NISKAYUNA, NEW YORK: An effort to place war items in the right hands has hit a snag.
Iain Walker runs a non-profit organization called “Get it Home United” which works to return items found in Europe (from World War I and World War II) to the families of allied servicemen.
“These items generally consist of personal items such as military dog tags, bracelets, knives, and anything else that can be tracked,” Walker told The Reporter via email. “To date, we have returned 41 items.”
Walker said the group found a bracelet in Kleve, Germany which they determined belonged to a Canadian soldier.
“The name on the bracelet only reads ‘H. Leblanc’ with a unique service number of F 49993,” he explained. “We were able to determine… (from the North Nova Scotia Highlanders regimental museum) that this Mr. Leblanc was one of the original North Nova Scotia Highlanders who served in World War II and that his name was Henry with a middle initial of ‘J.’”
The museum provided the group with a picture which showed “H. Leblanc” had ties to Springhill, but another picture referenced him as “H.L. Leblanc,” Walker noted. When asked about that discrepancy, he was told “it was possibly an error due to cursive writing on older records.”
The museum later identified Leblanc as Henry Joseph Leblanc (Sept. 11, 1917 to Dec. 1 1998).
“I made contact with the family, including a daughter, who stated it could not have been him because he was colour blind and never was deployed to Europe for battle, so the only way it could have found its way to Europe is if it was given to someone else and dropped, unlikely,” Walker continued.
Unfortunately, Walker said this is as far as the group has been able to proceed, but their research is ongoing.
“We can confirm he was Canadian, served with the Nova Scotia Highlanders, and that his first name was Henry,” Walker wrote. “Unfortunately, to date we have not completely identified Mr. Leblanc in terms of his date of birth, more specific location of where he was born, etc. or anything else that might help us zero in on family members in Canada so we can return the item.”
Walker added that an official records request to the Canadian Armed Forces might be the answer.
“If we can determine his complete pedigree information this should easily be solvable by way of genealogy,” he added. “However, we are at a standstill at this point.”
For more on “Get It Home United,” check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GETITHOMEUNITED/.