The Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit (CFPU) was a Canadian Army unit founded in 1941 with only four members, was the last such unit formed by the Allied armies. in order to document military operations during World War II. It was the last unit of its kind to be founded by the Allied armies. Among the campaigns which it recorded were the invasion of Sicily, the D-Day Landings, the liberation of Paris and the Elbe River link-up of the Allied armies, known as ‘Elbe Day’.
The first official Canadian army photographer was Lieutenant Laurie Audrain of Winnipeg; he was appointed on June 25 1940. However, it was soon recognized that a dedicated photographic unit was necessary. The CFPU was formed on June 19 1941 under the command of Captain William Abell of Winnipeg. By the end of World War II, fifty nine Canadian photographers and cameramen had been involved in combat operations in Europe. Of these, six were killed and eighteen were wounded.
The unit was disbanded in 1946, but the men of the unit were the first in scooping the world on the major events in Europe: the invasion of Sicily; the D-Day invasion – the top story of the century; the liberation of Paris; the Elbe River linkup of the Allied armies; the first feature documentary shot while under fire; and the only footage shot of action leading to a Victoria Cross.
If you want to discover more on the CFPU, then visit Dale Gervais’ great website: www.canadianfilmandphotounit.ca