Sunday, May 5, 2013

Wait For Me Daddy: An Image of WW II

Wait For Me Daddy, Claude Dettloff, 1940
I've seen this photo on several different websites. It catches my eye each time I have come across it. The story comes through from the picture without words: a young family is saying goodbye as a father heads off to war.

With a little effort, it turns out the backstory of this image is fairly easy to come across.

The picture was taken on October 1, 1940 in Vancouver Canada by the American photographer Claude Dettloff.

The father, hand outstretched, was Jack Bernard. The woman with the swirling coat reaching toward the boy was Bernice Bernard. The young boy in the middle, five years old, was Warren "Whitey" Bernard.

The men were called up to serve in the Canadian army to fight in World War II.

To read more about the story behind this image click here for a brief history. For more personal accounts of Whitey, click here, here, here, or here. The family, sadly, did not remain intact after the war.

I've read reports that Dettloff was on hand to snap a picture of father and son reuniting at the end of the war. I cannot verify for sure that this is the image, but I'm fairly sure it is.

Jack and Warren Bernard
Warren "Whitey" Bernard
Interested in more vintage images? Follow my Tumblr for regular postings of the things I'm looking at (some vintage, some contemporary) as well as the blog postings hereherehereherehereherehere, and here.


  1. Hello there, Jason ~

    The photo of Whitey's reunion with his father was, indeed, taken by Claude P. Dettloff in October 1944. It was reprinted in The Province newspaper on Sunday, November 11, 2007 in a section called Unwind Sunday Magazine on page B3.

    One of the stories you link to above states that CPD had only one shot in his camera. While a wonderfully dramatic thought to go with such an iconic photo, this was not the case. He did, however, take only one shot of the departure in New West that day. As he mentions in a March 3, 1954 radio interview with Dick Diespecker, he knew he had what he was looking for before he had even printed the shot.

    Just thought you like to know about the authenticity of the reunion picture.

    1. Hi Candace -- thanks so much for dropping by and adding a little more information and background to this picture!

    2. Hi again, Jason ~

      Regarding my comment above, it appears now that I'm more than likely incorrect and that Grandad did have only the only the one shot in his camera, and did not use a six sheet film changer. The skill and artistry it took to use that camera -- a 3 1/4 by 4 1/4 Speed Graphic -- and get a perfect shot the first time was remarkable.

      Thank you for letting me correct my error.

    3. Hi Candace -- How cool. I didn't realize that this was your grandfather who took the picture! Wow!

  2. Thankyou for sharing this story! just wrote a poem inspired by this story and I just had to find out if they were reunited<3 but.. why do you say "The family, sadly, did not remain intact after the war." if the father made it home, what happened?

    1. How great that the image in Inspired you to write a poem. In the articles I linked to you'll find a discussion about the boy's parents getting divorced.

  3. This is going to be part of Canada post 2014 stamp program.