Military Contributions of a Small Town
- George J. Sweanor -
From the 13 Jan 2021 Northumberland News
George Joseph Sweanor, the eldest child of George and Alice (McGirr), was born 07 November 1919 in Sudbury, Ontario. After graduating from Port Hope High School in 1937, he enlisted in the RCAF 04 August 1941, becoming part of the 419 Squadron, Bomber Command.
George married Joan Saunders 06 January 1943 shortly before his plane was shot down over Germany. A POW involved in the famed Great Escape at Stalag Luft III, he was liberated in April 1945, returning to Canada in July. He remained with the RCAF for 25 years, retiring in 1967 to Colorado Springs, Colorado.
He subsequently taught high school history, retiring for a second time in 1983. He wrote a book about his RCAF career, It's All Pensionable Time, and, over the years, compiled a history of Port Hope veterans.
He passed away at his Colorado home 03 January 2021. "Ever the navigator, George would appreciate the acknowledgment that he had begun his 102nd circuit around the sun."
George Sweanor c1942
George Sweanor c2018
Preface from George's book
This is an ongoing study, made difficult by the passage of time. It started with the desire to record the careers of a few high school friends, but then mushroomed. With the publication of They Shall Not Grow Old (Allison & Hayward, Brandon, Manitoba), which includes a paragraph on each of some 15,000 RCAF members who were killed in World War II; the detailed work of Rob Davis of Telford, Shropshire, England, on Bomber Command crew losses; The Great Escape; The Assassination of Heydrich; and other works, the temptation to assemble details on hundreds of friends became too great.
In January 2001, with the help of Vernon White and Mike Lewis, I began to amass data on the careers of Port Hope RCAF veterans. As this study grew, so did the desire to not only include all WWII veterans but the veterans of all wars that had affected Port Hope. I was pleased to receive willing help from Enid Sweanor, Dorothy Harcourt, Ted Fulford, and Frank Foote.
A request to the Port Hope Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion brought forth a bundle of data from Patricia Honey and Harold Wakely. Peter and Barbara Bolton contributed and Barbara Trumper became a major sleuth in ferreting out data on hundreds of veterans.
While this study concentrates on those who served in the fighting forces, we cannot overlook the parents, wives, and siblings who were left behind. Not only did they have the anguish of worry over their departed warriors, but endured shortages, greatly increased workloads, and crippling taxes.
So, this presentation is merely the start of a major project . . .
(More detail about his project can be read in this 16 July 2001 Evening Guide article.)
Displaying or obtaining a copy of his book
The latest update (read-only) of Military Contributions of a Small Town is online. A printed or PDF copy may be obtained from the Port Hope Archives.
Peter and Barbara Bolton - Port Hope, Ontario