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Selkirk’s War Effort

Written by: Emily Karklin

Beginning on September 1st 1939, World War 2 lasted 6 years and one day. With World War 1 being the ‘war to end all wars’ no one was expecting it. Approximately 1,159,000 Canadians (both men and women) enlisted throughout the war effort. Canada did not join the war right away. Selkirk, on the other hand, did not wait to start taking action.

The Selkirk Army and Navy Veterans Association was quickly organized so that those who joined could instantly join the fight. By September 1940, the local platoon of the 106th Infantry Reserve Company was at full capacity with many ready to fight. Before many knew it Selkirk had its own local war saving campaign, a salvage corp, and a network of coupons and ration cards.

Selkirk’s Veterans

Selkirk gained residents during the war. Between 1931 to 1941 the town’s population went from 4,486 to 4,915. By the end of the war, the population was over 5,400. Unfortunately for some, they would not return home. Five Selkirk boys would die in the Battle of Dieppe. Another 76 would not return to Selkirk.

One who would not return was Lawson Dillabough. He was sent overseas in June of 1944 and later reported missing on December 17th. Some others who did not make it home were Charles Griffiths who was a bomber pilot, Jack Norquay who passed on the night of October 3rd, 1943 on a bombing raid of the city Kassel in Germany, and Charles Tetroe who passed due to being hit by a vehicle on his way back to his barrack. These men were part of the Dufferin Gang.

The Dufferin Gang consisted of 35 men and women who enlisted during World War 2. They all lived on Dufferin Avenue in Selkirk. Today, there is a memorial to the Dufferin Gang on the corner of Dufferin and Main that lists all the names of those who were members. Another memorial for the Dufferin Gang was unveiled this past September at the Legion.

Dufferin Gang Memorial at the Selkirk Legion

Selkirk boomed after the end of World War 2. Many new stores were opened by veterans after they returned from war. Farmers were able to buy grain elevators that held 22,000 bushels of grain. Two new newspapers, the Selkirk Record and the Selkirk Journal were in operation by 1946.  

Like in many places all over the world those that fought were not forgotten. The War Memorial on Eveline Street in Selkirk pays tribute to those who fought and lost their lives during military service.

War Memorial at Selkirk War Memorial Park on Eveline Street - Source: Manitoba Historical Society

We thank all of those who fought for our freedom. We remember those who never came home and we remember those who have passed since. Lest we forget.

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