John Alfred Searle
On 18 August 1918 in
Truro, Nova Scotia, John James and Harriet
nee Riggs Searle had
their seventh child. I was named John Alfred Searle, but my friends
call me Jack.
My Dad John worked as a Coach Carpenter for the Canadian
National Railway and
my Mom was a housewife. My siblings consisted of
five sisters and three brothers.
I went through the Truro schooling
system obtaining a grade 10 education.
Prior to enlistment in the
Canadian Army I was employed at Truro Print and also at Lewis Ltd. for a
I joined the Nova
Scotia North Highlanders in 1939 in Truro and later transferred to the
Nova Scotia West Highlanders in order to go overseas.
My Basic Training
was in the South of England and then I went to Sicily and received
training as a Dispatch Rider.
I sailed from Northern Scotland in 1943
on a bonding ship landing on the beaches of Sicily, up the Strait of Missina, up through Italy.
My Regiment then crossed Italy to Leghorn
and landed at Marseille, France. From there we conveyed to Holland to
gain the rest of the Canadian forces.
I was overseas five and a half
years when I was sent home.
When VE Day was announced we were crossing
I have no regrets and
many humorous stories I could tell. My fondest memory are the two
exciting days I spent in Rome.
I wasn’t injured but had close calls. I
also have a lot of sad memories like losing close friends.
When I went
to Italy and Sicily in October 2004, I visited many of their graves.
If I had to do it all
over again I’m sure I would, but I’m too old to fight in a war now.
I was released from
the military in 1945, end of demobilization.
I married Neilia Cameron
and we raised three boys.
I’m involved in
Scouts Canada, a local Seniors Club, Card Club and I’m a member of
N.S. Branch No. 26 Royal Canadian Legion.
John Alfred Searle has also
attached the following news clipping from his collection:
NEWSPAPER ARTICLE DATED DECEMBER 4, 1943
Truro Soldier Has Brush With Germans in
The following news
item appeared in the Ottawa Citizen, and concerns one of our popular
young men of Truro. This is the item:
“With the Canadian
Forces in Italy-John O’Callaghan of Ottawa, is now carrying as a
souvenir a crumpled German machine-gun bullet
that “had my name on it
but went to the wrong address” O’Callaghan is with a Signals unit and
one day in a jeep laying cable along a road,
he rounded a corner to come
under direct close range fire of two German machine guns just off the
“I could see bullets
whizz past my face between my head and the windshield of the jeep.”
O’Callaghan and a
companion Jack Searle of Truro, N.S. dived headlong under the jeep,
which in a few seconds was riddled by more than 75 bullets.
escaped scrambling down a ditch and back around the corner.
reported to the nearest unit and a group of Bren carries set out for the
spot to capture nine Germans and four machine guns.
discovered a tear in his trouser leg. Investigating the shot up jeep he
discovered one bullet had pierced the steel side of the jeep and with
final force had torn
through his trousers to inflict a slight scratch on
his hip. He found the battered bullet on the floor of the jeep and now
it is a prize good luck piece.”
Jack Searle, is well
known in Truro. He joined the North Nova Scotia Highlanders in 1939,
later transferring to the Royal Canadian Signal Corps.
He has been
overseas four years, and is now as this news item indicates, right in
the midst of action in Italy.
Only recently his father, John J. Searle,
retired Coach Carpenter C.N. Rys. received a letter from his son Jack
stating “he was still going strong!”
From particulars of his experience
in Italy it would appear he had a “close call” with the Germans, and
must have manoeuvred well to get out of such a dangerous trap.
He has a
brother Fred K. at Barrieville, Ont., who is also a member of the Signal
Corps, attached to the Royal Canadian Artillery.
William T. is employed in the local C.N.R. Freight Office. Jack, before
he enlisted was employed at Lewis Ltd., for a short time.
Many friends in Truro, will read this
account with interest, and be glad to note, Jack, and his companion from
both of whom have been together during their army career
of over four years, were smart enough to put it over the Germans by
escaping with injuries,
and then return with reinforcements, capture
nine Germans and their deadly equipment.
(Left - Picture of local Veteran James
Frederick May taken during WWII)
My name is James
Frederick May, but my friends call me Jim. I was born on 9 August 1924
in Chatham, New Brunswick.
My father Richard was a cook by trade and my
mother Eva Sarah Latullippe was a homemaker.
oldest sibling was a girl, then came six boys
of which I was the
youngest and then another girl.
Out of eight children I am the
only one surviving.
In June 1941 I left
school at the age of 16 and joined The North Shore New Brunswick
I completed Basic Training in Fredericton, New
Brunswick and after Basic I was sent to Aldershot, Nova Scotia.
I was a
Clerk by trade. Three months later I boarded a ship in Halifax to go
It was pretty rough going over but it really didn’t bother
me. It’s been said a good New Brunswicker never gets seasick!
Throughout World War
II, I was in England, Scotland, Sicily, Italy, France, Belgium,
back to England and thank God, home again!
A funny thing that
happened, which always stuck with me, was when I was in Italy.
landing on water and the guy in front of me wouldn’t or couldn’t move
due to the fact that he couldn’t swim.
I had to give him a little push
and in just three feet of water he went under. I ended up going in
For a short while
during the war I was a stretcher bearer.
Just after we went into The
Gully we walked into a trip - it was a killing ground.
We lost 39
soldiers there and the hardest part was that I had to carry out a lot of
Trust me, I went back to Clerking some quick!
Unfortunately I was
injured during the war.
One night while out on patrol in Italy, I
twisted my ankle and the bank of land gave way and down I went injuring
I have no regrets though and would do it all over again if I
On 15 November 1945 I
was released from the military, “End of Demobilization”.
thereafter I moved to Truro where I met my future wife.
On 28 December
1946 I married Florence Frizzell and we raised one son. We now have one
grandson and one granddaughter.
After the war when I
returned home I worked part-time for the Federal Department of
Agriculture at the port in St. John, N.B.
When I moved to Truro I was
employed in the stockroom at Nelson Motors and then I went to work for the Canadian National Railway, Bridge and Building.
I remained there
for 35 years until I medically retired in 1983.
I am a member of The
Knights of Columbus, The West N.S. Regiment, Truro Memory Club,
Executive West N.S. Regiment
Association, and the
St. Vincent de Paul Society. I am a 55 year member of The Royal
Canadian Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch No. 26.
James Frederick may has also attached a news clipping from his personal
John, N.B. Tuesday, April 18, 1944
War Record To Be Proud Of
sons of Mr. and Mrs. Richard May, 636 Main Street, are all serving King
and country and further all are serving in some overseas theatre of war
an outstanding war record for any one family.
Matthew May, who enlisted in September, 1939, and went overseas in July,
1941, served in the Sicilian campaign and is now with the West Nova
George May, shown with his little son Richard, enlisted in October,
1941, with the Dental Corps and is now serving in Newfoundland.
May was rejected by the Army in 1939 when he applied and then joined the
Merchant Navy. He has been serving in the Mediterranean theatre for the
past 15 months.
Gnr. Bernard May
enlisted in the R.C.A. in February, 1941, and went overseas in April,
1942. He is at present stationed in England.
Pte Joseph May, R.C.A.,
enlisted in April, 1940, going overseas in October, 1941. He is now
with an Ack Ack battery in England.
The sixth and
youngest son, Pte James May, West Nova Scotia Regiment, was
recently wounded in
action in Italy. He also saw service in the Sicilian campaign. He
enlisted in July, 1941, at the age of 16 and went overseas three months
It is of interest to
note that Ptes Joseph and James went overseas in the same convoy but in
different ships and
did not know of the fact until some weeks later.
Mr. and Mrs. May also
have a son-in-law Thomas Comeau, in the army. He has been in
England since 1941.
Lillie Stewart nee Woodworth
4 January 1943 I enlisted in the Canadian Women’s Army Corp (CWAC) at
Halifax, Nova Scotia.
M.D. 6 therefore our official number started with 6.
I was sent to
Kitchener, Ontario for Basic Training.
billeted in huts that were previously occupied by members of the Army
had been condemned as unsuitable but it had been reopened to house our
troop of women.
A large coal
burning stove in the middle of the room heated it.
The coal was
stored outside and we took duty turns keeping the fire on at night.
were always frosted and there would be snow on the window ledges after a
I will always
remember Basic Training because of the following incident or accident:
It was after we had been given our “shots” and most of the girls were
feeling sick or miserable.
Since I was
feeling OK I was given the “night coal shift”.
I went outside and shoveled the bucket full of coal and proceeded to
carry it inside.
I approached the stove my toe caught the edge of the tin that was on the
floor surrounding the stove.
I fell forward
taking the bucket of coal with me.
Let me tell
you when that coal hit the tin on the floor it went the full length of
Sick as they
were the noise awakened every one of the girls. I can also remember
that no one offered to help
me clean up the mess.
I was sent to Ottawa to take a clerk’s course.
I was taught
by civilians except for the Army procedure part, which was taught by an
I was then
posted to No. 102 Depot “Trinity Barracks” in Toronto.
first assignment was looking after the Victory Bond Drive, and then I
was assigned to work in the Quarter
included uniforms, bedding, dishes, cutlery, etc.
Barracks was a Depot for CWACs, Military District No. 2
issued their uniforms from our stores.
many of them returned to MD No. 2 for their various postings.
trained as Drivers, Clerks and Medical Workers and were posted to
various men’s camps,
Camp Borden or wherever their services were
girls joined the Canadian Army Show. That was a sure way of getting to
One member of
interest in the Army Show was a daughter of the owner of Neilsen’s
She came through No. 102 Depot for her kit renewal enroute
later and was discharged from the Depot.
of interest from our Depot was Major Madeline O’Donnell.
She was the
daughter of a former Prime Minister, “Uncle Louis” St. Laurent.
at Quarter Masters Stores I was promoted from L/Cpl to Staff Sergeant in
charge of Stores.
When our Depot
Company Sergeant Major left for overseas, our Commanding
Arnoldi promoted me to Company Sergeant Major (CWAC) as her
consisted mostly of discipline which most did not appreciate very much.
especially true of the older girls who didn’t especially care for a
young Sergeant Major telling them what and how to do things.
After a year
of sounding tough, I took my discharge in 1946. It was a great
experience. Yes, I would do it all over again.
discharge I went to Montreal and took a six-month course in
Later I married Jarvis Stewart and we have two daughters,
Wendy and Janie.
and I are retired and living in Truro, Nova Scotia.
Jarvis R. Stewart
I was born in
Miramichi, New Brunswick to Ambrose and Cora Stewart.
My father was
a lumberman and my mother a busy homemaker to seven children, four boys
and three girls.
In 1942 I left
high school and went to work at The Lewis Machine Shop in Stewiacke.
I wanted to
join the Engine Room Branch of the Navy and
I was told that if I had
just one year’s experience in a machine shop
I could go
directly to the Engine Room instead of joining as a Stoker and working
my way up.
One morning in
August 1943 while walking to work
I met my brother and a good friend on
their way to the railway station.
going to Halifax to join the military.
I thought that I must have
enough machine shop experience so, instead of continuing on to work
I went with
them to Halifax.
My brother was
turned down for medical reasons, but my friend and I were accepted.
that we would get on the same ship and win the war together.
had other ideas and we never saw each other again until 1945.
enrolment I was sent with hundreds of other personnel for
at the new Naval Training Base HMCS CORNWALLIS near Digby, Nova Scotia.
At that time
Cornwallis was the largest naval training establishment in the British
up to 10,000 men at times.
weeks Basic Training we were given a three or four-week course in steam
that was supposed to make us qualified engineers.
Training I was sent to Halifax for one week, when in the Fall of 1943,
was advised I was going to England on loan to the British Navy as they
were short of men to man their
that particular time Canada had more men than they had ships for. In
England it was just the opposite, they had ships going to sea without a
So a deal was
made, they would send us overseas and the British Navy could use us
until the Canadian Navy acquired more ships and recalled us to serve.
This proved to
be a great opportunity to gain valuable experience providing you
survived to return.
Halifax from Pier 21 sailing on the troop ship ISLE DE FRANCE.
We landed in
Scotland and from there I went by train to Chatham Naval Base in the
south of England. I was assigned to a British ship, HMS FANCY, an
Algerine Class minesweeper
of the 7th
British Minesweeping Flotilla.
This was a
brand new ship with a great crew. For the next three or four months we
did minesweeping and escorted convoys through the Straight of Dover and
up to the
Scotland where they joined up with convoys going to Russia.
Later we spent
most of our time in the English Channel where we did minesweeping and
We worked with
the British and Canadian troops when they practiced invasion landings at
night on isolated islands and parts of the English coast.
As D-Day drew
closer we spent all our time in the English Channel. On clear days when
we sailed through the Strait of Dover the big German guns on the French
shell us. They were not very accurate gunners! We were part of the 7th
British Minesweeping Flotilla, eight ships in all.
On D-Day we
sailed from Portsmouth
England well ahead of the invasion fleets. We swept back and forth in
the area the fleet was sailing in until we were nearing the French
working with the ships of the 6th British Minesweeping Flotilla and
swept the Canadian and British troops right in to Juno Beach.
were five invasion beaches with two Sweeper Flotillas for each beach
making a total of 80 Minesweepers sweeping in front of the invasion
As soon as the
troops started landing we moved back from the beach still sweeping for
mines and looking for signs of the enemy.
We stayed in that
area for approximately two weeks guarding supply vessels as they were
were the worse. The enemy was attacking with E-Boats; remote controlled
boats, human torpedoes and one-man subs.
the beachhead was established we returned to England for fuel and
supplies and some work to be done on the ship.
For the next
six month we swept along the French and Dutch coasts as the Army
advanced, clearing mines from rivers and ports so that supplies could be
landed closer to the front.
There were a
lot of rough times and few
good times. Many sweepers were damaged and some were sunk but the worst
day was Sunday, 27 August 1944.
The 1st Minesweeping Flotilla was
sweeping ahead of the others off Cap d’Antifer on the French coast.
to a failure in communication with the shore command, a Squadron of 16
RAF Typhoon Fighter-Bombers who mistook the Flotilla for enemy ships
attacked the Flotilla.
In spite of
many recognition flares being fired they continued to attack. In less
than 15 minutes two ships were sunk, while the third was drifting
with its stern
completely blown off. Some of the other ships were damaged. 117
sailors were killed and 153 wounded.
It was one
of the worst friendly fire
incidents in the 1939-1945 war and was said to be the worst friendly
fire incident in British Naval History.
later I read in a navy publication I receive from England that the RAF
Pilots who sank the ships reported them in the logs as “Enemy
During my stay
on HMS FANCY, I wrote and passed my 4th Class ERA exam. The Engineering
Officer who conducted my exam told me I was the youngest
Engineer serving in the British Navy at that time.
In December I
received notice that I was being sent back to Canada to serve on the
Tribal Class Destroyer HMCS HAIDA.
one year with the British Navy I left Scotland on the Queen Elizabeth,
landed at New York and was home two days later for a short leave before
joining HAIDA in Halifax.
aboard this ship until the war was over. HMCS HAIDA is considered
Canada’s most famous warship due to her tremendous wartime record. I
received my discharge in 1946.
regretted the time I spent with the British Navy.
I served on a
great ship with an excellent crew and fine Officers.
Had I not been
sent to the British Navy I most certainly would never have witnessed and
taken part in the greatest
naval Armada in Naval History.
to describe it and I am very thankful that I was there and returned
I expect there
is not a Veteran who has not been asked these two questions: Were you
ever afraid? And would you do it again?
I have always
felt that the first question does not require an answer.
If you stop
and think about it, who could ever go through the hell of war and not be
afraid at some time.
Would I do it
When I think of the thousands of people who gave their lives and
the thousands who offered their
lives for what they believed in, then I
look at the terrible mess
the world is
in today. It makes me wonder.
still have the best country in the world today and under the same or
similar circumstances, yes, I would do it again.
discharge from the military I started my own service station business in
Stewiacke which I operated for 20 years.
I met and
married Lillie Woodworth from Lantz and we have two daughters, Wendy and
Janie. I was involved with many community organizations throughout my
hobby was curling and I served on the Stewiacke Volunteer Fire
Department for thirty-six years. Lillie and I now reside in Truro, N.S.
Fred Leward Fielding
I was born 8
August 1920 in Truro, Nova Scotia.
Eugene worked at Borden’s Milk Factory and my mother, Ethel nee Crowe
was a housewife and a very busy one with five sons and six daughters.
I was the
second oldest and my younger brother Russell was also in the military
but he didn’t get overseas.
enlisting in the military, I attended College Road School and Truro
Central School and worked in Wilson’s Grocery Store on
Street. I joined the Army in Truro and went to Yarmouth for Basic
Training in 1941.
After Basic I
was posted to the Royal Canadian Ordinance Corp in Halifax.
overseas on HMCS CYNTHIA to Aldershot, England for Advanced Training.
transferred to the North Nova Scotia Highlanders who at that time were
In a two-week
period I went from the youngest soldier to the oldest.
I saw many of
my friends either wounded or killed.
I was with my
Company through the rest of France and Belgium.
We spent the
winter of 1944 in Nijmegen going out on patrol until the Spring of 1945
when they made
the last push into Germany.
I was wounded
in Kleve, Germany and sent back to hospital in Belgium for three weeks
and recuperated in Holland at a holding depot where I received rehab for
Then I was
sent back to the front lines until the end of the war.
When the war
ended I was shipped back to Halifax and was met by my Dad and
I guess I
forgot to mention that I married Helen Henderson on 2 December 1941 and
we have one daughter.
from the military on 23 March 1946 at Depot # 6 in Halifax.
I often think
of my war experiences and the things that happened but I have no regrets
and would do it again if I had to.
I’ve been a
member of the Royal Canadian Legion for 45 years. My hobbies include
hunting, fishing and bowling.
James Neilson Hull
I was born in
Scotland on 29 October 1915. My father Thomas Henry Hull
as a Canadian National Railway Chef and my mother Annie was a
consisted of five children, three boys and two girls. I was their
moved to Canada in 1928 and we made our home in Stewiacke.
I moved to
Truro, Nova Scotia in 1940 where I reside to this day.
school in both Scotland and Canada and worked for the
Railway in the Round House prior to joining the military.
In June 1940 I
went to join the Navy and they told me to go home and they would send
They never did
come for me so I joined the Army in 1941 at
Truro and was sent to
Yarmouth for my Basic Training.
My trade was a
Dispatch Rider and Provost, and, after Basic, I was sent to Camp
Provost 5 Division and spent two years in England, 1-1/2 years in Italy,
1 year in Belgium and Holland.
I had driven
Harley Davidson's for two years, then was sent into Italy where I had to
drive a Norton.
When I got picked for convoy duty, I told them I
couldn’t drive a Norton.
Major advised me that I’d drive it or break my neck trying.
Let me tell
you I quickly learned how to drive a Norton!
war I suffered no injuries and would do it all over again if I had to.
I was released
from the Military in March 1946.
Beulah Mattison and we raised two sons and we also have two
released from the Military, I went back to work for the Railway.
I soon wrote
two exams, one for a position with the Dorchester Penitentiary and one
for a position with the Post Office.
I went to work
at the Penitentiary for five months when the Post Master called to
inform me that a position was available as a Mail Dispatcher.
That job gave
me 35 years of employment.
I belong to
the Scottish Society, Widowers & Widows Club, The Legion Lyrics and Good
Time Seniors. I am a 55 year member of
Branch No. 26 Royal Canadian Legion. I bowl, dance and play the violin.
John Donald Sutherland
My name is
John Donald Sutherland but I go by Donald or Don.
I was born 21
August 1922 in Spiddle Hill, Nova Scotia.
John Dunrobin Sutherland was a farmer and my mother Bertha nee Smith was
Our family consisted of eight children, three boys and
I was orphaned
at a young age and left school in the eighth grade.
joining the military I worked as a farm hand and I also worked in
forestry and construction at the building of Camp Debert.
On 23 June
1941 I hitched a ride on a cream truck to the Truro Armouries where I
joined the military at #6 District Depot.
I was sent to
Aldershot, Nova Scotia for a brief period then to Camp Debert to join
reinforcements (3rd Division)
which was preparing to depart for
I was the
youngest member of the Royal Canadian Army Service Corp (RCASC) and my
trade was Driver Mechanic.
On 1 August
1941 I set sail on THE NORTHUMBERLAND for England.
It was a small boat
with a large convoy and we were three weeks on the water landing in
Thankfully I was never seasick. Upon arrival I was sent to
Farnborough, England where I received my
Basic Training with Petrol
Company. As far as I know we were the only unit (3 Div. Petrol Coy)
that had a church parade to Westminster Abbey.
people have a floor block with their name engraved at the Abbey.
I was seated
beside the marker of Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister of Great
Britain from 1937 to 1940.
best known for his Munich Pack treaty of peace with Adolph Hitler in
1938 and much criticized for placing his trust in this appeasement
Training I was posted to 23rd Field Ambulance as a transport and
I then went
with the 9th Brigade and trained in England nearly three years preparing
for D-Day landing.
were waterproofed for amphibious landing which we did on D-Day + one
event that I can remember was in Caen when our guys found a winery and
filled the gerry cans.
All was well
until our Commanding Officer wanted water for shaving. And you can just
imagine the rest of the story
I came home on
a very large ship MAURITANIA and was released on 8 February 1946 “to
return to civilian life end of demobilization.”
I have no
regrets and suffered no injuries. In fact I think I was very privileged
to have the great experience.
On 29 June
1946 I married Lillian Fraser (teacher) and we had four sons (one is
deceased), and they gave us six grandchildren.
After the War
I was employed at the Nova Scotia Power Hydro Plant and in 1954 I
decided to rejoin the military.
I enrolled on
18 Mar 1954 in Halifax as a Military Policeman.
Training was conducted in Truro and Shilo, Manitoba and I served in
Gagetown, N.B. and Halifax, N.S.
Honorably Discharged on 21 March 1957 in Halifax, N.S. with the rank of
I also served
in the Canadian Army Militia in Truro, N.S. from 10 December 1962 until
Honorably Discharged on 26 June 1964.
For 13 years I
worked for the Department of Highways as a Bridge Supervisor and retired
I am an avid
knitter, a craft I learned from my mother and I love to read and watch
sports on TV, especially baseball.
I am a Masonic and Legion member.
I was awarded
the 1939-45 Star; France and Germany Star; Defence Medal; and Canadian
Volunteer Service Medal with Clasp.
Dr. Roy Walcott Davis
I was born in
Truro, Nova Scotia on 10 April 1922.
My father E.W.
Davis worked in the insurance business and my mother Carrie nee
McCulloch worked as a homemaker.
I was the
youngest of four children. My two older brothers, who also served in
World War II,
were Gray and Murray and my older sister was Pauline.
In 1939 I
graduated from CCA (Truro).
I joined the
Royal Canadian Air Force in Ottawa on 3 April 1941 and took my Basic
On 27 April
1942 I was commissioned as a Navigator and was posted to Dorval, Quebec
Air Force Ferry Command.
I delivered 16
aircraft from the U.S.A.; Nassau, Bahamas; and Canada.
My best friend
Fred MacAllister and myself made a trip across the ocean at the same
time and by finding someone
in a high position, (Groopie at least), we
talked him into transferring us to 6 Group (Canadian) Bomber Group.
were probably the only two that voluntarily transferred to Bomber
On our 5th trip to Kiel, Fred was posted Missing In Action.
Another trip I
recall was as follows: Master Bomber was in a Mosquito and radioed the
password “CEASE BOMBING”.
We had made
orbit and answered the Master Bomber that we were on the bomb run and
requested permission to bomb.
Master Bomber replied “I see you, I will
then we were nailed by a flack ship which hit us in the port wing.
Bombardier said, “Look at this” and the Mosquito dove right down past us
and the water turned white and the flack ship disappeared.
Bomber Command 6 Group and with 415 Squadron Eastmoor I completed tour
(32) in December 1944.
I have flown include Hudson, DC-3, Liberator B-24, A-20 Boston, DC-4,
A-30 Baltimore, C-47, Bolingbroke, Wellington, Halifax and Lancaster.
Honorably Released and transferred to the Reserve, General Section,
Class “E” on 12 October 1945.
I was not
wounded but did suffer hearing loss.
I was awarded
the 1939-45 Star and Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp,
Operational Wings, Atlantic Star,
Air Crew Europe, and the Defence
In 1947 I
enrolled in Dentistry at Dalhousie University and graduated in 1952.
I practiced in
Truro for most of my career, retiring in 1988.
In September 1945 I
married Agnes McLarnon,
as a Staff Sergeant with the
Military Attaché in Washington, US.
raised two children Paul, who resides in
Toronto and Suzanne, who
resides in Truro Heights.
We have one
My hobbies include golfing and curling and hunting
At one time I
belonged to the Kiwanis and Red Cross. I am a 53 year member of
Colchester N.S. Branch No. 26 Royal Canadian Legion.
Charles H.G. McLean
My name is
Charles H.G. McLean and I was born to Metis parents in Wainwright,
Alberta on 4 December 1930.
My father was
a Metis Guide and he helped the CPR find their way through the Canadian
Rockies (Rogers Pass).
He was already
54 years old when I was born. I had six brothers and three sisters.
name was Marie Boudreau and although she had many different jobs, she
mostly ad her hands
full raising the family.
was the depression era, we never had too much to eat.
It was very hard
for my parents to give us much until the start of World War II.
It may seem
strange to say a war helped us in the west, but it was the truth.
My father was
able to get a steady job and life improved greatly
until my brothers
started joining the service and my mother became a wreck.
stranger came to the house or an unfamiliar letter arrived, it would
frighten her badly.
people left at home often as much as it hurts those in the military.
was mostly in a French school in St. Paul de Metis, Alberta.
I tried my
best to go as high as I could in school, but this was not possible
had to buy our own books in those days.
In order to do
this I had to get jobs when I was out of school.
I did make it
to Grade 8 but I couldn’t get any kind of work to help me go for
so I ended up getting any jobs I could to help at home.
But I always
wanted to get more education. That was how I came to join the Army. I
was accepted into the
21 January 1950 and posted to Picton, Ontario where I took my Basic and
Core Training. This was before the start of the Korean War.
I had all my
training done by then. In fact I was a Bombardier, going from camp to
camp instructing Basic Training
recruits from all different units. I was still doing this when the
first unit of the Princess Patricia’s came back from Korea.
I was chosen
to give a Junior NCO course to these people. This made me feel awful as
here I was with no medals and these boys wore Korean Medals.
This made me
eager to return to my unit and accept nothing, but a transfer to any
unit going to Korea. I was
to The Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in Camp Petawawa.
After a very
short time there I was on the USS MARINE LYNX, a troop ship that had
half Americans and half Canadians.
We were very
crowded and it took us 21 days to go from Seattle, Washington to
Japan where we were granted shore leave.
We had our
orders to be back aboard the ship by midnight.
That stay in Japan is
another story which will have to wait for another time.
We then sailed
for Inchon Harbour, Korea.
Off shore we
boarded landing barges and went into the harbour.
The uncertainty was
very frightening, but everything was fine and we did our jobs.
many times though that I wondered “What am I doing here?”
We did get R&R
for a week in Japan, which was quite a change from the rainy, muddy
ground of Korea.
We returned to
Canada just before Christmas and they couldn’t have timed it better.
They had no
idea where we were going next, so we were informed that we would receive
a telegram at home, where we were sent on leave, advising us of our next
telegram arrived it advised me that my next posting was to Camp Debert,
Nova Scotia and I can recall at that time saying “Where are they sending
This was to be
one of my best postings, as
I met my first wife Elsie there and we were
together for 33 years, adopting three boys.
I travelled to
many camps in Canada. In 1960 to 1964 I was with the Canadian Brigade
When we came home we were posted to Winnipeg, Manitoba.
In the Fall of
1964, with the infamous Paul Hellyer’s white paper I was given a medical
returned to Nova Scotia which I now considered home.
I had the
opportunity to go back into the Military, in the same rank and trades
pay, but I was well set on civilian street and didn’t want to change
at a variety of jobs I ended up as a Client Service Officer for Health
and Welfare Canada.
At this time
in February 1989, I lost my first wife Elsie, after she had a heart
When I finally
started going out again I was so fortunate to meet my present wife
Ruby. We have been married for 15 years and we look forward to many
more years together.
I am a 41
year, Life Member and Past President of Colchester N.S. Branch No. 26
Royal Canadian Legion and also a member of the Air Force Association.
I was a
Director for Children’s Aid and Family Services and was very active with
the Canadian Housing Association.
I was awarded
the Queen’s Jubilee Medal by Mr. Bill Casey, MP for my volunteer work.
I also have
the UN & Canada Medal for service in Korea, the Special Service Medal,
Peace Keeping Medal and the Canadian Forces Decoration.
are mounting military medals, repairing old clocks and caning chairs.
I would not
change a single thing in my life and
I would certainly serve my country
again if I had my life to live over.
Charles Burton MACLAREN
Service No: F86241
I was born
April 27, 1924 in Truro, Nova Scotia to Charles Robert and Mary Agnes
employed by Canadian National Railway following service in World War I.
He passed away
at the age of thirty six as the result of having been gassed during the
Mother was a
housewife and cared for her then ailing parents.
I had one
brother Stewart and two half brothers, George and Clarence Clish,
all of whom
are now deceased.
Alice and Willow Street Schools and worked for a short time at
National Bridge & Bldg. before joining the Military.
I joined the
Military in Halifax and took my Basic Training in Yarmouth.
I was then
sent to Petawawa for approximately six months.
I was shipped
to England in April 1942 for further training and
while on a
scheme was injured by a hand grenade. My foot and leg got blown up and I
was hospitalized for a considerable time.
I was then
sent to my Regiment the 5th Cdn. Medium R.C.A.
Later in 1943
we were sent to Palermo, Sicily and on up through Italy and seeing lots
of action in the Battles of Casino, Hitler, Gothic and Gustav Lines
fortified by the Germans.
the winter of 1944 on the outskirts of Bologna, we went back to Naples
from where we sailed to France and on to Belgium and Holland where the
war was coming
to an end and
we assisted in disarming the Germans. I was then sent back to England
and returned home in November 1945. I was discharged a month later.
In the summer
of 1946 I married Margaret McKay.
We have three
children, daughter Betty Lou and two sons Robert and Richard.
My hobbies are
hockey and horse racing and I am a member of Colchester N.S. Branch No.
26 Royal Canadian Legion.
L/Cpl William Fred FIELDING
A HARLEY DAVIDSON MAN!
I was born 29
May 1921 in Inverness, Cape Breton Island and moved to Truro when I was
ten years old. I was an only child.
My Dad, who
lived until he was 90 years of age, was an inspector for the dairy board
and my Mom, who lived to be 102 years of age, worked at Stanfield's for
I left school
in grade 6, not because I had to but because I wanted to. Even before I
had my license I bought an old truck for $150.00.
I hauled wood
and picked up milk for Borden's in Stewiacke and delivered it to Truro.
When I turned
nineteen I went to Halifax on my own and joined the Army. Again, I
wanted to. It was a great way to earn $1.20 a day.
Inn in Prince Edward Island is where I was sent to do Basic Training.
Then I was
sent to Borden for trades training. I was with the Royal Canadian Army
Service Corp where I drove trucks and
training, I was put on a train to New York and from there I boarded the
approximately 12,000 other men headed for England.
problem was that they didn't tell me where I was going!
And to top
that, I was seasick every second of every minute of every day until that
which was full of Chinese labourers, landed in Portsmouth, England and
I was send to
Aldershot for more training.
Five of us
were sent to London where we drove double decker buses as part of our
From there I
was put on another boat AMERICAN. When we were just off the Rock of
air raided and our boat was hit. The Captain told us to be ready to go
overboard prior to the torpedoes hitting us.
putting on a life jacket and about 100 of us jumped overboard.
I was picked
up by a small boat and put ashore on Algiers where I spent the next
seven days and from there I boarded a D-Douglas aircraft that took me to
From there I
was up in Katania where we pushed the Germans over into Italy and from
there pushed them clean back into Havana.
The worst we
had was in Ortona where we lost approximately 2,800 young soldiers.
buried there and I remember that we covered the dead in blankets, which
covered their head with their feet showing.
You see the
Italians stole the boots right off the dead soldier's feet.
One time I was
driving an ambulance to a hospital in Revana with four wounded Canadian
On the return
trip I got stopped by the Military Police and they told me not to go
over five miles per hour because if the Germans saw the dust they'd
Well we got
shelled all right. It blew the back right off the ambulance, there was
nothing left. I was shell shocked and ended up with shrapnel in my left
knee and right shoulder.
transported to an American medical tent where I think I spent at least
one day and then a Canadian ambulance took me back to my unit.
