Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
Canada 150 Vignette – 133 of 150
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan
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Remembrance Day 2017 - Part  1
A Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother


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The inspiration for Part 1 of our Remembrance Day Vignettes came with a message from Will Chabun who was responding to our Canada 150 Vignette No. 122 ``Drama On Main Street.’’ The photo showed some sort of gathering on Moose Jaw’s main street during World War II. It included a Westland Lysander aircraft, a statue, a number of airmen, and a crowd of civilians watching the proceedings. Will, who is a member of the Regina chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society, suggested this scene might be showing a memorial service that was held for the three brothers from the LeBoldus family who were killed while serving in the Royal Canadian 
The following are the entries for the LeBoldus brothers in the Commonwealth Air Training Museum’s memorial book ``They Shall Grow Not Old.’’
 
 
LEBOLDUS, JOHN ANTHONY FS(AG) R155568. From Vibank, Saskatchewan. Killed In Action Nov.24/43 (age 21). #142 Squadron (Determination). BROTHER to Martin Benedict and Peter John LeBoldus. Target - Turin, Italy. The crew of Wellington aircraft LN 566 (QT-D) took off for the target and was never heard from again. FS. R.C. Tyas (RAAF), Sgt.s F.E Summers (RAF), W.R. Knight (RAF), H.A. Clark (RAF) and A.D.J. Smith (RAAF) were also killed. Flight Sergeant Air Gunner LeBoldus is buried in the Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, Italy.
 
LEBOLDUS, MARTIN BENEDICT SGT(FE) R61333. From Vibank, Saskatchewan. Killed In Action Feb.20/44 age 31. #419 Moose Squadron (Moosa Aswayita). BROTHER to John Anthony and Peter John LeBoldus. Halifax aircraft JD 114 (VR-V) failed to return from a night raid against Leipzig, Germany. F/O. J.R. Piper, P/O.s D.K. Macleod, D.C. Lewthwaite, Sgt.s A.H. Hackbart, T. Gettings (RAF) and WO. J.L. Beattie were also killed. Sergeant Flight Engineer LeBoldus has no known grave, his name is inscribed on the Runnymede Memorial, Englefield Green, Egham, Surrey, England.
 
LEBOLDUS, PETER JOHN F/O(N) J15034. From Vibank, Saskatchewan. Killed In Action Feb.13/43 age 26. #418 City of Edmonton Squadron. BROTHER to John Anthony and Martin Benedict LeBoldus. Boston aircraft # AL 766 was shot down while engaged in night operations over France. FS. R.R. Jackson (RAF) was also killed. One crew member, not Canadian, missing believed killed. Flying Officer Navigator LeBoldus was buried in the Communal Cemetery at St. Riquieres-des-Plaines, Seine, France, exhumed, and reburied in the War Cemetery at Grandcourt, France.
  

​​Air Force during World War II. I was unable to absolutely determine that the photo was in fact a memorial to the Leboldus airmen, but felt their story is a poignenet topic for our Remembrance Day Vignette.

Peter, Martin and John LeBoldus were three of 12 children in the family of John and Regina Leboldus of Vibank Saskatchewan. A Saskatoon Star Pheonix article dated September 8, 2016 revealed the following information. On Remembrance Day 1955, Regina LeBoldus was chosen by the Royal Canadian Legion to be the (Memorial) Silver Star Mother whereas she had been asked to lay the wreath at the national Remembrance Day service in Ottawa that year. She was to represent all of Canada’s mothers who had lost a son or daughter in World War I and World War II. This she did, flying for the first time in her life, to attend to her duties as the 1955 Silver Star Mother.

Official RCAF reports, as documented in the Commonwealth Air Training Museum  memorial book, ``They Shall Grow Not Old’’ can be seen on the left. Additional information about each of the brothers can be seen below.

Peter John LeBoldus was born in 1918. When war broke out, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and trained as an Observer. He was killed while flying as Navigator in a aircraft with his RCAF Squadron. Among his achievements in his short life was taking tea with the Queen Mother and Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret at Windsor castle with a group of newly arrived Canadian Airmen in England during World War II.

John Anthony LeBoldus, born in 1922 was trained as, and deployed as an air gunner stationed in the Middle East during the war. He had attained the rank of Flight Sergeant. He was killed in a mission related air crash in Italy.

Martin Benedict LeBoldus, born in 1921, attained the rank of Flight Engineer and was killed on a bombing raid in Germany.

The three brothers were honoured by the Government of Saskatchewan which named a lake, channel and island, all adjoined, after them. The three geographic features are connected to Frobisher Lake in northern Saskatchewan.

Another LeBoldus son, Michael, survived the war and went on to a distinguished career as a doctor in Regina.

While researching this vignette, we came across a number of other heartbreaking family circumstances  like the LeBoldus family endured during World War II. We will look at these events as Part II of our Remembrance Day Canada 150 BCATP Vignette.
``Drama On Main Street'' - possibly a commemoration of the three LeBoldus brothers.
Left: Regina LeBoldus holding the wreath she laid at the Cenotaph in Ottawa in 1955 on behalf of all of Canada's Silver Cross Mothers.

Photos of the LeBoldus brothers and Regina LeBoldus courtesy of Veteran’s Affairs Canada.