Special display for photo and old letter

432 Leaside Bomber Squadron of World War II

Part 2 of last month’s article on the 432 Leaside Bomber Squadron of World War II:

Sweater displayThe Leaside Gardens arena board has decided to move the photo of the painting and other memorabilia into a main viewing area.

The photo, a sweater and a letter about it, written in 1986 to coincide with the unveiling of the painting at Bessborough Public School, will hang in the arena’s main office windows that face the rink.

They  had been on display at the school for a while, then vanished.

In 2014 Mary Bailey, of Parkhurst Blvd., and Mary Lou Taylor, of Sutherland Dr., noticed they were gone. The veterans had previously applied for public display space, but were unsuccessful.

The two women found some of the items and at the end of 2015 applied to the arena for display space.

They wrote to Leaside Life to say, “Elaine Snider,  a member of the board, facilitated the acceptance of our application. The board of Leaside Gardens generously covered the cost of restoration and reframing of the sweater and the photograph. Special thanks to Elaine for her time and expertise.

“We are delighted that the memorabilia is finally on display again in Leaside for the community.”

The letter, from Len Hossie, secretary of the 432 Squadron Reunion Committee, says:


Dear Folks, this turtle neck-sweater is being returned to Leaside with the following comments.

Mr. Leo Loppe, of Port Elgin, Ontario was a Halifax bomber pilot with the 432 Leaside Squadron and he wrote to us as follows:

“As I can recollect, I think I received this sweater in November or December, 1944. There was a large quantity distributed and we were told that they had been knitted by the ladies of Leaside. I think I wore it on every succeeding operation. I still remember my neck got sore as I turned my head from side to side searching the skies for any aircraft with which we might collide. I hope the people of Leaside can find a use for it”.

It must have been a good sweater, because it is being returned 42 years later.

This is just one of the 432 Squadron fellows who chose this method to express his thanks to the people of Leaside who sent so many different comforts, be they soap, chocolate bars, cigarettes, dusters and clothing from pajamas to sweaters. We all wish we had such a tangible way of showing our appreciation.

The 432 Leaside Squadron Reunion Committee have instructed me to extend to Bessborough Public School and all those involved, our sincere thanks for making it possible to establish this connection and for accepting these small nostalgic items.

We hope that many generations will have these to remind them of the contributions made by those at home for those in uniform overseas.