France. On the way I was hitch hiking and got picked up by an Artillery
We stopped at
an English outfit for supper and I decided to go for a beer. And who did
I come across but two guys from home, both friends of mine, Bert
MacLaren and Claude Totten.
So off to the
beer tent we go, about a mile down the road. We were the first three
Canadians to arrive at the beer tent where there were about twenty
And then Bert
announced, “We can lick any GD Englishman here!” I think all twenty of
them came towards us at the same time and we took off running and they
never caught us!
From there I
went back to my own outfit and our next stop was in Marseilles where we
then proceeded to Bel Gerr Holland.
One day, when
the war was over, I was going down the road on my Harley to deliver some
delivery, I headed back and man was it dark out. Of course I was going
too fast, when all at once I saw a dark spot and I hit something with a
bang. I did two or three
the air and I think I landed standing up. The only injury I got was a
cut finger. You see the Germans had shot a bomb on the road. I guess I
just wasn't meant to die!
I then spent
three or four months in Amsterdam transporting elderly people to the
hospital in ambulances to the Queen Wilamina Hospital.
After that I
was transported from the border of France by boat to England, this time
on the Queen Elizabeth, and I was sick again for the entire voyage.
We landed in
New York where we took a train to Truro.
It was 1946
and my Mom and Dad and a few friends came to meet and greet me home.
My kit was
stolen so I arrived with nothing! I was discharged immediately end of
For many years
I was in the trucking business and lived at the racetrack.
I owned many
horses and was a sulky driver since 1958. I had 99 wins and when I
turned 70 years old
I had to stop
because the racetrack will not insure anyone after they turn 70.
I'm a member
of Colchester N.S. Branch No. 26 Royal Canadian Legion and my hobbies
fishing, horse racing and going for drives.
James Bernard VAUGHAN
known as Bernie and I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 9 August 1919.
James Vaughan was an accountant and my mother Mary nee Lane was a
housewife. I am the oldest of four children.
Gerald is deceased and I have two sisters, Joan and Mary.
College Street School, St. Mary’s High School and St. Mary’s College,
all in Halifax.
joined the military I was an accountant, just like my Dad.
I joined the
military at the Halifax Armouries and took Basic Training in Yarmouth,
Training I was sent to Petawawa, Halifax, Botwood Nfld and then for
Officer Training in Brockville.
When I left
Brockville I was a Second Lieutenant.
phase of my training was held in Petawawa and on completion of that
training I was promoted to First Lieutenant.
Then I was
sent to Shearwater where we did the training all over again.
In 1943, I
went overseas aboard the QUEEN MARY landing in Glasgow.
I went to
Bramshot England, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.
I returned to
Halifax in February 1946 aboard the ILLE DE FRANCE.
I have no
regrets and would do it all over again if I had the chance.
experiences one encounters during war cannot be found anywhere else.
I can vividly
remember meeting a close friend in Ghent and we planned to get leave
I wrote him a
letter but alas the letter was returned to me a month later. My friend
I had the
opportunity to visit his grave in 1995. I was one of the lucky ones who
were not injured during the war.
1946 I was transferred from the Regular Army to the Supplementary
Reserves where I served until August 1969.
Back then you
could only remain on the Supplementary list until you reached the age of
1946 until October 1979 I was employed with the Department of Fisheries
and was a District Protection Officer on retirement.
In August 1946
I married Rita MacNab and together we raised four children, Elizabeth,
Jim, Anne Marie and Margaret.
Our son Jim
passed away on 16 December 2004. We also have five grandchildren.
like most sports and I am an active member of the Curling Club and The
Truro Club where I have received commendations
for my services from
fish, hunt, and play 45s.
I am a
60-year member of The Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch No.
26 Truro of which I was President in 1969.
received Life Membership in 1978; Past Officers Medal in 1979;
Certificate of Merit in 1982;
Jubilee Medal in 1985 and the 75th
Anniversary Medal in 2000.
Arthur L. EARLE
My name is
Arthur Leonard Earle. I was born on 26 September 1915 in North Sydney,
Stanley Hastings Earle worked for Western Union and my mother, Anna Van
Vost MacKenzie was a busy homemaker to six children.
I had two
brothers and three sisters. One died as an infant and the rest are now
grade 10 in High School and then joined the Army.
September 1939 at No. 5 Fortress Signals in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, I
enlisted as a Signalman and
A group of
young men met in the upstairs hall of the YMCA in Glace Bay.
It was our
first introduction to a uniformed Sergeant Major, who had received
Barracks in England during the First World War. He put us through our
Basic Training, by first showing
movements at the hall.
when we moved to Peters Hall, close to Reserve Mines, he showed us how
to march and
drill movements. We were still in civilian clothes and at that point
individual had signed any enrolment documents. The reason for this was
because there were none to sign.
I was told to
report to the Orderly Room as the Clerk, but there was nothing there at
the YMCA building.
It was just a
bare room. Later the OC authorized me to go the local supply store and
everything needed to run an office. I purchased the supplies and had
them sent to St. Peters Hall.
Commanding was Major J.J. Kingan and my Lieutenants were Cornelius
Fredericks. The Company Sergeant Major was Alexander MacPhee and the
John S. Kingan.
were at Paassendale, St. Peter’s Hall, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia.
I was promoted
to A/Cpl on October 17, 1939.
interesting to note that St. Peters Hall had a garage on the downstairs
floor. It had suffered a very large fire and all the recruits were
ordered to effect the necessary repairs.
It just so
happened that one of the recruits had considerable training in handling
lumber and making repairs, so he was put in charge.
It took a
while, but upon completion we used the upstairs as Barracks and Mess
Hall, and downstairs was made into offices.
30, 1939, with the permission of Major J.J. Kingan, I married Mary
By this time,
late October, the men were marching around the area each day but we were
still in civilian clothes.
was getting pretty worn out when we received an order from the OC to go
the Eaton’s Department Store and purchase enough boots and socks for 110
The OC had
access to funds for such purchases plus payroll. I soon found out that
I was also the Pay Clerk, as well as the Orderly Room Clerk.
because the personnel chosen for these positions failed to show up for
It was very
difficult to get the required enlistment forms from Halifax and to pay
the men in cash every two weeks.
It felt like I
never got out of the office for the six years I served.
Major was a stickler. We received parts of our uniform on a gradual
basis from Ottawa. Some of it had been left over from World War 1 a
nd some of it
arrived from factories that were getting into production.
I can remember
that as we received any part of the uniform, the Sergeant Major made us
wear it. The first thing to arrive was long underwear from World War I
and grey socks
and boots. We donned them. The Signal Corp were supposed to wear
breeches, but we never got them.
The next item
of clothing to arrive were World War I single breasted greatcoats, with
Signals buttons. It was now winter and we donned them also.
The next thing
was a long sealskin hat that was 12” high. It was supposed to be folded
into a firm fitting hat but the Sergeant Major made us wear them
Let me tell
you we were some presentable with boots, grey socks, very long
greatcoats and hats.
I was then
moved into the Lyceum Theatre on George Street, Sydney, Nova Scotia on
March 1, 1940 and promoted to Sergeant on May 1, 1940.
until then that we received battle dress.
In 1941 we
moved to the newly constructed barracks and offices at Victoria Park in
was the Fortress Commander with a full staff of Officers and NCOs.
I was promoted
to Company Quartermaster Sergeant on 1 March 1941 and in May I was
posted on temporary duty to Halifax.
On 17 November
1941 I proceeded on command to Headquarters of Atlantic Command
Then on 14
January 1942 I went on command back to Sydney and was made Acting
Warrant Officer Class One on 1 February 1942.
On 15 January
1943 I was attached to A 17 C.M.G.T.C. at 3 Rivers, Quebec for Officer
Training and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant Quartermaster on 22 January
Then a posting
to C.A.S.S. Kemptville, Ontario for Officer Training.
I was promoted
to Lieutenant on 8 June 1943 and was attached to No. 4 Coy, Atlantic
Command Signals at St. John, New Brunswick on 9 June 1943.
While in this
position I assumed the duties of Adjutant, Paymaster and Quartermaster.
On occasion in
1943, there was a terrible storm in British Columbia, with much damage
to power and communication lines.
Construction Company was asked to send a lot of our Linemen there by way
of the CNR, with complete equipment space,
and dining car facilities and all the CNR staff to look after them.
Needless to say it was a far cry from the daily life of a soldier.
We soon found
out that we would have to lay the submarine cable for all telephone and
radio equipment that would go the various
Sydney Harbour. Even without the proper equipment we got the job done!
Then we were
involved in restoring all the rural telephone offices in Cape Breton and
Nova Scotia so
that spotters could call after sighting any submarines or aircraft that
It was called
the Aircraft Detection Corps. Civilians living in the area were asked
to act as spotters
In June 1944 I
was having a medical in preparation for overseas duty.
giving me the medical was of the opinion that I was allergic to certain
things so he sent me to the hospital to be checked
out by a
specialist. I was admitted to Sussex Military Hospital on 25 June 1944
and discharged on 28 July 1944.
determined that I was allergic to many things, and that it would not be
practical for me to be sent overseas.
downgraded from an A-1 Medical, which I had for five years, to an (F).
I was then
posted to HQ Atlantic Command Signals in Halifax on 21 August 1944 and
promoted to Acting Captain Adjutant and later Confirmed
Adjutant. As Adjutant of Atlantic Command Signals I received 50 cents a
day extra as a Captain which was paid $5.00 per day, plus living out
13, 1939 when I joined the military, I expected and wanted to go
overseas that Fall. But it wasn’t to be.
Companies were just too busy and by the time came around that I could
go, my medical condition made it impossible.
chance though, I would certainly do it all over again.
discharge from the Signal Corp in 1945 I acquired Grade 11. Then I
studied and worked with a Chartered Accountant Firm of Nicoll & Barrow
and from there
I worked with the Income Tax Department in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
Then I was
employed as the Controller at McCurdy & Company Store in Charlotte. In
1950 I opened my own accounting business in Sydney where
until 1975 when I retired. In 1978 we moved to Truro, where we still
We have one
child, Karen Leigh, who is married to David Arnfast.
us with two grandsons and one granddaughter and we also have two great
grandsons and one great grand-daughter.
Arden Douglas WHEADON
My name is
Arden Douglas Wheadon and I was born on Armistice Day 1925 in Truro,
Nova Scotia. My father Clifford was a Clerk at the old liquor store on
and he was also a Porter at the old Scotia Hotel located
next to the old liquor store.
My mother, Frances Viola, was a busy
homemaker with five children, three girls and two boys of which I was
I completed my
grade ten education in Truro and was working as a clerk at Moxon’s Drug
Store on Inglis Street when I decided to join the military.
I went to
Halifax in February 1944 where I was sworn in.
I was sent to New
Market, Ontario for Basic Training and then sent to Camp Borden, Ontario
for further training as a Gunner Operator.
In December 1944 I was sent
to Debert, and then on to Windsor, Nova Scotia. In early December 1944
I left Halifax
troop ship and arrived in England at Blackdown on 26
1944. I was being trained on a Crew Commander Course in England when VE
Day was declared.
I then signed up for the Pacific Theatre and was sent
to Holland to join the 8th N.B. Hussars as reinforcement.
In May 1945
I was on my way home via a small liner DUTCHESS OF BEDFORD.
military granted me 30 days leave when V.J. Day was declared on 15
August 1945. Not
enough points for discharge,
I was sent to York
my Dad had been stationed during World War I, and I remained there until
I was discharged in August 1946.
And let me tell you I had a great time
while I was there!
discharge from the military I did odd jobs until I got employment with
Canadian National Express in May 1948. I worked for them until I
retired in 1981.
On 14 February
1947 I married Phyllis Crowe and we raised two children,
Michael and Arlene. We have four grandchildren
and three great grandchildren.
In 1948 Phyllis and I moved to Hilden
where we still reside. In our younger years we enjoyed camping and
We now enjoy playing cards, although our friends say I’m not
that great at it!
I am a 44 year
Life Member of Colchester N.S. Branch
No. 26 Royal
Canadian Legion in Truro.
Douglas James Grant
1ST TRURO BOY TO GO OVERSEAS!
I was born 2
July 1921 in Truro, Nova Scotia. My Dad, James Grant,
a World War I Veteran, was an engineer on the Canadian National
Railway and my Mom, a World War I bride from England, was a home-
maker. I was the middle child with an older sister Gladys and a younger
My brother, Kelvin, aka Kelly Grant served with the
North Novies through Northern France to Holland.
He had the distinction
of planting the first Canadian flag on German soil by the Canadian Army.
through the Truro schooling system leaving in grade 11, contemplating
joining the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).
On April 8th,
1940, at the age of 18, I took the train to Halifax to the enlistment
centre on Morris Street.
On completion of the interview, I was told I
was accepted and given a one way ticket to Toronto.
I called home to
inform them I was on my way to the manning depot in Toronto.
girlfriend, 17 year old Doris McGowran, whose father was the RCMP
Detachment CO, promised to wait for me.
arrival in Toronto, I went through the usual procedures, ie. kit issue,
muster parades, etc.
The following day I noticed a sign looking for
volunteers to go to Malton Airport outside Toronto.
I volunteered and
every morning I went to Malton working on storing training planes.
remember right, I think the planes were Tiger Moths. Then at some point,
I responded to a notice seeking volunteers for overseas duty. So I
joined up with #1 RCAF Aux Squadron
(this Squadron was made up of mostly
millionaires – nice little club from Montreal).
I was put on a train to
Shearwater in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and hooked up with the #1 Fighter
After a couple of days, I was ferried across the harbour and
Duchess of Athol (which had formally been a cruise ship) and
headed for England. It was June 10, 1940.
We landed in
Liverpool (two months from the day I enlisted) and took a train to the
town of Wigan.
The next morning I boarded another train to Andover,
South England and was then transported to Middlewallop.
I remained there
approximately two weeks.
This was the location that #1 RCAF Fighter
Squadron assembled all their equipment and personnel.
This squadron had
proceeded overseas as a completely mobile squadron, planes, transports,
medical, dental and cooks, etc.
control of Western Europe, Hitler turned his attention to Britain.
diplomacy failed an invasion would likely be required and defeat of the
RAF was a precondition to the success of such an operation.
In July 1940
the Luftwaffe therefore began an air war against Britain,
Germans wanted to establish air supremacy over the Straits of Dover as a
prerequisite to invasion.
The invasion of England was anticipated;
all personnel regardless of rank were involved in building
fortification and filling sand bags.
We only had one bomb dropped on us
and not much damage was reported.
was then transferred to Croydon (London's airport at that time) and the
first bombing of London occurred.
There was a lot of damage and a lot of
casualties. It was here that I saw the best dog fight of the entire war.
Reason being was that the allied fighters did not have sufficient
warning to be airborne before the
Germans commenced their bombing run (Stuka
Dive Bombers); however, they were sitting in a great
position to attack
the Germans as they came out of their bomb runs. This attack made Croydon unserviceable so while in
Northolt the squadron was involved in
continuous air battles during the day and subjected to air bombings of
During the night the air raid warnings sounded around 5 p.m. and
the all clear sirens would sound around 5 a.m. the next morning.
posting at Northolt we had some close calls. One day a German fighter
bomber came out of the low clouds and shot up the base.
occasion a lone German fighter bomber dropped a bomb which did some
damage to our hanger and killed a
Polish pilot who happened to be taxing
between our hanger and another.
Lady luck was
with us on another occasion when a “stick” of bomb was dropped on our
One bomb going through the barrack wing – passing through a
bed on the second floor and one on the first floor only to bury itself
under the barracks unexploded.
Another bomb landed in the soft earth
between the wings of the barracks – it too did not explode.
many daily sorties against German planes. Again, there were a lot of
casualties but more so on the German side.
Actually their losses were so
great that they changed from day to night bombings which was named the
This was a pretty rugged time for pilots and ground crew.
Our pilots went against protocol procedures and on landing went directly
to dispersal points by
the shortest route for refueling and rearming.
They held the record for the shortest refueling and rearming time, which
was extremely important at the time.
The Air Minister called up
the Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader, Ernie McNab to reprimand him.
His reply was that there was a war going on and there was no time
to worry about protocol.
We were the
only Canadian RCAF Active Squadron over there at that
time. Throughout the Battle of Britain our planes were in/out, air
attacks all day long. With the large German losses, things slowed down.
By the end of October, Fighter Command ordered the No. l Squadron to
Scotland (Prestwick) for a rest.
In all the
RCAF pilots scored 31 confirmed kills while suffering three pilots
killed in action.
What I recall
about Prestwick, was that there was a skating rink in the
town of Ayr. Whenever I could I would go skating. What I liked most
about this skating rink was that one could skate straight off the ice
surface and go directly on surface to a milk bar for shakes.
from the situation in London.
After our rest
in Prestwick the Squadron was supposed to be transferred to
where the work was to patrol the North Sea. But the CO said no way was
he billeting his men there and he decided to utilize a
new Army camp at Thurso. It was the Squadron's first post independent of RAF and,
therefore, had their own cooks (Canadian) so we ate Canadian style
meals. We really enjoyed this
but no one enjoyed the Nissen huts which were cold, wet and always damp.
My first Xmas
overseas was lovely. You see I was in the right place at the right time.
The Squadron received big boxes full of chocolate bars, knit goods,
cigarettes, hat, gloves, scarves, etc.
Christmas, the Squadron moved to Driffeld, where there
was no serious bombings. I recall we spent about a month there in tents
on a gorgeous estate, Wellingore Hall.
I made friends with a farmer
across the road and would go to the
farm for a morning drink of milk (cream) instead of going to the
It was here I met Tommy Stubbert from PEI and we remained great
friends until his death last year (2004).
Next I was
transferred to 407 Squadron Coastal Command in Kingslynn (Grimsby).
This Squadron was flying Hudson and patrolled the North Sea coast.
was not rugged and burned easily, therefore, was not a favorite of the
My next transfer was to Warrington in July 1944. I was sent there to
open up a repat depot. All returning airmen passed through here and it
was our job to
ensure the paperwork was completed and to organize them into groups
(drafts) and to transport them to ships for passage to Canada.
once a balloon station and since we were the first inhabitants, we got
to pick the best rooms with the best equipment. Again, we ate well.
were ready, they were permitted leave while awaiting available ships.
transfer was to the Middle East, but this posting was cancelled due to
the war ending.
1944, I landed in New York. My girlfriend Doris was now living in
Niagara Falls. I traveled to Niagara Falls to surprise her.
When I got to
her home, her Mom let me wait in her bedroom because every day, when she
came home from work she would go to her room to read the letters
I sent daily
from overseas. Doris thought I was headed for the Middle East, so when
she came into her room and I was there, it was quite a surprise.
(Picture at Left -
Tents, Willingore Hall, 1941)
I was anxious
to get to Truro, so together we headed home.
We were married on October
30, 1945 in her grandmother's home in Kentville, Nova Scotia.
I was released
from the service in February 1946 and returned to civilian life.
We moved to
Niagara Falls where I applied to the Physical Education
Program at the
University of Toronto. Before being accepted into this program
I had to
complete my Junior and Senior Matriculations, which I did in just six
I had to hitch
hike everyday from Niagara Falls to Hamilton to attend the Rehab School.
In 1947 I
began classes at the University of Toronto and graduated three years
with my degree in Physical & Health Education.
graduation I accepted a position as Director of Physical Education for
schools in Windsor, Nova Scotia.
In 1953, I
became Director of Physical Education for the Truro Schools.
I held this
position for four years, then was appointed Director of Physical
Education at the Provincial Normal College later the
Teachers College where I stayed until my retirement in 1980.
I have been a
legion member for 29 years and my hobbies include woodworking and
Doris and I
raised three children, Gaylene, Steven and Nancy, who all live nearby.
We have six grandchildren and one great granddaughter.
(Pictres Below -
Left: Wellingore Hall, and Right: Doug and Doris Grant, 2005)
Douglas C. Maybee
Royal Canadian Navy,
I am always
saying, “When I was seventeen, I joined the Navy!”
(left: Picture of
Doug C. Maybee, 1941)
When I was
still sixteen, I wrote a letter to the Naval Recruiting
Office in Ottawa (with my father’s permission) asking for an
application to join the Navy. The war had started about 18 months
previous. I soon got an application along with the news that I could not
join up until
I was 17 years
old, and that I would have to stay in the Navy for seven years after I
I sent my
application in right away and it was a long six months waiting to be 17,
trying to grow up in such a short time.
I hadn’t been
any more than 50 miles away from home in my whole short life.
Two days after
my seventeenth birthday at 5' 11" tall and weighing 126 pounds,
I had to leave
home and report to the naval barracks in Esquimault B.C., 3000 miles
Some of my
friends were at the house to see me off as I left to catch the noon
train that would take me to B.C. and a new experience.
The train ride
was really great, across the prairies and through the mountains, but it
took me further away from the home and the people I loved. I guess I was
homesick, but I couldn’t let anyone know that.
barracks seemed to be awfully big, about half the size of the entire
village I had just come from.
I was given a
medical, signed a few papers, and was issued a hammock that I would
sleep in most of the time that I was in the Navy.
I was also
given a big kit bag full of navy clothes that would be mine for the next
I was put in a
platoon with eleven other fellows my age. The first week, our instructor
showed us, and constantly reminded us, who was the boss.
“No, Sir!” Respect was what he wanted and what he got, I soon found out
that, as long as you remembered that, things went OK.
We were now
‘Boy Seamen’, to bed in our hammocks at 9:00 PM, lights out at 9:30 and
no talking (not a whisper), up at 5:30 am
and out on the
parade square at 6:00 for a mile run down the road. It soon increased to
a five mile run. I’m not sure whether this was to build us up or wear us
months of training and everyone in shape, we were sent to Halifax, 4000
miles away, by train, with a two weeks leave en route.
mention here that for the first six months in the navy I was paid $15 a
month, but they held back $10 a month so you would have some money when
you went on leave.
So here I was
with 2 weeks leave and $60 in my pocket. Boy was I rich!!
It was great
seeing my parents and friends after a long six months. They asked a lot
of questions, and I had a lot of stories to tell, but all too soon, we
had to say goodbye again as
I had to catch
the train to Halifax.
We were soon
assigned to different ships. Now I would be in the real world - no
instructor to watch over my every move.
all that I had been taught, not just in the past six months but every
I was growing
up - showing respect for others, knowing right from wrong, and resisting
I went aboard
a converted passenger ship, “Prince Henry” which was to sail in two
weeks for British Columbia.
On the way we
stopped at St. Lucia, and Kingston, Jamaica in the Caribbean. The day
after we left St. Lucia, a ship was torpedoed at the same dock we had
through the Panama Canal and up to San Francisco. While there we went to
Hollywood, visiting some of the stars, and then on to Esquimault, B.C.
After a week
we left for Alaska and the Bering Sea. After about three weeks of really
rough weather, it was back to Esquimault again.
I had now been
in the navy for one year, and being 18 I got a raise in pay to $37 a
month. I wasn’t used to getting all that money, so I sent $10 a month
At 18, I had
traveled 7000 miles by train, sailed south and through the Panama Canal
and up to Alaska, and now I had to leave the west coast by train and
report to Halifax.
This time I
was assigned to a destroyer, “Gatineau” which would be doing convoy duty
between “Newfie” and “Derry” (Newfoundland and Londonderry, Ireland)
15 trips across the Atlantic. There would be lots of enemy submarine
Later we were
sent to the English Channel for ‘D Day’ landings, escorting landing
craft and other ships to France and the landing beaches.
was back to Halifax for ship repairs and a well earned leave.
too long, I was assigned to the cruiser
which was being built in Belfast, Ireland,
so we had to
go across the Atlantic on a troop ship loaded
of army, navy and air force personnel.
my 21st birthday shortly after
I went aboard
H.M.C.S. Gatineau - June 1943- August 1944)
After a few
weeks of trial runs and training we were off
to the South
Pacific sailing through the Mediterranean Sea
and the Suez
Canal, stopping at Ceylon, India - now Sri Lanka and on to Hong Kong.
The war had just ended, Japan had surrendered, so we had to do
occupational duties, l
with the Chinese, looking after “rice line-ups”, and maintaining law and
order among the people.
After 3 months
of this, it was back to British Columbia again, stopping at Pearl Harbor
and Honolulu, Hawaii and then Esquimault
The war was
over so most of the fellows were being discharged, but not me. I still
had 2 ½ years to
serve. I was transferred to Halifax, this time going aboard another
destroyer, “Nootka” sailing up the St. Lawrence River to Montreal.
In the winter
months, we sailed to Bermuda, The Caribbean Islands and Key West, then
back to Halifax.
After a short
time around Nova Scotia, we sailed for Hudson’s Bay, and were nearly
late getting back to Halifax for my wedding in October, 1948.
I was discharged the next May - just eight years after I enlisted.
H.M.C.S. Ontario - April 1945- March 1946)
As I read this
over, it seems to be like a nice cruise that anyone would like to take.
But I have left
out “the not
so pleasant” memories, like the ships in the convoy being torpedoes, and
the friends lost on different ships.
wouldn’t have our clothes off for a week at a time,
and seeing all
the landing craft going into the beaches on D-Day, many of the boys
and the COLD,
ROUGH NORTH ATLANTIC.
myself pretty lucky – our ship
seemed always to be at the right place at
the right time. We had some close calls
but no loss of life.
left: Douglas C. Maybee)
Donald F. Muir
arrived into this world in 1922 and grew up in New Glasgow. My father
was Samuel Muir and my mother was Margaret nee Grant. I have an older
brother and a younger sister.
1940 my father opened Muir’s Grocery in Windsor, Nova Scotia and I moved
there with my family.
brother Grant was a Sergeant in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He served
overseas as a Clerk.
Building model aircraft and flying was always an interest. My Aunt
Christine paid for me to have a flight near New Glasgow when I was about
14 years of age.
thrill I will never forget. Thus when the war broke out I joined the
Royal Canadian Air Force on 28 May 1942.
took pilot training in Goderich, Ontario on Tiger Moths. I was then
transferred to Aylmer to fly Harvards.
Graduation Day Air Marshal Billy Bishop pinned on my wings. By this time
I was a Sergeant.
the Spring of 1942 I found myself going overseas on the QUEEN ELIZABETH
rooms on the ship were turned into barracks. The ship carried 5-6,000
Army, Navy and Air Force.
slept in one of the lounges. Hammocks were strung in rows10 feet high.
was lucky. Being posted to Gun Crew, I helped the Gunner load the 20mm
cannon and was on lookout
for enemy ships. As I was a smoker I was able to go inside the funnel
where it was warm and smoke a
cigarette. If you were caught on board deck smoking you would have been
Arriving in Scotland we filled our water bottles for our train trip
Mine being to Bournemouth in southern England. In the line up ahead of
me were my two cousins,
Norman and Gordon from Scotsburn. What a surprise!!
Bournemouth was a resort town. All hotels were turned into barracks and
the beautiful beach
filled with barbed wire. The German aircraft continually dropped bombs
on the place. When strolling in the park we would duck under trees. I
was there for two months.
wife and I visited Bournemouth after the war. It is beautiful.
hotels are still there and the park and beach all look the same.
member of the Aircrew Association I belong to married a girl from
Every summer they host a Bournemouth tea party at their home in Windsor,
England I was an instructor and I also flew and towed Gliders, flew
Hurricanes and escorted
Bombers across the channel. Stationed in the Cotswells, I was the only
Canadian on the Royal Air Force Base.
(Picture above: Doug Muir received his wings
from Bill Bishop, centre)
Whenever I was in the air and used the mike someone would always say,
“do you hear a bloody Canadian?”
Some of us were posted to another station. My friend Jock and I decided
to wave good bye to the girls. Jock says - Lets fly low, about 100 feet
over the town.
was in the glider; I was in to the tow aircraft. We took off on a hill
and as we swept low over the town Jack said - Don the traffic light is
Red. Please don’t stop. Roger says I!!
Cheltinhan, a few days before D-Day I was flying and towing a glider at
night. German fighter aircraft flew over and scraped the field with
toe planes released their gliders and most of them crashed, although no
one was hurt. I didn’t release my glider and they thanked me after.
were flying at night on D-Day and had to get out of the circuit in a
hurry because aircraft going across the channel came over our field
ISLE DE FRANCE brought me home from England, landing in Halifax at Pier
21. From there I took a train to Montreal for leave and I was discharged
KR(Air) Para 195(17) “On completion of a term of voluntary service
during an emergency” on the Fourteenth day of September 1945.
upgraded my high school education and attended Acadia University.
When leaving Acadia my father died so with my brother Grant we managed
his grocery store.
I was a King Scout I became a scout leader for 15 years. I also enjoyed
hockey, playing on the town league
met June Bearne and took her on our first date to a Gyro (Friendship
married in 1956, have three sons and six grandchildren.
1963 I joined Pfizer Canada as pharmaceutical representative.
work and travel took me to New Brunswick and parts of Nova Scotia.
Gyro has been important in my life. I joined in Windsor in 1951 and have
belonged to clubs in New Glasgow, St. John N.B., Truro and Windsor.
also curl, golf, belong to St. John’s Church Laymen’s Association and
Air Crew Association, The Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 26, Golden K,
Garden Clubs, and playing bridge.
June and I have enjoyed traveling.
have seen a lot of Canada, USA, the British Isles, Europe, Jamaica,
Venezuela and Mexico.
the 70’s a glider club was formed at Debert, Nova Scotia.
was their first President and the first pilot in Nova Scotia to receive
a gliders license.
Debert Flying Club was formed in 1972.
received my flying license and have 80+ hours on
have been active in Casara-Air 413 Search
and Rescue, since 1989 being both a pilot and spotter.
Donald Maxwell MacInnis
I was born 22
October 1916 at Big Baddeck, Cape Breton Island. My father Daniel
“Danny” MacInnis was a poultry man at Nova
Agriculture College and my mother Lynda nee MacKay was a stenographer
and later a housewife.
She worked as
a stenographer for a Maxwell family and that’s where I got my middle
name. I had two brothers and two sisters.
I finished my
grade nine at Bible Hill and took grades 10 and 11 at Truro Academy.
After the war I attended Success Business
College and took a bookkeeping course. Before I joined the military I
was a Fuller Brush Salesman.
In July 1942 I
went to Halifax and joined the military at Depot # 6.
Basic Training in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and from there I took my
Advanced Training in Camp Borden, Ontario.
From Borden I
was sent to Halifax where I boarded the Queen Elizabeth to go the
but we couldn’t land there due to excessive bombing
so we landed
in Greenock, Scotland where I took more Advanced Training.
I was posted
with 86 Bridge Coy and my job as an engineer was to build bridges over
One thing I
will always remember is the fact that whenever I shot a German, I always
made sure it was in the leg.
I didn‘t want
any men to die and I had hoped we‘d all have the opportunity to go home
when the war was over.
It bothered me tremendously to see a friend
shot or taken
as a prisoner of war and not be allowed to stop and try to help them.
Chances were if I had, I also would have been shot.
approximately 1500 guns went off at once and the explosion of it made me
deaf for about two weeks.
I’ve had a hearing loss. I’ll never forget my good buddy Clarence “Ace”
He was a
football player and had hands on him two sizes to one of mine.
One time we
were on leave together and went for a beer. This old hag up at the bar
asked us if she could sit with us Canadians
and Ace said
“if you want to sit you can”.
Then some old
guy asked us if she was not good enough to sit with us and made the
first move towards us.
Ace caught him
under the nose and there was blood everywhere. The police whistle was
just a blowing and we took off out of there some quick.
Ace resides in
Flin Flon, Manitoba. Another good memory I have is of my first cousin
Bill Jenkins who is five days older than I am.
(Picture to left:
Bill, who was
a Major at the time, came down to see me in Apeldoorn, Holland.
We were going
down the street and Bill had to salute all the time and he said he was
sick of saluting.
So we hid in
an alleyway and exchanged tunics and berets and I had a great time doing
Thank God we
never got caught! I had another good buddy by the name of Jenkins in my
He made his
living as a gambler in Toronto and he taught me how to play cards and
how to cheat - all the
tricks of the
trade. When the war ended I
volunteered on “Land Lease” to help
the Dutch in
Holland. I came back to Halifax on the S.S. ACQUATANIA, boarded a train
to Truro where Mom and Dad met me.
I brought home
five men when the war ended. One of my men was caught and taken as a
prisoner of war, but he got free
home a year later.
discharged 28 March 1946, as a Corporal, End of Demobilization. I have
no regrets and would do it all over again to save Canada from enemies.
My first wife
was Ellen nee Tauper and together we raised two children, Kevin and
Kathy. Ellen was from Stewiacke and passed away in 1980.
(Picture to left:
Jutphen Bridge, Maas River, 1944)
In 1983 I
married Ruth nee Stecker who also has two children , Phyllis and David.
have 11 grandchildren.
trade was woodworking and carpentry.
kitchen cabinets, houses, and even a church in the United States.
