James Robert "Bob" Welsh
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- A collection of black and white and a few colour photographs, and one letter, predominantly taken by, or depicting, James Robert “Bob” Welsh, a Royal Canadian Air Force mechanic who served overseas in York, England during the Second World War.
2017EG004.001: Black and white portrait photograph of Bob Welsh wearing his Royal Canadian Air Force uniform and wedge cap.
2017EG004.002: Black and white photograph of Bob Welsh and his sister Betty Welsh standing outside on pavement surrounded by pigeons, with buildings in the background, one with a billboard advertising Maison Lyons Chocolates. Cars, people, bicyclists, and light posts are also seen in the background. Captioned “Bob Welsh on Leave in London with Sister Betty”.
2017EG004.003: Black and white photograph of Bob Welsh outdoors sitting on a bomb, with two bicycles also leaned up against the row of bombs. A dirt road is in the foreground, with trees and a small hill in the background. Captioned “1942 – B. Welsh posing & Bombs”.
2017EG004.004: Black and white photograph of Bob Welsh seated in a wooden chair outdoors with grass and dirt patches in the foreground, and a building with a tin roof and two wooden doors flanking him. He is holding something in his right hand while opening a cardboard box, with a newspaper on his lap. Captioned “Bob W. opening care pkg from home plus a Canadian newspaper”.
2017EG004.005: Blue paper Armed Forces Air Letter sent by Bob Welsh from England to his mother, Mrs. James E. Welsh who lived at 94 Waterloo Court, Brantford, Ontario. The letter is handwritten in black ink and is dated 23 May 1945. The letter folds in on itself, and therefore did not need an envelope. There is a rectangular purple three pence stamp on the top right corner of the front when folded, and a black post office stamp on top.
2017EG004.006: Black and white photograph of the Welsh family home located on Piper Street in Ayr, Ontario dated 1922. The house took two and a half years to build by Scottish masons in the 1850s. Situated on six acres of land, the house has two and a half feet thick exterior walls made of fieldstones found in nearby Nith Road, and has pinewood floors. The woodshed is attached to the left side of the stone home. There is an unidentified girl standing on the front lawn.
The marriage of Mary Welsh and John “Jack” Chapple Tate took place on the front lawn of the Welsh home in July 1940.
2017EG004.007: Group of Royal Canadian Air Force servicemen standing and sitting on and in front of a four engine aircraft, possibly a Handley Page Halifax. Bob Welsh is 11th from left standing on the wings of the aircraft.
2017EG004.008: Black and white photograph of two two-storey buildings with a set of windows on each floor, and hip rooves, on the right. There are fields on the left in the background with an aircraft near the background centre. Captioned “1943 – Barracks where B. Welsh stayed”.
2017EG004.009: Black and white photograph of Bob Welsh wearing a No 5A service dress uniform, lounging on the ground in front of a wooden three-post fence, and a bicycle on the right. There are fields and cows in the background. Captioned “Bob Welsh Bike Riding in England 1943”.
2017EG004.010: Black and white photograph of a group of young men dressed in light-coloured uniforms and a dark coloured belt, sitting and standing in front of a stone and wood building with large glass windows. Bob Welsh is identified by the arrow marked in pen on the bottom of the photograph, near the centre, behind the first row of men. Captioned “1941 – Aircraft school in Galt / Bob Welsh centre (Class of 31)”.
2017EG004.011: Black and white photograph of Bob Welsh (right) standing, and two other Royal Canadian Air Force servicemen sitting on a ladder, in front of an aircraft with the image of a woman and “Daisy Mae” painted on the side near the nose. Aircraft may be a Handley Page Halifax. Captioned “RCAF Crew With Their ‘Daisy Mae’”.
2017EG004.012: Black and white photograph of Bob Welsh (right) and another Air Mechanic sitting on a block labelled “D” in front of a four engine aircraft, possibly a Handley Page Halifax aircraft, painted with the image of a woman near the nose. The nose of the aircraft is held up by a ladder. The aircraft sits on a tarmac with fields and equipment in the background, and another aircraft in the right background. Captioned “Bob & another Air Mechanic – York, Eng.”.
2017EG004.013: Black and white photograph of a four engine aircraft, possibly a Handley Page Halifax, with the image of a woman painted near the nose. The aircraft sits on a tarmac, with a ladder under its left wing, and fields and trees in the background. Captioned ‘”1944 – York N. Of London”.
2017EG004.014: Black and white photograph of an aircraft cockpit; presumably the cockpit of the four engine aircraft labeled “Daisy Mae” of 2017EG004.011-13, which may be a Handley Page Halifax.
