Wait for Me, Daddy

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soldiers marching down a road with a boy reaching for them
Wait for Me, Daddy, taken by Claude P. Dettloff

Wait for Me, Daddy is a photo taken by Claude P. Dettloff on October 1, 1940, of The British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles) marching down Eighth Street at the Columbia Avenue intersection, New Westminster, Canada. While Dettloff was taking the photo, Warren "Whitey" Bernard ran away from his mother to his father, Private Jack Bernard. The picture received extensive exposure and was used in war-bond drives.[1]


On Saturday August 26, 1939, Hitler was threatening Poland and demanding Danzig. At 4:15 that morning the Regimental Adjutant in British Columbia, Canada received a call from the Canadian capital instructing him to call out the BC Regiment.[2] Soldiers fanned out in the city to guard vulnerable points. On September 10, 1939, the Parliament of Canada declared war against the German Reich, which had invaded Poland on the first of the month. While other units were sent to the United Kingdom, the British Columbia Regiment was left behind on the west coast. After months of drills and guard duty the regiment was ordered out and on October 1, 1940, marched to New Westminster to catch a waiting train to their secret destination.[3]

The march[edit]

Coming down Eighth Street in New Westminster, Canadian photographer Claude P. Dettloff of The Province newspaper positioned himself to photograph the whole column marching down the hill. As he was getting ready to take the picture, he saw a young boy run out onto the road; Wait for Me, Daddy captures the image of the boy, five-year-old Warren "Whitey" Bernard, running out of his mother's grasp to his father. The picture Dettloff captured was picked up all over the world, getting exposure in Life; it hung in every school in British Columbia during the war.[1]


The secret destination turned out to be Nanaimo, only three hours away. Later, after years of training, the regiment was sent to France and the Netherlands; it returned home at war's end.[3] When Jack Bernard returned home Dettloff was on hand to photograph the family's reunion. Jack and Bernice Bernard eventually divorced.[4] The City of New Westminster is planning a bronze statue honouring the photo to be placed at the bottom of 8th Street, in Hyack Square. The city plans to unveil the statue in 2014, followed by a re-enactment of the soldiers' march in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.[5]


  1. ^ a b Davis, Chuck (2010). "Wait For Me, Daddy". The History of Metropolitan Vancouver. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  2. ^ "The Second World War 1939 – 1945". The British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles). 2010. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Lucas, Dean (July 7, 2010). "Wait for me, Daddy". Famous Pictures. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  4. ^ "The British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles), Eighth Street at Columbia Avenue". Vancouver Sun. 2010. Archived from the original on October 1, 2010. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Iconic WWII photo to be immortalized in sculpture". CBC News. Archived from the original on 23 July 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 

Coordinates: 49°12′04″N 122°54′42″W / 49.20122°N 122.91158°W / 49.20122; -122.91158

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