‘These people should be honoured’: Group of Selkirk residents in Second World War remembered


A band of Manitobans are being remembered for their bravery.

The Dufferin Gang is a group of people who volunteered to join the Canadian Armed Forces during The Second World War, and they all lived on Dufferin Avenue in Selkirk, Man.

One of those people was Lary Fiddler’s grandfather, Roderick Fiddler.

“He was supposedly too old to be taken,” said Fiddler about his grandfather. “They took him anyway because they were short people, and he volunteered.”

His grandfather isn’t the only one who went overseas, 31 Selkirk residents made up the Dufferin Gang, and now every September banners are hung up along Dufferin Avenue to recognize the group’s courage in times of war.

“Almost every house you can see has a (banner) in front of it, that means there were people from that household that served.”

Many relatives of the Dufferin Gang still live in Selkirk today, like Mae Gulewich, whose Dad John V. Sinclair was one of the boys who joined the war effort.

She said this recognition is something her dad would have wanted.

“Dad used to talk about the guys on the street,” Gulewich remembers. “He always said, ‘I wonder if they’d ever do anything for the boys on the block?’ Cause it’s one block between Main and Jemima these 31 (are from).”

Jean Gunter’s husband, Gerald Gunter is another Dufferin Gang member who is being remembered along Dufferin Avenue, she spoke about his brush with royalty while overseas.

“He was stopped by the Queen of England. The Queen talked to him and asked him a lot of questions,” said Gunter.

Glen Laye was one of the driving forces behind the banners, he said his father, Jack Laye kept his stories of war and the Dufferin Gang to himself.

“It’s just something he never spoke about, but then it came to light and we got involved, we had to see it through,” said Laye.

A mural on the corner of Dufferin Avenue and Main Street lists all the names of the people from the block who served in The Second World War.

Culture Coordinator for the City of Selkirk, Ellie Longbottom said there’s also a virtual exhibit in the works that will talk about the life of each individual member.

“The Dufferin Gang brings a lot of pride to Selkirk residents, it’s something to be very proud of,” said Longbottom. “These people should be honoured, not only as veterans but as citizens of Selkirk.”

In addition to murals, banners, and exhibits, a monument is set to go up in front of the Selkirk Legion to honour all members of the Dufferin Gang.

Fiddler said all these gestures are a lasting tribute for this courageous group of Selkirk residents.

“It’s going to instill a sense of pride in the families of the people that passed.”

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