Back in about 2010, we were doing a lot of research for an exhibit on Creston’s military history (more on that later). In the process, we learned about Jack Hall, a veteran of the Canadian Army in World War II (there were two Jack Halls, actually: One who lived at the top of 16th Avenue and one who lived out in Erickson next to the school. Both were veterans of the Canadian Army in World War II. This is the 16th Avenue Jack Hall).
We stumbled across a little newspaper snippet, late 1945 or early 1946, that told us Jack Hall had just returned from service overseas, where he had served in a tank named Bomb. It was the first real clue we’d found as to his wartime service. So we followed up with Professor Google…
…and discovered that the tank, Bomb, was a Canadian-built Sherman tank of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers, that rolled off the landing craft on D-Day – and was the only one still fighting on VE Day.
Jack Hall was the gun loader, and one of only three crew members who served with the tank through its entire incredible journey through northern France, the Netherlands, and into Germany. You can read more about it here.
Surprisingly, we could find very few photos of this remarkable achievement – some official after-the-fact photos like the ones above and at the top of the page, plenty of the restored tank sitting outside the Fusiliers’ headquarters, but virtually none of it in operation.
But in 2013, Jack’s cousin Shirley McDonald brought in this:
It’s a photo album full of photos from Jack’s service in World War II: standing in front of the shop on his parents’ property in his new uniform; posing with the tank in a forest near the Rhine River; joining in the celebrations for the liberation of Holland; standing on the reputedly unbreakable Siegfried Line just after they had broken it.
I tell you, it’s definitely a highlight of the job when something like that lands on your desk!