Here Is The Real Story Behind Some Of The Most Famous Historical Photos

Here Is The Real Story Behind Some Of The Most Famous Historical Photos

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1. "Wait for me, Daddy", 1940

“Wait for Me, Daddy” is an iconic photo taken by Claude P. Dettloff on October 1, 1940. It shows the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own Rifles) marching down Eighth Street at the Columbia Street intersection, New Westminster, Canada. Pictured are five-year-old Warren “Whitey” Bernard and his parents Bernice and Jack Bernard, as the family was about to be separated by the war. The picture received extensive exposure and was used in war-bond drives.

Five year-old Warren “Whitey” Bernard was in Grade 1 at nearby General Wolfe Elementary. Whitey’s Dad was enlisted in the British Columbia Regiment and was stationed in the city on various sentry points throughout the city. Since the declaration of war in 1939 the men of the BC regiment had been doing various guard duty assignments which were boring and monotonous. Finally, after months of waiting the regiment received word that it was to be moving to a secret destination “Overseas”. As the troops marched to a waiting train to take them to their next destination, photographer Claude P. Dettloff of The Province newspaper positioned himself to photograph the whole column marching down the hill.

But, as he was getting ready to take the picture, he saw a young boy run out onto the road. The mother’s outstretched hand and the swirl of her coat, the boy’s shock of white hair and his own reaching hand, the father’s turning smile and the downward thrust of his own outreaching hand — he has shifted his rifle to his other hand to hold his son’s for a moment — the long line of marching men in the background, all this makes an unforgettable image, a masterpiece of unplanned composition, a heart-grabbing moment frozen for all time.

The picture Dettloff captured was picked up all over the world, getting exposure in Life; it hung in every school in British Columbia during the war. The secret destination the regiment was heading to turned out to be Nanaimo, only three hours away. The regiment spent time on the coast defending against German and then Japanese attack. It wasn’t until August, 1942 that the bulk of the Regiment sailed for England. They didn’t see action until July 23, 1944 when they landed at the established D-Day beach head and participated in Operation Totalize: one of the first attempts to close the Falaise Gap. After the Allies had crushed the German Army groups based in France they with the rest of Allies harassed the retreating Germans all the way to Holland. There the regiment took part in a number of operations in Holland and in Northern Germany. The last battle they took part in was on April 17, 1945 when they crossed the Kusten Canal. A month later Victory in Europe day (VE-Day) was declared on May 5, 1945.

Throughout the war the Regiment had 122 Officers and men killed and 213 wounded. Whitey’s dad survived the European theatre and came home in October 1945. One major causality of the war was Whitey’s parents marriage; as Jack and Bernice Bernard eventually divorced. Whitey grew up and moved to Tofino and met and married his wife Ruby in 1964. His wife Ruby, fondly recalls that she had actually known her husband for years. Whitey’s photo “was hung in every school in British Columbia during the war”, she said. “I saw him years and years before we actually met”.

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2. A 17-year-old Marcus Sarjeant shoots blanks at the Queen, 1981

On 13 June 1981, Marcus Sarjeant joined the crowds for Trooping the Colour, finding a spot near the junction between The Mall and Horseguards Avenue. When the Queen came past riding her 19-year-old horse Burmese, Sarjeant quickly fired six blanks from his starting revolver. The horse was momentarily startled but the Queen brought her under control; she was unharmed. The security quickly reacted and subdued Sarjeant, who told them “I wanted to be famous. I wanted to be a somebody”.

In questioning, Sarjeant said he had been inspired by the assassination of John Lennon in December 1980, and the attempts on the life of Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II. In particular he noted the ease with which Mark David Chapman had become famous after killing John Lennon. A friend said that at the time of John Hinckley, Jr.’s attempt on the life of President Reagan, Sarjeant had said “I would like to be the first one to take a pot shot at the Queen”. The police found that Sarjeant had written “I am going to stun and mystify the world. I will become the most famous teenager in the world.”

Investigations by psychiatrists found that Sarjeant (Continued)


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