I was a
bookkeeper at a lumber company in Stewiacke.
I love fishing
and hunting, walking, playing cards, dancing, horses,
I was a great
friend with Hank Snow and
used to work for Alexander Graham Bell in Brambrie.
I still walk
with the cane that belonged to my grandfather.
I am a Life
Member at Colchester N.S. Branch No. 26 Royal Canadian Legion and I am
also a member of a German club in Malden, Mass.
MacInnis, July 2005)
Bridge Coy. Formed at Camp Borden, Ontario
July 28 1943
Arrived in England
Aug 1 1944
Landed on Normandy Beach Head, France
1944 Has 1st
operational detail in France
1944 Is attached to Br. 2nd.
Sep 10 1944
Is First Cdn. Unit to enter Brussels
Sep 15 1944
Enters Holland for the first time
1944 Returns to 1st
Oct –Nov 1944
Engaged in clearing Scheldt South Bank of Maas R
Feb 9 1945
Jumped off to help in clearing West Bank of Rhine
Mar 23 1945
The Rhine is Crossed
Apr 1 1945
The whole Coy. Crosses Rhine
May 8 1945
The War ends and Coy was located at Bad Zwischenhahn, Germany
Aug 6 1945
The Bridge Coy. is Disbanded
J. Donald L Fulton
Royal Canadian Air
Force June 1040-September 1945
I was born in
Truro and attended Truro schools, graduating from Grade 12 in June
1939. World War II broke out in September of that year. I was
seventeen years old.
For the next
nine months I attended the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Bible
I joined the
Royal Canadian Air Force in June 1940 and was posted to Manning depot in
took in the Exhibition grounds and we were billeted in the Horse Barns.
We took our
basic training here. In September I was posted to Initial Training
station in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Our class was
instructed in the various crafts that we would need as aircrew,
including theory of flight, math, Morse code, etc..
We were also
introduced to the Link Trainer, a machine that simulated an aircraft in
We were also
subjected to rigorous medical and optical examinations
classified for Pilot, Navigator, Wireless or Gunnery training.
fortunate to be assigned to Pilot training.
I was posted
to Goderich, Ontario, which was a brand new station utilizing civilian
personnel as caterers and as Flying Instructors.
After 7 hours
of instruction, I soloed (flew by myself for about five minutes, taking
off and landing by myself).
caught up with us by this time and we had several heavy snowstorms.
One day I was
with my instructor when we found that the wind was so strong we were
unable to return to our airdrome.
decided this would be a good time to practice my forced landing
Just prior to
landing in a nearby field (chosen by me), my instructor took over and we
landed in 4 feet of snow, the aircraft flipped over and slid on its
and we had to
dig our way out from under the plane. The only casualty was the
us posted to Saskatoon, Sask, for Service Training on the Harvard
aircraft. The weather was brutal.
40 below zero
was common. In February 1941 I received my wings and posted overseas.
I had a total of 100 hours of flying time.
We were posted
to Debert, Nova Scotia, as a holding unit until we embarked for
At the end of
February, we embarked on an armed merchant Cruiser that had armaments
circa the Boer War.
We were the
escorting vessel for a large convoy. We were 21 days crossing the
Atlantic arriving in Iceland, transferring to another ship and then to
Glasgow by train, the same day we had arrived, heading to the south of
England. There we experienced our first Air Raid as we were quite close
we were assigned our postings for further training. Bomber command was
being formed at this time and I was sent to an operational unit
bombers. These had two engines and I was used to only one. All this
time we were under the command of the Royal Air Force, as there were not
Canadians to form a Canadian Group. We were crewed up: pilot,
navigator, wireless operator and gunners (two), and we commenced
an actual raid on Paris, dropping leaflets telling the French people the
progress of the war.
these crews were then posted to the Middle East (Egypt), ferrying spare
parts as well as
aircraft we were flying.
We landed and
refueled at Gibraltar and Malta and then to Egypt,
became part of the war effort in that theatre of war.
We had to fly
our aircraft to advanced bases in the Sahara Desert, where we had to
refuel and to bomb up for our Operations.
temperature was so high that we didn’t cool off until we reached 6000’.
34 trips (30 normally constituted a tour of operations)
and then we
were posted back to England to assist in Training Command.
I spent the
next year and a half in training command still under the R.A.F.
by now had their own Bomber Group and were making a name for
move was to return to Canada for a month’s leave.
Operational Training Unit
returned to England, we were sent to a Canadian Operational Training
Unit (O.T.U.) for training on Halifax Bombers.
aircraft had four engines and took a little getting used to.
a crew of seven: Pilot, Navigator, Bomb Aimer, Wireless Operator, Flight
Engineer, Mid Upper Gunner and Rear Gunner.
posted to Leemington Yorkshire on 427 Squadron.
seventh trip we were attacked by enemy fighters.
gunner was killed; the Mid Upper Gunner was badly wounded, as were the
Flight Engineer and Navigator.
forced to bail out. Three of us survived the night of June 12th,
by the French Underground
The three who
survived were Lyall Wilson, Keith Patrick and I.
We were picked
up by the French Underground and housed by them in the village of Renty
for over three months.
Keith and I
went by a two-wheel cart and were stopped twice by German Patrols but we
were concealed well by our helpers.
We stayed with
the Fillerin family while Lyall was across the road with the Ansel
Members of the
Marquis provided us with tobacco leaves and stories of sabotage.
the retreat of the German army past our abode and a Canadian tank unit
liberated our village in September 1944.
intensely interrogated by an Army Intelligence Unit who finally turned
us loose, advising us to return to England as best we could.
There was an
R.A.F. station nearby and we were able to hitch a ride back to England
where we were again interrogated, after which we were told how to
kits left behind when we went missing.
The office in
London where we went concerning our kits also examined us, and then
advised us how to proceed to reclaim our kit.
At this time,
the door burst open and a Women’s Air Corp lady hurled herself into our
It was my aunt
whose husband died in Ireland during the war, and as she couldn’t return
to Canada, she joined the Canadian W.A.A.F.
she had retrieved my kit and had it in her apartment, and I was able to
get mine quickly.
We were then
repatriated to Canada.
I was posted
to Debert as an Air Controller.
I was married
in November 1944, and as the war in Europe was winding down (May saw
victory in Europe),
after that in August the atomic bomb brought the war to a close.
I applied for
and was accepted at Queen’s University, where I obtained a Bachelor of
and I also
acquired a son.
I was employed
with Canadian Packers for two years, and then I joined my brother in the
the next thirty years in this vocation acquiring a daughter and second
son along the way.
I retired in
1982, after selling the business to my son and his partner.
My wife and I
have enjoyed our retirement,
winters in Florida, playing golf and generally enjoying life.
RAF Ferry Command
My name is
Claude Burry and I was born in Safe Harbor, Newfoundland on 12 July
(Picture below: In
front of a hangar, Gander, Newfoundland, 1945)
have more education than most Newfoundlanders as I finished grade 11.
After that I
went to work at a radio shop for one year. I had to work to look after
My father was
deceased, and I was the only boy in the family.
I had one
sister ten years older than myself.
I joined the
Royal Air Force Ferry Command as an aircraft maintenance mechanic in
Command was in charge of operating aircraft going over the Atlantic
during the war.
My boss was
Group Captain Anderson and I can see him now; he had four bars on his
I was a
civilian and civilians didn’t have service numbers.
bother me that I didn’t join the military and serve because
I felt we were
doing our part in the war.
there would have been no aircraft to fight in the war.
So, I went to
work for the RAF Ferry Command and they trained me to be a mechanic.
planes were made in California then sent to Dorval Airport in Montreal
and then to
Gander and then overseas to Iceland and Shannon Airport in Ireland and
then over to Britain.
transferred for six months from Gander to Goose Bay, Labrador because
the runways were unserviceable. Then I went back to Gander.
In 1945 I left
and attended Radio College of Canada in Toronto.
I got a job with Trans Canada Airlines as a radio mechanic.
I worked in
Montreal for one year, Goose Bay for seven years and Montreal for
another six years.
I then went to
Torbay, St. John’s, Newfoundland.
In 1948 I
married Margaret Tuck in Montreal. She used to work in a restaurant at
had three children; one son and twin girls.
We also have
four grandchildren. Margaret was deceased in 1961.
The RAF Ferry
Command changed their name to
Command during the war because they didn’t want the Germans or others
aware of their location.
that flew for them were a higher class of people than us mechanics.
We lost quite
a few planes going overseas due to icy conditions.
We lost so
many Mosquito Bombers. These planes were made Toronto and there were
two seats in them; one for the Navigator and one for the Captain.
thought the pilots had finger trouble because so many went down, so they
sent over a test pilot and he too went down in the Atlantic.
This was all
due to icy conditions. You see we had no de-icing equipment in those
days. All these pilots were civilians.
Some of the
other planes I worked on were Hudson Bomber – 2 engine; Boston A20; B26;
Venture Bomber – 2 engine;
– 4 engine; Mitchell Bomber B25 – 2 engine; and DC3 A/C Decoda. The
Decoda towed gliders across the Atlantic.
I remember one
night there were 28 DC3 with 28 gliders being towed behind them. This
was just before the Dieppe raid.
I retired in
Torbay, St. John’s Newfoundland and stayed there for two years until I
remarried in 1986 to Emily Dyke.
She used to
own a store on Dominion Street. I moved to Truro and liked it so much I
I’ve been a
member of Royal Canadian Legion Colchester N.S. Branch No. 26 for three
(Above Picture: A
Liberator Bomber, 1945)
My hobby is
amateur radio. I’ve never smoked nor drank in my life.
You see my
parents were very strict and I guess I in turn was very strict with my
never smoked, my father never smoked, I never smoked,
my son never
smoked and my grandson never smoked.
I will be 83
in July and I have never taken a pill, been sick or in the hospital.
I’m fit as a
fiddle probably because of all the fish I ate.
(Picture to left:
Claude Burry, 2005)
West Nova Scotia Regiment,
1st Canadian Infantry
(Picture below: Clifford Marsh at Cape
I joined in
Halifax in January 1942 when I volunteered at #6 Depot. I went through
basic training in New Glasgow NS.
shipped out of Halifax to
Newfoundland the 103rd
Coast Defense in Newfoundland.
over to Newfoundland on the
I spent a year
on guns at Fort Amherst at the entrance of St. John’s Harbour.
Then a year on
search lights and engines at Cape Spear Navy Station.
I came back
from Newfoundland and took advanced training for infantry for
I was in the
West Nova Scotia Regiment of the First Canadian Infantry.
overseas on the
On the way over, we took a roll in the
I slid off the
step and went up against the side of the bulk head.
I hurt my
right arm and went to see the surgeon to get something for pain.
I waited in
line for awhile but did not get very far so I just went back to the
I still have a
lump on my arm today. I don’t know what caused the roll.
Some said that
the steer man may have fallen asleep, we never did find out.
British Isles, we cut right through an armed trawler and I could see
from the deck both parts of the trawler turned over in the wake of the
I heard an
explosion. There was a hole in the bow of the ship.
thing was built in the deck and the order came to resume course and
They put the
ship aground in North Ireland to get repairs.
I got on
a ferry across to England. I stayed at
in England for awhile.
I shipped out
of Aberdeen Scotland
for Italy on
On the way to
Italy a submarine torpedoed a ship coming behind us.
(Picture below, "On leave in the 40's")
was meant for us. The ship that was hit had nursing sisters on it. Our
ship picked up survivors.
On that same
trip, I was looking over the starboard side of the ship. I saw a
periscope coming up out of the water.
The gunner was
above me. I heard the order to target starboard but wait until the base
of the conning tower was visible.
They fired and
put a hole in the conning tower. Just after that a white flag came up
and they surrendered.
ship came along and removed the enemy crew from the submarine and
then they took
the submarine off and sank it.
on to Naples. In the harbour there were a lot of wrecks and we had to
ease the ship around the wrecks.
Vesuvius from the harbour.
were rest places to stop along the line.
was on the way up.
I got to
the front line at
Ruminy, from there to
of the River was between two rivers – the
and the Lemoine
north of the river there was a ditch between the rivers where we faced
the enemy on the front line.
there that two bullets pinned the helmet on my head on the left upper
side of his head. The bullets dented my helmet.
things quieted down, I tried to take the helmet off my head but I
couldn’t. I was there all night.
evening at Cita
there was a make shift hospital set up after line went by.
meantime, we took some prisoners and one of them grabbed the helmet from
my head and took it off.
My head bled a
lot. The nurse at the hospital told me to get on the stretcher.
I said that I
was fine, I didn’t need a stretcher, but she said to get on the
two bullets out of my head with tweezers..
said if I lived till morning, I would have a 50/50 chance of getting
the next day and I was still alive. I spent about six or seven days in
the hospital altogether.
remember much about the rest of time in hospital.
one day I was standing by door in the hospital someone came along and
asked me if I wanted to go for a drive.
They drove me
up to the front line. We walked right up to the dyke with the enemy on
the other side.
I still had
the bandage on my head and I was helpless. He drove me back. That guy
got a talking-to for taking me up there.
1945, I had a bullet go right through my nose. It injured my eye a bit
and I was laid up for awhile.
We were there
until February 23 or 24 which was the last battle in Italy. One
morning, they got a truce. There was so many of the enemy killed.
over the dyke and the field was full of wounded and dead. We got a
truce and a cease-fire. We had to gather up the wounded.
last battle in Italy. We came out of the line the that day.
back down to and stopped at
one of the staging depots and came across
one depot and came across to
France and some sort of landing. We came up through
France to Belgium and went to
the Refall Forest
for a time.
to go up to Holland (boundary of Holland)
in river big boxes called Buffalo. Each one carried a platoon of about
landed in the middle of one of the Buffalo and everyone was killed.
a picture in one of the books of a Buffalo. We sent up to
the most fortified line in Holland.
was a truce and cease fire 25th
day of April. Before we got to the
before we went over the dyke, a tank opened up and shells were going
When it was
over we took the tank out. One of the solders told me to take my tunic
I did and
looked at the back of it. The whole back was burned off. I felt
something on my back but nothing hit.
I was one of
the guards in the room where the truce was signed where the picture was
fought for Holland and brought in so much food for the Holland natives
that it lasted till after the war ended.
I remember the
words of General Foulkes to the German General – “the war will soon be
over; if you keep the war going, you get the death sentence”.
Left - Clifford Marsh, 1999)
General agreed to a truce and cease fire no violations.
General asked that as soon as his soldiers laid down their arms that the
escort them out of Holland to Germany. It was agreed upon. After the
war was over, there was a victory parade in Amsterdam, Holland.
I took sick
and was sent back to Halifax on the hospital ship the Lady Nelson.
two brothers who also served in the army. Clarke, was drafted in 1940.
He did his basic training in Camp Borden, Ontario.
in the Service Corps There was an instructor there who taught people
how to drive trucks and tanks.
they were instructed, Clarke tested them. Clarke went overseas just
before I did in 1943.
over on the Queen
Mary and served in Belgium and returned on
the Queen Mary.
brother Gerald was drafted in 1944. He went directly overseas to
Holland. He was in the
(All Canadians) Pioneers attached to the infantry for mine sweeping.
Gerald went overseas on
the Louis Pastour and
returned on the
Isle of France.
My name is
Carl Hiltz. In 1940, I was a regimental bugler and woke the troops at
0600 hours and lights out at 2215
They were long
days! The sergeant of the Guard or the Provost awakened me at 0500 hrs
because I was sup-posed
to be awake, washed, shaved and in full dress to sound the reveille at
the ceremony of raising the Union Jack each day.
There are two
facts which make this story worth telling … the flag must never touch
the ground and the Regimental Sergeant
Major (RSM) was GOD.
morning, I was in a rebellious state of resentment due to being on
continuous duty and never getting out of camp.
approximately 20 calls to sound in each 16 hours of duty.
approximately 0600 hours I suddenly realized I was late.
I leaped out
of the bunk, pulled on my socks and boots, my greatcoat and the winter
issue cap down over my ears.
I can assure
you I was not a pretty sight as I raced for the guardhouse.
was waiting and cursing the GD bugler and just as I raised the bugle to
my lips there was a very loud roar in
morning of January. The sergeant dropped the flag, I dropped the bugle
and we both suffered the extreme wrath of the
RSM for the
next six months. Many years later, the RSM told me, it was worth a
million dollars to see me standing there with my long white underwear
below my great coat.
In 1945, while
waiting to come home, I was a regimental policeman at #9 NETD at a place
called Frimley Green in Sussex, UK.
It was a huge
camp and expected drafts of up to a regiment from the continent on the
way to Canada.
Our main job
was security, checking the leave passes, a few patrols around the fence,
control of the motor pool, look after the fuel compound (coal),
plus we were
responsible for the Canadian prisoners awaiting court martial on various
There was a
very efficacious Lieutenant, new from Canada and he was continuously
checking and finding fault.
the war was over! To hasten the plot he was always very critical of our
efforts and in particular the fueling records for the motor pool.
later I was on duty and received a call about 0200 hours and it was our
Lieutenant stranded at a place called Bagshot.
It was raining
heavy as usual and the officer asked my name and ordered me to wake a
driver and send a jeep to pick him up at once.
I explained to
the officer the rules were very explicit concerning the unauthorized use
of fuel and equipment and I could not release a vehicle without proper
was very, very angry and asked to speak with my superior, which was
impossible as I was the only one available at that time.
Because of his
abusive language and his attitude I felt compelled to hang up the
say I was transferred to Whitley Barracks the next week as a private!
father, H.J. Hiltz #3185057 was a bandsman bugler in World War I and
afterwards the instrument was always kept on the piano.
intomy possession in 1931; at that time, I was a “boy soldier”, which
meant I only received ½ pay, in the 25th
Battalion (The Colchester & Hants Regi
ment MG) in the brass band.
subsequently issued a uniform and played in the band at the funeral of
Lieutenant Governor Frank Stanfield.
At the time
there was great opposition to cutting down the King’s uniform for a
state funeral in 1931 was my first attempt at playing while doing the
so-called “dead march”. In 1940, while in the military band,
I became the
regular bugler until 1942 when I was transferred to Aldershot for
Advanced Infantry Training.
I became the
bugler again at Petworth Park U.K. and the last funeral that I sounded
the Last Post and the Reveille was at a place called Basinstoke UK.
At that time I
was with the regimental police at a place called Frimley Green #9 NETD.
forces of the British Commonwealth and the use of the bugle go back
hundreds of years.
It was the
only communication (other than runners) with the troops from the officer
If I remember
correctly the last music book of bugle calls from Boosey & Hawks,
approximately 200 calls (regular and ceremonial).
The use of the
military bugle is in its self a complete history.
(Picture Left - Carl
Hiltz, with the bugle played in two World Wars)
(sometimes the flag was raised
according to the sunrise)
On parade -
0900 and 1000 hours
On parade -
1500 – 1600 hours
First Post -
Last Post -
Lights out -
Oh yes, I
forgot taking down the flag and turning out the guard, and so on …
Canadian Army- Infantry
Canadian Parachute Battalion
(Picture Below: "The new Infantry
officer, June '43")
career began in November 1942, at which time I
enlisted in the Canadian Army as a private soldier. Actually, I had two
years, while at Macdonald College,
in the McGill
Contingent of the Canadian Officers Training Corps (COTC).
experience served me well during the permanent Officers’ Training
Courses what I took later that winter.
the army, as a private soldier, had a bit of an odd twist.
graduating from Macdonald, my ambition was to get into uniform, and
“save the world” from Adolf Hitler.
there was the old pull to continue with the Department of Agriculture
and do one’s
bit toward increasing the food supply within the country.
I went to Jack
Bird with this dilemma.
He had been a
mentor for me all through my college years and had provided excellent
advice on several occasions.
problem was different and he could not be at all definite with his
If he advised
me to go into service and I got killed or wounded, he would never
said he knew the experience in the army would be invaluable in my future
with the remark that he could not advise me, but he finished by saying
he had never regretted
experience in W.W. I. Well, that convinced me.
problem confronted me. Upon graduating, I owed Howard Roper some money
that last semester at Macdonald.
took a job with the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture in order to
Dr. W. V.
Longley was always very generous with me and offered me a job as Poultry
Promoter for Eastern Nova Scotia under the direction of Charlie Benoit.
I enjoyed the
work immensely, but as soon as all my debts were paid, I began to think
seriously about “joining up.”
Coincidentally, early that fall I ran into Lyman T. Chapman. He was
Principal while I was a student at N.S.A.C., and he had served in the
Air Force during W.W. I.
At this time,
he was a recruiting officer for the R.C.A.F. He explained that they
were short of Navigators and asked me to forward my name for
that I would be given a commission automatically on being accepted; I
would then be sent to a navigation school and shortly after completing
I would be on
my way overseas. It all sounded very exciting and I agreed to the
Chapman said I
would hear from Headquarters in less than a month and be given a time
and place to report.
This suited me
perfectly since I would need to give a month’s notice on my job. I
immediately gave this notice to Dr. Longley. He was disappointed, but
Over the next
couple of weeks I waited anxiously to hear from the Air Force but
nothing came through.
month was up, and my notice with the Department had expired; the Air
Force had not replied to my application and I was out of a job.
I went into
Halifax at the end of the month, as it was time to turn in the keys of
the Department car. Before doing this, I went to the army recruiting
nothing to offer except a private’s rank. I accepted it. While there I
took the Oath of Allegiance, thereby losing my American citizenship.
I also passed
a medical examination and received my kit and uniform. Having completed
all these formalities, I was ready to forfeit the keys and the car.
At that time,
there was no Deputy Minister of Agriculture so I went directly to the
Minister, the Honorable John A. MacDonald.
explained what I had done, he said it was a big mistake and asked if I
had taken the Oath of Allegiance.
When I replied
in the affirmative, he said not to worry; they had had no difficulty
getting me clear of the Air Force and could get me released from the
might be just a bit more difficult. When I refused to agree to this
proposition, he grew very angry and said I would never work for the
Department of Agriculture again.
I was sorry to
be placed under this cloud of animosity, but it was time to report back
to the army base, so I left the office.
I should state
here, parenthetically, the Minister must have had a “change of heart”
over the next several months or perhaps the reality of war cane close to
In any case,
the following Christmas, I received a very nice card from him with all
his Best Wishes. What a surprise!
enlisting in Halifax, I was sent to Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, for an
Officer’s training course.
That was one
tough winter; it was terribly cold; army life was all new; the training
was rigorous; and, at first, I felt rather out of place.
We were told
that only one in three would graduate. Most of the other candidates
were non-commissioned officers who had been sent back from overseas.
had come up through the ranks and had lots of experience in the Army.
became close friends with two fellows; one named Cotton, who had been
overseas with the First Division, and the other
who had been a
seasoned sergeant with the P.P.C.L.I. Both had lots of experience on
the parade square and knew enough of army life to get along in almost
This was where
they really shone and these were areas in which I was horribly weak.
my voice was not suited for the parade square and I did not appear to be
aggressive enough for a potential officer.
On the other
hand, my previous experience in C.O.T.C. gave me an edge in studying
“Appreciation of a Situation,” Military Law, Map Reading and other
Each evening I
would help my buddies in these subjects and they, in turn, devised a
plan to help me.
that whenever we were on parade and it was my turn to inspect the ranks
under the watchful eye of our Instructor, I use each of them to really
uncertain terms, and do this in the most degrading language.
appears that our strategy worked and at the end of three months, we all
graduated as second Lieutenants (one pip wonders).
Rivers, I was sent to Farnham, Quebec, for Advanced Officer Training.
transfer I was separated from my former buddies but met up with two
others: Rollie Curtin and Bill Hartman.
been a policeman in Toronto and subsequently, he and his wife, Lois,
became close friends of ours.
Bill had come
up from Texas to join the Canadian Army. I did not know his marital
status but he did drink too much for his own good.
Farnham was different from that of Trois-Rivieres. The training was
tough, but I was in good physical condition.
By this time,
I had become better acquainted with army life and began to rather enjoy
some aspects of it.
from Farnham in early June, as First Lieutenants, were given a leave of
absence and told to report at St. Jean’s, Quebec for a tour of
summer at St. Jean’s was pleasant, there was an under-current of
approached and there seemed to be no progress towards getting overseas,
most of the officers became uneasy.
In the midst
of this tension, a request came from the First Canadian Parachute
Battalion for volunteer officers.
Bill Hartman and I were the only ones to apply, and we soon found out
that we were accepted.
Curtin, Hartman and I reported for parachute-training at Camp Shilo, a
few miles from Brandon, Manitoba.
A week into
training, Bill Hartman was sent back to infantry.
had been drinking too much, was out of shape and could not take the
tough physical training that was served up to us.
Rollie and I
continued the program and after passing all the rigorous tests and
making five satisfactory jumps, we were presented with our
Wings and accepted as qualified officers into the First Canadian
Parachute Battalion. This was one big moment.
joined the Battalion we were given various staff duties while awaiting
an overseas draft.
One day, while
on duty as the Orderly Officer, I went out in the morning to face sixty
recruits of various ranks.
and equipment could only accommodate thirty-five, so I asked the
Commanding Officer what we should do in this situation.
He said to
take all sixty men on a fairly fast run across the Prairies when when
twenty-five dropped out, give the remainder a short rest, call for a
truck and bring them back to camp.
there was only one single criterion in making the selection for joining
the outfit; never mind about one’s intelligence or other personal
On the other
hand, I suspect there was too little time for sophisticated tests or
examinations, so endurance in running and determination were the
quickest ways to do screening.
This was also
good preparation for the training when we were posted overseas.
below and to the left: "In England 1944")
1944, we began to make preparations for going overseas.
I left Shilo
on a draft that arrived in Halifax a few days later, and we boarded the
Isle de France.
We were about
12,000 troops altogether from all branches of the service.
ranks were pretty crowded but the officers were comfortable enough in
We were quite
busy before the ship left port.
Then I heard
the engines starting and immediately became sea-sick.
I looked out
the port-hole and saw Dartmouth; we had not even reached the outside of
and already I could not stand without being sick!
I went back to
my bunk and ate nothing except arrowroot biscuits for the next six
When we landed
in Scotland, we immediately proceeded to our overseas camp
situated in the Salsbury Plains which was the locale of the Sixth
supporting troops, the Division comprised three Brigades; each Brigade
had three Battalions.
We were the
only Canadian Battalion among them.
was James Hill and our Battalion C.O. was Lieut Col. Bradbrook.
His Second in
Command was Jeff Nicklin of Winnipeg BlueBomber’s fame.
We had some
real high caliber men in our outfit.
Cpl Topham won
a Victoria Cross; Major Stan Waters later became a Lieut. Governor and
the only elected Senator in the country;
became President and later Chairman of the Bank of Montreal; Bob Begg
became Dean of Medicine and later
the University of Saskatchewan, and the list goes on.
It seemed to
me that those qualities which were required to remain in the Battalion
stood us in good stead later in life, no matter what the chosen field.
not terribly busy in the early days of Bulford. I was made a
supernumery officer to a fellow by the name of Croxford who commanded
the anti-tank platoon.
around camp was not very exciting but there was a great bunch in the
Mess and everyone seemed to get along well.
was rigorous and concentrated on preparations for D-Day – June 6th.
We, in the
reserve Battalion, watched the First Battalion leave Bulford, go into
‘concentration’ camp, and then jump into France on D-Day.
It was tough
to sit idly around the Mess, listening to the radio and not being able
to offer any assistance to our buddies over there.
Battalion returned to Bulford, very much depleted after some very heavy
fighting with a great loss of men.
As soon as
they returned, Croxford came to me and said he was finished; I could
have the anti-tank platoon. He left and I never heard of him
It was at this
time that Jeff Nicklin showed his strict disciplinary action.
In an effort
to move the troops back to strict discipline, he ordered that the top
button on their battle dress tunics be fastened at all times.
He also had
other strict measures for them. He argued that time spent on active
duty in France had made the troops sloppy in their dress and conduct.
He said he
wanted them back to their customary smartness as soon as possible. I
think he believed in the principal that smart looking, well-disciplined
troops made the best soldiers.
Well, the boys
were no buying all this spit and polish.
Having had a
very tough time in battle, they were not about to be subjected to this
kind of treatment, so they went on strike.
difficult times for the Junior Officers who had such close contact with
their men and had built up a tremendous rapport with them.
forgotten how this strike ended, but I recall the settlement was made by
higher authority at the Brigade level.
were glad when it was over and we could get on with more constructive
Battalion was settling down, Nicklin called me to his office and gave me
the following orders:
“take my staff
station wagon, load it with chocolate bars, cigarettes and any other
goodies you can acquire.
your driver/batman, visit as many military hospitals as possible, find
our men and give them treats along with Nicklin’s best wishes.”
our boys were in Basingstoke Hospital, which specialized in head
We started up
the east coast of England , then across the northern part and ultimately
down the west coast.
We were gone
about ten days or two weeks, sleeping out under the stars and cooking
our own meals.
we would trade canned meat or other scarce commodities with local
farmers for fresh eggs, milk or the odd meal.
It was a good
experience for Tom Jackson, my batman, and me.
hospital tour, we began to settle down in earnest for our next
assignment. During late summer and early fall, we began training for a
jumping across every river in England and setting up defensice
This was new
for paratroops who were usually on the offensive.
this case, we were getting ready to jump across the Rhine and set up
defences so that infantry units could come along behind and through us.
was all changed. During the
fall months, the German army under Von Runstead, was romping through
Belgium, only to be opposed by some green American troops,
very weak resistance and suffered heavy losses.
As the enemy
approached Brussels, the situation became very serious and something had
to be done.
High Command were very concerned about the situation and our General
Blois volunteered his Sixth Airborne Division to turn back the enemy.
He argued that
his troops were now trained for defensive warfare and were fully
prepared to take on this task.
Thus, we were
assigned to go to Belgium. The time was just before Christmas so Jeff
Nicklin decided to put on a big Christmas dinner for the men.
was for the officers to be waiters and serve the troops.
took great delight in this occasion by giving the officers a hard time,
but a fun time was had by all, and everyone enjoyed an enormous meal.
Then we made
our way to a small town on the south coast of England to make ready for
the sea trip across the Channel.
We arrived at
this town on the day before Christmas and the local citizens, taking
pity on us, decided to put on a big Christmas dinner in a church
boys went for this in no small way and really appreciated it.
The next day,
we set off by sea craft across the Channel and landed in Ostende.
Christmas Day and the good people of Ostende prepared another tremendous
meal for us.
What a tough
time – three Christmas dinners in less than a week.
We set out
from Ostende in a long convoy and took up positions east of Brussels.
We then began
to advance toward the enemy and engaging them, found them
extraordinarily tough and very resistant.
capturing some prisoners, we found under heavy questioning, that the
troops had been told by their officers that if they were taken prisoners
by the “Red Devils,”
have their tongues cut out. The red berets were given a reputation of
being heartless and cruel, with no mercy. This, of course, was not
No wonder the
enemy was so resistant.
German forces were made to retreat and once we had them on the run, we
were relieved by some infantry troops and we were sent back to England.
Bulford, we began to regroup for our original role of crossing the
Rhine, and we were ready for it.
This was to be
different than any other Airborne operation ever attempted. Firstly, it
was to take place in broad daylight, which was something new.
were not going to land directly on the east bank of the river as
So the whole
operation was to be a first-time ever event and a complete surprise to
leaving camp at Bulford, all officers attended a huge briefing session
in the local theatre.
were not allowed to carry any notes or orders; everything had to be
committed to memory.
General was Sir Richard Gale and he used large charts and maps, about
ten feet square, to outline the entire operation.
In the event
that some did not land exactly where they were supposed to be, they
could then take up the role of the troops with whom they landed.
strategy was that we would land behind the enemy troops about six miles
east of the river.
troops were about twelve miles behind their front lines.
attack those on the bank of the river from behind and set up a defensive
force to prevent the reserve troops from advancing up to support them.
Well, it all
sounded pretty good, but I kept wondering about security and how much
the enemy would learn beforehand.
little time for worry as the theatre was completely surrounded and
guarded by dozens of military police.
In his final
remarks, General Gale said, “Now gentlemen, I want you to go back to
your quarters, get down on your knees, and thank God that Sir Richard
Gale is leading this attack.”
finally rolled around. It was a beautiful Spring morning with bright
sun and about 20 degrees.
We were taken
to different air fields, remembering our plane numbers, our take-off
times, etc. (No E.T.D.s!) I was assigned to a lead plane in a V of
Behind each of
the other two planes there was another V, so that we were nine planes
flying in close formation.
the airport, I met my pilot who was an American major and began to
compare my information with his orders.
my instructions, he said, “Look, let us go on up to the Officers mess,
have a couple of drinks and when we are ready, we will take off.”
finally did take off, a beautiful day for flying and jumping.
