Our Family History

The military is an important part of our family's history. Serving on distant battlefields from the South African Veldt and trenches of Europe, to the frozen tundra of Siberia and sprawling hedgerows of Normandy, the tales of my forefathers were remembered and passed down.

My mother's dad, Lloyd Henderson, is the hero who inspired me to pursue this dream. Listening to him tell stories of the war was such an incredible experience, and something I will value and cherish for the rest of my days. 

Through research and family lore, I have been able to uncover thirteen family members who fought in the First War. Four were killed, seven were wounded, and one bravely stayed in to fight the Second War, as well. They fought at nearly every major battle of the First War, and reading through their service files has been a sobering experience. 

In the Second World War, my family spanned all three branches of service, serving in the British and Canadian Armies across the whole of Europe. I have been inspired by these thrilling, true stories of the wars, reading old commando comics, and seeing the model planes in my Grandfather Lloyd's basement.

It has been my absolute privilege to honor the veterans in my family, by creating displays to preserve their memories. In this section, you can find highlights of the family displays currently available.

(section under construction, expanded articles and new photos on the way, as such the buttons have been removed. Feel free to read the intros as they each contain small overview of their service) 

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The Patriarchs and Matriarchs 

Flight Lt. Lloyd Henderson, DFC 

Flt. Lt. Henderson's story begins on the plains of Saskatchewan. Follow along as he travels to England, then witness his 39 missions as a Halifax Bomber Pilot. Heroism abounds in this incredible story, culminating in the award of one of the Empires highest honors and meeting the love of his life. 

LACW Margaret Henderson (Oakes)

My Grandmother served in the Womens Auxillary Airforce (WAAF) during WW2 as a truck driver. Read her story and be taken away with one of the greatest love stories of the war. 

W.O. II (RQMS) James Staden Oakes

My Great Grandfather served with the Duke of Wellingtons Regiment from 1914 until 1950, serving at nearly every major battle of The Great War and surviving the harrowing retreat and rearguard actions of 1940 in France. Follow along on an incredible tale of service, spanning two World Wars. 

Pte. Lorne Andrew Welsh 

My Grandfather, Lorne Welsh, served with the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals throughout Northwest Europe in WW2 with the 1st Canadian Army. View some of the incredible photos he took and see some of the souvenirs he brought home.  

My Family in the Second World War

Here you will find a collection of the members of my family who served in World War Two. Research is ongoing for these men and should you have any information pertaining to them I would very much like to hear from you. 

Leading Airman William D. Henderson 

William would join on June 6th 1944, as he turned 18. Failing to meet the requirements for aircrew in the RCAF, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy, eventually training for posting as Naval Aircrew. The war would end however just before his first posting. 

Sgt. Robert A. Henderson 

Sgt. Henderson would work with the Canadian Officer Training Corps (COTC) in Canada, as well as serving with the Intelligence Corps in Washington D.C. from 1942 until 1947. 

Kenneth Henderson 

Kenneth Henderson would serve on the home front, working to train soldiers as part of E. Battery of the Canadian Artillery Training School (CATC), as well as working to train NCOs. 

Donald Henderson  

Donald would serve at home as well, between 1940 and 1943, working to train troops at the Canadian Officer Training Center and Army Training Centers. 

Pte. Mark Mckain 

Mark Mckain would serve with the Loyal Edmonton Regiment throughout the Italian Campaign. He would be wounded 3 times during his time in Italy, the final time quite badly. He would return home for good in March 1945. 

Robert Gordon   

Very little so far is known about this man. He is listed in the family histories as being killed in the Spanish Civil War. Research is ongoing, although it's confirmed he went over with the Famous Mackenzie Papineau Battalion.

My Family in The Great War

The following are accounts from both sides of my family during the Great War. Combined, they fought at nearly every battle on the Western Front. I sadly do not have anything that belonged to them but, through this website I intend to create memorials to these men and those with whom they served. 

Each story will focus on a specific battle in which they participated as well their overall service.  The stories have been pulled directly from the regimental war diaries available at Library and Archives Canada, free of charge. 

