The Devil's Brigade

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The Devil's Brigade

Ed Storey
Ed Storey

February 14th, 2009, 5:09 pm #1

No wonder the movie was so accurate....















Last edited by dorosh on February 14th, 2009, 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: June 10th, 2004, 11:45 pm

February 14th, 2009, 6:11 pm #2

It's great to read period literature, even if it's 'just' 25 years after the event.
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Michael Peters
Michael Peters

February 15th, 2009, 12:56 am #3

No wonder the movie was so accurate....















Thanks for the post Ed.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 15th, 2009, 1:03 am #4

...who to blame for that one.

Fascinating read, and exactly why I like "old" magazines. Great post.
Michael Dorosh
Webmaster
canadiansoldiers.com
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Ed Storey
Ed Storey

February 15th, 2009, 2:09 am #5

Is McIntosh still alive? Seems the people behind my favourite movie 'Passendaele' applied the same level of in-depth reserach as went into this movie.
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Ken Joyce
Ken Joyce

February 15th, 2009, 5:01 am #6

Hi Ed

That was interesting, thanks. I know several veterans that were advisors for the film and have quite a few behind the scenes snaps of them on the setin Utah. I was told that the input from vets was largely ignored. This is obviously evident in the movie. You will note the screw up in the script regarding the Canadian CO. Rather than complicate things by telling the truth around the dismissal of the Canadian CO, they had him killed. To this day this confuses people. It was actually the 1st Battalion,2nd Regiment CO that was killed, a Canadian Lt. Col. Thomas Cail MacWilliam. This is why no one ever heard of Colonel Donald Dobie Williamson. I am sure Frederick had a hand in that. If I recall his diary correctly, Frederick was not very happy with the overall movie either.
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Joined: February 25th, 2009, 9:50 am

February 25th, 2009, 10:33 am #7

No wonder the movie was so accurate....















While serving with the SSF Pipes and Drums, I had the thrill of attending the 50th Anniversary Reunion of the FSSF (Devils Brigade) at Helena Montana, 1992. Our mini pipe band members just numbered six, 4 pipers, 1 snare drummer and myself on bass drum. We along with some Canadian Airborne members stayed for almost 1 week in the barracks at FORT WILLIAM. H. HARRISON, where the FSSF trained, it is now a Montana National Guard Base. We were treated excellent, meals were great in the mess hall,they had placed small Canadian flags on the tables reserved for us in the mess hall at each meal. There was a great club on base and we were even supplied a vehicle to get into the nearby city of Helena, where we saw all the sites. On the Friday evening we went to the Gold Bar, site of the famous mass fight scene shown in the movie, it is owned by the son of the 1940's owner. We played in the bar to a very enthusiatic group. We also attended the parade to the cenotaph, for the 50th reunion service grouped in with the much larger Edmonton Pipe Band. All in all a great trip,also meeting many FSSF Vets both Canadian and American.

I must say that those towering mountains shown in the movie are actually just mole hills in reality on the base. I have pictures of the base etc., if anyone is interestred in me posting them and as well being a collector myself brought back some period artifacts.

Tom
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Jon Skagfeld
Jon Skagfeld

February 27th, 2009, 7:34 pm #8

Hi Ed

That was interesting, thanks. I know several veterans that were advisors for the film and have quite a few behind the scenes snaps of them on the setin Utah. I was told that the input from vets was largely ignored. This is obviously evident in the movie. You will note the screw up in the script regarding the Canadian CO. Rather than complicate things by telling the truth around the dismissal of the Canadian CO, they had him killed. To this day this confuses people. It was actually the 1st Battalion,2nd Regiment CO that was killed, a Canadian Lt. Col. Thomas Cail MacWilliam. This is why no one ever heard of Colonel Donald Dobie Williamson. I am sure Frederick had a hand in that. If I recall his diary correctly, Frederick was not very happy with the overall movie either.
Ken:

Now I'm a bit confused. I have before me the FSSF book, authored by LCol RD Burhams, March 1947, Washington Infantry Journal Press.

At Appendix III, Roster of Officers, it lists MacWilliam as being in HQ Det, 2d Bn, 2d Regt, deceased, Moncton, NB.

Williamson is listed as HQ Det, 2 Regt (sic), Brantford, Ont.

So who was the dismissed CO, and who did Cliff Robertson portray?












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Ken Joyce
Ken Joyce

March 1st, 2009, 3:25 am #9

Hi Jon

Colonel Don Williamson was the CO of 2nd Regiment FSSF and CO of the 1st Canadian Special Service Battalion. This is what the Canadians in the Force were designated in April=May 1943.

Lt. Col. Thomas Cail MacWilliam was the CO of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Regiment FSSF.

I suppose the movie is trying to portray both as the same man. This is quite an insult to the Canadians really.

Colonel Williamson was the Canadian CO and was not killed at Difensa. The only other Canadian officer of similar rank that was killed was Lt. Col. MacWilliam. He was killed attacking the Force objective of Hill 907.

Rather than try to explain what happened to Don Williamson, it looks as though they just combined the status of Williamson with the actions of MacWilliam. They just made MacWilliam the Canadian CO under the movie name Major Crown.

I covered the story of Williamson in my book as best I could with the evidence I had. I have to say that there was a lot of garbage piled up against Williamson. I am still finding evidence that paints a different picture than that touted by some in the Force association and the Official Canadian History. I also located photographic and film evidence.

I may revisit this issue in the near future.

Ken

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Ken Joyce
Ken Joyce

March 1st, 2009, 11:25 pm #10

BTW - The new Quintin Tarantino movie has Brad Pitt in a FSSF uniform. I think that will likely be more of a bad thing than a good one. I personnally hate Tarantino. A man who should really get his head checked. It is funny that Hollywood, and those in the public, think his portrayal of revenge scenarios quite entertaining. I doubt it takes any talent whatsoever to produce that kind of garbage. I also don't appreciate him using, in his words "iconography" of WW 2 to spin another senseless and stupid gore film. He states that he wants to create HIS version of WW 2.

The film is supposed to be about a group of jewish Americans that parachute behind enemy lines to kill Germans using baseball bats and whatever makes the most black tainted blood spurts.

If he wants to make a fantasy film in the setting of WW 2, that is his business however why we give such turds this power is beyond me? What bothers me is the "iconographic" link to a wartime unit that really existed and whose veterans are still alive today.


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