I landed on a
dropping zone (DZ) that was bordered on one side by thick woods from
which was coming heavy machine gun fire.
fire, threw grenades and began to put the enemy on the run. Shortly
into the wooded area, I came across a sight that has remained in my
memory ever since.
There was Jeff
Nicklin, hanging in a tree about fifteen feet off the ground, arms out
stretched, his middle riddled with machine gun bullets.
initial skirmishes, we began to make our way through Germany in a
beginning, fighting was fairly stiff and we did what was know as
infantry-tank cooperation. Our men rode on the outside of tanks until
they came across small arms fire.
jumped off the tanks and dispersed. The big tank guns blasted away at
whatever fortification was protecting the machine guns.
When this was completed, the men returned to the tanks and we continued
on our way.
came upon a heavy artillery gun, the men jumped off their tank, did a
pincer movement behind the enemy, destroyed the position and cleared the
area for the tanks.
This type of
infantry-tank cooperation served us well as we proceeded across the
Each day the
resistance grew weaker until we were merely taking prisoners, literally
by the thousands.
satisfaction was coming across many prisoner-of-war camps and setting
free allied prisoners of all description.
parts were discovering mass graves – who were these people and what did
they do to deserve such treatment.
across Germany is well documented in the book
Out of the Clouds.
We finally arrived at the city of Wismar on the south shore of the North
was our rendezvous with the Russians. We were scheduled to meet them on
May 6th, but we
arrived four days early on May 2nd,
and for us the war was over.
then on, the gap between the Russians and the Allies closed in a
southward direction until it was finally completed. From May 2nd
we had a real picnic in Wismar.
Officers were great party people; vodka flowed freely and we had a
soldiers, however, were a bit of a nuisance to our men.
equipment was generally old and shoddy, they were always wanting to
trade it with our boys – watches, revolvers, etc.
One time I
made mention of this problem to one of their officers, and he said if
his men bothered our people, we should feel free to shoot them on the
I though he
was half kidding, until I saw how the Russian officers treated their
After a few
weeks in Wismar, it was time to return to Bulford and then back to
Canada to get ready for the Pacific Theatre.
Eadie called me to pick another officer, take Tom Jackson and head
across Europe to set up camp in northern France and make ready to cross
I asked Jimmy
Gregor of Winnipeg to accompany me, and we had a real ball traveling by
a stripped down airborne jeep sans windshield,
thousand miles to our predetermined campsite. Some days later the
battalion arrived; we crossed the English Channel and returned to
now time to make preparations to return to Canada. We went up to
Scotland, boarded the Isle de France once again, and headed for
time the sea was very quiet and I really enjoyed the trip. After all,
who could be sick at a time like this. We landed in Halifax on June 22nd
and what a
that was! We were the first unit back from overseas and it seemed the
whole city was there for us.
For me, there
was only one person for whom I had any interest in all that crowd.
at Pier 21, assembled the entire battalion and had a big parade up
terminated at the Grand Parade Square where Col. Eadie received the keys
of the city from the Mayor.
We were then
dismissed after being granted a thirty day leave and told to report at
was time to return to the unit at Niagra-on-the-Lake.
Here we were
to re-group and get ready to join an American paratroop unit in
preparation for the Pacific campaign.
Niagra, the boys were not terribly busy; the farmers in the area were
short of labour to pick their peaches, so a lot of our guys did some
At last VJ Day
came along, and for us, the war was finally over.
some of our boys went across the International Bridge to celebrate in
Niagra Falls, New York.
As they were
returning home around midnight, they were walking (staggering) down the
middle of the road.
When they came
to the border crossing, some customs officers came out of their little
huts and said, “Pedestrians must walk on the sidewalk.”
One of our
guys replied, “Don’t you call me a Presbyterian, I am a good Roman
Catholic.” With that he hit the customs man.
other customs men rushed to the scene.
By then, more
of our guys appeared and there was a
real riot in
the middle of the bridge.
backed up for miles on each side.
arrived from both directions.
Fire Departments came from each side, sprayed
crowd, and that did the trick.
dispersed, soaking wet, and traffic resumed.
The next day I
was Orderly Officer.
mid-morning, the police department
from the New
York side called and said,
your troops on your own side of the border.
Well, V.J. Day
was something to be celebrated and
began to make preparations to wind down the Battalion.
A soon as I
agreed to come back to the
Department of Agriculture, there was no time
getting me out of the army, and I was one of the first
Battalion to get my honourable discharge in either August or September.
Thus ended my
army career and thereby brings this chapter to a close.
"November 11, 1994)
Canadian Army 1943-1946
My name is
Sylvester McCallum. While I was in the service
referred to as Mac or Red and later in civilian life I was
as Bus. I was born 10 January 1926 in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia to a
family consisting of five boys and five girls.
I joined the
military 17 November 1943 at the ripe age of seventeen.
I took my
Basic Training in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
transferred for Advanced Training in Aldershot just out
of Kentville, Nova Scotia.
7th of May 1944 I
was shipped overseas on the Ill de France, and we landed in
approximately seven days later.
(Picture to left: "Syvester
McCallum, England 1944)
6 June 1944, I landed on Juno Beach Normandy at approximately 0610
assigned to the Canadian Scottish Regiment from British Columbia,
reinforcement to B Company 12th
I was in the
front lines traveling from Caen to Antrewpen.
the Leopold Canal, on 8 October 1944, I was wounded.
And the story
of how I was wounded is rather a funny tale.
You see we
were on the run and the Germans had us pinned down
in a little
bunch of trees.
One of our
guys got shot and he was crying and said he couldn’t walk so
I picked him
up over my back and took to running with him.
Then I got hit
in the leg and shoulder and when I fell to the ground the guy I was
carrying took off running!
nevertheless, I got out alive and was transferred to a hospital in
recovered, I took several related courses in England, preparing to go to
I was shipped
back to Canada on the Ill de France on 5 August 1945 for leave, prior to
going to the Pacific.
however, was declared 8 August 1945.
After my leave
I was assigned to Aldershot, Nova Scotia, then transferred to Debert,
Nova Scotia. I was discharged from the
service on 1
March 1946, end of demobilization, in Halifax.
touring England back then, but I don’t wish to
talk about the bad times.
Doris, the girlfriend I had before going overseas.
married for 58 years and have two children, three
and one great granddaughter.
E. Malcolm Langille
Louisville, Pictou County and educated in Louisville School and
Tatamagouche High School.
I joined the
North Nova Scotia Highlanders in June 1938 at 15 years of age and
when the Battalion was mobilized in September 1939.
I embarked for
England in July 1941.
On D-Day, 6
June 1944, I landed with the North Novas at Bernieres-sur-Mer, France.
I was an
Intelligence Sergeant with Battalion Headquarters.
At noon, on 9
June 1944, I was seriously wounded at
and spent the next one and a half years in military hospitals.
I was awarded
the Efficiency Medal.
I was Chairman
of North Novas Monument Committee, and we were responsible
erection of their monument at Authie, France.
I attended the
unveiling on 7 June 1967.
I am also
president of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Memory Club (Truro).
I am a Past
President of Colchester Branch No. 26, Royal Canadian Legion.
A Life Member
of the Legion awarded with the Meritorious Service Medal and later the
Normandy for the 25th Anniversary of D-Day, 1969, and for the 50th
Anniversary in 1994.
Accountant, in public practice for 41 years, I retired in 1987.
I am married
to the former Frances Lucilla Fulton and we have one son Bruce.
(Picture to left:
"Mac Langille Remembrance Day")
John Anna Romyn
name is John Romyn, 81 years old, born in Rotterdam in 1923.
am a war veteran, having served in the Dutch Navy,
always overseas, from 1943 until 1947.
was the oldest of 5 children, 2 boys and 3 girls, with two to four
birth-age between us
lived and I was brought up in the centre part of Rotterdam
mother, an only girl with 4 brothers, lived after she married my Dad, in
the same 2 flat
dwelling as her parents with just a staircase landing between.
Since my Dad, who was in the Merchant Navy most of his life and was away
for long periods of time, we, as kids,
were often brought up by our grandparents.
can really say I was more or less brought up by my grandmother.
was brought up Catholic, first elementary school and then later in a
special kind of high school, just for boys.
Grade 6, we were already taught the English language and also
specialized in business matters and accounting; all of this for about 4
elementary school principal had all of this arranged for me and it never
cost my mother any money.
Most of the other pupils were sons of lawyers, doctors and notaries –
all well-to-do. This was in the 1930s, the depression; therefore, I was
After graduating from school, I continued with Night College, studying
age 16, I had passed my first exam, out of 3 that were required to
become the equivalent of a chartered accountant.
was studying for my second exam when, on May 10, 1940, Holland was
invaded by Nazi Germany. We fought back.
were a small country, a pushover they apparently thought, but after 5
days, we were still fighting and resisting them.
That was why Rotterdam, an Open City was FIRE BOMBED by them.
lived in that area, my Mother with 5 kids. I was the oldest at 17 and
the youngest, a girl was only 4 years old.
keep her occupied, my mother had given her a magazine and a pair of
scissors so she could cut out some people shown on the pages.
about noon, we were sitting in the living room, my mother putting a
Grandfather was staying with us during these days and he was resting on
a sofa when all hell broke loose.
had a radio on so we knew that we were at war and being invaded, and we
heard planes overhead. But suddenly our windows blew in, flames all
ran down some stairs, my grandfather with my 4 years old sister on his
arm, and I herded the others outside.
the street beside our house, everything was aflame.
ran to the end of our lane and there we stood, my Grandfather, my Mother
and the five of us, with just what we were wearing.
the only thing we saved, besides what we were wearing, from a two-story
flat, was a pair of scissors that my kid sister hand hanging on her
spent the afternoon on some benches in a park nearby and overnight on
some mattresses in the hold of a Rhine riverboat.
next day we were evacuated to the Hague, about twenty kilometers away.
Like refugees, we lived in evacuated schools for some time. Then, with
some assistance, we started anew in an apartment.
were repatriated back to Rotterdam again for about a year; we lived in
emergency-built row houses in a suburb of Rotterdam.
found a job as a cost-accountant and also studied at night by going to
classes a few times a week.
Then in the spring of 1942, I was rounded up for Slave Labour. Since
everything was rationed, the German administration had the upper hand.
your papers were taken away, you had to live from the black market or
off of your own family.
There was also the possibility of being picked up for concentration
camp. So here I was – no more papers and I was to report the next day
transport to Riga-Lithuania, which the Nazis had invaded. I had never
been away from home. I was 19 years old.
I am standing on the streetcar to go home - staring at my feet and
Then I got poked in my side by a chap from night college. He asked if I
was broke and had lost my last dime.
told him my circumstances. Then he looked around to see if anyone was
listening, and said, “Don’t go … come with me.” I did.
traveled to another part of town, Rotterdam-South. He introduced me to
a chap who had all kinds of forms and rubber stamps with the
Then and there he made me a
Journeyman mechanic with a specialty of
repairing hangars on airfields.
found out later that the hangar roofs were galvanized sheets of metal.
At that time I did not have a clue.
This chap had also told me to go home, get some clothes in a suitcase,
report back early the next morning at the Central Railroad Station,
NOT to mention anything to anyone.
was a good thing I did so. Years later my mother told me she had been
raided several times, especially at night, and they were looking for me.
Looking back, I was gone from this time in 1942 until September, 1945 –
a long trip with false papers.
That morning, eight of us, all Dutch, traveled through
Belgium and then France to Paris.
It took several days with a chap in charge until we
reached a German Luftwaffe airfield in Bernay-Normandy. There were
already more Dutchmen working there.
While traveling through Belgium and France, my four years
of foreign languages came in very handy.
I converse with those German authorities as much as I
could. I mostly understood what they were saying among themselves.
So, In Bernay, on the airfield, I was issued a large kind
of plumber’s wrench and a pair of pliers, I guess for tightening bolts.
I was to climb up on top of the damaged hangar, when I
was called down to meet a chap with a bicycle.
He spoke French and said we needed to go around to farms
and buy eggs and other things that were needed in the workers’ kitchen.
Of course, I took this side job, and before I knew it, I
was introduced to and tested by the French Resistance (Les
This was because I looked German – blond with blue eyes, and I spoke and
understood their language.
With my past experience, I was all for it! I did quite a bit of
courier work and other undertakings.
Then in the fall of 1943, through circumstances, being in the right
place at the right time,
were having some kind of air drop at a very isolated and rugged country
area near Isle sur Risle.
was late in the afternoon and a small plane came, loaded, I think, with
ammunition and other items.
There were three crew on board. I helped unload the supplies, with the
motor still running, and all in minutes with my
best school English, persuaded them to take me with them. After some
consultations among them, they agreed and off we went. I sat on
They all had packs on their backs
and I asked the third fellow what they were. I never forgot how he
He spread out his arms to suggest
jumping – they were parachutes!
When I pointed to me, he just shrugged his shoulders.
Anyway, we arrived somewhere in the south of England. I was taken to an
don’t think they were very happy to see me. After eight to ten days of
interrogation, I was asked what I wanted to do.
wanted the Merchant Navy, but since I was 20 years old and Holland was
at war, I was inducted into the Dutch navy.
Basic training was at Skegness, then some active duties and later on,
Dutch Navy Headquarters in London – Marble Arch.
With my administration background, I was transferred to the Personnel
Department. I knew how to type and handle stencil machines also.
went home on leave for the first time in September, 1945 after Germany
had surrendered. In May, 1945, we were issued Red Cross letters.
That was the first time since June 1942, that I could get in touch with
my family back home.
was discharged in July, 1947, never having served in Holland, always
took a job with Holland America Lines in the Passenger Department,
getting it through a former navy mate.
uncle was the administrator. I had previously promised my mother that I
would be staying home now, but that only lasted six months.
became very restless.
I inquired at the company’s personnel department if there
were any sailing positions open and in a few days, after medical tests,
I had a uniform made and within a week,
I sailed as “Purser’s Clerk,” (baggage master) on the
It was a freighter with about 100 passengers, sailing between Rotterdam
and Hoboken, New Jersey,
often visiting different ports between Ireland, the U.K.
Then during the fall, there was a tugboat strike in New
York harbour, and we were sent to Pier 21 in Halifax.
The Purser and I had to do all the handling and
administration and that is where I got my Lucky Break!
(purser) had lots of experience with the company but not bookkeeping and
usually done at the Head Office in New York on Broadway. He had to do
this now. I never forgot.
He was so fed
up that he fired the large ledger book through our small office and I
picked it up. I
tried in a round about way to show
and explain what to do.
He told me off with “What the hell
do you know?” But he did it. And when we arrived back in Rotterdam, he
got complimented for his excellent administration.
That was my Lucky Break. When he
came back from the office ashore, he then really noticed me.
Through him I made one trip as an
apprentice to the Chief Steward in the Passengers’ Dining Room and,
under the auspices of the Holland America Line,
I was accepted at the Hotel and
Restaurant College in the Hague.
was given credit for my foreign languages, administration and accounting
experience, and in May, 1951, passed and finished my studies.
I could have gone to Paris – Place Verdome, with a large
hotel outfit, but Holland American Lines
wanted me back and made me Assistant Chief Steward 1st
Class on the flagship
We sailed within a week with me in that capacity.
sailed on different ships on the Atlantic and on cruises to both
American and Central American; then, on my last cruise to the Caribbean,
three Canadian passengers
from Montreal approached me to see if I would be interested to come to
They were three brothers who had hotels, restaurants and real estate in
said I would think it over, but they did not wait.
They were from Outremont, a suburb of Montreal, and the Mayor was also
Soon on our voyage back to Amsterdam, a brown envelope was handed to me
in Southampton, UK, with my
immigration papers for Canada – all within five days.
accepted and arrived in Canada – Montreal by train from New York.
I have never looked back. Over the years, I have worked for other
companies in Montreal,
different places in Quebec, in Ontario, Churchill Falls, Labrador.
here in Truro, Nova Scotia. Canada is a great country!
was born in Truro Nova Scotia the son of John and Ann Burke.
attended Truro schools and when the Second World War broke
out in 1939 I was 13 years old. We were a large family and three
of my older brothers joined the Army. My father had served in
the Boer War in South Africa from 1899 until 1902.
(Picture to left: "John Burke, as a
young man taken just prior to his leaving for Venezuela")
In 1940 and
early 1941 I took the bus every day out to the army
camp in Debert where I would sell papers to the soldiers.
1941 I was 15 years old, 5 feet 7 and weighed 117 pounds.
intentions of joining the Air Force, I hopped on a freight train early
one morning at the station and rode
to Halifax in
an open freight car that had long pieces of steel in it. At that time
they had coal burning steam engines so when I arrived in Halifax
I was covered
by soot and dirt from the engines. I tried the Air Force but when I
couldn't provide my birth certificate they turned me down.
I then went
down to the Halifax Armory and with nine other guys went through the
Out of the 10
people I was the smallest and the dirtiest one there and the only one
I told the
Army I was 18 on August 4th, but I was only 15. I also told them I had
my Grade 11, which was a very good education in those days.
During my stay
in the Army I never told anyone my real age. They gave me a uniform and
a kit and sent me down to Yarmouth for Basic Training.
My Service No.
was (________) and I was 15 years and 3 months old.
I arrived in
Yarmouth Basic Training Camp in October 1941. The instructors formed us
up into platoons and taught us how to stand at attention, right turn,
Most of the
guys knew nothing about drill but I had watched the soldiers doing drill
in Debert when I sold papers and I knew all the movements.
our Basic Training and I was shipped off to Three Rivers, Quebec to take
a course on the Vickers machine gun.
I was enlisted
in The Princess Louise Fusiliers, a machine gun regiment out of Halifax.
I took the
Dominion Atlantic Railway train from Yarmouth to Windsor Junction and
then onto Three Rivers, Quebec on the Canadian National Railway train.
arrived in Quebec City we ate dinner at the big Chateau Laurier Hotel.
Not in the dining room but in the basement.
another train to Three Rivers. We were billeted in a large exhibition
building and it was very cold. Every morning, we had to get up and run
around the racetrack.
The guy in the
bunk below me ran around once then lay down on his bed and died. That
was the first dead person I had ever seen.
While we were
training at Quebec in 1941, United States declared war on Germany and
they sent some Americans up to train with us.
trained to do cross country skiing and survival training for overnight
cold and snow climates.
In April 1942
I was returned back to the Regiment, which was no longer a machine gun
regiment, but were a
motorized infantry regiment of
Brigade of The 4 Canadian Armored Division. I was given instruction on
how to drive a motorcycle and after training
down to Canperdown Signal Station outside Halifax, as security to patrol
the roads every night to prevent spies and others from entering Halifax
gates across the harbor to stop submarines and we did not allow any
lights along the shore.
one month I was sent to the Bedford Rifle Range for instruction on
firing a rifle and bren gun.
I had hunted
from the time I was twelve so I knew how to fire a rifle. We were then
sent to Camp Debert where we had training on how to drive and
the vehicles the Army had. I was already qualified on the motorcycle so
then I received training on the bren gun carrier and track half-track.
1942, the division was sent to England. We took the train to Halifax and
boarded the Queen Elizabeth.
straight to England without an escort. The ship carried 10,000 troops
and our regiment manned the machine guns on the top decks.
troops were all American soldiers.We landed in England and took the
train down to Aldershot. At this time our
Regiment was a
motorized infantry unit and I was a motorcycle dispatcher.
new equipment we were sent to Box Hill Surrey and trained on
flamethrowers, bren gun carriers and strapped on your back throwers.
I was then
sent on a French course and I wasted two months learning the verbs and
pronouns instead of conversational French.
Every 90 days
we had 7 days leave and free train rides so I toured The British Isles.
Whenever I got
the chance I went to Edinburgh and Glasgow and also Aberdeen. I also
visited London, Liverpool, Manchester, etc.
posting was to the area around Sandrinham Castle, the summer home of the
king and queen.
We lived in a
large home that had 202 rooms; we had half and the English had the other
That was a
large estate and we were there to provide security for the Royals.
trees and lawns everywhere and our Bren Gun carriers damaged the trees
and lawns and we had to pay for the damage out of our mess funds.
We not not
happy campers. I was then sent to an English base along with five or six
other members to learn how to
enemy unit and their tanks and guns by sight and sound. I was there for
90 days and when I returned my regiment,
Louise Fusiliers no longer existed as a motorized infantry unit. But was
now a support unit with machine guns and mortars only.
They were now
only 190 men instead of the 900 as infantry.
I was then
posted to Brigade Headquarters where I didn't want to be so I requested
a transfer to an infantry unit.
sent me to a Holding Unit and then to The Regina Rifles as an
We landed in
Normandy in June 1944. First of all we were all placed on small
freighters and during the
climbed down netting and ladders onto landing craft infantry. The
English Channel was very rough and our little landing craft was jumping
around like a cork.
We all got
very sick even the sailors who were steering it. We got pinned down on
until one of
our officers threw a hand grenade into the pillbox and then we started
We were in and
out of action for 56 days and then we were taken back to a rest area and
were issued new uniforms and equipment.
After 10 or 30
days rest we were once again sent up along the English Channel to close
the Faliase Gap.
the Germans in Normandy. It was something to see.
The roads were
filled with bombed out vehicles and artillery guns and tanks and
thousands of dead horses that the Germans were using trying to escape.
horses to pull their guns and equipment. You had to see it to believe
bombed the Polish Armored Division who was part of the Canadian Army and
some of us were loaned to the Poles to assist them.
I was one of
the soldiers on loan and we were on a hill overlooking the Falaise Gap
and watched the planes bombing the Germans as they tried to escape.
army in Normandy surrendered and the Canadian army was given the task of
clearing the Germans from the coast of France along the English Channel.
This was a
thankless job. The Germans were all dug in and for the next while we
surrounded towns and shelled them until they surrendered.
We then set
out for Belgium and on to the border of Holland to the Leopold Canal.
was one of the assault companies across the canal and when we crossed
over the Germans counter attacked and drove our troops back again.
I got caught
on the wrong side and was wounded in my shoulder, right arm and leg.
I lay on the
bank of the canal all night until the next morning when they came over
and took us back over.
I was sent
back to England for surgery and spent three months getting better.
I was sent
back to Belgium to the Leopold Barracks. On my way back to my Regiment I
met a Major I had served with.
We had dinner
and he advised me he was taking command of a new group called the War
Material Reccee Team. He asked me to come with him and I agreed.
about 30 in this group and it was our job to go up to the front and take
control of all the war material we could find.
The group was
made up of a Major, Lieutenant, and six interpreters from France and
Holland who could speak five or six languages and clerks and writers.
We had jeeps
and Hummer Mark 2 armored cars plus offices on wheels.
We were a high
priority unit under army headquarters so we could get anything we
We spent the
next three months looking everywhere for war materials.
Well the war
ended in Europe in May and I agreed to go to the Pacific as an
I returned to
Canada, took a month leave and started training with the American Army
In August that
war ended and I started an upgrading course at Pictou Academy. Then I
was asked if I would
volunteer to go the Venezuela to train their army.
having a revolution, so on New Year’s
Day 1946 we sailed out of Halifax Harbor heading for South
We were not
permitted to wear a uniform as we were
on loan to the British Foreign Service and were classed as
I spent six
returned home via the United States and went to Success
I met Theresa
Landry at the Immaculate
Conception Church during a Sunday service.
got married and have one daughter, one son, four grandchildren
and two great grandchildren.
I joined the
Royal Canadian Legion Colchester N.S.
Branch No. 26 in February 1978 and I’ve served as
Service Officer since 2000.
2nd Heavy Anti-Aircraft ,
My name is
Lloyd MacDonald. I was born on 13 June 1919 in Gabrus, Cape Breton
Island, Nova Scotia.
I was the
oldest of two boys and three girls. At the age of 14 I quit school after
completing grade eight.
I went to work
for my Dad who was a self employed fisherman.
In 1941 I went
to Sydney and joined the Army as a Radar Operator.
I took my
Basic Training in Yarmouth and was sent to Petawawa for my Advanced
My unit was
being sent overseas but I got sick on the train and ended up in Debert
with the mumps, and in quarantine.
By the time I
got out my unit was gone overseas to form up a radar unit.
I was given
papers to go overseas on my own, and they didn't even give me
I was put
onboard the SS ANDES out of Halifax and landed at Mercy Docks in
harbour the docks were all aflame and being night time we couldn't see
were bombing the hell out of Liverpool England.
I was shipped
by rail to some camp in England that I can't remember the name of.
I went by rail
in Yovall in South England and met up with my unit.
Canada had no
radar unit so I spent a year in the British Army getting acquainted with
around April 1942 at the entrance to Portsmouth, England. Then I got
sick again and spent 3-4 months in the hospital.
When I got out
I gladly went back to the Canadian Army. Grub and pay was bad, but it
was worse in the British Army
Now we were in
a mixed Battery with approximately 200 female ATS. We worked together
at a rocket site in Portsmouth.
German planes would be over us before we heard them. We were the 2nd
Heavy Anti-Aircraft with 1,600 members.
three Batteries and each Battery had two troops with four guns. There
was one radar site to each four guns.
was one radar site to each four guns. We sent out the bearings, angles
and range. It was pretty much the same principle as used today.
Information is from the radar to the guns.
We were in
action pretty much all the time. There were German planes over us
almost every night and sometimes throughout the day.
I was scared.
Then we went to France where I lost a lot of my buddies.
Three in my
outfit were killed outright. My unit used to send balloons with radar
reflectors up in the air to follow the weather.
was passed on to the Air Force. Some of the balloons went up as high as
60,000 feet and when
they were that
high, they enlarged as big as a five-story building.
took up position 1-1/2 miles from
Cap Gris Nez,
By noon we
were dug in an open field and the Sergeant and I thought we would walk
halfway across the field when the Germans fired on us.
I tell you
when a 2,000-pound shell lands 50 feet in front of you, you just lay and
In that battle
the Germans destroyed four of our guns, killed four and injured many.
shelled for 1-1/2 hours.
Our cook was
shaving against a tree and the top of his head was cut off.
ordered us to leave the guns and get into nearby caves until dark.
That’s how we
After that, my
unit sent me to Belgium where I guided planes and did weather reports
for about 1-1/2 months.
Then we were
set up in Dunkirk part of the winter building a border.
Germans there and at meal time the gunner would shoot a few rounds to
keep them active.
I met a guy
from Saint John, N.B. 44-46 years later that had been taken prisoner of
war at Dunkirk.
He recalled to
me how the Canadians would send in airbursts when they were being
marched for their meals.
then sent to Holland and up to Germany doing the same job.
year on the 1st
of April they were going to let one man go on leave to England. Out of
1,600 men, my name got picked.
I spent two
weeks on leave in England. It took me almost a week to get there. I
went to see the girlfriends.
I still hear
from one yet. I stood with her and her husband when they got married.
On the 5th
of May we overran a civilian camp where the SS were trying to burn down
lots of kids with swollen bellies. We were left guarding 15-20,000
German prisoners who lived in tents with wired fences around them.
mostly young men officers. One night they even hung their own
abused any of them. There were about 200 horses.
I remember we
marched the prisoners to Holland to return the stolen horses to the
trucks ahead, on the sides and in back of the prisoners.
back we put the prisoners in trucks.
trust the young guys; some as young as 14.
Scotland on the 8th
of July and landed in Halifax on the 13th
I took the
first train out to Sydney arriving that night.
There were two
girls who met me first and my father and a sister.
I didn’t even
know my own sister.
I was on leave
for 30 days and went fishing with my Dad every day and chased girls all
discharged on 10 October end of demobilization.
For two years
I fished with my father and then I got a job with the Department of
I worked for
them for 30 years.
Daisy Latham on 20 July 1948 and we had two children, a boy and a girl.
lasted 11 years.
On 25 Nov
1960, I married Bethena Stubbert.
away 18 January 2002.
I have three
grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
I’ve been a
member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 12 in Sydney for 41
I’m also a
member of Normandy Veterans Association No. 58 N.S. Branch No. 1.
I reside at
Parkland Estates and for hobbies I play darts and bowl.
Norman V Hoeg
Canadian Army 1942-1946
Canadian Field Company,
Royal Canadian Engineers,
Canadian Infantry Division
stories are some events that happened after our
landing on the
beaches of Normandy, France, in 1944. I hope they will be of interest.
I have had many scary moments, and,
as you may
have heard war veterans say, “There were no atheists in the front
lines.” This I believe because of some of
experiences I have had, and my reaction to them.
the 18th and 19th
of July, 1944, the 11th
Field Company, RCE, built a
Class 40 raft
for ferry service across the Orne River near the Caen Race-Course.
As recorded in
the history of the Royal Canadian Engineers, Volume 2, the raft was
ready for use at 0600 hours,
but did no
business until 0900 hours when it began to take Sherman tanks across the
The river at
this point was only 120 feet across and the round trip took no more than
Our next job
was building a 140 ft Class 30 Double-Double Bailey Bridge.
A number of us
had to cross on our raft to the far side to prepare the approach for the
I recall that
it was necessary for us to blow a cement wall, which was in the way.
completion of the approach, we returned to the other side to assist in
the building of the bridge.
As it turned
out, this bridge was a heart-breaking job. When first launched, the
nose failed and the bridge had to
be with drawn and rebuilt. On the second launching, in heavy rain, the
near-side bank seats shifted and the bridge
had to be jacked up while the bank seats were replaced. Finally it opened for traffic
at 11:30 hrs on the 22nd
It happened one night in July
1944, after the city of Caen had been taken.
#2 Platoon of the 11th
Field Company was assigned, along with other duties, the clearing of a
road and veges (edges)
of mines in a small village, which
had just been taken by our division.
had been heavily bombed by our air force and shelled by the artillery.
heavy damage and fire from the burning buildings gave off just enough
light for us to carry out our duties.
were big and cumbersome compared to the mine and metal detectors that
A battery was
carried on your back and it was necessary to wear earphones to drown out
the surrounding noises
so that you
could hear the sound made by the detectors when metal objects were
possibly be a land mine. If the operator was by himself, it was
necessary to assign another soldier to stay near him to warn,
of any danger and also to help if a mine was discovered.
particular night it was my job to carry out this particular duty.
I was standing
perhaps 30 or 40 feet from the mine detector operator, when off to my
left, I heard someone say, “Comrade, Comrade!”
around. There was a German soldier coming towards me with his hands
over his head.
approached, I released the safety catch from my rifle and was ready for
I thought, “Is
this a trap? Are there more in hiding?” Thankfully, it wasn’t, but
there I was with a prisoner on my hands.
located our sergeant who assigned another soldier to accompany the
prisoner and me back to the rear lines, located in another village about
a half mile from the one we were in.
necessary to walk this half-mile with our prisoner in the dark.
was fear of being ambushed from the open fields; however, we reached the
village and turned the prisoner over to the
troops there and then returned to our platoon – mission completed.
I have many
times wondered whether that prisoner is still alive, whether he was well
taken care of,
and what his
thoughts are of that night so long ago.
Animals Suffer Too
When we recall
experiences during wartime, we sometimes forget about the suffering of
of them, if they were not killed, were badly mangled either by
shellfire, bombs or land mines and died in agony.
I remember one
of these tragedies.
We came across
many dead bodies which were composing and the odour was terrible.
Among them was
one live cow. It appeared that its legs were badly damaged and part of
the stomach area was exposed,
but there was
still life from the neck up.
We looked at
the cow and decided the humane thing to do was to end its life.
One of the
boys volunteered to do the job. He was at an angle to the front of the
cow’s head, and instead of penetrating the skull,
ricocheted off, doing only a little damage. All the cow did was shake
comrade chose the angle because he didn’t want the cow staring at him as
he ended its life.
misjudged; the angle was too great. The next shot, however, was
directly on and did the job.
Yes, I am sure
we all felt better as we went on our way to carry out wartime duties,
knowing the animal no longer suffered.
the 25th of July
1944, #2 Platoon were brought back from the front line for
a little rest
and a chance to clean up, do some laundry and other chores.
We were in a
large field situated between the front line and where our artillery were
located, and they, at the time, were firing shells into German
was the wrong area for us to relax in as the shells going over our heads
made an awful noise.
appear that the German artillery wanted to silence or knock out our
artillery guns by firing shells in return,
and, in doing
so, some would fall short – on us.
going over out heads in both directions.
26th of July, a
shell landed in the field we were in killing Sapper S. A. Arsenault.
about 50 ft from me at the time, and as fate would have it, he was in
the wrong place at the wrong time.
The rest of us
were in other areas of the field.
What if the
shell had landed where we were?
back to France in 1994, I made it a point to locate Arsenault’s grave.
