Cassino War Cemetery
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Wartime Heritage notes: Phillip Blanchard was featured in the 440 Production, Time to Remember – Songs and Stories of the War Years (2003-2004). See: A Note To Herbert - Phillip Blanchard (West Nova Scotia Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade, 1 Canadian Corps) Sources and Information: Commonwealth War Graves Commission Canadian Virtual War Memorial [1]
Phillip Joseph Blanchard
Name: Service No: Rank: Service: Date of Birth: Place of Birth: Date of Enlistment: Place of Enlistment: Address at Enlistment: Age at Enlistment: Height: Complexion: Eyes: Hair: Weight: Trade: Religion: Marital Status: Next of Kin: Date of Death: Age at Death: Cemetery: Grave Reference:
Phillip Joseph Blanchard West Nova Scotia Regiment F/40659 Private April 18, 1921 Springhaven, Yarmouth Co., NS October 31, 1939 Yarmouth, Nova Scotia Springhaven, Yarmouth Co., NS 18 5 feet, 6 inches Dark Brown Brown 128 lbs. Labourer Single Roman Catholic Julia Blanchard (Stepmother) Springhaven [at enlistment] Albanie M. Blanchard (Father) Springhaven [effective August 2, 1943] May 24, 1944 23 Cassino War Cemetery (Italy) XIII. F. 8. The 11th name on the WWII list of the Yarmouth War Memorial Commemorated on page 252 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on May 27 Born on April 18, 1921 in Spring Haven, Nova Scotia, Phillip was the son of Albanie and Ester Blanchard. Phillip’s mother died on February 7, 1936 and his father remarried a widow, Julienne Muise, who had two sons, and two daughters. Phillip had four brothers Raymond, Ambrose, Nelson, and Maurice and three sisters Celeste, Loretta, and Jeannette. A fifth brother, Edward died on February 21, 1936. His two half-brothers were Louis Muise and Jean Baptiste Muise. Six members of the combined family would serve their country during World War II. Phillip enlisted in the Army in 1939, as did his brother Raymond (F/40658). Two years later his brother Ambrose (R/123947) also enlisted and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. In May, 1942 their youngest brother Nelson (F/64770) enlisted in the Army. His half-brothers were also in the military. Louis served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and Jean served in the Royal Canadian Army. Phillip left school at fourteen having completed grade 7. He worked on his father’s farm for the five years prior to his enlistment and was employed as a cook in 1938 until September 1939 by Eddie Muise of East Quinan who was in the lumber business. At the time of his enlistment, Phillip indicated that following his war service his intention was to return to work on his father’s farm. The older members of the family, Phillip’s sisters and brothers, remembering stories of his time at home, often mention that he was a very good singer and a guitar player. Phillip enlisted at Yarmouth on October 31, 1939 and was taken on strength with the West Nova Scotia Regiment at Bridgewater on November 26, 1939. He began his Infantry Training at Aldershot Camp on January 11, 1940. On May 5, 1940 he transferred to the Coastal Defence and Anti- Aircraft Artillery Training Centre at Halifax and on June 10, 1941 was taken on strength with the 104th Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery, with the rank of Gunner, at Bedford, NS and was stationed at Shelburne, NS until June 9, 1943. During his time at Shelburne he was granted furlough between September 2, and September 16, 1941, and between September 16, and September 29, 1942. On December 4, 1942 he was given the rank of Lance Bombardier (Corporal in the Artillery). On January 16, 1943 Phillip was attached to Gaspe Defence until March 23, 1943 when he returned to Shelburne. Phillip was granted embarkation leave between June 2 and June 9, 1943. Following his leave he was transferred from 104th Battery RCA to No. 1 Transit Camp at Windsor, NS. He embarked Canada at Halifax on July 18, 1943 and disembarked in the United Kingdom on July 28, 1943 as part of the Canadian Army overseas and on July 29, 1943 was assigned to a Canadian Infantry Reinforcement Unit. While in England Phillip reverted from the rank of Lance Corporal to the rank of Private, at his own request, on October 18, 1943. On October 25, 1943, Phillip was struck off strength from CIRU to “Hot Dog” [unable to define meaning]. Assigned to the West Nova Scotia Regiment, he departed the United Kingdom on October 27, 1943 and he disembarked in Italy on November 6, 1943. Initially posted to West Nova Scotia Regiment Base Depot, Phillip awaited posting as reinforcement. On January 11, 1944 he was assigned to the Regiment in the field of battle. He served with the West Nova Scotia Regiment as part of the 3rd Canadian Brigade, 1 Canadian Corps. Operation Chesterfield, the attack on the Hitler Line, was issued on May 20, 1944. It directed an attack on May 23, 1944 between Aquino and Piedmonte on the right, and on the left an attack by the 1st Canadian Corps centred on Pontecorvo towards the Melfa River. The single day of fighting was the worst in terms of casualties for the Canadian Army in the Italian Campaign, a day in which 890 Canadians were killed or wounded. [1] Private Phillip Blanchard was wounded in action on May 23 and died from those wounds the following day, May 24, 1944. He was initially buried in “MG.G.798137 at side of road, Italy” and was reburied in the Cassino War Cemetery (Italy) XIII. F. 8. in 1946. The telegram advising that Phillip had been killed in action was delivered to his uncle Eugene and aunt Charlotte's home. His father was advised of his death, the result of wounds received in action against the enemy, in an official letter dated June 19, 1944. Among his personal belongings were his WNSR Cap Badge, a damaged fountain pen, a prayer book, a set of beads and crucifix, miscellaneous Religious Cards, snapshots and negatives. A memorial service was held in Quinan for both Phillip Blanchard and a fellow soldier, John Edward Doucette, who was killed in action on May 22, 1944. Two crosses were erected for them in the cemetery at St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church, and two empty coffins were lowered into the plots on that day. A walk through the Cemetery in Quinan in 2003 in search of the two memorial graves and the wooden crosses was unsuccessful. Time had taken its toll and no evidence of the burial site or the crosses remained. However, in 2018 a Memorial stone was placed at the entrance to the cemetery, ensuring that the two soldiers will always be remembered by the village and those who visit the cemetery aware of the wartime sacrifice of these two soldiers from Quinan.