(Click any image for a larger view)

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Apparently Clifford bought this when he was serving in Africa, and he sent it to Babe. It is a leopard skin folder, and Babe kept some of these scrapbook items in it.

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Here's the inside of the folder. It says: “The name is Shnier, R 80163, RCAF”

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Clifford's membership card for the RCAF Sergeant's Mess, at RCAF Station, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It is signed “Sgt. Shnier, C.”

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This is from the leopard skin folder which Babe had.It looks like when Clifford got his flying badge in Manitoba he became a member of the Canadian Legion. This card says:
The Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League

Manitoba Command

R.80163, Shnier, Sgt., Pilot. C. RCAF has been accepted as an Active Service Associate member of the Canadian Legion, and is entitled to the use of Branch facilities.


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The back of the membership card says:
The Canadian Legion extends a warm welcome to you as an Active Service Associate Member. We greet you as a Comrade.

The regular facilities of The Legion are available to you whenever you care to utilize them. In similar manner the facilities of the British Legion are available to you overseas. If, in addition, any person problems should arise in consequence of your Service, the trained Officials of The Legion will be glad to help you. In this respect, consult personally with the nearest Legion Representative.

Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League


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This is the scrapbook referred to my Myra Wolch (Clifford's neice) in her January 14, 2006 e-mail in the Remembrances section of this web site. It was likely started by Clifford, but Myra's father (Gordon Kliman) added other items to it after he received it.

Examining the writing on the front cover, it looks like Clifford has started by neatly writing just his name and RCAF regimental number, which is R-80163. He later adds “P/O” (Pilot Officer), and in 1943 he is posted to RAF #44 Squadron, and adds this. When he is posted to #97 Squadron he adds this too, along with his new regimental number, J-17452. Finally, he adds “#97 Pathfinder Squadron”.


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This is on the inside front cover of the scrapbook, but was likely added by Gordon. This is a newspaper clipping from November 6, perhaps 1943. The article is entitled Canadians Fly As Pathfinders. A few of the sentences are underlined: “Only the most experienced and daring airmen are chosen for the task.” and “... but it boasts the cream of the RCAF crews.”

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This is the first page of the scrapbook (no doubt, his family was mailing newspaper clippings to him), and as for the first page of each section of the scrapbook it has a neatly-lettered blue and red title, this one is "Winnipeg Papers". The article is carefully glued in, with a perfect border drawn with red and blue coloured-pencil.

The first article it titled Hero Of Air Exploit, with a picture of Clifford. It says:

Flt.-Sgt. Clifford Shnier, of Winnipeg, took an active part in the recent bombing of the Skoda works at Pilsen. His exploits were recorded by a war correspondent of the London Sunday Express. Shnier is the captain of a big Lancaster bomber. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. M. Shnier.

The second article reads:

Another one of our most famous sons is Clifford Shnier, who has been promoted to the rank of Pilot Officer ... Cliff was mentioned in despatches for his active and efficient participation in a number of raids over Germany, and received a banner headline notice on the front page of the London papers when his squadron poured such devastation on the Skoda works ... Cliff's parents live at 81 Luxton Street (the Delicatessen Shniers for further identification), and Cliff was formerly a salesman for Empire Radio.

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Clifford has written that this clipping is from a London paper. Norman Shnier says that might be Clifford second from the right (and now that I look closely, there is little “+” hand-written there, so maybe it is).

A copy of this picture in Cecil Shnier's files notes that it is in fact “Cliff” second from the right.


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The newspaper clipping on the next page is from the Regina Leader-Post, and is the May 17, 1943 article which is in the 1943 section of this web site.

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The next page is likely also from the Regina Leader-Post, and is dated May 25, likely 1943. It mentions Clifford's name as “Flt. Sgt. Cliff Shnier of Winnipeg”, and he was a Flying Officer by this time in 1943, so perhaps the article is from 1942.

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As you see, these clippings are taped in, rather than glued with the careful border. These were done after Clifford went missing, likely by Gordon Kliman. The long article to the left lists people “Missing, on active service after air operations”, and includes “Shnier Clifford P/O, Winnipeg”. The other articles on this page mention him as missing or presumed dead.

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This article, dated March 1, 1944, updates the previous longer article that Clifford has been presumed dead.

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A letter written by David Silverberg to Clifford's parents. It seems this was a friend of Clifford's (perhaps from Winnipeg), who visited him in London just a few weeks before Clifford went missing. The letter reads:
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Shnier:

I doubt whether you will remember me, as I met Mr. Shnier only once several years ago.