I wrote the
War Graves Commission, and they returned the following information:
G-51021 Sapper Saul Alphie Arsenault
Canadian Field Coy, R.C.E.,
July Age – 36
Buried at Bretteville-Sur-Laize
Canadian War Cemetery,
Plot 6 - Row B -
brought back a sad memory for me as I stood at his grave on the 5th
of June 1994 -
It could have
How I Located Sapper Arsenault’s
been posted to the 11th
Canadian Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers, 2nd
Cdn Infantry Division, 2nd
Platoon, in May 1944, in Southern England.
commander was Lieut. E.T. Galway.
service with that platoon I met a number of sappers but none that I was
especially close to.
One that I did
meet and work with was a Sapper Arsenault.
During one of
our conversations, I asked him where his home was, and he replied,
“Moncton,” or he might have said “near Moncton.”
Sapper Arsenault was killed.
Although I had
seen deaths before his, he was the first that I knew reasonably well to
lose his life.
As a result, I
never forgot him and have thought of him many times after the war was
After the war,
I worked for a period of time in Moncton. While there, I visited the
There are two
Arsenaults listed as killed during World War II. This made it more
confusing for me as I did not know his first name or initials.
n 1994 I took
a trip back to Europe. Before going, I phoned the War Graves Commission
and told them my problem.
They were very
obliging and within a few days, I had the necessary information – his
full name and regimental number, the cemetery
where he is buried and the location of his grave.
They also gave
me the location of his “next of kin” as St. Marcel which is near Shediac,
interesting to note that neither of the Arsenaults listed on the Moncton
cenotaph was the one I knew.
During my trip
back to France, I had my picture taken beside his headstone.
France, August 1944
the end of August 1944, the 11th
Field Coy, E.C.E. was camped near Bourgtheroulde, approximately 15 miles
south west of Rouen, France.
The camp was
situated beside an apple orchard and a well-kept cemetery.
One night in
particular, while I was on guard duty, the moon was unusually bright.
patrol I had to pass an area between the orchard and the cemetery.
knows, when you walk past headstones, the moonlight reflects off the
fully ripened fruit on the trees and there existed no distinct line
between our company and the enemy.
imagine walking alone in the dead of night, the tension of your duties,
a flash of light reflecting off the headstones every now and then,
and the odd
apple spontaneously falling off the trees ?
It was one of
the eeriest nights I ever spent during W.W. II
16th of March
1945, we (11th
Field Coy, RCE) began to check a stretch of ground near
for mines; we needed to make it safe for the Queen’s Own Cameron
Highlanders of Canada.
mine-clearing party of one officer, one sergeant and seven sappers found
a number of riegel mines (R.MI.43).
were safely lifted and stored in two dumps by the evening of the 17th.
morning the mine-clearing party returned to destroy the dumps, but
something went wrong.
There was a
terrific explosion and all were killed.
were in the mine-clearing party:
Spr. A. Brown
Spr. U. Mayo
buried in the Groesbeck Canadian War Cemetery, Holland, Plot 5, Row D.
North West Europe, 1944.
“The Pocket Knife”
One day in
North West Europe, while carrying out our duties, our section of the
engineers met up with
some of the
infantry who had with them six or more prisoners.
prisoners could be a real bother, taking many of our boys to guard them
and eventually to turn them over to authorities.
wasn’t normally one of our duties, we did take these prisoners off their
hadn’t been searched so that was the first thing we had to do.
On a prisoner
I was searching, I found a pocketknife, which was approximately three
inches long when folded, with a blade nearly as long.
It was in a
leather case with an opening and fastener at one end.
With a blade
that long, I considered it large enough to be a weapon, and I took it
I must admit
that I intended keeping it as a souvenir, which I did, and I brought the
knife home with me after the war.
A few years
after the war, I moved to Truro, Nova Scotia, where I became acquainted
with a Mr. Harry Kuthe, a younger man who had been born in Germany.
conversations with Harry, he told me his father had been a soldier in
the German forces and had been taken prisoner.
Early in the
war, he and many other prisoners were brought by ship to Canada where
they were imprisoned in an internment camp in Ontario.
After the war,
his father was shipped back to Germany. Mr. Kuthe, Sr.. along with his
family eventually returned to Canada as immigrants and settled in
A few years
ago, I gave the knife to Harry, who was to give it to his father.
returned to the prisoner I had taken it from, I hope Mr. Kuthe, Sr., has
kept it as a souvenir, and,
as a memory of
many personal items he likely had taken from him when he was taken as a
prisoner of war so many years ago.
“The Hand Gun
Around 7 May
1945, there were no war activities in our area, even though the war in
Europe wasn’t officially over until 8 May 1945.
We were on the
outskirts of Oldenburg, Germany, not doing much of anything, except
awaiting further orders.
On one side of
the road near where we were waiting, there was a forest.
forest and the road was a high steel mesh fence, with a gate in the
fence, not far from where we were.
We had no
business going in, but some of us were inquisitive, including me. A
short distance inside we found a well-camouflaged building.
The door to
the building was open, and after taking precautions by looking for booby
traps, which could be disastrous for us, if they were set off.
We entered and
found no personnel in the building. It was a huge building and the
trees extended through the roof in their natural shape.
On top of the
roof was fresh green brush, which was likely there for camouflage from
the air. They must have changed the brush regularly, as it had a fresh
building in the woods was a shell manufacturing plant. They produced
large shells, similar to those used by heavy artillery.
It was full of
machinery, and the production lines were on tracks similar to railroad
tracks, but on a smaller scale.
wove around the trees. In one corner of the building were the offices.
I went in, and at the rear was a private office.
On the desk
was a leather holster, and when I checked it out, it held a Belgian
browning 7.65 m.m. handgun.
There were no
shells in the magazine of the gun, nor were there any in the spare
magazine in the holster, but a few live shells were scattered on the
became another one of my souvenirs.
problem now, was how could I get the gun home? It was against the law
to bring or send home any kind of weapons. This is how I did it. I
took the gun apart, made up different parcels, and along with other
souvenirs I had collected, mailed home a part in each. These parcels
were mailed home to my wife at various times. I brought the hand grip
piece, and the leather holster home with me. When I finally arrived
home, I put the pieces together. All of the parts had arrived home
Then I took
the handgun, (minus the firing pin), to the Customs Office in Amherst,
N.S. and had it registered as a war trophy.
It has since
been properly registered. Did I break the law?
the war was over in Europe, the 11th
Field Company, R.C.E., returned to Holland from Germany.
One of the
main duties was locating, lifting and destroying land mines,
which had been
laid by the Germans.
1945, we were sent to The Hague to clear the area in and around the
quartered in some old hotels in Scheveningen,
which is a
beach resort near the city.
shortly after we had arrived, a man came to our orderly room.
English, he said he was a watch repairman from the city
permission to take any watches that the men needed repaired.
given as this was a first time we had an opportunity to have
repaired since we left England.
In a very
professional manner the man made the rounds of the hotels and
took the men’s
names and any other necessary information.
faithfully to have them repaired and back within a week.
We were there
quite a few weeks and that was the last we ever saw of the man or our
We had been so
happy to get our watches fixed that everyone forgot to get his name or
the location of his business.
On top of
that, he impressed us as being a very sincere and honest man. I guess
we were mistaken.
World War I Memoir: Rae Alden
On 14 April 2005, at a General Meeting
at Branch No. 26 Royal Canadian Legion, Comrade Bill Stewart read
portions of his father’s memoirs from World War I.
My thoughts went instantly to this
Memory Book and how fortunate we would be if Comrade Bill would allow us
to make his father’s
memoirs part of it. At the end of the
meeting I approached Bill who was more than happy to share
the full story with us.
Following are the World
War I memoirs of Rae Alden Stewart. - JAB
Below: Rae Stewart, World War I)
between England and Germany was declared in August 1914
I was employed in an axe factory in Oakland, Maine, earning $4.00 per
day, which at that time was excellent pay.
Immediately on hearing that Canada was raising an Expeditionary Force I
returned home with the
intention of enlisting in the Army.
being under age, I was unable to do so as my parents would not consent.
Finally on Feb
12th, 1915 I received the necessary consent and enlisted at St. Stephen
in the First Reinforcement Company, which was destined to fill vacancies
in the First Canadian Division caused by casualties and illness.
trained in St. Stephen until about 10th
of May ’15 and then proceeded to Camp Sussex where
attached to the 55th
Bn for training, etc.
June we proceeded to England on the “Corsican”.
ship was torpedoed on her next voyage.
arrival in England we were hosted to the 12th
Bn (Reserve) at Shorne Cliffe. Then training began in earnest.
12th Bn a number
of our company was detailed to guard duty at Oxford Junction guarding a
large munitions dump, mostly artillery shells.
While we were
at Oxford Jct, the first Zefflin raid on London was attempted with
back to Germany, Zefflins flew low over Oxford and when lights turned on
them and anti aircraft fire directed at them,
their tailgates and dumped a full load of bombs, 13 in all. None
exploded, as all bombs landed in soft ground in Oxford Park.
It was rather
a hair-raising experience as had those bombs exploded, no doubt, they
would have exploded many thousand big shells and wiped the town off the
August 15, our Coy was broken up and about 150 of us went to France
arriving at Le Harve.
received advanced training then up the line joining the 14th
Bn. Royal Montreal Regiment on August 27th
Then the fun
began!! Trenches, mud, cooties, snipers and shell fire.
I shall never
forget the first German shell that went over my head.
It was what
was known as a Whiz-Band and correctly named, but to appreciate how fast
they traveled one would have to say Whiz-Bang – as fast as possible.
All autumn and
winter of 1915-1916, we took our turn in trenches at Missienzes Ridge.
One stretch we
did not see the sun for 90 days, raining much of the time. Consequently
we were seldom dry.
freezing weather. It was during this stretch we put most of Belgium in
were light, as no attacks by either side. In April 1916 we moved to
Ypres Salent where it was hot.
together and more shelling and shooting. One stretch was known as The
changed hands 19 times the last time I was in it. A very unhealthy
2nd, 1916 the
Germans launched a heavy attack on the 3rd
Can Div who were on our left, inflicting very heavy casualties and
driving them back.
night of June 2nd,
1916 our Bn was ordered to relieve the 3rd
Div and regain the ground they had lost.
arrived in position at 5 a.m. June 3, to launch an attack.
reason we were never able to determine we were held up until 7 a.m. then
pushed forward across about
500 yds of
open ground suffering dreadfully in killed and wounded.
partly successful in reaching our objective. At about 5 p.m. I was shot
through right thigh.
courses were open to me; stay and wait for stretcher-bearers; wait for
relief; or try to make it back to Dressing Station (First Aid) on my
the later, used rifle as crutch and made it back.
hospital at Roven, then to England to a military hospital north of
by the senior surgeon I would have a dropped foot for life and would not
have to go back to the firing line.
went to a Voluntary Aid Hospital at East Finchley N.E. of London.
the first Canadian soldier in the V.A.D. Hospital and after the staff
found out I was not wild, really got the royal treatment.
Following discharge from hospital went to the 23rd
Reserve, at Bramshot.
Then I may
have made the prize boner of my life.
In spite of
the report of Surgeon, I convinced a medical board I was fit to go back
to the front and did so in about two weeks.
Joined the Bn
at St. Abert near Somme and got into the “Regina Trench” scrap.
One” but by that time we were on the offensive and winning.
On Sept 26,
1916, again wounded, a bullet across back of right hand and a small
piece of shrapnel in left wrist, which is still there.
As both hands
were useless was shipped back to hospital at Harve. On release from
hospital back to the trenches, at Miscienes.
Later during winter of 16-17 to Vimy Ridge.
Vimy Ridge was
a hot spot, as trenches were from 50 to 100 yds apart. There was a
rather a nerve wracking experience one night.
We had two
listening posts in front of our trench and as duty NCO it was my job to
crawl out and visit them several times during the night.
On one trip I
started to cross from one post to the other, crawling on hands and
jumped on my back and I think he must have wanted to take me in as
However I was
able to overpower him and used the metal end of my entrenching tool to
All hell broke
loose, both sides sent up shells and opened up with machine gun and
rifle fire, so had to crawl into a shall hole until firing ceased, then
I got back to our trenches.
April 1917 preparations made for a big assault on German lines and on
April 9th, 1917,
the attack was launched.
was well planned, well organized and the artillery barrage was scheduled
to drop a shell on every yard of the German first and second line of
very little resistance was encountered. A few minutes before zero hour,
I happened to be walking along our trench.
I forgot about
a low place, but a German sniper quickly reminded me. He got a piece of
cleaning up what was left of German troops in their trenches, I found
one of them chained to his machine gun.
Shot the chain
and waved him to go back with other prisoners. He started back and
shortly I turned my head to see if he was going
and what we
called an egg bomb exploded alongside me, twenty six pieces entering the
left side of my face.
There I was
again out of action – two wounds in less than one hour. “Still have
piece of that bomb on my face”. Another trip to hospital.
discharge from hospital started to rejoin Bn. On arrival at Corps
Reinforcement Camp was asked to remain there
Ricourt) near Bruay, as Camp Sgt Major.
By being held
at this camp escaped Passendale in summer of 1917. That was one of the
dirtiest battles of the war, mainly as it was
Rae's son, Bill Stewart, presenting his father's medals to Legion
President, Gary Higgins, on April 14th, 2005)
closed in Dec 1917 and rejoined 14th
Bn at Chateau de la Hae, where we spent most of winter.
quiet on front lines at this section. In March 1918 when Germans
launched their last big offensive our
was thrown into action in several places mostly in the Arras and Vimy
action and movement.
1918 was recommended for commission and proceeded to
Officers Training School at Bexhill England in May.
Graduated number 12 in class of 200, on Aug 12th,
1918. A few days at Bramshot then back to the front.
the 14th Bn in
time for Battle of Canal du Nord to the right of Arras. The first stage
was a push-over then it got tough.
only big battle I got through without a wound. Was real lucky.
day was out was in command of No. 1 Company and succeeded in capturing a
village and about 100 Germans and
machine guns with only one man killed and a few wounded.
that’s why I was recommended for Military Cross. Next came Cambri,
really Germans last strong resistance.
fight and we lost quite heavy. Again wounded by a piece of scrapnel in
back of left knee. Another trip to hospital at Harve.
discharge started up the line to rejoin 14 Bn. But got sidetracked to
Can Corps Headquarters, then sent to 3rd
Can Division to act as Town Major.
Duties of this
job were to see that the civilians left in towns after German driven out
were fed/ arrange billets for troops and check all who had consorted
This was a
very interesting job. As fast as a town was organized would move on to
11, 1918 was cleaning up a little town not far from Mons. Shortly after
11 a.m. that date, the world seemed very quiet.
C.M.R.’s marched through town and I asked George Dibble who was an
officer in that unit what had happened.
replied, - haven’t you heard – the war is over. I couldn’t believe it
so ran up to head of column and asked the Colonel and he verified it.
back and told the people in the town and was mobbed. Shortly after
armistice rejoined 14th
Bn in time for march into Germany.
the Rhine River at Cologne and we spent a month at Unter Eschleaugh, a
small town about half way between Cologne and Bonn.
after Xmas 1918 we came back to Belgium to a town called Huey between
Liege an Namur.
month in Huey then to England.
England until April 13, 1919 then 5-1/2 days on Steamship Carmania to
then home arriving in St. Stephen April 19th,
My name is
Ralph Finck and I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia
on 2 April
1920. I grew up in an orphanage until I was seven years old when I was
adopted by a couple from Cornerbrook,
At the age of 14 I lost my adopted parents and was sent back to an
orphanage in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia. When
grade 9 schooling I went to work on a farm until I was 20 years old.
That’s when I joined the military. The year was
1940 and I was
an Infantryman with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders stationed in
Amherst, Nova Scotia.
(Picture to left: "N.S.
Highlander Ralph Finck")
On 13 June
1940, I was home on leave from Amherst.
That’s when I
proposed to Dorothy Fitzgerald. And of course, she said yes!
I had to go
back to Amherst but vividly remember that on 20 June,
to Truro, stopped at a jeweler store on Prince Street and bought a
$25.00 wedding ring.
day, Dorothy and I were married by a Reverend Godfrey and spent two
weeks together honeymooning in Truro.
In July 1941
we got our orders to go overseas.
The North Nova
Scotia Highlanders walked from Amherst to Debert and on July 14th,
we boarded a
train to Halifax.
My wife was at
the station and when I lifted her up to hug her goodbye,
one of my
buddies said “be careful Fink, you’re lifting two”.
My first son
was born 7 September 1941 and it was almost five years before I got to
lay eyes on him.
Halifax we boarded the cruise ship Oriel.
With 3,000 men
onboard we left for England.
A seven day
crossing landed us in South Hampton.
From there we
went to Aldershot and from there we were stationed in towns covering the
shorelines of Britain.
On 5 June
1944, we boarded ships heading for Normandy but the landing was
cancelled by 1 day.
On 6 June 1944
at 0900 hours, we landed on the Beaches of Normandy. The rest is
I was in charge of a carrier 3-inch mortar.
going up thru a road it was so packed with convoy
military policeman showed me a road thru a field that he thought we
could get through.
started going up thru the field I noticed what I thought were some boxes
and when I stopped to examine one of them I found skeletons.
I thought the
boxes might contain mines so I ordered my driver to go back.
I reported to
the officer in charge that I believed mines were covering the field and
that we were getting the hell out of there.
ordered me, a Corporal, to go back to the carrier.
We moved only
about 5 yards when a mine blew taking the track off the carrier, killing
a man and wounding another.
recollection was of “Object Capture” which was an airfield kept by
Hitler’s 21st Panther
9th Brigade 3rd Division Infantry consisting of The North Nova Scotia
Light Infantry and The Sundance Glengarries, were sent in to regain the
On 15 July, a
sergeant and myself were sitting down at a table in an apple orchard
eating pork chops cooked on propane stove.
A bomb landed
and blew out the end of the stove.
I ended up
with first and second degree burns to my hands, legs and face and I also
got a piece of shrapnel in my right leg.
I walked back
to the beach and stayed overnight in a Red Cross tent.
On 16 July, I
was flown back to England where I spent approximately one month in
I rejoined my
unit, went to Belgium, and fought throughout Holland.
soldiers and myself waded chest deep across River Rhine and landed on
the German side.
It was then we
came across Hitler’s youth, 10-14 years of age, fighting. We didn’t
want to fight them but knew we had to.
Then a bomb
landed killing three and wounded another soldier and me.
Again I was
wounded in the legs, picked up and brought back to a hospital in Holland
where I recuperated another month.
I rejoined my
unit and left Holland for home in November 1946 on a Red Cross boat Isle
We landed in
Halifax on either 5 or 6 November and I came home to Truro.
I was reunited
with my wife and five-year-old son. While I was overseas my wife built
our home and we have been married for 64 years.
We have 7
children, 14 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and 1 great-great
And they all
live in Truro and surrounding areas.
I think it’s
important to say a little about my wife. She wrote me every single
parcels every month plus 1,000 cigarettes ($1.00 per 1,000, which was a
lot of money back then).
Christmas, her Dad would purchase a pint of black rum and
bake a loaf of bread, hollow it out, stick in the bottle of rum and
cover it with frosting. Not one parcel ever went astray.
probably think this is the end of my story.
BUT NOW YOU’LL
HEAR THE REST OF THE STORY ... When I landed in Halifax, the newspaper
Herald, took my picture and wrote a story about me.
The next day,
at my home in Truro, there was a knock on the door.
answered it there were two women there and one of the
women told me
she was my birth mother, Lena Finck nee
Nasher and the
other woman was her sister, Grace.
I invited them
in and it was then I heard the rest of the story.
father was a WW I German POW in Halifax.
After the war
he returned to Germany but later returned to Halifax, met and married my
He was an
electrician who worked on the tramway cars and I was
1 year old
when he was electrocuted while on top of a tramway car fixing it.
My mother was
employed at the Scotia Hotel in Halifax. She went on to
tell me that
one night she and a
were getting ready to go to a party and was going to have a can of soup
before heading out.
the can and drank the soup and within a short period of time they
to the hospital but her girlfriend died before arrival.
My Mom heard a
loud bang, which caused her to lose her hearing.
You see, they
both got food poisoning. Mom never regained her hearing but could read
lips like anything.
When I was two
years of age she had to put me in an orphanage. From that moment on I
relationship with my mother and later with a half brother and sister.
AND THAT IS
THE REST OF THE STORY.
RONALD FRANK BOYCE
am the third oldest of 13 children born on 24 August 1923 to
Charles Hilton Boyce and Harriet Magdalene Hay in Amherst, Nova Scotia.
31 October 1926 my family moved to Truro where my father owned and
operated the bowling alley on Inglis Street.
mother was a housewife. From kindergarten to grade nine I attended
Willow Street School then I went to Truro High School.
worked for a few years and then spent three years in the Army.
was out of school for a total of six years when in September 1945 until
went back to a school operated by the Department of Veteran Affairs,
where I graduated with my senior matriculation.
Before joining the military I worked at A.E. Hunt & Co.
Men’s and Boy’s Clothing
and at the same time I was a member of the
Battalion North Nova Scotia Highlanders (also known as the Non-Permanent
I attended two, six-week courses in Aldershot, where I
qualified and was confirmed as a Sergeant.
I suppose you could consider my training in the
Non-Permanent Active Militia as Basic Training.
As a qualified Sergeant, I could have been kept in Truro
to train the troops, which, in reality, were reinforcements for our 1st
But that was not to be.
Approximately once a month a Colonel MacLellan from
Amherst would come to visit the 2nd
Battalion in Truro.
It was during once of these visits that my Major, Harold
Goodspeed, advised the Colonel that I wanted to transfer to the Regular
After training one night I was advised to report to the
Colonel who not only granted me a transfer but also recommended me for
So I ended up going to Brockville Military Academy and
graduated as a 2nd
Then I went to Aldershot for my promotion to 1st
From there I was transferred to Yarmouth Basic Training Center as a
time my roommate, who was also a commissioned officer, got into some
trouble and the Colonel placed him under house arrest,
which meant he required an escort.
Well, I ended up being his escort and being it took several months to
get to a hearing instead of being there 2-3 months I ended up staying
for eight months, one week and one day.
only good thing about it was that I learned a lot about military law.
I never had any regrets. I learned a lot because I made
the best of every situation.
On Christmas morning 1943 from Halifax Pier 21 I boarded
the French liner PASTEUR
to go overseas to England and then Europe where I joined
my unit, the North Nova Scotia Highlanders.
I was wounded after we crossed the Rhine River. Things
never go as planned.
We had to attack another unit’s target to push on and we
were ordered to “take the town of Beinen, at all costs”.
I can tell you those words don’t make you feel good.
When a concussion from a shell deafened me, I just kept going as long as
We had 73, including my Major and myself wounded and 42
I vividly remember on my way to a field hospital seeing
engineers constructing a pontoon bridge and there,
smoking a fat cigar and giving us the victory sign was
Winston Churchill himself.
Major Dave Dickson from Fredericton New Brunswick, who
became a supreme court
judge and myself worked for a memorial in the town which
took us over two years.
But the effort was worth it. In 2000, thanks to our
Memory Club, we had erected the 1st
Allied plaque in Germany.
May 1945 I set sail from South Hampton on the first peacetime sail
arriving at Pier 21 Halifax on 5 June 1945.
was discharged in August 1945 medically unfit due to hearing loss.
23 October 1950 I married Margaret MacDonald and we have one girl and
they have given us 12 lovely grandchildren.
Following the war I helped my Dad run his bowling alley business;
worked in the Post Office; my brother Doug and I owned and operated Hub
was Division Manager at Simpson Sears; and I was a credit manager at
Irving Oil until retirement in 1976.
joined the Canadian Legion of The British Empire Service League on 2 May
have served on many committees and was elected President in 1966.
received Life Membership on 29 October 1985; was awarded Meritorious
Service Medal on 3 November 1995
Palm Leaf to Meritorious Service Medal in January 2005.
am presently a trustee of Colchester N.S. Branch No. 26 Truro.
am also a member of all four branches of the Independent Order of Odd
Fellows, having joined on 17 October 1949.
(Picture below: "Ron Boyce 2005")
NORTH NOVA SCOTIA
FALLEN IN BATTLE
AT BIENE, GERMAN
North Nova Scotia Highlanders Memory Club gathered in Amherst in 1999
for their annual reunion.
Major Dave Dickson, former Company Commander of “D” Company, and
Lieutenant Ron Boyce,
former Platoon Commander of 18 Platoon, at the time of the Allies last
big push to end World War II,
were discussing this event, recalling that they had crossed the Rhine
River on Saturday, March 24, 1945.
following day, the Novas received orders to take the stoutly defended
town of Bienen,
whose capture was all-important in the Allied advance from the Rhine
town was captured but the costs were high. Forty members of the North
Novas were killed and 73 wounded.
Some five decorations for bravery were awarded to members of the
Regiment for their efforts that day.
they reminisced, the idea of a tablet to commemorate the battle was
Word was put out and many of their fellow comrades and friends agreed
with the idea and soon the money came in.
Dickson faxed the Burgomeister (Mayor) of Rees-Bienen and, after several
messages, it was agreed to have a tablet cast and taken to Bienen.
Originally, it had been hoped that the inscription on the tablet would
be in both English and German.
extent of the wording and of the message to be conveyed, however,
the tablet were to be kept to a reasonable size, only one language
should be used, and the language of the community was decided upon
After settling on the wording, the Lunenburg Foundry cast the tablet in
Boyce picked the tablet up and brought it to Truro and then to Amherst
for local members to see before it headed overseas.
Dickson contacted the Department of National Defence who delivered the
pound tablet from Nova Scotia to Holland in May, 2000 where he picked it
up and took
to Bienen and there turned it over to the Burgomeister.
people of Bienen decided that the tablet should go on a new wall which
was to be built that summer
part of the courtyard of the attractive and ancient Roman Catholic
church located in the town.
origins date back 1100 years to 900 AD. In the year 2000, Remembrance
Day was to be observed on November 19th
this date and occasion was appropriately selected for the unveiling and
dedication of the tablet.
Dickson represented the North Nova Scotia Highlanders on November 19,
2000 in the town of
Bienen, Germany for the ceremony that dedicated the tablet.
laid a wreath in memory of fallen comrades and spoke briefly to the
large gathering assembled.
occasion received considerable publicity in the German media.
following day, Mr. Dickson visited the Canadian Military Cemetery at
placed poppies on the graves of the North Nova fallen.
far as can be ascertained, the Bienen Tablet is the first Allied
memorial to mark the location of a land engagement on German soil in the
Second World War.
erection commemorated the 55th anniversary of the event and all who have
participated in the project,
whether through financial contribution or otherwise, may take great
pride in furthering the Canadian heritage.
This tablet has been
placed by a group of surviving Canadian veterans of the
North Nova Scotia
Highlanders, 3 Canadian Infantry Division,
in proud and grateful
memory of those forty members of their regiment
who fell in battle at
Bienen, Germany on
Sunday, March 25,
and in memory of
those fellow combatants of
9 Canadian Infantry
(Highland) Brigade and 51 British Highland Division
who died in the same
battle and in the same cause
and as well, in
respectful memory of those adversaries in the German army
who died on that
At the going down of
And in the morning
We will remember
Erected at Bienen on
the 55th Anniversary of the event in the year 2000.
GEDENKEN AN DIE VIERZIG MITGLERDER
DER NORD NOVA SCOTIA
TEIL DER 3.
KANADISCHEN INFANTERIE DIVISION,
DIE AN SONNATAG, DEN
25 MARZ 1945,
IN DER SCHLACHT BEI
BIENEN GEFALLEN SIND
UNDZUR ERINNERUNG AN
DIE TAPFEREN KEMPFER
DER 9. CANADISCHEN
INFANTERIE (HIGHLAND) BRIGADE
UND DER 51.
BRITISCHEN HIGHLAND DIVISION,
DIE IN DERSELBEN
SCHLACHT IHR LEBEN VERLOREN HABEN
GEDENKEN AN JENE SOLDATEN,
DIE IN DER DEUTSCHEN
ARME GEKAMPFT HABEN
UND AM GLEICHEN
IN DERSELBEN SCHLACHT
WENN DIE SONNE GLUHED
ND AM MORGEN DAS
WERDEN WIR IRER
DIESE TAFEL WURDE IM
JAHRE 2000 VON KANADISCHEN
VETERANEN DER NORD
NOVA SCOTIA HIGHLANDER ERRICHTET-
ZUM GEDENKEN AN DEN
55. JAHRESTAG DES EREIGNISSES.
My name is
George Roland Barrass. My family and friends call me
Roland. I was born 4 April 1919 in Marysville, New Brunswick. I am the
oldest and I have two younger sisters Dorothy, who has passed away, and
My Dad was a
minister who came to Canada from Northern England. When I was about two
years old, we moved to Bear River, Nova Scotia and
in 1929 we
moved to Truro. My Dad was a minister is First Baptist Church on Prince
passed away of TB when I was twelve.
In 1937 I
completed grade 11 and in 1938 I completed one year at Success Business
My diploma was
in bookkeeping and typing.
I worked a
year at A.E. Hunt & Co. as a clerk and bookkeeper and then I spent six
months at Nelson Motors.
On 17 July
1940 I enlisted in the Army at No. 6 District Depot in Halifax.
I was attached
to the Pay Corp from 1940 to 1943 as the District Audit Officer.
As an auditor
I worked at outlying Batteries around Halifax auditing books
and seeing if
they were doing what they were supposed to be doing. I
accompany a Captain and together we would check the books.
In all my time
I only knew of one court martial from missing funds; most of the time
doctoring up because the people looking after them didn’t know how to do
From 1943 to
1945 I worked at Windsor Transit Camp looking after four sets of books,
the canteen and the Messes’ books.
I also did the
accounting at Debert. By this time I was a Quarter Master Sergeant.
I never went
overseas. I wanted to go but apparently they wanted me here.
I did the
accounting for the different Camp books because the camps had to order
kitchen and canteen supplies,
and my job was
to make sure they were done right.
were training men to send overseas and men were coming from all over to
I lived out
part of the time in Windsor but I also lived in the barracks for a year
or so before I got married.
discharged from the Army on 19 December 1945 from Camp Debert, reason
“end of demobilization”.
On 31 May 1941
I married Eleanor “Avis” Murray and we had three children, one girl and
wanted me to go overseas so she was quite happy the way things turned
afraid people will ask me what the war years were like.
military release, my family and I were living in an apartment in Truro.
I worked at Lewis Ltd. doing the payroll and hosiery costing.
I had to
keep records of heat used and different dyes that were included and
cottons for the stockings they were manufacturing.
1947 to 1950 I continued to work at Lewis Ltd doing super-hosiery
costing and shipping records.
I was a
supervisor over thirty men and women. In March 1950 I went on the road
as a traveler.
out on the road trying to sell Lewis socks, hats and caps to different
stores and in my spare time
the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Reserve Army.
had meetings about once a week sometimes parading on the odd weekend
down at the Armories.
recall anything spectacular that we did.
with them for a couple of years in the rank of 2nd
On 19 November
1953 I left Lewis Ltd. and on 23 November I went to work for Webster &
There we used
to buy and sell materials to hardware stores, like
and Walkers & Sons and places like that and we would bring materials
carload lots and then we had a warehouse up eastern Prince Street where
the old Irving oil tanks used to be.
And then from
the warehouse we would ship the supplies out by truck to different
In November of
1956 I was made Acting Manager and on 1 March 1957 I was made Manager.
I had a staff
of 6 or 7 personnel.
I worked for
Webster & Sons Ltd. for 31 years retiring 30 April 1984.
away in 1988. On 16 February 1990, I married Barbara Merle Durkee nee
her husband, and Avis and I had been friends since 1956.
I have 6
grandchildren (we lost one) and 3 great grandchildren.
Barbara has 4
children, 13 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
together we have quite a few.
(Picture to left:
"Roland Barrass, 2005")
include philatelic (postage stamp collecting)
done pretty much all my life, off and on.
When my boys
I was an avid
model railroader (small trains on tracks).
A great part
of my life has centered on First Baptist Church.
I have served
at various times as deacon, Sunday school superintendent, treasurer,
the Board of Management, Cub leader and in many other capacities.
I still serve
occasionally as an usher.
The following story
was provided by Patricia Pryor. Jack Logan was her Uncle
(Picture below: "Jack Logan")
news dated October 23, 1944
Spr. Jack Logan Killed in Belgium
Three Truro men are among casualties reported today. They are:
Spr. Jack Logan
- killed in action.
Cpl. Harold Moss
Paratrooper Wilfred Blackmore
Mrs. Jack Logan, 14 Henry St., has received the sad news that her
husband, Spr. Jack Logan, was killed in action Oct. 23 in Belgium.
Jack attended Alice St. school and the Colchester County Academy;
later he worked for the firm of Baird, Thomas and Scott; and at the
time of enlisting he was employed with the Bridge and Building
Department of the C.N.R.
