A Needle in a Beetstack

Some time ago I acquired a series of forty-five photos documenting a PoW’s time in Canada. As is so often the case, the photos are unnamed and the provenance was unknown. Three group photos of PoWs at Camp 133 at Lethbridge lead me to believe that the original owner of the group was the man on the far right in the front row, as he is the only one to appear more than one photo.

Group1

Most of the photos were taken in a bush camp somewhere in Northwestern Ontario. While I had come to accept that I may never identify where they were taken, a presenter at a conference I attended earlier in the year just so happened to include one of the same photos in her presentation, identifying it as coming from the camps belonging to the Pigeon Timber Company near Neys, Ontario.

This, however, was only one piece of the puzzle and I now I need help. Ten photos show a PoWs working on a beet harvest and I’m trying to narrow down the location. In 1945 and 1946, PoWs worked on beet farms in Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario. Here’s the clues I have to work with:

First, this photo of PoW farm labourers has conveniently included part of the writing on the side of the wagon/truck/trailer in the background.

Picture6c

Picture6a

Now I would assume that standard practice for labeling a vehicle or trailer like this would be:

Farmer/Company Name
Town/City
Province

If that’s the case, the best guess I have is:

Wm. ??????
Emerson
Man

I’m pretty sure that is an “Ma” in the bottom row and PoWs were employed on beet farms around Emerson in 1946. Anyone have any other ideas?

The second clue is this farmhouse (or farmhouses?). Appearing in a few of the shots, perhaps someone will recognize it! Personally it looks to me as something found more often on the prairies than in Southwestern Ontario, perhaps helping to support my Manitoba theory?

Picture7c

It is a long shot for sure, but one never knows. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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About michaelohagan

PhD Candidate at Western University - Studying German Prisoners of War in Canada during the Second World War

2 responses to “A Needle in a Beetstack”

  1. gabriellebossy says :

    I think you’re on the right track!

  2. lindamaendel says :

    There was also a camp at St. Eustache, Manitoba. Could it be that one??

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