Remembrance Day in Canada is a day to reflect on the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers; to those who have fallen, are presently serving, and to honour and say thank you to the many veterans. To commemorate Remembrance Day, November 11, 2016, I am reposting an article I had posted previously on September 8th, 2014 (on the old CFPU website). Documented with the help of two excerpts from the War Diary of the Public Relations Group overseas, is the unfortunate tale of Sgt. Lloyd Frank Millon, a member of the Canadian Army Film & Photo.
In an undated letter, (sometime in early 1943) to then Captain Lawrence Audrain*, Lloyd Millon expresses an interest in joing the CFPU;
“Dear Laurie Audrain:
Since last you heard from me, I have been moved from H.M.C.S. “NIOBE” to the Plastic and Jaw Surgery Unit. I am keenly, as ever, interested in photography, and, in conjunction with my work take a considerable number of clinical photos. But when off duty, I devote greater part of my time to that branch of photography I like best. Whenever and wherever I find the opportunity I take snaps of weddings, parades and special events, and have had marvellous luck.
I am constantly hoping that I shall be able to take up news photography as a full time proposition. ‘Off the record’ can you let me know if there is any likelihood of a vacancy occurring in your section.
Yours truly, H3121, Sergeant Lloyd Millon, Basingstoke, Hants”
This letter was turned over to Lieut. J.E.R. ‘Jack’ McDougall, director of the Canadian Army Film Unit, on APRIL 6th, 1943. At the time, there were no vacancies, “However, we have placed your name on our files, and should a vacancy occur in the future when we could use someone with your qualifications, it will get due consideraton,” replied McDougall.
On the 25th March, 1944, Sgt. Lloyd Millon reported for an interview to assess his suitability for employment within the CFPU. His application for employment listed his former experience as, “Still studio in Winnipeg doing commercial, and portrait photography, as well as a freelance photographer with a little bit of 16mm.” At the time, Sgt. Millon had been overseas since January, 1940. He was 29 years old.
WAR DIARY – 1 NOV 1944 – FILM & PHOTO:
Weather – cloudy with ground mist. Army briefing reports that operations Infatuate 1 & 2 are underway despite lack of air support due to unfavourable weather. Op. Infatuate the Invasion of Walcheren Island – in the mouth of the Scheldt began with seaborne landings at Flushing and Westkapelle. To cover this operation Cdn. and British cameramen were pooled. It was necessary to draw on all available cameramen from Main and Adv. Camps. British Sgts. Connolly and Stiggins crossed to Flushing with 4 Commando. Activities at Breskens, arty barrage, departure of troops etc, covered by Cdns. Capt. Palmer, Sgts. Crocker and Swales A.F.U. together with Sgt. Dougan, CFPU landed at Westkapelle with 4 SS Bde. Lieut. Cooper was aboard HQ ship HMS Kingsmill and Sgt. Millon on LCS (L). Corps stated that the Op. was going well but that casulaties were likely to be heavy. Covered entrance to Causeway connecting South Beveland Peninsula and Walcheren Island as well as the 8th Recce’s amphibious operation to North Beveland Island.
WAR DIARY – 2 NOV 1944 – FILM & PHOTO:
Capt. Palmer delivered Op Infatuate films to Brussels. Heard from him that Sgt. Millon is believed to be missing – all others O.K. Received confirmation that Millon’s craft had been sunk. Hospitals and Naval sources checked for further information. Maj. Holmes, BM 155 Bde. reported that Press arrangements had been working well and had not interferred with Ops. Lt. Cooper returned from HMS Kingsmill. His camera failed, but he volunteered his services to the captain and worked for 12 hours helping the ships MO handle the many casualties brought to the HQ ship. Sgts. Connolly and Stiggins reported back safely from Flushing. Lieut. Bell and Pte. Pritchard, to Beveland Causeway but find it under enemy fire. Secured pictures of refugees returning to Bergen Op Zoom.
From THE VIEWFINDER:
MISSING – Tragedy again struck the CF&PU with word received at 27 (Pall Mall) that SGT. LLOYD MILLON has been reported missing after operations. During the landing at Walcheren, Sgt. Millon covered the assault, and was working with cameramen of the British Film Unit. As the assault craft he was shooting from neared the beach, it is believed to have sustained a direct hit. All hands on board are listed as missing. The action took place Nov. 1st.
Although it is realized that wars cannot be waged without losses, it always comes as a shock and a feeling of deep and sincere regret to hear that another one of the gang has left our midst. To his wife, Mrs. Therese Millon, who survives him and is at present living in Scotland, goes the deepest sympathy of all ranks of Film and Photo.
“…time yet will tell its tale, yet,
If there be hope, then let
That Hope burn through ’til
Dawn of Dusk…”
KIA – H.3121 SGT. MILLON LF WHILE CARRYING OUT CINE DUTIES ON NAVAL OPERATIONS ON THE ASSAULT ON WALCHEREN ISLAND.
Sgt. Lloyd Millon was previously wounded when on assignment for the closing of the Falaise Gap. On the road between Trun and Chambois, two Film Unit jeeps were targeted by enemy fire; Sgts. Stollery and Millon, along with drivers McKay and Zentner were all wounded. Cameraman Don Grant was also involved and was pinned down for five hours by enemy fire.
First full-time photographer to step from civvie street and into Army Public Relations was Maj. L. A. Audrain. He joined P.R. in 1940 and helped set up the original photographic department which eventually was merged into CFPU. (source: History in the Taking, Canadian Geographic, JUNE 1945)
Lest We Forget.