However, I have known Cliff and Esther for some time and regard them as my good friends.

It came as a great shock to me when I learned that Cliff was reported missing – particularly after having spent a very enjoyable weekend with him in London on July 18-19th. We spent all day Sunday together and took pictures. I was about to sent them to Cliff when I learned that he was reported missing.

I want to tell you how sorry I was to have received this news and I join with you and the many friends of your and Cliff's in hoping that he is safe and well. I am sure that you are aware that in many cases where Air Force boys have been reported missing, they are later reported safe as Prisoners of War. I understand how great is the strain waitng for news, and I am sure that in your anxious days you will show the same fine spirit that Cliff has always shown, and which has won the respect and admiration of all of us who know him.

You have every right to be proud of your son. I met two pilots of his Squadron last week and they praised him highly and told me how well liked and respected Cliff is among the boys he was working with. Cliff has done a man's job in the service of his country and in his fight for everything that is decent. His courage and fine service will, I am sure, give you strength and hope in your present anxiety.

We, who are over here, have had the opportunity of seeing what sacrifice and bravery really is. We have seen the suffering and loss the people here have undergone, – and we respect them for their determination – and in the force of their loss they have grown prouder and stronger. You have claim to this same pride and strength.

I want to join with you in the profound hope that good news of Cliff's safety comes soon, and our reunion with him will not be long in coming.

Yours very sincerely, David L. Silverberg.

P.S. I am enclosing the pictures we took. I will send you the negatives later under separate cover – in case one of these letters is lost.

July 19, 1943 was the first day of the second paid leave of the two paid leaves that Clifford took just before he went missing. It would be interesting to find those pictures, as they may show with whom he spent his leave.


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A letter written by Clifford's younger brother Norman who was also serving overseas, to their parents. This would have been written in the month after Clifford went missing, but before Norman's plane was shot down (when he was taken Prisoner of War).
Dear Mom & Dad:

Through some bungling somewhere the authorities at Cliff's Squadron have only managed to contact me today with the news. What can I say? There is so much I would like to tell you about Cliff and his work over here, that I'm afraid most of it will have to wait. I can tell you though, that you have something to be proud of, for your son had more than small part in the winning of this war. Let me tell you I am proud of him, and always will be.

I met Cliff's crew on several occasions, and how better can you judge a person than by what those who are close to him think of him. They were grand fellows, Cliff's boys, and I get the greatest pleasure when I recall what they thought of my brother. To them he was not just a pilot, their “skipper,” but he was their pal and their confedence in him was unlimited.

Wing Commander Nettleton, one of the first Victoria Cross winners of this war was Cliff's Commanding Officer at 44 Squadron. He was a great man, and twice while I was visiting Cliff, he spoke to me to tell me how much he thought of his top pilot – my brother.

When Cliff left 44 Squadron he was chosen as a capable and efficient captian to carry on with special and rather important work. He did a number of trips on this work and it was at his job, at the end of the Battle of Hamburg, on the night of July 29-30 that he went missing. I was on the same trip and it was what we call “a sticky do.” No matter how skillful a man may be, there is always that element of luck that can't be dealt with.

I don't want to raise any false hopes, but there is a chance, a very slight one, that we may yet hear from him. He may be a Prisoner of War, or we may hear from him in other ways. In any case, it would be months, maybe a year, or even two, before word gets though. (I say this from what I know.) While we wait, let us hope.

Cliff was getting on grand in this country. He was living right and enjoying himself always, and happy at his job. We spoke of it once and our biggest trouble was that the folks at home were worrying, and someday might have a burden of grief. You know he would not want it – so chins up.

I am in touch with the Squadron he was at, and we are getting the business of personal belongings fixed up as quickly as possible. I will write again about this shortly.

Take comfort and hope, and be proud of him.

All my love,



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The back of Norman's letter says:
Dear Ruthie, I'm sure you would like to see these letters, so I am sending you copies.

All My Love,



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A letter to Ruth Paull (Allan Paull's sister), from Babe (Charlotte Finkelstein, Clifford's younger sister), who was staying in Prince George BC while her boyfriend Mitch Finkelstein was stationed near there. The letter is dated November 1, 1943, and says:
Dear Ruth:

I'm sitting here in your suit and as I've been wearing it almost constantly since leaving Regina. I've been thinking of you a lot. It's been quite cold since I left and the warmest outfit I have is your suit under my coat, and I don't put it on once without thinking of you. It was nice seeing you if only for a few minutes. And I've been regretting the fact that we didn't have time for a real good chat, which as you know can only be did in the presence of each other.

