Accession consists of records documenting the literary and military careers of Leo Heaps, as well as a small selection of family photographs and textual records. Included are various manuscripts and other writings, newsclippings and documents related to Heaps' role as a British paratrooper and his subsequent awarding of the Royal Military Cross. The photographs document the Heaps family, as well as the underground resistance movement in Arnhem, of which he was a part.
The videocassette documents a family trip to Arnhem in 1994 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem.
Photo Caption (035): Seargent Alan Kettley of the Glider Pilot Regiment, [194-?]. Ontario Jewish Archives, Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre, accession 2012-4-2. Courtesy of the Heaps Family.
Photo Caption (038): Gilbert Sadi-Kirschen known, head of the Special Air Service mission to Arnhem, [194-?]. Ontario Jewish Archives, Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre, accession 2012-4-2. Courtesy of the Heaps Family.
Photo Caption (046): Major Tony Hibbot (left) about to take off for Arnhem, [194-?]. Ontario Jewish Archives, Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre, accession 2012-4-2. Courtesy of the Heaps Family.
The records were in the possession of Adrian Heaps, son of Leo Heaps.
Leo Heaps (1923-1995) was born in Winnipeg in 1923, the son of A. A. Heaps and Bessie Morris. His father A. A. was a founder of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, the forerunner of the New Democratic Party. Leo Heaps was raised in Winnipeg and received an education at Queen's University, the University of California, and McGill University. During the Second World War, at the age of 21, Heaps was seconded to the British Army and found himself commanding the 1st Battalion's Transport. He participated in the Battle of Arnhem as a paratrooper.
Leo Heaps was awarded the Royal Military Cross for his work with the Dutch Resistance. His brother, David, had also achieved the same distinction, thereby making them the only Jewish brothers during the Second World War to win the decoration. After the war, Heaps went to Israel and aided their army in the establishment of mobile striking units. Whilst there, he met his wife-to-be, Tamar (1927-). Together they had one son, Adrian, and three daughters, Karen, Gillian, and Wendy.
During the Hungarian Revolution he led a special rescue team to bring refugees out and across the border. In the mid-1960s he returned to Britain where he dabbled in various entrepreneurial projects as well as writing several books, notably "The Grey Goose of Arnhem", telling his own story of Arnhem, the aftermath of the battle, and also the stories of other Arnhem evaders and their dealings with the Resistance.
Leo Heaps spent most of his life in Toronto, Canada, and was amongst the forty Canadian veterans who returned to Arnhem in 1994 to mark the 50th anniversary. He died in 1995.
Copyright may not be held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain permission prior to use.
Publication credit line must read: Courtesy of the Heaps Family.
Physical Description note: Includes ca. 100 photographs; 1 videocassette (ca. 32 min) : col, sd. ; VHS, and 1 presentation piece : 52 x 49 cm.