Service and Sacrifice: Vaughan’s Contribution to Two World Wars

Commemorating those who served and sacrificed
In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the Second World War, the City of Vaughan Archives will be releasing an online exhibit in honour of the men and women from Vaughan who served and sacrificed in two of history’s greatest conflicts.

The exhibit will be unveiled on Remembrance Day – Nov. 11.

Share your family’s proud story
If you have any family stories, photographs or documents from either of these wars, we want to hear from you!

Vaughan Archives is looking for material from Vaughan residents to include in the showcase. This will not only help to enhance the exhibit, but it will also help tell Vaughan’s story.

Back in time: remembering and retelling
In anticipation of this exhibition, here is a sneak peek of some of our records from the Second World War:

Pilot officer John Thompson

Pilot officer John Thompson

Second World War typhoon pilot John Thompson
Lifelong Woodbridge resident and member of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), John Hallet Thompson served in the Second World War with the 245 Squadron of the Second Tactical Air Force in Northwest Europe.

During his time overseas, Thompson achieved the rank of flying officer and commanded one of the squadron’s two wings. Having flown 100 missions, Thompson was one of the most experienced pilots in his squadron, participating in many assaults with the RCAF’s hawker typhoon fighter-bombers. Thompson and his squadron also provided air support to allied ground forces throughout Normandy, playing a large role in the D-Day Assault and the Battle of the Falaise Gap.

Thompson earned mention in military dispatches and was awarded his Operational Wings as well as the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp following his tour in March 1945.

Flight Sgt. John Thompson

Flight Sgt. John Thompson

Flight Sgt. John Thompson
This photo of Flight Sgt. John Thompson showcases his advanced training in England in 1943. Following his training, Thompson instructed for seven months before joining the 245 Fighter Squadron of the Second Tactical Air Force.

Bomber defence training unit, 1943

Bomber defence training unit, 1943

Bomber defence training
These fighter pilots were photographed during bomber defence training in England with Flight Sgt. John Thompson, 1943.

RCAF Hawker Typhoon

RCAF Hawker Typhoon

RCAF hawker typhoon
The hawker typhoon was a ground-attack aircraft specializing in the destruction of armoured vehicles and railway infrastructure. Their efforts resulted in the destruction of vital targets and played a significant role in supporting the D-Day attacks and liberation campaigns.

Approximately one-third of the typhoon pilots who lost their lives during the Battle of Normandy were Canadian.

Vaughan: committed to remembering
At the City of Vaughan, we remember the service and sacrifice made by many individuals and families, and are very fortunate to be able to preserve some of these memories in our Vaughan Archives.

For more information about this upcoming exhibition or to contribute personal stories, records or documents, please contact the City of Vaughan Archives, City Clerk’s Office, at 905-832-8585 ext. 8793, or The deadline for exhibit submissions is Oct. 31.

Archival Records Analyst
City of Vaughan Archives
City Clerk’s Office

Visit the City of Vaughan’s website at

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