As is was we didn't have a spare minute alone. I really needed a spare minute with you, because I wanted to tell you, that Eleanor remarked to me that Cliff had written or told Lanny that what went on with “the other Ruth” was infatuation compared to this, Ruthie.

There doesn't seem to be much we can say to each other about this, except that I feel sure everything is going to turn out alright, and it is just this matter of waiting that is so hard on your nerves.

About the only other thing you can do is “try” to take it easy, and I hope it isn't too long before we hear from Cliff. You know he's managed to get out of so many scrapes before, and with his nature he wouldn't allow himself to be in a fix for very long. Just keep your chin up and hope it isn't too long before we have some news.

There doesn't seem to be much more to say. We'll probably be here 'till the first of the year, and the town is nothing to write you about. Cokes are 11¢ in restaurants and 13¢ in grocery stores. That hurts me. The water here stinks and cannot be taken internally.

After I'd knocked on thirty doors asking for a room, I seriously began thinking anout giving up and going home, however I'm staying at a hotel which is sort of a rooming house, with about 10 army couples and aside from the fact that I have all my meals out, it isn't too bad. Mitch comes in every night for a few hours but can't stay as there isn't bus back in the morning. The camp is almost five miles from here. He stays in Sat. nites. tho. We have dinner Sunday at the Mess, and that is my best meal of the week. It's cold as hell here and my fur coat hasn't arrived yet, but soon.

Wrote a letter to Regina, addressed to Gordon and he answered as soon as it arrived. That surprised me, but he promised to do so I guess he sticks to his word. Did you stay there while in Regina, and how were things? Didn't your Mum go to Wpg.

I had a short note from Papa but he didn't say anything. I havn't had a word from Esther or Oklahoma have you? Wish you'd drop me at least a line, 'cause I'd like to hear from you. What do you hear from Allen? Please drop a line if only a note. I call for mail everyday and they think nobody loves me. Do you know where Kahn is now? Last we heard was Chilliwack. Beatty Rusen Short is here so that is some sort of company!

The guy on the chesterfield said excitedly to his girlfriend “So help me I'll rape you” ---- she says “So rape me I'll help you!”

Regards to all

Mrs. M Finkelstein, General Delivery, Prince George, B.C.

(signed) Babe


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An envelope in which Allan Paull mailed to his sister Ruth Paull the November 26, 1943 update from the Air Ministry that there is no update.

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A cheque that Allan Paull mailed to Clifford, after Clifford went missing. Allan cannot recall what it was for.

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As noted in the image for January 17, 1996, By clicking on Clifford's photograph from his page in the Veterans Affairs Canada
Canada Remembers, you can see this listing from the memorial book Canadian Jews in World War II, which was compiled by David Rome for the Canadian Jewish Congress, Montreal, 1948.

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These next four images are from Clifford Franklin Shnier.

As noted in the July 5, 1944 check-list, a Royal Message goes out, and here it is.

On stationary which says “Buckingham Palace”, it says:

The Queen and I offer you our heartfelt sympathy in your great sorrow.

We pray that your country's gratitude for a life so nobly given in its service may bring you some measure of consolation.

(signed) George R.I.

During World War II (and in fact, from 1936 until his death in 1952), the reigning monarch was King George the 6th. His full title during this time was: His Majesty George VI, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland, and of the British dominions beyond the seas, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India. The “R.I.” is for Rex (Latin for King) Imperator (Latin for Emperor, and here refers to his status as Emperor of India, which he abdicated in 1947), so he has signed the letter “George, King and Emperor” (his real name was Albert Frederick Arthur George Windsor).


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A letter (on letterhead that simply says "Canada") from the Minister of Veterans Affairs. It reads:
On behalf of the Government of Canada, I have the honour to forward to you this Memorial Bar to be attached to the ribbons of medals awarded to the member of the Armed Forces of Canada whose name is inscribed thereon.

It is signed by the Minister of Veterans Affairs.


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A letter from the Minister of National Defence, which says:
To Mr. and Mrs. Moses Shnier

I have learned with deep regret that Pilot Officer Clifford Shnier, RCAF has been reported missing.

The Government and people of Canada join me in expressing the hope that more favourable news will be forthcoming in the near future.

It is signed by the Minister of National Defence for Air.


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The subsequent letter, which says:
To Mr. and Mrs. Moses Shnier

This commemorates the gratitude of the Government and people of Canada for the life of a brave man freely given in the service of his Country.

Flying Officer Clifford Shnier, RCAF

His name will ever be held in proud remembrance.