He is survived by his wife and one small son Keith, his brother,
George, an employee of Vernon and Co., a sister, Mrs. Earl Weatherbee.
Miss Mary Musgrove who is employed at Thomas Book and Stationery Store,
is an aunt of the deceased.
His parents are Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Logan, of Truro.
HERALD LIMITED Week of November 18, 1987
Silver Cross Widow Knows War’s Horro
By Hattie Dyck
- Helen Logan remembers well the chilly October day in 1944 when she
received a telegram that her husband died in action overseas
And every year at this time her thoughts turn back to the Second World
War and the
pain and suffering it inflicted on her and thousands of other Canadian
wives and families.
“I was working in the kitchen when a young woman came to the door with a
telegram,” she said.
“My son Keith, who was only 16 months old at the time, was in his
playpen close to me
“At first I didn’t think anything about it,” the Silver Cross widow from
“Then she told me I should have someone with me before I opened it.
Suddenly it hit me that it was bad news and I said, he isn’t killed is
Again, she suggested I go for someone but I said I was all right and she
handed it to me.”
Mrs. Logan well remembers the shock that engulfed her when she read that
her husband was killed in action, shock that numbed both her mind and
“I was in bed that night before I cried,” she said. “Then I sobbed for
She had two students from the former Normal College boarding with her at
When they came home and heard the news, they embraced her in an effort
to comfort her any way they could.
neighbour also came that day as did others in the days ahead.
She especially remembers the kindness of her husband’s parents, William
and Margaret Logan, and his sister,
Doris Weatherbee and brother, George.
Later in the week she received two letters from her husband, one written
on his birthday, Oct. 18, and one the following day.
In his birthday letter, he wrote “the guns are booming but I don’t think
it’s to celebrate.”
Mrs. Logan tells this story with some reluctance
She has spent many hours helping young people who have not known war to
understand its horrors.
“It’s so terrible,” she said. “My husband was only 34 years old when he
He had only seen his little son three times.” She remembers him as a
kind, fun-loving man, not someone who wanted to go to war.
He worked for Canadian National before he enlisted. He joined because
he felt it was his duty.
few years later she visited his grave in Belgium, something she said has
always given her peace of mind. “I had the satisfaction of seeing
his grave. It was a relief just to know I was there where he was.”
She treasures a letter from Sol E.W. Henselwood of the Canadian Military
Naval and Air Attaché written to Brigadier J.L. Melvill who
was honorary Colonel commanding the Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers.
In the letter were two pictures of the Canadian war cemetery at Adegem,
Belgium, one of which was Mr. Logan’s gravestone.
It said there are about 800 Canadians buried there, one of which is
The letter said they were clearing a route through heavy shelling when
he was shot and killed by a F. Flushing naval gun.
shell landed in a doorway where a group of them had taken shelter and
three were killed and five wounded.
“Mrs. Logan is a valuable member of the auxiliary of Royal Canadian
Legion Branch No. 26,”
says president Jean MacBurnie.
To the best of their knowledge, she and Mrs. Marion Poulin are the only
two silver cross widows in Truro and
Mrs. Daisy Frazee the only silver cross mother. Mrs. Logan values the
work of the Legion and
its auxiliary for what it does for widows and pensioners.
She wants the work of the Legion to be known and the knowledge of the
devastation of war kept alive so it won’t happen again.
Mrs. Helen Logan passed away on May 31, 1997.
Jack and Helen’s son,
Keith, whom Jack never saw, resides with his wife Eleanor on Matlyn
They have two sons.
name is Steven Berezowski and I was born on 3 February
1919 in Janow Corners (Meath Park), Saskatchewan. I’m the
fifth of 14 children born to Joseph and Annie nee Billay Berezowski.
parents were homesteaders and made their living
siblings were Lucy, Mary, Katie (deceased), Mike, John, Walter
(deceased), Peter, Josephine, Charley,
Frances and Frank (twins), Ralph and Adam.
attended a one room schoolhouse finishing with a grade 7 education.
(Picture below: "Soldier Steve Berezowski"
my schooling I worked at farming in Saskatchewan and in 1939
started work for MacKinnon Industries, a subsidiary of General Motors in
St. Catherines, Ontario.
joined the military in early Spring 1940 in Toronto, Ontario.
was on my way to Toronto to visit my sister Lucy when I spotted tents on
tents were full of Highlanders and I thought they had real nice uniforms
went to one of the Recruiting tents and signed up.
From there I was sent to Camp Borden, Ontario for Basic Training as a
After Basic Training I was sent to Kingston, Ontario where I was
training to be a dispatch rider.
From there I was sent to Aldershot, arriving in England in December
took one flight to be a paratrooper and that was enough!! I joined the
Royal Canadian Army Service Corps.
was stationed in West Sussex where we helped load rubble from bombed out
buildings in London.
Then to Uckfield in East Sussex. This is where I met my future wife
April on 22 August 1942.
Then I was sent to Bodiam Castle for training.
From there to North Africa on to the invasion of Sicily, then the
invasion of Italy, all the time as a dispatch rider.
night I had a collision with an on coming vehicle and no one knew where
ended up at a New Zealand Field Station (Medical) but was reported
missing in action by my unit.
sister Lucy was my next of kin and she received two telegrams stating I
was missing in action.
was away three days before I could fix up my motorcycle and crawl back.
Lucy then received the third telegram, this time from me, stating I was
also sent a telegram to April which she vividly recalls it reading:
“all safe and with fondest love, Steve.“
went from Italy to France, through Belgium to Holland.
April 13th, there were 45 injuries in my unit while taking dispatches
from the front line near Cleve, Germany.
was taken to hospital in Apeldorm where I stayed for six weeks
have no regrets, I joined to see the world and see the world I did! I
had a lot of fun, except for the deaths and the injuries and I met life
below: "Crazy Canucks - Steve and some Buddies")
of my mates, Jim Ercolini, loved to tell the story of how I would ride
across a deep valley on the beam (a couple of hundred feet long)
left from a bombed bridge while he would travel down the winding road
and up the other side.
the time Jim arrived I would be fast asleep on my motorcycle.
and I stayed close friends for years.
was released from the military on 21 February 1946, end of
returned back to work for General Motors.
I want to tell you that General Motors were some good to
their employees who went to war.
They sent us cigarettes every month and I remember being sent other
things too, like a wallet.
married April nee Vaughan from Uckfield, Sussex, England on 24 July
raised two sons Anthony Steven nicknamed Tony, born 19 April 1947 and
Peter John, born 28 October 1952.
have been a member of the Colchester N.S. Branch No. 26 Royal Canadian
Legion for 26 years.
Note: A certificate
in Mr. & Mrs. Berezowski’s home reads
“By the King’s order the name of Lance Corporal Steven
Berezowski, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps was pub-
lished in the London Gazette on 10 January 1946 as
mentioned in a dispatch for distinguished service
Tattrie was born in Belmont, Nova Scotia on 15 January 1923.
He was the
third child of Noble and Lillian nee Stephens Tattrie and they
raised three girls and three boys.
Noble was a
black smith by trade and Lillian was a homemaker.
grade 11 schooling and joined the Army in Debert in October 1941.
about ten young men that went to join up at the same time and they
all got in except one.
He was sent by
train to Peterborough, Ontario for Basic Training.
After Basic he
completed numerous trade courses in Colbourne, Ontario,
learned to be a Storesman.
In May 1942,
Elizabeth in Halifax,
with 20,000 people aboard, and
Five days later
he was in Bramshot,
he worked in Quarter Master (QM) Stores.
Ronald went to Khaki College in Natford, England to run the
QM which housed
the clothing for the college students.
His job also
required him, as a Sergeant, to inspect QM Stores all over
which also took him to France on two occasions.
In 1945 Ronald
had enough points to come home.
He boarded a
little French boat with approximately 100 people on board.
that they hit a terrible storm in Newfoundland and had to stay there
for a few days.
recalled that he was never so sick in his life and that whenever a
wave hit the boat and it rocked down,
he could count
to 15 and sometimes to 20 before the boat would come up again.
in Halifax on 15 January 1946. He was discharged 15 February 1946
“end of demobilization”
and the same
year went to work
as a civil
servant at the Ammunition Depot in Debert.
He worked there
for 10 years and then took a transfer to 12 R.O.D.
and in 1974
became supervisor at the Medical Equipment Depot.
He retired in
In 1948 Ronald
married a Belmont girl
and they had six children.
has now grown to include
grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.
reside in Belmont and
reading, fishing, hunting and gardening.
Burns was born on March 13, 1915 at Noel Road, Nova Scotia.
Harry was a jack of all trades, employed in the woods.
Muriel nee Ettinger was a busy homemaker who raised 12 children, 9
boys and 3 girls.
second oldest child, recalled walking three miles everyday to Noel
completed grade 6 Hadley went to work in the woods, where he
celebrated his 14th
Becoming a jack of all trades, just
like his Dad, he recalled driving a yard horse and
Harry Hut making apple barrels.
He also worked
for Eastern Car Works in Trenton for approximately a year and for
Airport in Salem for about the same length of time.
that the family farm lost part of their land during the construction
of the Maitland Airport.
a conscription letter from the government just prior to Christmas
to Halifax with his friend Cecil MacKenzie from Bible Hill.
anxious to join the military but felt that it was the right thing to
Hadley was sent
to Peterborough, Ontario for 2 months of Basic Training.
From there he
was sent to Camp Borden for another 2 months of Trades Training.
completion, Hadley was returned to Windsor, Nova Scotia, where, for
a couple of weeks, he was placed in what was called, a Holding
Then the day
arrived, in the Spring of 1944, when Hadley received orders that he
was being sent overseas.
He boarded THE
NEW AMSTERDAM in Halifax and landed in the Thames River about 6 to 7
days later, where he stayed in a holding unit in Darlington.
From there he
was transferred to the Officer’s Ward where he worked in a little
kitchen catering to injured officers.
It was there
that Hadley met Cyril Kennedy, an MP for Nova Scotia, who suffered a
gunshot in his shoulder.
He went on to
tell how every soldier was given a small khaki colored Bible,
soldiers kept in their uniform pocket covering their heart.
He recalled a
soldier that was hit and the bullet went through the Bible to the
last page which in turn, saved his life.
Darlington, Hadley was attached to the 24 Canadian General Hospital
in Horley, England.
He was a waiter
to the Nursing Sisters and when an ambulance would arrive, he was
required to ensure all nursing staff were fed.
that at times there were up to 12 ambulances arriving at one time,
and many times these ambulances were full.
He remembered a
soldier, Bill Walsh, from Newcastle, New Brunswick, often saying “I
have to put another couple of buckets of water on the soup.”
Hadley also has
found memories of Comrade Shirley Jamieson, who was the pastry chef,
famous for his homemade doughnuts.
remembers Shirley telling the nurses that he made soup out of the
doughnut holes and tells
how Shirley was
a wonderful man whom he worked with prior to the War.
It was 60 years
later that the two men met again at the church they both attend.
rest. Mr. Burns
came home on the Hospital Ship the ‘Lady Nelson’ on March 13, 1946.
He landed in
Halifax and was taken by stretcher to the Hospital on Cogswell
who were waiting to meet him returned the following day.
o find out
there was a hemorrhage in the back of his eye.
He was home 2
weeks and then back and forth to the Camp hill Hospital for at least
10 years to keep his eyes checked.
He was released
in 1946. Hadley Burns has no regrets during his time in the Military
and would do it all again.
Mr. Burns met
his wife shortly before he left for War.
Upon his return
they courted for about a year and married in Maitland in 1947.
They had 2
children, a boy and a girl and now have 6 grandchildren and 1 great
in Horley, England until he left for home in 1945.
friend he made while overseas was Garth Allen from Langley, British
to work on Saturdays because of his religion, but he made up for it
and did his share on Sundays.
Hadley kept in touch until Garth’s recent death.
It was late
February 1946 when Hadley awoke one morning unable to see.
A doctor by the
name of Major Duncan examined his eyes and washed them out with a
ordered complete bed rest. On 13 March 1946, Hadley came home on
the hospital ship THE LADY NELSON.
he didn’t know it, his parents were there to meet him, but Hadley
was taken by stretcher off the ship to a hospital on Cogswell
who thought he wasn’t on the boat after all, went home where news
reached them that Hadley was in the hospital.
day they went to the hospital and took him home.
to a hospital in Debert three days later to find out that there was
a hemorrhage in the back of his eyes.
in 1946 “End of Demobilization” but reported back and forth to the
Camp Hill Hospital for the following 10 years to keep his eyes
He met his wife
to be shortly before he left for overseas and upon his return they
courted for about a year.
at Maitland, N.S. ,
Harry Pridham’s daughter, Helen, formerly from Alberton, Prince
civilian life he worked 18
years for a construction company
houses and then 20 years for Cox Brother’s Poultry Farm.
They resided in
Salmah (close to Maitland) for many years and raised two children,
a boy and a
girl and have six grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Helen moved to Truro in 2001.
was initially hesitant about joining the military,
he stated that
he had no regrets and would do it all over again.
Bates was the third of six children born on 1 August 1920 to Carlyle
and Blanche nee Atkinson Bates.
At a very early
age his family moved to Stewiacke East where Carlyle was a farmer
and Blanche was a busy homemaker.
a grade 10 education, James drove a truck for a few years, worked on
the railroad and then worked as a carpenter’s helper, learning the
In 1941, he
married Margaret MacKay in Truro and on 21 August 1942 they had
their first child, a
they named Shirley.
James went to Halifax to join the Army enlisting on 24 November
He took his
Basic Training in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and Advance Training in
Kentville, Nova Scotia.
He was then
transferred to New Glasgow where he was given a bricklaying course
awaiting orders to be sent overseas.
On September 6,
1943, James boarded a ship in Halifax (possibly the Queen Mary, but
this cannot be confirmed).
They were gone
for a day and a half when a submarine was spotted
and they were
sent back to Halifax until they got the all clear.
wounded at Caen on July 18, 1944 and was sent to England to
months later he was sent back into action.
overseas with the West Nova Scotia Regiment but when he went back he
the Engineers, the 9th Field Squadron, where he drove a Half Truck.
built bridges at the front.
with the Engineers until three weeks before the war was over when he
was shell shocked and found himself back in the hospital.
February 1946 James arrived back home and was released from the
military “end of demobilization”.
He was awarded
the 1939-45 Star France & Germany and the Canadian Voluntary Service
Medal & Clasp.
He returned to
civilian life working at carpentry until he opened his own business,
retiring in 1984.
Margaret went on to raise a total of six children, and now have 11
grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
a permanent resident at The Mira,
a long term
care facility in Truro, Nova Scotia.
On May 7, 1946
James joined The Royal Canadian Legion.
In 1976 he was
awarded a Certificate of Merit
and the Diamond
Jubilee Medal in 1988.
He is a Life
Member of Colchester N.S. Branch No. 26 in Truro, Nova Scotia.
MCCARTHY, Foster Fitch
born in Truro, Nova Scotia on 7 April 1920.
Fred McCarthy, was a painting contractor and his mother,
Hamilton, was a nurse’s aide at Colchester Hospital.
He was number
six in a family of ten which included six boys and four girls.
his Dad, was a painter and worked with his father
prior to the
war and on his own most of the time after the war.
the Royal Canadian Regiment on 10 February 1943 and completed
Training in Aldershot #15A1(R)TC on 26 June 1943.
His ship was
torpedoed en-route from England to Italy and
were picked up by another ship off the coast of Africa and taken in to
in the United Kingdom and Central Mediterranean Area.
He was wounded
in action (shot in the leg) in Italy on 3 September 1944.
hospitalized in Italy and from there was transferred to England for
approximately eight months.
discharged “On Demobilization” 28 July 1945 and received
Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp.
Helen nee Hamilton on 4 October 1939 and raised two daughters, Carol and
They have four
grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
away on 11 April 2000 and his dear
resides in Truro, N.S.
Foster was a
Canadian Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026
Joseph Patrick Michael
born on 11 March 1926 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Joseph, was a meat cutter, who once owned his own business but lost it
during the depression.
Annie, nee Campbell, was born in Johnstown, Cape Breton and she was a
busy homemaker raising six children.
Joe was the
third oldest and had four brothers and one sister.
grade 8 at College Street School and in later years went to night school
where he received his grade 11 education.
the Military, Joe worked for the CNR as an office boy and delivered
and he also
worked at the Halifax Shipyards.
did not meet the age requirement to join the Navy in 1942,
he changed his
Baptismal Certificate, not once, but three times.
He was finally
accepted in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve at the end of
1942 and was sent to Sydney, N.S.
in 1943 for
six weeks Basic Training.
From there he
went to HMCS Cornwallis for Gunnery Course LR3.
The same year,
1943, Joe was sent overseas on the Ile De France (Liner) and then to
Middlebourgh to join
Class Corvette HMCS Leaside.
training, the Leaside joined Group 8 consisting of Frigates and
escort Convoys from St. Johns Newfoundland to Londonderry, Ireland.
leave the convoy with the English escort in the Irish Sea and then
Ireland for stores and three days rest.
days they would pick up another convoy and head back to St. John’s.
another escort group,
United States Navy would take them to Halifax or U.S. Ports.
were fierce and they lost a few ships to torpedoes and storms.
One night on
lookout duty, Joe watched a torpedo go across the bow of his ship.
particular night was really calm and he could see the wake.
made him more alert and from then
on he didn’t
mind the bad weather too much.
His ship and
the Frigate Humberstone engaged a
U-boat in the
Irish Sea and after depth charges
squid attack, it was on the bottom.
There was lots
of oil, etc. coming up.
it would surface but the Royal Navy came along (two ships) and ordered
them to proceed to Londonderry.
afternoon they were told that the U-boat surfaced and the crew scuttled
never given credit for that but then again, that was the R.N. way.
Some of them
were in Port Rush, Ireland on three days leave when the war ended.
They went back
to St. Johns and then to Sydney, N.S.
Joe was sent
on leave from Sydney because he volunteered for the Pacific.
he was sent to HMCS Cornwallis for another Gunnery Course LR2,
but the war
ended before the course was over.
MURPHY, John Allison
The following is John’s story as told to
his daughter Nancy:
Allison Murphy known by friends and family as Jack, was born in Truro on
4 April 1923. Jack knows a lot about this community and its history.
of his wartime experiences away from home, however, mark a significant
time in his life.
His years in
the Navy were exciting, adventurous and dangerous.
He claims he
was not really old enough to be frightened at the time or able
to grasp the
enormous part Canadians played in the war effort.
And like most
veterans he doesn’t think of himself as any kind of a hero.
he did live through some very dangerous
times and is
proud to have had the opportunity to do his part.
Jack and CCA
classmate Vic MacKay headed to Halifax to “join up”.
It was April
1942 and the recruiting office was at the base, of what is now, the
they got there, they soon realized that the recruiting
been relocated to Stadacona, to make room
footings of the first bridge to be built across Halifax Harbour.
Training in Sydney, Jack became a supplies
assistant at the “vittling
depot” at Stadacona.
drafted to the
HMCS Iroquois in March 1943, destined for
Scapa Flow, Scotland.
was allocated for service with the Home Fleet who were doing exercises
and preparing for battle in the North Sea.
Not long after
setting sail for Britain, the destroyer ran into a severe northwesterly
gale off the coast of Newfoundland
and at the
height of the storm two of the crew were washed
while attempting to aid an injured shipmate.
recalls the night the
Duchess of York and the
in the Bay of Bisque.
was escorting convoys to Freetown, Sierra Leone
when a German
Fock-Wulf 200 aircraft attacked.
According to the records, a third ammunition vessel,
Port Fairy was a major object of the attack but the
was able to
Port Fairy and the enemy withdrew.
remaining escorts were left to carry out the brave
task of rescuing survivors from the torpedoed vessels.
of the Iroquois
accommodated 665 survivors and transported them to Casablanca.
that is told only by the crew of the
was when they were sent on the desolate “Murmansk Run”,
treacherous route to North Russia. Nazi U-boats, German planes,
battleships and cruisers searched these waters daily
remarkably, the vessel and crew were not destroyed by the enemy during
The members of
the crew would tell you that this sail to and from the Russian port was
a protest they had had after being denied a much deserved leave.
captain of the
Iroquois at the time, affectionately named
by the crew, “Scarface Holmes”
allow the crew a rest after the ordeal off the coast of Africa and as a
result, all but the
first mate of the Ship’s Company locked
the mess and refused to comply with orders.
They did in
the end get a leave to shore, but consequently
they were sent
Christmas Day, 1943, the four Canadian Tribals,
were on escort duty
On 7 April 2006, John
Allison Murphy, pictured above with his daughter Nancy,
was presented with the
“Murmansk Run” medal
from the Russian
German Pocket Battleship
The Scharonhorst was brought
to her destruction.
the fact that the cruiser possessed firepower far superior to the
chose to rely on her speed and fled.
she was the only capital Nazi ship in northern waters at the time,
she had been
under strict orders not to risk destruction in a duel with heavy ships.
The Duke of York,
finally caught and crippled her and she was forced to surrender.
convoy was safely brought into Kola Inlet during the Christmas season,
Jack recalls a shore leave into the port community.
He and Gordon
Crocker (Jack would say, “you know Gordon, he was married to Florence
Bartlett, Sticky Bartlett’s sister”)
along the street close to a Russian barracks when they encountered a
Russian sentry on patrol.
This would not
have seemed too out of the ordinary, until they were close enough to the
soldier to see that it was a woman.
would seem an insignificant recollection, but Jack remembers it well.
He still has a
laugh at their surprise to learn that in a time when only men were
soldiers, this one was a female.
There are far
too many stories to tell in one short article, but Jack readily shares
his memories of such a major time in our history.
Honorably Discharged on 28 September 1945 when he returned to
Truro to work
for his Dad, W.B. Murphy, at W.B. Murphy’s Wholesale.
He met the
girl of his dreams, Mary Beecher of Springhill, Nova Scotia who was
attending Business College.
married in August 1949 and had six children.
Jack lost Mary
in a car accident in January 1978 and never stops missing her.
He is proud
and knows Mary would be proud too of their 14 grand-children and one
resides in Truro and is a 55 year member of Royal Canadian Legion
Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026.
Harry Roger Pryor
Harry Roger Pryor was born in
Manchester, England in 1918.
Richard and Winnifred had eight children of which Harry was the second.
school in England and at the age of nine, his family moved to Nova
Scotia, where Harry completed his schooling.
joining the military, he worked as a body mechanic.
the Army on 4 September 1939 and was a member of the Pictou Highlanders
until he asked for a transfer so he could go overseas.
1940 he joined men in the West Novas as a Bren gun carrier and headed to
England to begin
tour and string of battles a short time later.
Harry has been
quoted as saying “I wanted to go overseas because I felt I could do more
over there to keep the war from coming here.
always very lucky and we didn’t want to see our families involved.”
Picture below: "Harry
on the right with a Mr. Newcomb taken in England in 1941"
One of Harry’s
“war stories” occurred in June 1943
when 300 men
onboard a transport sailing from Liverpool to Sicily
had 13 minutes
to man their life rafts and escape into the water
vessel sank after being torpedoed.
officer was giving a briefing when they heard
and the ship’s tail end went up in the air, scattering everyone
were told to report to their boat
didn’t have a life jacket, he went downstairs to find one.
When he came
up, he and two officers were the only people left onboard.
over the side and swam for it.
What a way to
learn to swim!
men were killed in the explosion.
was one of the most traumatic incidents of Harry’s time in Europe, his
other stories of battles are as tragic,
like at Ortona
where they lost a lot of men.
The West Nova
Scotia Regiment is said to have seen some of the hardest fighting
experienced by troops of any country in the Second World War.
It worked its
way through the bloody campaigns in Sicily and Italy against the
seasoned troops of the Nazi Wehrmacht.
instrumental in Allied victories which tied down hundreds of thousands
of Axis troops and
possible eventual victory in Europe.
casualties from Sicily to Holland were 352 killed, 1,106 wounded and 48
prisoners of war.
Harry was in
England during a German air raid and remembered vividly the scene from
Hyde Park watching the houses appear
as though they
were walking out into the streets as they were hit by bombs.
to Nova Scotia on one of the few trips the Queen Elizabeth made into
with three men
to a hammock taking turns at eight-hour sleeping shifts.
assigned to ‘E’ deck which was below water level so he decided
sooner stay up on the regular deck for the
released from the military on 6 December 1945.
war, Harry worked in a nickel mine in Ontario.
He returned to
Truro to work for DomTar and retired from Forest Products of Nova
Jean Retson of Bible Hill and together they raised
daughters and had two grandchildren.
Harry was a 50
year Life Member and Past President (1985) of the Royal Canadian Legion,
Branch No. 026.
Legionnaire, Harry passed away on 18 December 2001.
Gordon Burton ALLEN
Allen was born on 13 February 1925 in Port Elgin, New Brunswick to Hazen
Copp Allen and Aletha Sprague.
He was the
oldest of seven children, four boys and three girls.
enrolled for wartime military service in March 1941 at the age of
sixteen years and one month.
He served for
four and one-half years until November 1945.
Gorden was part of the 2nd Heavy Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment,
2nd Army Group, RCA.
his service as part of the Core and Supply Troop (Blue Patch),
Anti-Aircraft Regiment, 3rd Canadian Infantry Division.
the Louis Pasteur at Pier 21 bound for Scotland.
the Atlantic Ocean, they sailed up the River Clyde to Greenock where
travelled by train to south England where they were housed in old World
War I military barracks at Aldershot.
as a dispatch rider and map reader. His dispatch duties included
decoding delivery co-ordinates
in order to
complete required deliveries.
he was also responsible for coordinating and mapping convoy movements,
leading convoys off toward the co-ordinates he had
and then zooming between the lines of vehicles to round
up the rear
and make sure nothing was left behind.
unit movements could be made in either advance or retreat
sometimes more than one had to be managed simultaneously.
convoys and distances covered could vary significantly.
dispatcher’s expertise was
relied on by commanders to
troops were where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be
On June 10,
1944 as part of the Juno Beach landing, Gordon landed at
He drove the
cook truck from the landing bridge with his dispatcher’s
Davidson motorcycle stored in the back.
He served and
saw action in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.
It was in
Germany, on May 8, 1945, that his unit was told by an officer that the
war had ended.
By July 1945,
Gordon had arrived home in Canada at Pier 21 on the Ile de France.
from army service was in November 1945.
wartime service, Private Gordon B. Allen was awarded The 1939-45 Star;
The France and
Germany Star; The Defence Medal;
Voluntary Service Medal and Clasp; and The War Medal—1939-45.
Gordon and his
wife of 55 years, Corinne Mary nee Cormier,
Moncton, New Brunswick.
parents of six children and grandparents of eight.
"Here is a picture of Gordon, circa 1943 feeding pigeons
Trafalgar Square in London")
George Alfred MACLAREN
WORLD WAR I
MacLaren was born in Moncton, Westmorland County, New Brunswick on 20
His father was
Charles Robert MacLaren and his mother was Emma nee Thomas.
On 15 November
1915, at 19 years of age, George made declaration
and took an
oath on Attestation to serve in the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary
His Trade or
Calling is registered as a Teameter and his description on enlistment
was as follows:
Height ….. 5
ft 7 ins.
measurement—Girth when fully expanded ….. 35-1/2 ins
expansion ….. 3 ins.
Eyes ….. Hazel
Hair ….. Dark
denomination ….. Roman Catholic.
enlisted in the Army and served with the
Infantry (Eastern Ontario Regiment).
He died on 29
October 1917 at 21 years of age.
on Page 285 of the
War Book of Remembrance.
MENIN GATE (YPRES)
The Menin Gate Memorial is situated at the eastern side
of the town of Ypres
(now Ieper) in
the Province of West Flanders, on the road to Menin and Courtrai.
It bears the
names of 55,000 men who were lost without trace during the defence of
the Ypres Salient in the First World War.
Sir Reginald Blomfield and erected by the Imperial (now Commonwealth)
War Graves Commission, it consists of a
Memory”, 36.6 metres long by 20.1 metres wide.
In the centre
are broad staircases leading to the ramparts which overlook the moat,
and to pillared loggias which run the whole length of the structure.
On the inner
walls of the Hall, on the side of the staircases and on the walls of the
loggias, panels of
bear the names of the dead, inscribed by regiment and corps.
stone above the central arch are the words:
ARMIES OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE WHO STOOD HERE FROM
1918 AND TO THOSE OF THEIR DEAD WHO HAVE NO KNOWN GRAVE.
Over the two
staircases leading from the main Hall is the inscription:
RECORDED NAMES OF OFFICERS AND MEN WHO FELL IN YPRES
TO WHOM THE FORTUNE OF WAR DENIED THE KNOWN AND
BURIAL GIVEN TO THEIR COMRADES IN DEATH.
The dead are
remembered to this day in a simple ceremony that takes place every
evening at 8:00 p.m.
through the gateway in either direction is halted, and two buglers (on
occasions four) move to the centre of the Hall and sound the Last Post.
trumpets for use in the ceremony are a gift to the Ypres Last Post
by an officer
of the Royal Canadian Artillery,
with the 10th Battery, of St. Catharines, Ontario, in Ypres in April
This article was requested by George’s nephew Charles
“Burt” Burton MacLaren,
Burt recalls the following story told to him by his Aunt:
On 29 October
1917, George’s brother Charles Robert, who was also serving during WW I,
went down to
George’s Regiment to see his brother.
When he got
there and asked to see his brother he was told that George had died that
Harold Douglas Bilby
Bilby, better known as Bus, was born in Truro, Nova Scotia on 19 May
James was a Canadian National Railway conductor and his mother, Margaret
nee O’Brien was a homemaker.
seven children in the family, four girls and three boys.
grade 9 at Alice Street School and completed grade 10 at Academy.
He then went
to work at Cooper’s Nursery as a landscape gardener earning
approximately $75.00 a month.
By this time
men were pretty scarce in Truro and Bus thought he should join the
military like everyone else did. In June 1940, he went to Halifax and
Bus took his
training at Bedford Rifle Range and was a Fitter by trade.
While with the
Halifax Rifles, Bus did a lot of guard duties.
His unit was
moved to Mulgrave, Nova Scotia and did more guard duties along the
Strait as there was no causeway then.
In 1941, his
Company moved to Gaspe Quebec.
moved to Camp Borden, Ontario.
It was then
that the Halifax Rifles broke up and formed
23 Army Tank
Regiment along with Troy and Simcoe Foresters, and 16/22 Saskatchewan
Horse, in one
overseas as a Brigade and because they were short of men on the front
the Bridge replaced the killed soldiers.
Bus served in
Canada, England, France, Belgium, Holland and India.
Bus was one of
twenty four men taken from the Brigade and sent to London, England.
they were given inoculations and issued summer dress with orders that
they were going to India.
They left in
Sunderlin flying amphibious boats that could only travel eight hours at
a time because that was all the gas tank would hold.
They landed in
Karachi, Calcutta three days later.
in a British Camp they were known as the Training Team of amphibian
tanks and they trained the English on these vehicles.
training was in England for the D-day invasion.
A-bomb they were on their way home.
Men from the
23 Army Tank Regiment had to bum their way on an American ship bound for
It took them
six weeks to get from India to New York.
they took a train and landed in Truro in September 1945.
spending Christmas of 1943 in Cairo, Egypt.
He was not
injured during the war and would do it again if he had life to live
over. Bus released from the military as a
13 February 1946 and returned to work for Cooper’s as a landscaper until
He then went
to work for Canadian National in the round house, doing different jobs
until he got bumped.
Bus then went
to work in Halifax, again for Canadian National in the round house.
He then moved
back to Truro and worked for Canadian National Express and then for the
Department where for 21 years he was in charge of the
the train until he retired in June 1983.
include the France/Germany Star; Defence Medal; Canadian Volunteer
39-45 Star; and Clasp.
Margie McFadden in 1942 and they had twin sons, Gregg and Glenn.
He is a 47
year Life Member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch
No. 026, Truro, Nova Scotia.
the Palm Leaf to the Meritorious Service Medal in 2001.
Eric Morton Carpenter
Carpenter was born on 18 May 1920 in London, England.
John Wetherman Carpenter was the owner of a Tobacconist Business and his
mother, Lucy Morton nee Box was a nurse.
Eric was the
oldest of two boys. His younger brother was 5-1/2 years younger than he
and is now deceased.
from Technical College in England and before joining the military he was
a movie projectionist.
outbreak of World War II, Eric went to Uxbridge, Middlesex England and
joined the military.
He was sent to
Cardington and Blackpool England and also to Waterbeach and Cambridge
Training. Eric was then sent to Bomber Command, Linconshire England for
his trades training as an Aircraft Mechanic.
Eric worked on
Wellington Bombers for the first two years of his military career then
Bombers for the next four years.