2017EG004.015: Black and white photograph of Bob Welsh wearing a Royal Canadian Air Force No 5 service uniform and Aviator badges on his arms, leaning on a canon, with an interlocked stone road, rock cliffs, and a stone building in the background. Captioned “1943 Bob Welsh at Edinburgh Castle”.
2017EG004.016: Black and white portrait photograph of Bob Welsh, wearing a dark jacket, white shirt, and a dark tie.
2017EG004.019: Black and white photograph of Bob Welsh (right), Ruth Grimmer (centre) and an unidentified male (left). The group is standing outdoors in grass in front of some trees and houses. The male on the left is depicted in 2017EG004.011 and is identified as an RCAF aircrew. Captioned “Ruth Grimmer & Bob Welsh”. Ruth and Bob were sweethearts, prior to Bob serving overseas during the Second World War.
2017EG004.020: Black and white photograph of Bob Welsh wearing a jacket and trousers, holding a golf club, standing on a golfing green with trees in the background. Captioned “1943 Playing Golf at Edinburgh, Scot”.
2017EG004.021: Black and white photograph of Shirley Redfern wearing a bathing suit, standing on the beach at Port Dover, Ontario. Shoes, a blanket with clothes, shrubs and trees are in the background. Captioned “Shirley Redfern at Pt. Dover”.
2017EG004.022: Black and white photograph of Bob Welsh wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and water shoes, holding one fish, and another three fish on a line held by a person outside of the frame. Bob is standing on a beach with trees in the background. Captioned “Late 1940s / Fishing at Rice Lake”.
2017EG004.023: Black and white photograph of a deer hunting group standing outdoors including Bob Welsh standing second from the right. Captioned “1956 Deer Hunting” and dated November 1956.
2017EG004.024: Colour photograph of Bob Welsh dancing with Shirley Redfern, wearing semi-formal clothing, with another couple dancing in the background, and people seated. Date unknown. Captioned “Bob and Shirley”.
2017EG004.025: Colour photograph of Bob Welsh outside wearing a blue shirt, a tie, grey trousers, hat, and sunglasses leaning on a car with front end damage. More vehicles in the background to the left, and a brick building with a “PARTS” sign on the side. Date unknown. Captioned “Bob W at Brant County Ford”.
2017EG004.026: Colour photograph of Bob Welsh (right) and his sister Betty (Welsh) Jackson (right). Both seated at a table, with drinks and a menu, in a building with large glass windows. Date unknown.
- James Robert “Bob” Welsh was born on 6 October 1919 in Ayr, Ontario. He grew up, attended Ayr Public School, and upon graduation, worked at a local grocery store.
Bob served in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a mechanic from 1941 to 1945. After completing training at Trent and Galt, Bob was supposed to serve overseas in Japan. However after the bombing of Pearl Harbour in 1941, he was sent to Liverpool, England instead. He serviced airplanes at York, and remarked how the planes he fixed rarely returned to England in the same condition. He did not pass the medical test to become a pilot because he is colour blind and has two conjoined toes.
Leaves were sometimes spent meeting up with his sister Betty Welsh in London. She served in the navy and was also stationed in the United Kingdom. Bob also spent several leaves in Ayr, Scotland. There, two McCaul sisters opened their home to Canadian servicemen, to demonstrate their appreciation of the men participating in the local war effort. Even after returning home in 1945, Bob received a box of chocolates from the McCaul’s each Christmas. In 1966 on a trip to the United Kingdom, the sisters treated Bob to tea and crumpets as if he were family.
After Armistice Day in 1945, Bob returned to Canada and resided with his older sister Mary (Welsh) Tate at 94 Waterloo Court, Brantford, Ontario while working at Brant County Motor in the parts department. After several years of selling car parts in the service department, he was sent on the road delivering car parts to Brantford, Woodstock, Simcoe, Cayuga, and other towns around Lake Erie.
In 1974, he moved in with his niece Eleanor (Tate) Gloster, where he lived for the next 35 years. His hobbies and favourite pastimes included playing golf, skiing, fishing, hunting, and grabbing coffee with friends. Following a heart attack in 2000, he moved to the Amber Lea Place Retirement Home, and is currently living at St. Joseph’s Lifecare Centre, both in Brantford, Ontario.
Although they never married, Bob and Shirley Redfern were partners for 65 years.
- Personal Name(s):
- Welsh, James Robert "Bob"
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- Geographic Coverage:
England, United Kingdom
- M. Eleanor (Tate) Gloster
- Creative Commons licence:
- [more details]
- Recommended Citation:
- James Robert "Bob" Welsh, M. Eleanor Gloster. 2017EG004.001-26.
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