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Nazi Flag



Flag The Sexsmith branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and the Sexsmith and District Museum Society are now the proud displayers of a vanquished German naval flag, bearing the swastika symbol, which once flew over their naval base at the Boulogne, on the coast of France, during WWII. How, you may ask, did this once hated and now very rare flag make its way to Sexsmith? The answer is - at the insistence of the same brave soldiers who were victorious over the Germans in 1945. They delivered us from the German war machine and, then, delivered the flag to us as a symbol of that defeat. Thanks to Jack stalberg and some persuasion from his cousin, Walter Paszkowski, followed by a blatant order from his comrade-in-arms, Buster Brown, former mayor and Legionnaire, the flag has found a new home in Sexsmith.

Jack Stalberg, son of Sexsmith pioneers, Peter and Jean Stalberg, joined up on February 5, 1941, along with fellow Sexsmithites Ross Johnson, Inge Einarson, Charlie Foote, Bill Murray and Cecil "Buster" Brown. They were stationed in Edmonton for the first eight weeks, then moved on the Currie Barracks in Calgary to "learn to march", as Jack told Walter recently. From here, they were sent east to Camp Debert, near Truno, Nova Scotia, where they joined the 13th Field Artillery - but, while the rest of the young men became part of the 76th Battery, Jack went to the 44th Batter. He spent the next couple of years in Britain and was overseas for 44 months total.

D-Day came, on June 6, 1944, and a few days later, Jack was sent from Britain over to Europe - to a destination in France known as Corcell Submier, on Juneau Beach. Here the Canadians gained more grouond and held it on the first day than any previous soldiers had.

Caan was the first big city they captured, then on to Talaise Gap, which Jack described as "the fight that really broke the Germans' back". Following this victory, they had to come back and clean up the coastline. There was a port called Boulogne, on the coast near Calais, which was very strategic, as it was from here that the V1 and V2 rockets were being launched. It was vital to stop that barrage of rockets. Once they had cleaned up the city they decided to do a little sight-seeing. They found a German motorcycle - a BMW, at that. "Those were the class of the motorcycle industry", chortled Jack. With Jack driving, they went to the German Naval Headquarters, amongst the ruins - a much prized symbol of the vanquishment just delivered to the Germans. They also grabbed a lot of canned goods and other food stuff, as they "hadn't been eating to well for a while", according to Jack, and because he "had a cook along" with him that day.

That flag travalled with Jack as he helped to clear out the waterway entrance into Antwerp, then west to Schdt, Belgium, where they rested for a few days before leaving for Holland and throughout the rest of his tour of duty until he "came marching home again to Sexsmith on November 11, 1945, very appropriately on Armistice day. (Article copied with the permission of the writer, Jean Rycroft.)



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