(These accounts are currently a work in progress and will be announced once finished)

Sgt. Duffield and the Gas Attack at Ypres

My Great Uncle Frederick Duffield served in the Canadian Military from 1895, until his death in 1915 during the Battle of Ypres. He had served in the Royal Canadian Regiment, and 14th Battalion during his 20 years in uniform.

The Stewart Brothers at Hill 70

A tale of brotherly love and pain, two of my uncles served together side-by-side in the 20th Battalion during the Great War. They would sign up together, unfortunately only one would return from going over the top that morning.

Pte. Welsh and the RCAMC in Siberia

My Great Uncle Stewart Welsh served with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps as part of the Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force. One of the more forgotten aspects of The Great War.

Pte. James Welsh and His Final Days

My Great Uncle James Welsh would serve with the 54th Kootneys Battalion between February and July 1918. He would sadly be killed by enemy artillery fire.

Alexander Welsh at Flers-Courcelette

My Great Uncle Alexander would serve with the 31st Battalion "Bells Bulldogs" during 1916. He would witness the Battle of the Somme and be severely wounded during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, where the first tanks were used. These wounds resulted in his discharge.

Pte. Hadden and The Battle of Cambrai

Frederick Hadden would arrive just in time for the beginning of the "Hundred Days Offensive". He would fight with the 58th Battalion at every major engagement until the end of the war. He would be wounded during the Battle of Cambrai, but return in time for the Pursuit to Mons.

Badly Wounded with the 52nd at Hill 70  

Arriving a couple years before his younger brother, Pte. William Hadden would fight at Arras, Vimy Ridge and Hill 70 with the 52nd Battalion. During the Battle of Hill 70 he would be severely wounded, barely surviving.

Through the Drocourt–Quéant Line 

Serving with the 58th Battalion from November 1917 to October 1918, Pte. Alfred Corbett would fight at Passchendaele, Scarpe and finally the Drocourt–Quéant Line where he would be wounded.

The Endless Mud of Passchendaele

Pte. John Mcallister would fight with the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles at Arras where he would be wounded, returning to the front just in time to take part in the battles of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele.

The Terrible Power of Artillery

Gunner James Cleghorn served with the 6th Brigade, 15th Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery. He would fight in France and Belgium during the final year of the war, supporting the advance of the Canadian Corps during the Hundred Days Offensive.

Over the Top, One Last Time at Vimy Ridge

Edgar Smith would serve overseas with the 5th Battalion "Tuxfords Dandys". During his time with the Battalion he would fight at Thievpal, Ancre Heights and finally Vimy Ridge, where he would be killed in action.

The Victorian Age 

Research is ongoing for this period. So far only two have been uncovered, but I am hopeful with more research that we may uncover some more interesting stories. 

The Old Freighter Jack Henderson 

Uncle Jack left Scotland before the rest of the family and lived a life of adventure from the Gold Rush in California to the Red River Rebellion. Fulfilling a personal vendetta, he would be engaged as the Executioner at the Hanging of Louis Riel in 1885, following Riel's trial and conviction. 

James Oakes For Queen and Country! 

My Great Great Grandfather Served with the 1st Volunteer Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire Regiment). He served overseas in Singapore, being arrested no less than 7 times for all sorts of shenanigans. 

Way back when

This section covers my family in the Pre-Victorian age, research is ongoing as im sure it will always be. 

James Welch 

James Welch is my great times a lot Grandfather and served with the Cupar Fife militia around 1803 to help fend off Napoleons failed invasion of Scotland and England. 

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Vancouver Island, CA

About us

The War Dungeon is a private collection and museum on Vancouver Island, BC. Over the past several years, with the help of friends and family, we have renovated the basement of our home into a large museum. The displays here cover from the Boer War, all the way to the Vietnam War of the 1960s.  

We try to cover all aspects and countries involved wherever possible, and we are always looking to add new and interesting displays to help honor the men and women who sacrificed so much for us. We offer guided  tours upon request as well as on site displays for special occasions.

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