The Russell Family
An historical and photographic perspective

The Russell Family During World War II

Joy, Robert, Ron, Ethel & Winnie, c 1942
Joy, Robert, Ron, Agnes (Ethel) & Winnie, c 1942
Powell River, B.C. Canada

"The woman in the front row is wearing the white St. John Ambulance nursing uniform. She would have been a volunteer, providing first aid and nursing support in her community. The two women in the top row are actually members of the Canadian Red Cross Corps (CRCC) - either volunteers or staff! The CRCC was created in WW II and they combined resources with SJA to support the war effort. Thanks for your question and for sharing the wonderful picture." - St. John Ambulance BC/Yukon Facebook page

Throughout World War II, all of the Russell Family participated in the war effort. Robert Russell volunteered his services but was turned down because of his age (59). Please see below for one of two letters transcribed from his handwritten drafts of April 22, 1942 (pdf):

Arthur Randles, Esq.
Director of Merchant Seaman
Dept. A., Dept. of Transport
West Block, Ottawa

Dear Sir,

In reply to your advertisement in a Vancouver paper re men with foreign going Master's Certificates. I wish to state that I hold a Master's foreign going certificate for steamships obtained in London, England, No 003222. I have had a wide experience as  Officer and some experience as Master. I am best acquainted with the following trade routes: North and South Atlantic, Mediterranean, East Indies and West Indies, Red Sea ports, Baltic and White sea. I was also in the cross channel mail boats. During the last war I was Chief Officer and Master in the Mercantile Fleet Auxiliary attached to the Grand Fleet. I hold the 1914-1918 war medal. I also had 3 years as Master on the British Coast and from British ports to France, Belgium and Germany, later returning to the foreign trade. I am at present Surveyor of Timber Dock Cargoes at this port, but could be released from this port as there are no more vessels taking dock cargoes. Trusting you will be able to place me as Master in the near future.

Yours truly,

(Capt.) R. Russell



Robert & Ethel Russell c. 1942
Robert & Ethel Russell, Nov. 1943

Ethel, Joy and Robert Russell, Nov. 1943
Agnes (Ethel), Joy and Robert Russell, Nov. 1943
120 Third Street, Powell River, B.C., Canada


Stop Waiting

Let's Go Canada!

Camp Borden, Ontario

Trpr. Ronald Russell, Canadian Army Tank Corps
Trpr. Ronald Russell, Canadian Army Tank Corps

Agnes (Ethel) & Joy Russell, Jock Waugh, Winnie Russell & Ron Russell c 1943
Agnes (Ethel) & Joy Russell, Jock Waugh, Winnie Russell & Ron Russell c 1943

Captain Robert Russell passed away on March 1, 1944. The Powell River News Westview reported:

Captain R. Russell, Deepsea Veteran, Dies Thursday (pdf)

Last rites for Captain Robert Russell, 63, retired deep sea captain who was apprenticed to the sea on sailing ships at the young age of 17, were conducted by Rev. William Graham in St. John's Union Church this afternoon, following his sudden passing in the local hospital Thursday morning. Remains will be forwarded to Vancouver on tonight's boat for cremation and his ashes will be committed to the sea off Powell River next Monday or Tuesday.

Besides his wife, he is bereaved by one son, Trpr. Ronald Russell, Canadian Army Tank Corps, Camp Borden, who flew from the east and arrived here Wednesday; two daughters, Mrs. John Waugh, who recently returned from Dunnville. Ont., where her husband, a Pilot Officer in the RCAF, is stationed.; Miss Violet "Bunty" Russell, at home; also three brothers and two sisters in the old country.

The late Captain Russell was born in Dundee, Scotland, December 9, 1881. He assumed his first command in 1910 as master of a ship of the Cory Steamship Line out of London. During the First Great War he was in command of the Merchant Marine auxiliary to the Royal Navy. He was aboard the S.S. Deptford when it was sunk by a torpedo in the North Sea on February 24, 1915. The ship went down in three minutes and Captain Russell spent several hours in a lifeboat before being rescued. He also served on ships carrying supplies to British warships in the Dardenelles.

On his retirement in 1929 he came to Canada and directly to Powell River, his family having preceded him to this country by several months. Until a year ago, when ill health forced him to give up working, he was employed as an oiler in the mill. He was admitted to hospital five weeks ago. A member of the Triune Lodge No. 81, A.F. & A.M., Captain Russell was also a life member of Robertson Masonic Lodge, Scotland.

For copies of Continuous Certificate of Discharge October 4, 1901 - April 19, 1904, Certificate of Discharge for S.S. Deptford January 1, 1914, Authority to Wear War Medals for the Mercantile Marine 1920 - 1921, Ship to Ship Marconigram, November 8, 1927, Paterson Steamships Limited Letter of Reference July 10, 1929, Department of National Defence Naval Service Letter, August 7, 1941, and Royal Canadian Air Force Western Air Command Letter April 30, 1942, see Captain Robert Russell.

The Waugh Family (Jock & Winnie) after World War II

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