He had two
embarkation leaves but both overseas postings were cancelled.
married during the second leave. He remained on the Lancaster Squadron,
including 1000 bomber raids.
regret is that he hadn’t stayed in the military longer.
story Eric vividly remembers goes as follows:
Sterling Bomber was chased by a German Fighter but managed to divert and
land on our base.
I got the job
of marshalling him in and parking it in a suitable spot.
All of a
sudden the air raid sirens sounded, with the aircraft approaching me.
went out including the aircraft lights, the taxiway lights and my wand
lights had to go out as well.
The only way I
knew that the aircraft was getting closer was by the sound of the
In pitch black
condition I took a dive to the side of the taxiway and left the aircraft
to stop on his own.
He did manage
to stop and when the lights finally came on again the wing tip of that
aircraft was just inches away from the tail of one of our Lancasters.
think I made the right decision, or I might not have been telling this
asked if he had any sad stories to tell, Eric’s reply was that “the
previous one could have been!”
Eric had no
injuries during the war—not even a scratch and when asked if he would do
it again, he replied “without question!”
had the option to stay in the military, Eric says he was young and
foolish and opted to release in July 1946.
Ivy Rendall on 4 May 1941 in Ealing Middlesex at St. Barnabas Anglican
He says that
since he never did go overseas he had lots of time to start a family.
Carole was born in August 1945,
February 1947 and Richard arrived July 1952.
to civilian life, Eric went back to the movie business and
for the next
seven years worked for Pinewood Film Studios, as a Preview and Dubbing
occasional visits to the movie sets as Special Effects Projectionist.
So instead of
showing the finished product, he chose the more interesting and
exciting side of movie production.
In 1953 Eric
was bitten by the aircraft bug once again, and went to work for Fairey
remained for two years before joining Air Canada at Heathrow Airport in
He worked 12
years for Air Canada in London and was offered a transfer to Canada.
On 31 January
1967 Eric and Richard arrived in Halifax. Ivy and
followed on 13 February 1967.
In 1969 Carol
arrived with her family.
from Air Canada in September 1981.
He now has
four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Eric lost the
love of his life, Ivy, on 1 February 2005.
Eric is a 34
year Life Member of The Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester Nova Scotia
Branch No. 026.
Robert Keith Giddens
Keith was born
on 6 December 1923 at Londonderry Station,. Colchester County, Nova
father, Steele Giddens was a railway mail clerk and his mother, Pearl
nee Johnson, was a school teacher and homemaker.
Keith was the
fourth of five children. He had two older sisters, two younger sisters,
one older brother and one younger brother.
completed grade 10 in Londonderry Station and before joining the
military he worked at odd jobs.
In 1942, Keith
went to Halifax to join the military because he felt it was his duty to
was completed in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and then Keith was sent to Vimy
Barracks in Kingston, Ontario.
Before he knew
it Keith was back in Halifax setting sail for Liverpool, England aboard
THE LOUIS PASTEUR.
From there he
went to the R.C.C.S. Reinforce Unit at Cove, near Aldershot.
localities Keith took courses including waterproofing of motor
He was also
stationed at Hayling Island where there was a driving school for the
Keith was then
assigned to 4th Brigade, 2nd Division Head-quarters.
He went to
Normandy, near Caen, where a shall landed and he suffered a serious leg
flown back to England where he recuperated from his injury.
months he was assigned to C.S.R.U. at Cove which later became No. 3 Cdn
England, Keith had the opportunity to take some leave in London,
Manchester, Newcastle-On-Tyne, twice to Edinburgh and Glasgow, where he
trips on the hospital run somewhere between Aldershot and Crookham
roads, Keith passed a gravel road with a sign that said
yards to the spotted cow”. He was sure it was a pub and set his mind on
some day dropping in for a pint of beer.
Finally a day
came when all his passengers were admitted to the hospital and a friend
of his was waiting to get a ride back to Cove.
his friend that this was the day they would see the spotted cow.
So off they
drove and upon reaching the gravel road they soon sighted the pub.
barns and other buildings but no people or vehicles could be seen.
in front of the pub and together they went inside.
surprise when they saw that the only customers there were on-duty
Provost, a Sergeant and four Privates.
their beer they sat down and started talking.
Sergeant asked who was driving and when Keith responded, he was told to
take his vehicle behind the barn and park it beside their jeep.
They were then
advised that these men had recently been transferred to the Provost Corp
and were being instructed in their new duties.
say, no one asked the Sergeant what duties he was teaching them in a
recalled a bad memory he brought back from war.
completed his hospital run at Crookham cross roads and was preparing to
return to camp at Cove.
soldier asked if he was going to Aldershot as he had no drive back to
his camp. It was off Keith’s regular route but he agreed to take him
entered Aldershot the street ran parallel to the railway tracks.
On their right
they could see a bridge crossing the tracks and several people standing
on the bridge looking down on the tracks.
A man from the
crowd signaled them to stop and said “I say Canada, there’s a boy fell
off the bridge.
He’s laying on
the electric track and there’s a train due any minute”. They ran to the
bridge and saw the boy.
impossible to get down on their side of the bridge as it was a straight
The other side
was a slopped area and partly treed. They ran down and Keith pushed the
boy from the rail with a stick.
They soon had
him up and in the ambulance. They took him to the hospital but it was
too late. The boy’s mother arrived and she was, of course, very upset.
She told them
that her husband was in the British Army stationed in Africa.
As the war was
then over, Keith thought it very ironic that he was in Africa waiting to
return to his
England much like they were in England waiting to return to Canada.
But instead of
returning to a celebrating family, he would return to a family in
mourning. It was indeed a very sad occasion.
home on THE ACQUITANIA.
They ran into
a big storm which brought about a rough crossing and Keith remembers
H.D. Brinrod saying the crossing was “one of the worst I have
experienced in 45 years at sea”.
They landed in
Halifax and Keioth was discharged on 18 March 1946 to return to civilian
Merle Reid of Middleton, Colchester County, N.S. in Truro, N.S. on 26
They have four
daughters-Karen, Heather, Darlene and Cindy and three sons-David, Robert
discharge, Keith did odd jobs for approximately one year and then went
to work for the Post Office.
on the train as a mail clerk for about 10 years and in 1980 Keith
retired from the Post Office, finishing off a 33 year career.
playing cards, gardening and ATV camping and is a
46 year member
of The Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026.
Copy of the original telegram Keith's mother received
MND officially reporting Keith wounded in action on 12 July 1944)
(Below: A copy of the
original letter sent to Keith's mother from Lt. Colonel J.W. Johanson
dated France 20 July,
assuring her "there is no cause for worry")
(Below: Copy of original
telegraph Keith sent to his mother dated 14 January 1944 Time AM 10 07)
(Below: Copy of the original
FIELD SERVICE POST CARD that Keith mailed to his mother,
signed and dated 15 July
1946. The reverse side is also displayed below.)
Frank Gower Berry
Berry was born 30 March 1913 in Lower Economy, Colchester County, Nova
Scotia. He grew up in a
House built by his great uncle Burton
Berry. Here he lived with his parents, Lloyd and Agnes (Greenough)
brother Lyman and sisters Mina and
Gower attended the little one-room
schoolhouse in Lower
Economy, and he had many stories of his antics and school
experiences. He did, however, obtain his Grade XI certificate,
having written provincials in Great Village. The next few years
were filled with work in the woods and on the farm.
Gower enlisted early in WWII.
On 24 October 1940 he joined the Royal
Canadian Air Force.
He trained to be a Wireless
Operator and Air Gunner, and he did the bulk of his training in Western
Before going overseas, he returned to
Truro to marry Vi Geddes.
In 1941 he sailed from Halifax on a
They landed in Liverpool, and he was
sent to Bournemouth and then to Granville where he did further
Afterwards he was sent to Africa where
he spent time in a number of African countries.
He then made the trip, via the Indian
Ocean, through the Red Sea to Egypt and then Kenya.
Gower was teamed with a pilot and
navigator from South Africa.
Unfortunately, they failed their testing
and were unable to fly.
His next crew was from England, and they
were more successful.
One Christmas morning they flew to
The crew was too late for Christmas
dinner, but had some enjoyable leftovers.
Later they went into town where Gower
heard “White Christmas” for the very first time.
Air warfare was very dangerous at the
time. In one ten day period, Gower was involved in three different
Luck was on his side as he was not
seriously injured. His fellow crew members were not so lucky.
Gower was the only survivor of one of
After having flown missions for three
the ‘powers that be’ determined Gower
was in line for some home leave as he had not had a leave in that time.
His trip from Cairo to Nova Scotia was
certainly long and tiring.
He boarded a ship and sailed via the
Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea and from there to England.
Then he crossed the Atlantic to New York
City on the Queen Elizabeth II. From New York he traveled to
Ottawa by train and, then, after a
debriefing, to Nova Scotia.
While he was enjoying his stay at home,
Gower learned that the war had ended and he wouldn’t be going back.
After the war, Gower, Vi and daughter
Sharron lived in Lower Economy until 1949,
followed by a couple of years in Truro,
and then they moved to Halifax.
He worked for over twenty years at the
His retirement was filled with
carpentry, gardening and travel.
He had five grandchildren and seven
On one occasion, after Gower had retired
to Truro, while he was getting a haircut,
he heard another patron mention that he
was from Kenya.
The young man was very surprised to be
greeted in Swahili by a much older Canadian.
In their retirement years, Gower and Vi
Truro, Bridgewater and Lower Economy.
Wherever they were, however, both were
active in church and community.
They enjoyed being part of Seniors
groups and the Senior games.
Gower was a member of The Royal Canadian
Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026 and Vi was a member of the Ladies
Gower passed away in 2005 and Vi in 2006
Herbert Dawson MacDonald - World
MacDonald was born in Earltown, Nova Scotia on 10 March 1913.
parents were William McCrae and Roseann MacDonald but he was raised by
and Christine (Murray) MacDonald.
As a young
man, Herbert worked on the family farm in Earltown.
Herbert was a
veteran of the First World War,
serving as a
Zapper with 239 Battalion
and the Third
C.R.E. in France and Belgium.
war, Herbert worked for the Canadian
Railway as a sectionman, and retired after 41 years service.
He was a
member of Coldstream United Church,
also a member of the Good Neighbours Group.
also a 39 year,
Life Member of
the Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester
Branch No. 026, Truro, Nova Scotia.
married to Viola French and
they had six
children consisting of five girls and one boy.
They also had
He passed away
in March 1995 at
the age of 82
Ralph Manning Davis
I was born 3
August 1926 in Truro, Nova Scotia,
Richard Davis and Christina Davis, nee MacKenzie.
My father was
a cabinetmaker employed by
Craftsman and mother was a homemaker
and in later
years a secretary at Colchester Academy.
one sister Thelma
Ruth who married
MacFarlane and lives in Stellarton, Nova Scotia.
Alice Street school from primary to
grade 9 and
Colchester County Academy for grades 10 and 11.
Then I went to
work for Frank MacCallum’s Men’s Wear as a clerk and
after that I
became a truck driver and delivery man for C.O. Doyle’s.
1944 I tried to enlist in the Navy.
I had my
medical, filled in all required paperwork and was sent home to wait for
By year’s end
there was no call.
On 31 January
1945 I went to #6 Depot in Halifax and that evening I was dressed in
khaki and in the Army - a Private in the Infantry.
From #6 Depot
we were sent to Camp Borden, Ontario, to Canadian Machine Gun Training
received Basic and Advanced Training on machine guns (Vickers and Bren)
and Rangefinders Course.
was completed on 13 July 1945. World War II ended.
I then went on
furlough (leave) and upon returning I continued training for the Pacific
thankfully, ended in early August.
They sure kept
us busy trying to grow grass around the Orderly Roo
September, early October, a group of us from the East
were transferred to Camp Debert
at the former RAF (31 O.T.U.)
prepare for the arrival of Japanese POW’s from Britain.
Spring 1946 I was transferred to Citadel Hill and #6 Engineer’s
in Motor Pool
doing various jobs such as duty driver -
mail and transferring vehicles from Halifax area to R.C.E.M.E. Debert.
On 4 October
1946 I was discharged from the military at #6 Depot Halifax.
I have no
regrets and in fact I think I benefited from the experience.
On 7 August
1950 I married Elizabeth G. Harvey from Brookfield and together we
raised four sons.
passed away on 12 June 1996.
In May 1998 I
married D. Elizabeth (Betty) Smibert nee McCarthy.
I was employed
at Maritime Tel & Tel from 1948 to 1989 and retired with 41 years
From 1960 to
1981 I was a volunteer fire fighter at Truro Volunteer Fire Brigade.
include gardening and granddaughters - of which I have six.
By the way,
the Navy did call me up for service but by that time I was in Camp
Borden doing Basic Training.
I was paraded
to the Orderly Room, informed the Navy wanted my service and I was to
turn in my kit (blanket and such).
Officer-of-the-Day, Lieutenant Ed Ogilve of Truro listened to my story
as to why this situation came
to be and
before the day was over (and a few papers signed) I was still a Private
in the Army.
No regrets and
lots of memories and friends, of which both are fast fading.
Byron MacLaughlin Delaney -
World War II
Byron Delaney was born on 3 March
1911 at Delaney’s Settlement, Nova Scotia.
Malcolm and Lydia (nee McCallum) Delaney raised a large family that
consisted of seven girls and two boys.
Byron was a
woodsman in the Spring of 1943 when he received his letter to
report—first to his family doctor,
and if he saw
no physical reason why he should not join up, then
he was to
report to a recruiting office on Inglis Street on May 18th.
Byron was sent to Debert where he had more
tests and was passed A1 category.
Byron was then
ready for service in the King’s Army.
He joined up
for active duty at the Inglis Street office
and was sent
from there to the Windsor Street Depot in Halifax
on 21 May and
was sworn into the Canadian Army on 24 May 1943.
completed Basic Training in New Glasgow and
Training in Aldershot, Nova Scotia.
was sent to Windsor which turned out to be a holding unit. Byron wrote
in a journal
to take my turn in the kitchen and a sergeant in charge apparently
thought I would be an asset in the kitchen.
offered to make arrangements for me to work in the kitchen indefinitely,
rather than go overseas with the boys I had trained with—
refused as I was not about to peel potatoes for the duration”.
December 1943, he boarded
The Mauritania for
As they were
not accompanied by a convoy, they zig-zagged
all the way
across the Atlantic which meant frequently changing direction .
There were a
lot of deathly sick men on that trip.
They landed at
Liverpool, England on
and from there went to Aldershot, England and then to
Crossroads, where they remained until 17 February 1944.
Then Byron was
sent to Scotland and then Italy,
served with the West Nova Scotia Regiment.
slightly wounded in March 1944 and
wounded at the Hitler Line on 23 May 1944.
In his journal
he wrote “one day two West Novies got into a shouting match, but
settled that very quickly,
them ‘we are here to fight Germans, not each other’.”
July 1944, Byron sailed on the Netherlands Hospital ship
hospital ship, enroute to England, he became very ill
and the doctor
was concerned for his life.
Turned out his
kidney was damaged and it later had to be removed.
in Liverpool on 31 July 1944,
and by that
time he was beginning to feel better.
He was then
taken on the train to
19 Canadian General Hospital, where he remained until September 7th.
September 1944, outfitted in a new uniform
big enough to
fit over his body cast, displaying the red patches of the 1st Division;
Nova Scotia Regiment shoulder flashes and two gold bars (wound stripes),
was ready for home.
boarded The Lady
Nelson hospital ship and landed in Halifax
on 15 September 1944.
He spent the
weekend at Cogswell Street Hospital and on Monday the 18th,
he was taken
by ambulance to Debert Military Hospital.
at Debert until the 21st of December when he was released
disembarkation and Christmas leave combined.
to Debert Hospital after his leave was over and
until he was discharged on 18 July 1945.
Byron’s discharge from the Army he worked for Spencer Bros.
and later for
Brookfield Foods until his retirement in 1976.
Edna nee Woodlock in July 1941
at St. James
Presbyterian Church manse.
They had a son
Wayne and one granddaughter, Sarah.
He was a long
time member of the People’s Church and served for several years on the
He was also a
member of The Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026
away at the age of 84 on Tuesday, 15 August 1995.
He was a
resident in the Veteran’s Place, Colchester Regional Hospital, Truro.
Kenneth Frank Scott
Kenneth Frank Scott was born on 18
April 1921 in Toronto, Ontario.
William Henry Scott was a butcher and his mother, Mae nee Atkinson, was
seven children in the Scott family, 6 boys and one girl.
Ken was the
baby. His brother Henry was also in the Army and served during World
attended Maurice Cody Public School and Northern Vocational School in
his grade 10 education.
joining the military he worked for Canadian Tire.
November 1940 Ken thought that joining the military would be a good
thing to do
also thought it would be exciting too.
joined the Queen’s Own Rifles in Toronto as an Infantryman and
completed Basic Training in Sussex, New Brunswick.
was sent by train to Halifax where he boarded the
It took about
ten days to get to England with lots of destroyer and battleship
in Glasgow, Scotland, Ken then
train to Aldershot, England where he lived in
moved from camp to camp in southern England and combined operations
training in Scotland.
Then on 4 June
1944, Ken boarded a troop ship at Southhampton which remained in port
until during the night of 5 June.
Then the ship
set off for France.
landed on Juno Beach, Bernieres-sur-mer, at 7:15 a.m. on 6 June 1944.
They were the
first to land going ashore by landing craft and then wading in.
Ken was shot
in the leg running across the beach but managed to drag himself to a
hole in the wall
packed the wound with wet sand.
Later that day
a medic treated his leg and he was evacuated back to England on 7 June.
his regiment at the end of August in Bologne, France.
went on to fight in Belgium and liberated Holland (The Schelt Estuary),
then on to
Germany where they continued to fight until 7 May 1945.
then returned to Holland and from there to England.
Ken took leave
from Holland to go back to England to get married in Brighton, England
on 12 May 1945.
Ken admits to
having too many sad memories and too many sad stories he could tell.
humorous memory that he recalled was when his platoon was in a static
one place for about a week), in Belgium (Fall of 1944).
had someone on “the listening post” (Guard Duty—about 200’ out from the
being on duty one night, and the next thing he remembered was his relief
tapping him on the shoulder to wake him up!
He was lucky
everything was quiet that night!
regrets are the many friends he lost in the war but when asked if
he would do it
again he quickly responded “YUP!”.
to Canada in August 1945, leaving a young, pregnant wife behind.
September 1945, Ken was discharged from the service by reason “to return
to civil life on demobilization”.
It was a year
later before Ken’s wife Jeanne nee Jenkins and their infant son could
him and after
arriving at Pier 21 in Halifax, she had to take the train to Toronto to
settled just north of Toronto and raised their family of one son and two
eventually produced 10 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
from the Department of National Defence.
In 2002, the
couple moved to Truro where they reside at Parkland Estates, an assisted
over the years have included curling, golf, baseball, hockey and
especially his family.
He is a 15
year member of The Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026
Ralph Leslie Willis
Leslie Willis was born in Truro, Nova Scotia on 1 May 1920.
Isaac W. Willis was a Porter and his mother, Blanche Stoutly was a Char
Ralph grew up
in a family of nine—five brothers, three sisters and one adopted
of high school Ralph worked as a labourer.
He tried to
enlist in the military but was refused admission in Truro, due to his
color, so he went to Montreal and was enlisted in May 1940.
By the end of
the year 1940, Isaac and Blanche Willis had four sons serving in the
Ralph took his
Basic Training in Petawawa, Ontario and
completion was shipped to England where he spent the
years in all parts of England, Scotland and Wales.
Division was known as General McNaughton’s traveling circus.
On 10 July
1943 they landed in Sicily, Italy with the 8th Army.
always held the high land so they were forced to use
mules to carry
their radios and equipment to the mountains.
party would go forward with the infantry to establish FOOs (forward
infantry needed gun fire the artillery was there to support them.
the 1st Division’s rest area in Italy.
they moved on to Ortona, Italy for the winter where they were heavily
bogged down with mud.
Then to Naples
and Salarno and then to Cassino where there was heavy fighting and
Cassino was a
fortress and a monastery where the Canadian Infantry did heavy
monastery fell they moved on to Hitler’s Line then the Gustav Line.
they moved forward to Rome which was taken on the 5th of June.
After a three
week rest period in Rome, Ralph’s division moved to
Ravanna and then to Florence.
Their last day
in Italy was 26 January 1945.
they sailed to France and then moved on to the
and arrived at the town of Boon.
The town of
Boon took the regiment to their hearts.
It was here
that many friends were made.
was a welcomed change after Italian wine.
then conveyed to Nijmengen, Holland
and then on to
Rotterdam where they were billeted.
days with the infantry were spent in Richwald Forest.
He recalls an
infantry officer telling his officer that
they were a
bunch of kids between the ages of 12 and 14
that were all
trigger happy kids and he thought it would be a shame for us to get
killed now that the war was over.
boasts that the infantry (which ranged in age from 17 to 22 years) was
second to none.
the deaths of many friends and buddies but proudly admits he would do it
all over again.
war concluded, Ralph’s trip home wasn’t a guarantee.
the Americans were taking up most of the space on the ships,
and many of his comrades had to volunteer to go to Japan.
“Fortunately I didn’t have to go to Japan,” he said.
June 1945, we arrived in Halifax on
The Dutchess of Bedford.”
no serious injuries in the war and
from the military in October 1945.
June Paris in November 1945 and
children, Ralph Jr., Marlane and Charles.
He was a self
employed trucker until he retired.
wartime service Ralph was awarded the 1939-45 Star, Italy Star, Defence
Medal, and France and Germany Star.
Ralph is a 29
year member of The Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch No.
026, Truro, N.S.
Archibald Franklin Ross
born in Truro, Nova Scotia on 16 May 1924.
He was the
only child of Roy and Ethel nee Fraser Ross.
His Dad worked
on the Canadian National Railway and his Mom was a homemaker.
completion of grade 10, Archie took a machine tool course
at Nova Scotia
Tech and then went to work
Cleaners in Truro, Nova Scotia.
Archie went to
Halifax at the old hotel on the corner of
Barrington Street in either July or August 1942 to join the military.
He was sent
back home and never got called up until May 1943.
Training in Sydney, Nova Scotia he took a
Engineering Course at HMCS CORNWALLIS.
1943, he was sent to Montreal aboard
a new frigate
HMCS STORMONT, which went from Halifax to Azores to Ireland
North Atlantic 21 days at a time, for several months.
He then went
to Liverpool, England to join the June 6 invasion fleet.
overseas with HMCS SWANCIE and HMCS MATANE, which had problems with gun
fire from shore at different times.
over and they had some near misses.
did get hit and was put out of commission and they had to tow her to an
the bitterly cold convoy runs to Murmansk, escorting ships delivering
food and military supplies to Russia.
were considered the most dangerous Canadian sea duty during the war.
included a 63-day run, covering over 11,000 miles, from Gibraltar to
Halifax and out into the Atlantic again to hunt submarines.
It was the
longest voyage of any Canadian frigate during the war.
It was a rough
voyage with concentrated submarine attacks and bombing by aircraft.
They had to
chop ice and steam it off during the run to Murmansk to keep the ship
trip past the German submarine pens at La Rochelle the STORMONT had to
search for survivors of
bombers that had been shot down on their way to Bordeaux.
German shore battery opened up with 16-inch guns, killing Ron Wilson of
Mr. Wilson was
the only casualty on the STORMONT during the war.
He was buried
at sea and Archie remembers it as a very sad time for all.
the STORMONT escorted the floating docks that were used to
for the Normandy invasion in June 1944.
Archie was on
the ship for 1-1/2 years and traveled 63,500 miles and
other sailor from Truro by the name of Adrian Francis.
returned to Halifax on the STORMONT in January 1945.
He was then
sent to Vancouver where he fired boilers until returning home and
the military on 26 October 1945.
He returned to
work at Bagnell’s Cleaners then moved to Sackville, New Brunswick
worked in the laundry business for 35 years.
retirement Archie moved back to Truro where he still resides.
in respect of service during World War II include 39-45 Star; France &
Voluntary Service, 39-45 George VI Medal, 44 June 6 Overlord “France”
and 41-45 Russian Medal.
On 9 April
2006, Archie was presented with the “Murmansk Run” medal from the
Loyus Ferguson in 1951.
When asked if
he had any hobbies he said he loved racing horses and that took all his
"When East Meets West"
Millicent Eveline MACCORMACK
Eveline Dunbar was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta on September 7, 1917.
was a banker and her mother Laura nee Paton was a housewife.
She was the
second of five children
and had two
brothers and two sisters.
Living on the
prairies Millicent recalled
school when the weather was 40 below
welcome the days she could stay for lunch
with a peanut
stated that the depression didn’t bother her family much,
because of her Dad’s occupation.
school, Millicent went to nursing school in Morden, Manitoba.
studies she went to the United States
worked for a few years at a male clinic.
decided to go out west where she went to work for Canadian Pacific
Airlines as a stewardess.
person she stated it was the perfect way to see the world.
recalled traveling to the
Territories and Alaska, which she found quite interesting.
Millicent joined the Navy at HMCS Discovery in Vancouver
immediately sent to HMCS Stadacona Naval Hospital in Halifax.
On the train
across the country the riots on the streets of
big news, so to her it sounded like an interesting destination.
remembered that soon after her arrival the residents in the north end of
to stay in their homes as there were problems at the ammunitions storage
site across the harbour.
was also put on alert and during the night there was a loud bang which
was follow– ed by a flash of light.
it was quickly contained and there were no casualties.
enjoyed working in the operating room at HMCS Stadacona, which at the
time, was not a busy hospital.
She was also
sent to work at the hospital at HMCS Cornwallis for a short time,
was a Tri-Services Hospital for tuberculosis.
Millicent met her husband Harold MacCormack.
for six months before being married in December 1946 in a
at St. David’s Church in Halifax.
Millicent’s family could not attend the wedding, she was given away by
Desmond William “Debby” Piers, CM, DSC, CD, RCN,
was a Canadian
naval legend and celebrated wartime hero.)
military career ended in 1946. In 1948 she moved with her husband to
they still reside. They raised two girls and have two grandsons who
live in Toronto.
active as a 36 year legion member at Branch No. 026, Anglican Church
Colchester Chapter and loves her curling!
Harold Phillip MACCORMACK
While I was at
a cadet summer camp in 1939 news came over the
PA system that
war was declared between Germany and Great Britain.
A good friend
of mine at the camp decided to go into town and join up and he asked me
to go along with him, and I did.
When the time
came to see the recruiting officer we had to tell him that we were
pre-medical students in college and he
turned us down. He urged us to continue with our education,
the war on we could be needed in the medical branch of the service.
graduated my first posting was with the Army but I wasn’t
with them for
very long and was transferred to the Navy and that
is where I
ended for the duration of the war.
When the fleet
air arm arrived at Halifax, some of the crew were billeted at Stadacona
and I lived
while they were ashore, and I got to know most of them.
One of the
pilots developed a bad toothache that was difficult to treat
we tried didn’t work for him.
One day he
said if you come up in the plane with me and when we reach 30,000 feet
I’ll point to
the tooth that seems to be causing all my trouble.
I was the
dentist that was selected to go up with him. We weren’t in the air very
long when he turned his head
pointed to the aching tooth. He landed the plane and we went up to the
clinic at Stadacona and I removed the tooth.
He felt so
relieved afterwards that he said that when we were up in the air he
a large cruise
ship coming in with war brides and children from England headed for
”let’s go out
and welcome them to Canada”. It was some welcome all right—we roared
over that boat one half dozen times
and did many
loops at the same time.
I’m sure the
people on that boat were glad when they entered Halifax harbour.
posting was to the Protector Naval Base across from Sydney, Nova
From the base
one could see ships loading up with planes, tanks and food for the war
In the morning
the ships could be seen leaving Sydney Harbour loaded down but by mid
some of those
ships limped back to Sydney with tanks hanging over the side of the
and some of
the tails of the planes were shot off.
All during the
war German submarines were evident between Sydney and Newfoundland,
Canadian Navy did an admirable job keeping the ships afloat with
supplies for the war effort.
The first time
I met my future wife was in the operating room at the naval hospital in
a naval nursing sister that was posted from Vancouver to Stadacona in
When I had the
occasion to use the operating room, Millicent was the nurse that
She was very
efficient and capable. I thought that she was the girl for me
and after a
few dances and theatre parties we decided to get married—a matter of
East meets West.
MacCormack is an active 44 year Life Member at RCL Colchester N.S.
Branch No. 026
DECOSTE, Phillip Clifford Sr.
Clifford DeCoste, Sr. was born in Truro, Nova Scotia on
10 May 1927 to
David and Nellie nee Phillips DeCoste.
the military he worked on the family farm.
the Army in Halifax on 30 November 1943 at
16 years of
age and completed his Basic Training in
Debert, Nova Scotia.
Phil was with
the Infantry Service Unit until
1944 when he was discharged for being “under age”.
discharge, Phil took an auto body course in North Sydney, Cape Breton.
He worked for
25 years at Goodspeeds and five years for Scott’s Truck in Debert.
He opened his
own body shop in the
mid 70’s and
worked until he semi-retired at the age of 65.
work, Phil kept busy in his body shop right up until
he passed away
on 21 December 2005.
predeceased by his wife of 45 years, Mildred Catherine nee Saunders.
He had two
Phil liked to
hunt, fish, camp and travel.
He was a 44
year member of the
Gerald Edward Patriquin
Patriquin was born on 16 May 1921 at Lower Greenville, Cumberland
County, Nova Scotia.
Charles was a farmer and a lumberman and his mother Sadie nee Hardie was
Gerald was the
youngest of two sisters and three brothers
died as babies), and he has one younger sister.
brother, Leroy, served during World War II with The 8th Hussars Armour
He was wounded
in Italy and after he recuperated he went to
reinforcement with the Three Rivers Regiment.
away a few years ago.
went to school in Halifax and East Wallace completing grade 8.
enlisting in the military he worked for Malagash Salt Co.
it was patriotic to serve his country, Gerald signed on the dotted line
and completed Basic Training in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
Shown at far left is Corporal Ed Longager from Saskatoon,
two female Dutch
interpreters and Gerald Patriquin).
Basic, Gerald went to Kingston, Ontario
Training as a Lineman at the School of Signals.
Friday 13 December 1942, Gerald boarded the
to Scotland and England.
When the war
was coming to an end, Gerald and three
sent to Amerfort, Holland, which was German
They went to the telephone office and worked in the basement where the
Some of the
German cable technicians were also
there and they
worked side by side for 10 days
them were two young Dutch female interpreters who went home each night.
August 1945, Gerald boarded the troop ship
for his return trip to Halifax.
He was to take
a short leave prior to being sent to
he was to be trained for Japan.
thankfully, upon arrival in Halifax it was announced that Japan had
released from the military as his service was no longer required.
The same year
he was hired as a lineman with Nova Scotia Power Corporation
and his first
job was in Truro, Nova Scotia.
In 1947 Gerald
found himself back in the military with the
Signals, as a lineman, stationed in Halifax.
career ended in 1971 in Debert, Nova Scotia.
reenlistment in 1947, Gerald married Doris
in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
They have two
daughters and one son and three grandchildren. Doris passed away in
to the Masonic Lodge and is the founding member of Royal Canadian
Branch No. 104.
He is a 53
year Life Member at Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026 and presently resides
Estates in Truro, Nova Scotia.
military service Gerald has been awarded the following:
France Germany Star; Defence Medal; 39-45
Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp;
War Medal; Peace Keeping Medal;
Forces Decoration (CD);
Campaign (overlord Juno Beach);
Slack was born in Truro, Nova Scotia on 24 December 1923.
James Slack, worked for Canadian National Railway as a brakeman and
later a stationary engineer
and he also
served in the military during World War I in Canada and France.
was Maudie Parks and she was a busy housewife who raised two girls and
Frank was the
second oldest. He started school in Rockingham then moved to Torbrook
he attended a
one room school house to grade nine.
the military Frank worked in farming and apple processing factories.
In April 1942,
thinking it was the right thing to do, Frank went to Kentville and
joined the military.
his Basic Training in Aldershot and then served with the Service Corp
for two years, in Aldershot and Windsor.
transferred to the Infantry and was sent to Orillia, Ontario for his
It was VE Day
when his course ended.
He was then
sent to Camp Borden for Advance Training which ended on VJ Day.
Frank was then
moved to the Veterans Guard (these were World War I veterans) who looked
after prisoners of war
camps in Ontario and Quebec and then ended up going to their
Frank was then
sent to Lethbridge, Alberta where they picked up five train loads of
prisoners and headed for Halifax.
Halifax, they picked up a few prisoners along the way and by the time
they reached Halifax the
prisoners numbered 3,000.
arrival in Halifax the prisoners were loaded on a
The Mortania and
transported to England.
Frank was given ten days leave prior to returning home to Halifax.
