Reposted here to commemorate the missing in action of Sgt. Lloyd Millon, CFPU cameraman, 78 years ago today. Sgt. Millon was engaged during the landing at Walcheren, working alongside cameramen of the British Film Unit.
The following article is written by my good friend and colleague, Ben Moogk, who has been a dedicated researcher of Canada’s involvement in WWII, and specifically that of the Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit. Ben shares recently uncovered documents that sheds some additional light on what happened to CFPU Sgt. Lloyd Millon on that fateful day, 1 NOV. 1944. (This article follows a previous post made on November 16, 2016)
“Visiting the cemeteries of the Canadian war dead is an intimidating experience; there are so many names on the endless rows of clean white headstones. I always wonder who these people were and what circumstances brought them to this fate.
These questions burn the hottest for those grave’s marked only “known unto God”. Canadian Army cine cameraman Sergeant Lloyd Frank Millon is one of many who disappeared. His wife Theresa and his father Leopold, like many families, are only told that he was missing in action, presumed dead, and that there would be no grave to visit.
Lloyd Millon had volunteered on 18th November, 1939 in Winnipeg and had vanished almost exactly five years later on the first of November, 1944 off the shore of Westkapelle, a Dutch city on the island of Walcheren.
Sometimes the missing are found again, like the remains of Sergeant John Albert Collis uncovered in a field in Normandy back in 2017. (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/remains-burlington-soldier-1.5144991) Sometimes modern genetic science finally names the unknowns, as has happened this year for the remains of Trooper Henry George Johnston who was buried as an unknown at the Mook War Cemetery in the Netherlands. (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/canadian-soldier-identified-1.5786327)
I believe Lloyd Millon is most likely buried as one of the thirty-one unknowns in the Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery. (https://www.veterans.gc.ca/
The mystery of what happened to the remains of Lloyd Millon turns on testimony from Sergeant Fred Beal (see image gallery) of a chance meeting with an unnamed Norwegian commando who was part of the assault on Westkapelle. This Norwegian had seen Millon on shore mortally wounded. Others have reported to have seen Millon’s boat, LCS(L) 252, struck by a German artillery shell and explode. Such a catastrophic incident makes the idea of him alive on shore unlikely, however the details of Beal’s testimony of what this Norwegian had to say are compelling.
Norwegian commandos had been an intergral part of the Operation on Weskapelle as seen in footage shot by Norwegian combat cameraman, P.G. Jonson. Jonson is credited to a short film entitled, “Norske Commandos I Kamp På Walcheren” (1944). (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=579bk98l3VM) Millon’s last words according to the unknown Norwegian who spoke to Beal were “about the safety of his camera equipment”.
Identifying Lloyd Millon would have been difficult. His pay book and pressed paper identity disk would have been damaged by being soaked by the water. But Millon’s Canadian-made uniform would have made him stand out from the rest, distinctive with its higher quality wool and its Canadian manufacturer’s label. He was also born in Winnipeg and his accent would have marked him as different from the mostly British commandos fighting during the operation. As the medics at Westkapelle were all Canadian, I do wonder if any of them recognized him as a fellow Canadian.
There was another Canadian cameraman in Westkapelle that day, Sergeant Ken Dougan. His tracked amphibious carrier was disabled upon making shore, but he managed to shoot 400 feet of film without injury and returned to Ostend, where the allied armada had sailed from. No other cameramen in Westkapelle, other than Millon, would have been in need of medical care, so who else could the Norwegian commando have been speaking about, except Millon?
There are several possible locations for the final resting place of Lloyd Millon. Many who died in the waters of the Scheldt Estuary would have drifted out into the North Sea. He could be the one unknown buried in Westkapelle. He could, however unlikely, have been buried in Norway among the fallen Norwegian commandos. He also could have been buried among the British commandos at Bergen-op-Zoom. But his identity as a Canadian, even without his pay book or identity disk, would have been hard to miss, so most likely he is among his fellow Canadians who fell during the assault on Walcheren Island.
The only answer to the question of “where are the remains of Lloyd Millon?” is the silence of loss. He sailed away from home, across the Atlantic, then across the Scheldt, and vanished.”