Life in Grimsby 1939-1945

Life in Grimsby 1939-1945 Project

Volunteers at the GHS Archives are busy researching what life was like for the Grimsby community during WWII.

Stories and photographs will shared on this page starting February 17 - the beginning of Ontario Heritage Week.

If you have stories, memories or photographs  to share  about what life in Grimsby was like for your family during the years 1939 - 1945 - we encourage you to send them to us so we can include them in the Archives Collection and share on this site (with your permission of course)

EMAIL your memories and photographs to
Ontario Heritage Week
Monday February 17, 2020

"Life in Grimsby 1939-1945"

As mentioned on today's Facebook page - here is a copy of the frontpage of The Grimsby Indepenent from January 14, 1943.

Click here to go to Our Ontario and
read the full edition to get a sense of what was
happening in Grimsby in January 1943.

It's interesting how different yet similiar
the news was back then.
Ontario Heritage Week
Tuesday February 18, 2020

"Life in Grimsby 1939-1945"

On today's Facebook page you got a glimpse of the life of Margaret Gibson.

Here are the details of the adventure mentioned on our Facebook page!

  • In 1939, Margaret enrolled in a six-week course at a university in Sweden.  However, as the war became imminent at their eastern border, the Swedes hurried the Canadians into the arms of the Canadian Pacific Steamship Line and across to England for a sailing to Canada.

  • Margaret was advised and wired her mother she would be leaving September 3, 1939 on the SS Athenia.   On September 3, the Athenia was torpedoed in the Atlantic by a German U boat with a loss of 122 people.

  • In the meantime, Margaret's sailing had been changed to the Empress of Austraila, which made a safe crossing loaded to the gunnels with returning Canadian students.  Margaret's mother was stunned to hear her voice on the telephone announcing her safe arrival to Halifax on Septemer 9.

  • More inforamtion is available on the life of Margaret Gibson at the GHS Archives and in Gleanings From Grimsby by Dorothy Turcotte.
Ontario Heritage Week
Wednesday February 18, 2020

"Life in Grimsby 1939-1945"

On today's  Facebook page we shared the 1940 Park School class photo - here is a copy of the photo with some student names included.

Also, we have two additional class photos to share - the 1939 Hagar Public School Grades 1-8 photo and the 1944 S.S. #13 North Grimsby school photo.
1940 Park School Class Photo

Back Row: (L-R)
Miss Barber, Jack Nichols, Jim Price, Newton Found, Harold May, Strathearn Lipsit, Douglas Cole, Jeannine Nelles, Kathleen Reid, unknown, Constance Berton

Middle Row: (L-R)
Wilfred Cosby, Ralph Sweet, Harold Rosebrugh, Shirley Milks, Jewell de la Plante, Grace Boyd, Eva Clements, Nancy Steele, June Sharp, Joyce Steele

Front Row: (L-R)
Gordon Rosebrugh, Martin Banks, Harold Schott, unknown, Billy Betts, Donald Tracy, Patsy Athens, Jean Cossitt, Annie Zelik, Alice Robinson
1939 Hagar Public School
Back Row: (L-R)
 unknown except for the young girl in the 9th spot - Florence Smith

Middle Row: (L-R)
unknown excpet for the boy in the 4th spot - Brian Tenny and the girl in the 10th spot - Valentine Smith

Front Row: (L-R)
1. Leroy Zimmerman 3. Howard Walters 11. Grace McIntyre
1944 SS#13 North Grimsby
Back Row: (L-R)
Mr. Merritt, Steve Fernick, unknown, Norman Rushak, Edna Pyndyk, Earle Metcalfe, Lee Price, Ron Lunt, Walter Fernick, Bill Sawchuk 

Second Row: (L-R)
Victoria Palmer, Enda North, Thelma Gunning, Ann Fernick, Harold Metcalfe, Bernice Drozda, John Pyndyk, Theresa Wisnoski, Bill Smerek, Florence Lawson, David Metcalfe, Nickerson

Third Row: (L-R)
unknown, Pearl Pendergast, Elsie Wolfe, unknown, Jean Price, Dorothy Pyndyk, Margaret Palmer, unknown,. Marie Andreychuk, Pat Andreychuck

Front Row: (L-R)
Neil McMane, Fred Wolfe, Nick Smerek, Jack Pendergast, Ronnie Wolfe, Jack Beamer, Roy North, Mike Sawchuk
Ontario Heritage Week
Thursday February 20, 2020

"Life in Grimsby 1939-1945"

As mentioned on today's Facebook page - Ada Bromley was an active member of the I.O.D.E

  • By calling a public meeting at the outbreak of WWII, a Woman's War Service Committee was formed, which eventually became the Grimsby Branch of the Red Cross, the only Red Cross operated solely by women.

  • The Chapter of the I.O.D.E. kept the only complete record of the Town and Township servicemen and women in WWII and a scrapbook of pictures and stories of their achievements.   Boxes of knitted comforts, food and amenities were sent regularly to everyone on the list.   Their work included meeting and welcoming war brides to Grimsby.

  • Ada was actively involved in the Wartime Home Hosptiality program.   The National War Services Committee of the National Council of Young Men's Christian Associations of Canada regularly corresponded with Ada as they worked together to match British servicemen stationed in Mount Hope with local Grimsby families for a few days of hospitality.  Servicemen would request to come to Grimsby to make connections and work at one of the fruit farms for the weekend while enjoying some home cooked meals.

  • Ada Bromely's meticulous records are preserved at the Grimsby Historical Society Archives should you be interested in seeing this amazing piece of local history.
Ontario Heritage Week
Friday February 21, 2020

"Life in Grimsby 1939-1945"

As mentioned on today's Facebook page the GHS Archives are honoured to be the new home of a donation sent to us by John T. Farrell - a treasure trove of letters and photographs from WWII.

  • Most of the material in the letters is of a personal nature since military information was censored.  Ever curious about his home town, Farrell often mentions friends and relatives, and asks how the local sports teams are doing.

  • While the letters make up most of the collection, a number of valuable military documents including Farrell's service record and pay book are also included along with family genealogies and photos of John, Lois and their families. 

  • This collection adds greatly to our appreciation of one of Grimsby's prominent families and gives us a personal insight into  its members during his service in WWII.

  • Generous donations like this help to build our archival collection and enable us to share Grimsby's rich history with others.  Donations of letters, photos, scrapbooks, diaries, directories, etc. relating to Grimsby, no matter how large or small, are always weclome at the GHS Archives.