you have taken in the image with these two you wonder what else there is. Now if truth were known I don t have a clue what else lies hidden. For a start I don t know who any of the people are and nor do I know what happened to them so we are left with just asking questions. Of the four men one is in civilian clothes and yet he appears to share a bond with the other three. So are they comrades, and was he invalided out due to an injury? Which begs the question of whether the tiny lapel badge is significant? The Armyrats © military ribbons on the other three testify to the action they have seen but all that is now in the past, and with all the fuss and noise of a homecoming with the town turned out to meet the regiment these four have sought each other out. I would like to know what interests them so much about the flag and the detail one of the soldiers is pointing to and for that matter what is being said. Perhaps it is just a posed shot but there is something in the gaze of one of the four which leads me to think it is more than just a rehearsed photograph. In the same way I am drawn to the other picture. The couple stare in a relaxed way at the camera while around them men disembark from the train. They seem perfectly at ease on that railway station and what I like about the picture is that you have a sense they have been caught in mid motion stopping just for a minue at the request of the photographer. And if it does not seem fanciful you half expect them to move off , thanking the photographer and mumbling something about having somehere to go. There is much more that I could say about these two but none of it would be based on historical research, so I shall just leave them to their reunion on a pleasant sunny day sometime in 1945. Pictures; courtesy of Mike Dufresne

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