"War Emergency Course" Danforth Technical School 1940"
Original Photographer Unknown
Danforth Tech. is known for having sent more of its students and staff to the Second World War than any other school in Canada. My father, Glen Johnston, was among them. He served with the Royal Canadian Navy, among his posts was the corvette, HMCS Brandon, which escorted ships across the Atlantic - convoy duty. Later he was tapped for cypher duty where he then became part of the small Canadian Navy team (8 men) that secretly captured the last model (4 rotors) of the German cypher machine, Enigma. This mission was responsible for shortening the war significantly and saving many Allied lives. It was called the most important secret mission of WWII. Warner Brothers made a 2-part, mini-series about it, "A Man Called Intrepid". As this mission remained classified for some 30 years the other team members and my father received no recognition for their part.
My father, Glen Johnston, is in the back row. I have put a red dot over his head. Unfortunately none of the names were on the photograph. If you know any, please let me know, and I'll include them here.
The rest of the inscription reads: "Chas. Love. Machine Shop Instructor"
While attending Danforth Tech. my father belonged to the swim team where he became one of the better swimmers in the city. I can recall playing with his trophies as a young boy. There were lots of them. While the trophies have not survived the years I still have some of his medals.
As a child of 8 years I used to enjoy going down into the basement and quietly going through his trunk. In the trunk was a treasure trove of suprises - hundreds of photographs from WWII, my father's RCN uniform, various papers, etc.. They would keep my imagination going for hours at a time - great fun. One day I found his navy examination papers. As I looked at the grades I saw a progression of high scores - all in the 90s. I got prouder of my father by the moment. Suddenly I came across one, "Torpedoes". The grade was only 64! I was devastated and with the paper in hand I went running up the stairs as fast as my legs would carry me to ask my father why he had gotten such a low grade in "Torpedoes". He laughed. I couldn't understand his reaction. He then proceeded to tell me that placement in the RCN depended in large part upon examination scores. He had been on a tour of a submarine while it was docked at Toronto. The inside smelled of diesel fuel. The lighting was dim. The quarters were cramped even for an averaged-sized person, and he was 6'-1". Right there and then he decided that there was no way that he was going to be assigned to submarine duty, and he purposely tested low on the "Torpedoes" examination. A wave of relief came over me. My faith in my father had been restored. He was even smarter than I had thought!
You can see a larger version of this photograph by going just below this line to "other sizes" and clicking on "original".