Wait for me, Daddy
October 1, 1940. The image of a child breaking free of his mother’s hold to reach out to his father became one of the enduring images of WWII. It was taken by Claude Detloff at Columbia and 8th Street in New Westminster, Vancouver as the soldiers of the Duke of Connaught’s Own Rifles marched off to fight in the Second World War.
The mother’s outstretched hand and the swirl of her coat, the boy’s shock of white hair and his own reaching hand, the father’s turning smile and the downward thrust of his own outreaching hand (he has shifted his rifle to his other hand to hold his son’s for a moment) and the long line of marching men in the background combine to make this an unforgettable image, a masterpiece of unplanned composition, a heart-grabbing moment frozen for all time.
The next day, the picture appeared in the Canadian Newspaper Province and the family, Jack, Bernice and their son Warren “Whitey” Bernard were suddenly famous. The picture was given a full page in Life, was portrayed in Liberty, Time, Newsweek, the Reader’s Digest and the Encyclopaedia Britannica Yearbook, not to mention dozens of newspapers. It was hung in many schools in Canada during the war. First grader Whitey became the face of ‘Bring My Daddy Home’ War Bond drives. He finally did in October 1945, and Detloff took a photograph of their reunion.