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Dads Footstone - Military Service WWII
31-JAN-2009 Cliff. Johnston

Dad's Footstone - Military Service WWII

Granbury, Texas, U. S. A.

I contacted the Canadian office for Veterans' Affairs to see if they still placed footstones on veterans' graves. I was told only for the indigent. It was a cost-cutting measure that had been placed upon them some years ago. I felt that Dad deserved one and proceeded to have this one made with the same stone from the same Quebec quarry used by the Canadian government. This little piece of stone made its important journey from Quebec to Granbury, Texas, in fine time. I must say that I'm very pleased with it.

Unfortunately there was no suitable way to give Dad recognition for his part in what has been described as the single-most-important mission of WWII. Dad was part of the Royal Canadian Navy's 8-man,Intrepid team which obtained a working, 4-rotor, German, Enigma, cypher machine without the Nazi's knowledge. This enabled the Allied forces to read coded German messages in the last year or so of the war. As the mission was top secret, Dad received no recognition for his role. A made-for-TV movie of this operation was produced by Warner Brothers - "A Man Called Intrepid" starring David Niven, Michael York and Barbara Hershey. Unfortunately I've not been able to obtain a copy of this movie.

It wasn't until the end of the show on TV that I found out about Dad's part. When the so-called Enigma cypher machine was shown Dad blurted out, "That's not the right machine!" He then added that it was the old 3-rotor model. The one that they had captured was the new 4-rotor machine. He then proceeded to rattle off the model number and various specifications. I was dumbfounded. He said that he had been sworn to secrecy, but as they had made a movie about it, it wasn't much of a secret anymore. I gained a whole lot of new respect for my father on that day.

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Guest 14-Apr-2009 19:27
Very good recognition Clifford. From your Canadian Cousin - Eileen Anderton Smerdon (niece to Glen Aickens Johnston).