July 30, 1943, (signed) Minister of National Defence for Air


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A newspaper clipping, from Babe's scrapbook. It says:
Shnier, F/O, Clifford Charles, J 17452, #97 Pathfinder Sqdn., Pilot, 7/30/1943, Wpg., Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Germany.

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In the Resources section of this web site, it is mentioned that Shnier Island (in northern Saskatchewan) was named in honour of Clifford Shnier. This plaque says:
“At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them”

Province of Saskatchewan Department of Natural Resources

In memory of a valiant one from Sasketchewan who gave his life in preservation of ideals of free men (with the province's official flower, the Western Red Lily)

Shnier Island is named after P/O Clifford Shnier, RCAF

Latitude 54° 54' 30", Longitude 102° 50' 12"

Certified by the Canadian Permanent Committee on Geographical Names

The quote is from the middle stanza of the poem For the Fallen, by Laurence Binyon.

The location is the same as N54° 54.5'  W102° 50.2' (GPS typically uses decimal minutes rather than seconds).


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Also in the Resources section of this web site, it is mentioned that Shnier Lake (in Northern Manitoba) was named in honour of Clifford Shnier. This certificate says:
Commemorative Name Certificate

Lives of great men all remind us, We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us, Footprints on the sands of time (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Shnier Lake named after F/O Clifford C. Shnier

Latitude 57° 36' 11", Longitude 96° 32' 22"

Canadian Permanent Committee on Geographical Names

These coordinates are the same as N57° 36.1833'  W96° 32.3666'.


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In 2002 the Manitoba Geographical Names Program published a 485-page book entitled A Place of Honour - Manitoba's War Dead Commemorated in its Geography (ISBN 0-7711-1523-7). This is the front cover.

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This is Clifford's entry, on page 390.

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As mentioned the December 16, 1943 image description, the family business GE Shnier Company was started by George Shnier. This is a revised version of a
plaque displayed there.

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As noted in the Photographs section of this web site, Clifford's headstone initially had a cross. This was likely because the “dog tag” identification worn by Jewish servicemen identified their religion only as “O.D.” (Other Denomination), for their own protection.

Norman Shnier had visited Clifford's grave site in the summer of 2005, and intended to request to have this changed.

As detailed at the end of the 1946 part of this web site, it is not clear whether Clifford is actually buried in the grave with his headstone. Nonetheless, as Allie Shnier said “people should know that Jewish people fought in the war”.

At the family picnic in June, 2007, I asked Norman if I could make the request, and he told me to go ahead. I received an acknowledgement from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission of this contact on June 22, 2007, and when I updated the family, Norman replied by e-mail that if there was a cost, he would cover it. I replied that I suspected that this was the type of project that would take more time than money. This turned out to be too true, as Norman passed away less than three weeks later.

After several e-mail exchanges, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission approved the change, and as noted in this October 8, 2007 letter from them, typically this takes 15 to 18 months.

Over the months, I e-mailed the very competent Miss Hayley Williams, Enquiries Section several times:

  • The Commonwealth War Graves Commission were interested in adding Clifford's next of kin and home address to their database – his record now includes: “Son of Moses and Sarah Shnier (nee Bernstein) of Euclid Avenue, Winnipeg, Canada”. You can see this information by clicking on “Search Our Records” and searching for Shnier at
  • Clifford's age of 27 at the time of his death is now included in his record, and also on the new headstone.
  • Hayley had only been working there a short time (she was 23 at the time, and was looking forward to an interview for Teacher Training and to “make a career for myself”), and was quite moved by the photographs of Clifford and detail of the web site, she remarked “If only every casualty could have a website like this”.
  • Hayley was in the CWGC's head office ... “in Maidenhead, Berkshire. We are about a 40 minute train journey from London. We are in a large building and we have about 70 staff”.
  • Other CWGC offices are “in countries strategically located near major concentrations of Commonwealth war graves”, including Arras France, Ieper Belgium, Rome Italy, Ottawa Canada, and Centurion South Africa.

The headstone was manufactured on March 12, 2009, to be installed during the summer of 2009 (Hayley noted “that working of Clifford's case has been very rewarding – your website is an absolute joy and I am only sorry that Norman Shnier will not be able to see the finished headstone”).

When I contacted Hayley in September 2009 asking for an update, she confirmed the headstone was erected on July 30, 2009, and that “I have advised our Northern Europe Area that you have not received a photograph of the completed headstone. They are looking into this and as soon as I have the photo I shall send it to you”. The photo was indeed forwarded October 7, 2009, and is now in the Photographs section of the Clifford Shnier section of this web site.