Once he was
back in Halifax Frank decided to release from the military. He was
released in May 1946 “end of demobilization”.
no injuries during the war, has no regrets and said he would do it all
release from the military Frank went to work for the War Assets for two
and then went
into the painting business where he worked until his retirement in 1989.
In 1955 Frank
married Yvonne King and they had two children, a girl Tracey and
a son Dana and
now Frank has five grandchildren.
away in 1982 and Frank remarried Joyce Creelman in 1994.
They reside in
Truro, Nova Scotia.
curling and golf and is a 30 year member of
Legion Colchester N.S.
Branch No. 26.
Frank Woodford GOODWIN
Goodwin was born in Coburg, New Brunswick (Baie Verte area) on 16 March
He was the son
of Woodford and Lottie Goodwin.
in the Royal Canadian Army (Active Force) on 31
March 1941 in
Woodstock, New Brunswick
through various medical assessments and was deemed fit for military
six months training with the 2 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment (Mobile).
of training Frank was in the lineup for embarkation when he was pulled
out of the
lineup and the last doctor he had seen said he was not physically fit
for overseas service.
It has been
recorded that Frank’s father said to the doctor that he had passed three
doctors previously and
passed him but this doctor said, “yes, but he didn’t get pass me”.
discharged on 10 September 1941 due to being unfit physically for
military service in
Military Camp, Ontario.
Henry Ryerson Smith
World War II
Smith, aka Bud, was born in Truro, Nova Scotia in 1918.
He was the
only son of Henry Webster Smith and Elizabeth Smith nee Ryerson and he
Rector, Marie Butte (who was a Nursing Sister
during WW II), Pat Sanford and Dorothy
Both Rita and Marie are now deceased and Pat and Dorothy both reside in
Bud got his
Grade 12 at the Truro Academy and worked for the Nova Scotia Light and
Power Company for 2-1/2
enlisting in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
stationed at various Air Force bases out west before going overseas.
On 13 June
1944, while serving with 108 Squadron, Flight Lieutenant Henry Ryerson
Smith was shot down over Malta.
He was 26
years of age. At the Malta Memorial Cemetery in Malta, Henry is
remembered at Panel 15,
Memorial is situated in the area of Floriana and is easily identified by
the Golden Eagle
surmounts the column. It stands outside the King’s Gate, the main
entrance to Valletta.
takes the form of a column fifteen metres high of travertine marble from
Tivoli in the Sabine Hills near Rome,
incised with a
light reticulated pattern and surmounted by a gilded bronze eagle two
stands on a circular base around which the names are commemorated on
Memorial, built on a site generously provided by the Government of
those who lost their lives whilst serving with the Commonwealth Air
bases in Austria, Italy, Sicily, islands of the Adriatic and
Mediterranean, Malta, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco,
Yugoslavia and Gibraltar, and who have no known grave.
“We will remember
(23 October 200
Keith Ross PRATT
Keith Ross Pratt
was born on 19 March 1923 in Truro, Nova Scotia.
His father Wallace
was a lumberman and his mother, Sarah Alice nee Crowe, was a busy
Keith was the
oldest of seven children, two girls and five boys.
He completed his
grade eight education attending schools in Onslow, Mountain and Belmont.
In March 1944 Keith
went to Halifax where he joined the military as an Artilleryman.
He completed Basic
Training at A23 Unit Training Center in Dartmouth and
was then sent to
Debert which was a holding unit before being shipped overseas.
In the Fall of 1944
Keith was shipped overseas on the
It landed in
Liverpool and he was then sent to Bramshot, for a medical.
The next six weeks
were spent in Aldershot, England where he trained with the Infantry.
He was then sent to
Belgium where he joined The North Nova Scotia Highlanders,
then to Holland and
When the war was
over, Keith remained in occupied Germany for 11 months
remembers an incident in the Town of Norden, Germany.
It was on 4 May
1945 and a truce had been called.
Nearby there was a
brewery and one of his buddies had a bit too much to drink.
He then proceeded
to chase a girl down the road and in the chase he lost his rifle.
A few of the guys
got together to search for the rifle and luckily they found it.
also lives with sad memories. Keith went from England to France, then
to Gent, Belgium.
The night before
joining the North Nova Scotia Highlanders,
he remembers the
Germans digging graves to bury members of the Highlanders.
left him with a terrible feeling.
Also, Keith sadly
witnessed the killing of 43 soldiers in The Battle in Bienen.
He also witnessed
starvation in Holland and to this day he tells of the story of a
little girl trying
to get a drink of water from a tap, that did not work.
The tap was
attached to a house that had one whole side of it blown off. He assumed
the little girl was an orphan.
On 9 June 1946
Keith arrived at Halifax onboard
The entire crew
paraded from Pier 21 to The Commons.
He went home on
leave until his release on 24 July 1946, as which time he returned to
On 15 May 1947
Keith married Shirley Gertrude McCallum at Brunswick Street United
Church in Truro, Nova Scotia.
They have three
children, Katherine, Sharon and Ross.
They also have five
grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
Keith worked for
DOMCAR for 31 years as a “jack of all trades” including blacksmithing.
Keith and Shirley
reside in North River.
He belongs to The
Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch
Charles Robert MACLAREN
WORLD WAR I
In May 2006, while visiting World War II Veteran Charles
“Bert” MacLaren in the hospital,
talking about the Wartime Memories project that I had been working on.
come right out and ask me,
but when he
told me that his Dad was a veteran of the First World War
that we add his Dad’s story to the project.
tears to my eyes when Bert said “you’d do that?”
didn’t know me that well because I’d do just about anything for a
Bert when he returned home, and getting some information
of his Dad, he once again said something that I’ll never forget.
Bert said that
his Dad died when he was only ten years old and he never got to do
anything for him.
completion of this story, Bert now feels that he has in fact done
something for his Dad.
honored to say that I’ve been part of it.—Jane Allen, dated 27 May 2006
family records, Charles Robert MacLaren was born on 6 August 1897 in
Moncton, Westmorland County,
and like his son, he was known by everyone as “Bert”.
On 5 August
1915, he enlisted in the 40th Canadian
Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force at Truro, Nova Scotia.
Charles was a
driver and served with the 9th Canadian Field Ambulance.
was discharged from the service by reason of “Demobilization” on 20
his Discharge Certificate, Charles was War Service Badge Class “A” No.
description of this soldier was as follows: -
years 6 months
Scars Scar above left knee
returned from the war he met and married a widow Mary Agnes Clish nee
When the two
were married, Charles took over the responsibility of raising Mary’s two
Mary had two more children, Charles Burton and Stewart.
employed by Canadian National Railway as a spare board
which meant he
did any job that came along.
He worked when
he could but following the war Charles was a very sick man.
In 1932 he was
diagnosed with TB and was sent to stay in a Sanatorium in Kentville,
discussed the war with his children but his
wife told the
children that their Dad had been gassed while serving overseas.
eventually released from the sanatorium and diagnosed with a chronic
By this time,
Mary’s ailing parents also lived with the family which resided at 219
Brunswick Street in Truro, Nova Scotia.
day and night tending to her sick husband and parents. There was no
except for a small pension that her father received monthly.
brother-in-law, Samuel Blades, would go up every evening to sit with
Charles just so that Mary could get some rest.
on 15 February 1934 at the age of 36 years.
Mary was left
with a small insurance policy which she spent on his funeral and a stone
for his grave.
get any easier for Mary.
baking and selling her goodies to the neighbors and whenever her boys
made money they pretty much gave her half of everything.
any member of his family were ever compensated
for his being
gassed while overseas.
World War II Veteran Charles “Bert” Burton MacLaren is
the only surviving member of this family.
mother, two half brothers George and Clarence Clish and
brother Stewart Leslie MacLaren, are all resting at Watson’s Cemetery.
Shirley Burton Jamieson
I was born on
26 October 1921 to Berton Lee and Lucy Kathern Jamieson nee
My father did
seasonal work and my mother was a homemaker.
I had one
older sister who is now deceased.
I completed my
grade nine education in North Wallace
and then went
to work for the Sleeping and Dining Car Department
Canadian National Railway in Halifax.
joined the military at No. 6 Depot Halifax on 8 December 1942 with a
friend Earl MacKenzie, who
Basic Training in Parkdale (New Glasgow) and was then sent to Aldershot,
Nova Scotia for Advanced Training as a Soldier.
After a route
march and mustard chamber in Aldershot, I came down with double
my Pulems from an A to a B2. After a short course in Diabetics,
I was shipped
overseas in July 1943 aboard the NEW AMSTERDAM.
There was no
convoy to escort us so we were on our own. Because I was a Corporal,
and a volunteer, I was
the Dutch crew as a Baker.
I was with the Service Corp attached to 24 Canadian
Hospital which was located in Horley, England.
was one of 22 Cooks for 1,200 patients, 500 staff, 90 Nursing Sisters,
Officers, one Warrant Officer, 30 Sergeants,
and other ranks.
General Hospital specialized in surgery.
five operating tables, consistently being used.
was performed the patient was then
out to a convalescent hospital.
would fly the patients into
Airport where an ambulance
load and deliver the patient for surgery.
I suffered a
head injury from shrapnel during an air raid and
I have a scar
on my head that is, to this day, very obvious.
On 17 March
1946 I returned home on the ILE DE FRANCE.
discharged in April 1946 and returned to my position as 2nd Cook and
Chef with the Canadian National Railway.
I was employed
with them for 34 years and I was also employed as Food Manager at Mount
Allison University for eight years.
I married Anne
MacKenzie James in 1952 and I am Step Father to Marilyn, Karen and
I am a 48 year
member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch No. 26
thoroughly enjoy curling in the local Curling Club.
Note: The sad
ending to this story is that Earl MacKenzie,
the young man
I joined up with, never returned home from the war.
Walter Alvin Perrin
Perrin was born on 27 April 1922 in Dean, Halifax County, Nova Scotia.
Guy, was a “Jack of all trades” which included carpentry, farming and
Alice nee Dean, was a homemaker.
Walter was the
second oldest of nine children.
He had two
sisters and six brothers.
his grade 8 education in a one room schoolhouse in Woodside, just
In May or June
1940, Walter took a train from Upper Musquodoboit
with his mind made up to join the Army.
medical was finished he was told to go home until he started shaving.
So back he
In August 1940
land was starting to get cleared for the building at Camp Debert.
there looking for work and it just happened
that a fire
got away from the crew that was clearing
the land and
they put everyone there to work fighting the fire.
He was lucky
enough to stay there burning bush until November.
Then back home
again where he worked in the woods.
In May 1941,
Walter joined the Army at the Truro Armouries.
He was sent to
#Six Depot Halifax on 27 May 1941 and from there took Basic Training in
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
On 28 August
1941, Walter was sent to Petawawa, Ontario where he joined the 82nd
Bty 4th Anti
Tank Regiment RCA on 20 September 1941.
left Petawawa on 5 October 1941 enroute to Halifax, arriving 7 October
1941 and then boarded
Transport AORANGI for overseas.
recalled that after a couple of days out from Halifax they ran into
majority of personnel on the boat were sick, including him.
in Greenock, Scotland on 17 October 1941 and were towed up Clyde River
disembarked and got aboard a train for Aldershot, England, arriving in
complete darkness on 18 October 1941.
stationed in Aldershot until August 1942 then moved to Nutley in England
and on to Brighton-Hove on 30
He then moved
to Sheffield Park on 15 January 1943 and on 20 January 1943
he ended up in
the hospital with a broken leg from jumping off the back of a 60/100
weight transport truck.
In March 1943
he returned back to his Battery.
most of the summer of 1943 up in Northern England on Exercises and moved
from Sheffield Park to
Park on 15 October 1943.
boarded a train on 14 November 1943 enroute to Liverpool England and
boarded a boat which docked at
Africa on 26 November 1943. Two Batteries stayed in Algiers and two
Batteries went on to Italy.
three weeks in staging area, they were put aboard a train in box cars.
On the box
cars read “8 Horses or 30 Men”.
They landed in
Phillipville and celebrated Christmas there.
Walter contacted the dysentery (back door trots), and was sent to the
hospital in Constantine.
morning in hospital, Walter was on his way to the washroom when he met
one of his school buddies.
discharged from hospital Walter was sent to an English holding unit.
He was a
complete stranger among them.
After a couple
of days there he was given a box of rations and put aboard the train
with all open cars.
He was heading
back to Phillipville to board a boat for Italy.
He landed in
Naples, Italy then had another box car ride to join his unit at Gravina,
Then his unit
moved from Gravina to go to Ortona.
When on the
move they stopped for a night by the Sangro River
and dug in
their two man pup tents.
In the early
hours of the morning a wind and rain storm filled their tents soaking
a humourous story about when he received his promotion to Sergeant in
They were in
Italy at the time and being a Sergeant meant that once a month
he could buy a
bottle of whiskey, which he did.
and some of his buddies proceeded across a field in Italy drinking the
until it ran
out and then they got into some vino.
When they got
back to camp, Walter passed out and there was no way his buddies could
get him inside the 2-man pup tent.
And so, his
buddies simply took the tent down and put it back up over top of him.
they were moved back across Italy for the Hitler line.
wounded on 26 May 1944 with shrapnel in his leg.
He was sent to
the 14 Cdn General Hospital, returning to his unit on 21 June 1944.
was out for a rest period and training during the month of July and in
August moved back for Gothic Line.
Line the Regiment went on to Coriano.
four M10s to a troop and the Troop Officer had just called in the M10
Commanders from their day positions to go into their night posts.
Walter was the
Troop Commander of his M10 and had just arrived back at Headquarters to
He was just
sliding down the front when his M10 (open top tank)
got a direct
hit from mortar fire and four of his crew were killed.
Lloyd Dean from Dean (he and Walter went to the same school); Leslie
Buttle who was from New Carlisle, Quebec.
joined the Army he and his sister sang and played guitar on a radio
station at New Carlisle known as Boots and Buddie.
There was also
Carroll Conrad who was from New Canada, Lunenberg.
married and had two children, one born after he went overseas.
Walter contacted Carroll’s brother and oldest daughter.
died shortly after this and the daughter now lives in Bridgewater.
And the last
crew member who died was William Cornell who was from North Battleford,
The date was
14 September 1944. After the direct hit on Walter’s M10 he was placed
on another M10 .
Commander, who was also a Sergeant, was wounded that same day.
The next day
Walter was given a new crew and M10 with orders to carry on.
At the end of
October 1944, Walter contracted jaundice and was sent to 5th Cdn
Hospital in Rome.
there until the first week of December and returned back to his unit on
9 December 1944.
There was a
special troop formed up with 2-Pdr guns with squeeze bore adapters.
floated across Montone River and dragged by hand up the bank.
On 11 December
1944, one gun took a direct hit from an 88 killing two Sergeants and
wounding two others.
Walter was sent up to take the place of the Troop Sergeant.
with this special troop until early January 1945, spending Christmas up
at the front, and then returning to his regular troop.
middle of January 1945 his troop went to a rest area.
Ceroia, Italy on 13 February 1945 and went to Leghorn, Italy where they
loaded vehicles on to a landing craft transport.
He then left
Leghorn on 24 February 1945 landing in Marseilles, France.
vehicles on train and traveled across France to Bas Warneton, Belgium,
landing on 4 March 1945.
billeted out in private homes and after they
were there a
few days they turned in their M10 that they brought from Italy and
was issued new
ones with 17 pounder guns mounted.
On 4 April
1945, they loaded their M10s on rail flat cars landing in Nigmegan,
Holland or from Emden to
Groningen, Holland to new billets.
volunteered for the Pacific Theatre. He left his unit on 10 June 1945
and went to Brussels, Belgium.
From there he
had his first airplane ride, flying to Guilford, England,
He was then
transported to Aldershot, England on 13 June 1945.
Aldershot, Walter went to Buckingham Palace and was awarded the Military
Medal by King George VI on 29 June 1945.
Aldershot on 4 July 1945 and went to Greenock, Scotland in preparation
for trip back to Canada, aboard the Ille de France,
On 4 April
1945, they loaded their M10s on rail flat cars landing in Negmegan,
Holland on 5 April 1945 for the liberation of Holland.
On 16 April
1945 they went across the Rhine River on floating bridges ending up in
Emden, Germany on 3 May 1945.
VE Day, 8 May
1945, they moved from Emden to Assen near Groningen, Holland to new
volunteered for the Pacific Theatre. He left the unit on 10 June 1945
and went to Brussels, Belgium.
From there he
had his first airplane ride to Guilford, England.
Then he was
transported to Aldershot England.
On 29 June
1945, while in Aldershot, Walter went to Buckingham Palace and was
awarded the Military Medal by King George VI.
Aldershot on 4 July 1945 and went to Greenock, Scotland .
He boarded the
Ille de France, and landed in Halifax on 14 July 1945.
He was then
granted 30 days leave and then reported to Debert on 15 August 1945 to
Anti-Tank Coy, RCA, 3 Infantry Regiment.
got to the Pacific.
He left 3 A/Tk
Regt to 2 Transit Camp, Debert from Transit Camp to #6 Depot Halifax on
2 October 1945.
discharged 4 October 1945.
On 28 November
1946, Walter married Lois Dean.
They moved to
Glenholme on a farm and raised eight children, six girls and two boys.
He went to
work with 12 ROD Sub Depot at Debert from 1953 to 1959 and then worked
at the Dockyard in Halifax until
1962 and then
back to Debert in November 1962 at Medical Depot retiring in December
lived in Truro since 1976 and his family has grown to include 12
grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
He belongs to
St. Andrews United Church and the RCL Cobequid Branch No. 072 Great
1939-45 STAR; ITALY STAR; FRANCE & GERMANY STAR; DEFENCE MEDAL;
SERVICE MEDAL & CLASP; and WAR MEDAL 1939-45.
Cyrus Hugh Langille
Langille was born on 1 October 1922 in Brule, Colchester County, Nova
Danford Laurence Langille was a farmer and his mother, Mary Ann nee
Gunn, was a housewife.
Cyrus was an
only child and at the age of six months his family moved to Marshville.
completed his grade 10 education and then went to work for McCain’s in
From there he
worked at the Shipyard in
Pictou and in
1944 he went to Halifax where he joined the Army
mechanic. Basic Training was completed in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and
Training was completed in Aldershot, Nova Scotia.
completion of Advance Training he was on his way
to Debert as
part of the next rotation to go overseas when
VE Day was
After a couple
of weeks, Cyrus was sent home
without pay and on 13 April 1946,
released from the military “on completion of service”.
from the military, Cyrus worked as a carpenter for a few years
and then went
to work for Murdock’s as the Service Manager.
He then worked
at Goodspeed’s where he spent approximately
20 years and
ended his career in 1990, after working 10 years at Stuart’s.
made it overseas but his
was a real benefit in his civilian occupation.
On 3 November
1951, Cyrus married Irene Mabel nee Langille from Brule.
Irene is a 31
year member of The Ladies Auxiliary and Cyrus is a 55 year member
Canadian Legion Colchester
Enid MACKENZIE nee NICHOL
I’m best known
as Nikki and I was born on 23 December 1926 in Bencastle, England. My
Nichol was a farmer and landscape gardener while my mother Isabella Jane
Bellas was a
I have one
older sister who resides in a nursing home in Springhill and
I had one
brother who was killed on 7 June 1944 in Normandy.
In 1927 my
family moved to East Amherst.
Grade 12 at Amherst Senior High.
In May 1945 I
was working at the Royal Bank in
Amherst when a
recruiting team came to the Armouries.
Florence Colbourne, and I decided to sign up.
wanted to help the war effort so when the opportunity came, I took it!
We were sent
to Halifax and then shipped by train to Kitchener, Ontario for
and then a Clerk’s Course.
I was then
posted to Headquarters, on Bell Road, in Halifax,
at the Farm
discharged in May 1946 as the
Women’s Army Corp was being disbanded.
I would have
stayed in the military had it been possible.
certainly an experience I would do all over again!
In 1949 I
married Clyde MacKenzie and have a family of three sons and one
I have been a
widow since 1974.
listening to music, dancing, reading and doing crosswords, and, of
I am a 37 year
Life Member of Colchester N.S. Branch No. 26 Royal Canadian Legion
Additional note submitted by Comrade
never toot her own horn so I thought it necessary to add the following
too many events held at Branch No. 26 which Nikki isn’t involved.
She spent 20
years on the Bingo Committee, and as of 2005 she is on the Social, Ways
& Means, Break Open and Poppy Committees.
MacBurnie was born at Belmont, Nova Scotia on 9 June 1915.
Robert MacBurnie was a carpenter and his mother Ellen nee Pratt was a
consisted of three children.
oldest, had two younger sisters.
grade 11 at Truro Academy and worked on a thressing machine prior to
joining the military.
1942, George joined the Army at Halifax, Nova Scotia.
He took his
Basic Training in New Glasgow, Nova
Scotia and he
was assigned the Driver trade. George was then sent overseas to
He served in
Continental Europe; United Kingdom; Central Mediterranean and Area.
During the war
he was in a truck accident in which one man was killed.
suffered cuts, bruises and a broken nose.
from England on a Troop Ship in early 1946.
discharged to civilian life on demobilization on 27 March 1946.
wartime service he was awarded the
Medal; Italy Star; France & Germany Star;
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp.
Nottingham, England on 29 August 1945.
arrived in Canada on
The Queen Mary on 14 June
1946 at Pier 21.
raised 11 children.
demobilization George went to work at a lumber mill in Ontario.
In 1961 he
returned to Truro and worked at the
College as a carpenter until he retired in 1980.
George was a
Lifetime Member and Past President of The Royal
Legion Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026.
He passed away
on 20 April 1983.
Wilfred Ferrier Petermann
Pictured is Comrade Joseph
Closs with Comrade Dave Mason laying a wreath on Remembrance Day
memory of his grandfather Wilfred Ferrier Petermann.
after 11 November 2005 Comrade Joe approached me, Jane Allen, and asked
if I would do a Wartime Memories story on his grandfather.
little information and wasn’t even sure of his grandfather’s real name
(which is quite understandable since he never got to meet him).
Joe did know that he was in World War I and was killed overseas,
he originally came from Aurora, Ontario, and he had a photo of him.
a lot of research and with the assistance of Jacqueline Stuart, Curator
Ontario, I am able to tell you
THE REST OF THE STORY …
Ferrier Petermann, born in 1887, was the only son of Jacob Miller
M. Petermann (nee Ferrier) of Mosley Street, Aurora, Ontario.
He spent at
least part of his youth in Aurora, but before enlisting in the military,
Wilfred was attached
clerical staff of the Timiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway at
Mary Johnson, and they had a little girl, Margarita (this would be
Joseph Closs’s mother).
He started as
a Private in the ranks of the Cobalt Regiment and with the onset of
World War I,
enlisted as a lieutenant with the 13th Battalion of the Canadian
Infantry (Quebec Regiment).
The name of
Wilfred Ferrier Petermann is on Aurora’s war memorial.
e was killed
in action at the Battle of the Somme on 26 September 1916, at the age of
28 and is
buried in the
Albert Military Cemetary, Somme, France. Grave Reference is 1. P. 27
CWGC Commonwealth War Graves Commission Casualty Search Results and VAC
Wilfred’s death, the child Margarita, was being cared for by his family,
and there was a
when members of his wife’s family attempted to take her away,
removed from the train a couple of stops after leaving Aurora.
explanations, Row 1, Left to Right: "This is the only picture Joseph
Closs had of his
grandfather Major W.F.
Petermann", "Newspaper article, Toronto Star, October 6, 1916.", "The
Globe (Toronto) October 5, 1916"
Explanations, Row 2, Left to Right: "Aurora Banner,
October 6, 1916", "Aurora Banner, March 9, 1917" and:
"This is likely the
last photograph taken of Major W.F. Petermann - provided by Jacqueline
Stuart, Curator AURORA MUSEUM"
William Harvey GOODWIN
Goodwin, or “Bill” as he was better known, was born in Coburg, New
area) on 10 April 1921. He was the son of Woodford and Lottie Goodwin.
for the Bank of Nova Scotia and was transferred to Stellarton, Nova
enlisting in the Air Force on 16 April 1942 in Moncton, New Brunswick.
He was sent to
Fingal, Ontario and London, Ontario to train.
from Canada on 8 April 1943 and disembarked in the United Kingdom on 17
The last Royal
Air Force station he was at was Linton On Ouse, U.K.
indicate that Bill was a Pilot Officer and Bomber Aimer, and his last
squadron was #408 (For Freedom).
Bill was shot
down on 13 June 1944 in a Lancaster aircraft #DS 772, five and a half
miles east of Cambrai, France,
at Avesnes Les
Aubert, during night operations against Cambrai, France.
were F/L H.C. McIver, F/L T.O. Pledger, Sgt D.M.
F/O J.H. Wyatt (RAF) and two others of the crew, not Canadians,
Dulait R.A.F. (Belgium) and F/O C.A.G. Hanchar R.A.F. (Belgium).
Bill was first
reported as “Missing In Action” in June 1944 but in
he was reported as “Killed In Action”.
(Red Cross) was able to extract this information from German documents.
Germans had found the crash site on 15 June 1944 and
buried the men
in a communal grave in the village of Avesnes Les Aubert.
officer found Bill’s watch with his name on the back at the crash site.
“Bert”, as he
is known by, was born on 21 January 1925 in Brockville, Ontario.
Bert John Clissold was an electrician and his mother
Lily May Roach
was a housewife and registered nurse. Bert had one older and one
Kingston Collegiate and Vocational
Kingston Ontario and completed Grade 10 Matriculation Course.
joining the military he was employed as a collection manager and
Acceptance Corporation (IAC).
He also spent
two years in the Non Permanent Active Militia, “A” Troop Cavalry Signals
of parading at the Armouries two nights a week and also,
once a year
for three weeks in the
summer he went
to Camp Petawawa where the Corp lived under canvas and took training
Bert loved the
service life and in 1942 he went to Ottawa,
he joined the Regular Force military.
He was sent to
Lachine, Quebec for Basic Training and
the Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (WAG) trade.
Kingston, Bert was sent to Toronto and Camp Borden, Ontario; Winnipeg,
Saskatchewan; and Three Rivers, Quebec.
then shipped overseas on the troop ship
Scotland to Bournemouth, England, Northern Ireland,
Eastmoor, Dalton, Tholthorpe, Ruffoth, Topcliffe, Yorks.
returned home onboard the
QUEEN ELIZABETH to New York,
USA and then he took a train to Lachine, Quebec.
chuckles when he recalls the night he had a little too much to drink and
fell off a station bicycle into a ditch full of nettles.
But his smile
quickly fades as he remembers the friends he lost when their aircrafts
did not return to base.
remembers the day in May 1945 at Operational Training Unit #24 OTU
Honeybourne, Worcestershire, England.
involved in a runaway drouge winch accident in Wellington MK III Bomber
in which he now receives a disability pension for. But Bert insists he
would do it all again.
On 30 August
1945, Bert married his English sweetheart, Barbara “Jean” Moore, in
With the end
of war, in March 1946, Bert and Jean returned to
Canada and to
to work as a collection manager and adjuster for IAC for approximately
and in 1947,
Bert and Jean decided to return to
Bert worked as an accountant until he retired in 1994.
(Picture above: HMS Aquitania "Transporting a
They have one
adopted daughter, Donna Tracy Clissold.
then, in 1994, returned to Canada where they settled in Truro, Nova
Bert is a 57
year member of Offenham Royal British Legion Branch in United Kingdom
and a 13 year
member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester N.,S. Branch No. 026.
belongs to the Bible Hill Garden Club
coin and stamp collecting,
spending time with their three grandchildren
aged 13 and six and one boy age 15).
wartime service Bert has been awarded the
Defence Medal; CVSM and Clasp;
AUSTIN, J. Norman
World War II
Austin was born on 6 February 1923 in Skye Glen, Inverness Co., Nova
father, James H. Austin was a mixed farmer and his mother Lavinia
(nee Smith) Austin
was a very
busy homemaker with 16 children—seven girls and nine boys.
the 14th child and four of the brothers served in the military.
completed Grade 10 in a one room school in Skye Glen.
home at age 17 and moved to Ontario to work in the gold mines.
keen interest in military tanks,
joined the Army at Timmons, Ontario on 30 July 1942.
completed Basic Training at Camp Borden
trained as a driver for the Canadian Armoured Corp.
11 August 1943, Norman was sent overseas on
The Empress of
was unescorted, therefore zigzagged
Atlantic, dodging submarines.
arrival on the east coast of England, Norman completed further
then sent to Italy via the Algerian Sea, spending three weeks on the
spent in Belgium and Holland and upon arrival in Italy. the Corp
received Sherman tanks which weighed 35—40 tons.
were joined by troops from America, Poland, France and Britain to
take on the Battle of Monte Cassino.
St. Benedict’s monastery, Monte Cassino overlooked the Mediterranean
coastal road from Naples to Rome
one of the strongest defensive positions in the Italian peninsula.
winter of 1943-44 it formed the western hinge of the German Winter
Line called the Gustav Line.
It was in
this battle that the tank Norman was driving got hit (it was said by
his comrades were badly hurt—and some were killed.
The ruins of Monte Cassino,
once one of Europe’s most beautiful monasteries.
Permission to destroy it was
granted by Pope Pius XII, after he was asked to decide by General
The Nazis never used the
monastery as a fortress, but defended from its exterior.
hit on the side of his head losing part of his skull and pieces of
steel were embedded in his left eye.
left for dead but luckily someone saw him move and Norman was picked
up, put on a train and then flown to
Hospital in England.
remained there for approximately three months.
told that the amount of penicillin that was injected into his head
would have cost over $9,000.00.
then sent from England to Canada, where he was to report to a
in Toronto to have the steel removed from his eye. Norman left
Liverpool, England aboard
hospital ship nicknamed “Pharaoh’s
Yacht”. Upon arrival in Halifax,
Norman’s sister picked him up and took him to her home in Truro
received word that he was to report to the Toronto
Hospital via train. Norman’s eye could not be saved and it was
sent home to Cape Breton to recover.
his sister took him to the United States for speech
which turned out to be a great success.
all he had to go through, when asked if he had any regrets
response was “definitely not”.
remembers an incident that happened when he was in the hospital in
there, it was necessary for the staff to tie him to his bed so
couldn’t grab at the bandages on his head.
particular day a new doctor, holding a doughnut in his hand, went in
to check on Norman.
must have thought Norman was either out of it or sleeping because as
he leaned over
asked the nurse for the story on the chap and questioned whether he
was aware of anything.
leaned closer to look at Norman’s head, Norman quickly leaned
forward and took a bite out of the doctor’s doughnut.
had to clean out Norman’s mouth because he couldn’t swallow but the
was the greatest thing because it showed that his brain and eyes
were functioning to a degree.
still gets a chuckle out of this experience but he also still feels
the sadness of
comrades injured and some even killed.
asked if he’d do it again Norman’s response was “yes”.
September 1945, Trooper J. Norman Austin was discharged from the
service under Routine Order 1029 (10)
of “unable to meet the required military physical standards”
wartime service he was awarded the following medals:
England Medal; 1939-45 Star; Italian Star;
Germany Star; Canadian Voluntary Service Medal & Clasp, and the
married in August 1953 and had a son born on 2 December 1954, and a
November 1955. He was a meat cutter in a meat shop where he was
eventually he had his own store for ten years.
first wife died in 1990 and he married his present wife in June
regularly attends church and is very active in church work.
hobbies include gardening and traveling but his eyesight limits him
now as to what he can do.
his wife presently reside in Truro.
Medals: 1939-45 STAR; ITALY STAR; FRANCE & GERMANY STAR; DEFENCE
VOLUNTEER SERVICE MEDAL & CLASP; and WAR MEDAL 1939-45.
Herbert Ian Naugler
Ian Naugler was the
oldest child of Walter Herbert and Lucinda Rosella (nee Sharpe)
born on 5 April 1925 in Moser River, Halifax County, Nova Scotia.
father Walter, was a “jack of all trades” and his mother Lucinda was
a busy homemaker with six children, three boys and three girls.
completion of grade eight schooling in Moser River, Ian’s first job,
in the winter of 1940,
cook’s helper in the woods. And the cook was his Dad, who Ian
stated “was a great cook!”
eventually went on log drives and worked in the saw mill and became
a real lumberjack.
1944, he joined the military in Halifax, Nova Scotia and completed
Basic Training in New Market, Ontario.
then sent to Camp Borden for Advance Training in the Armour Corp,
when much to his surprise,
superiors advised him he was in the Infantry.
December 1944, Ian was shipped overseas on the Georgic, which was
the largest diesel vessel at the time.
landed in Liverpool on New Years’ Eve 1945 and then went to Camp
Aldershot where he was assigned to the North Novies.
took his first airplane ride on a flight to Belgium.
here that they continued further battle training and stayed in King
Leopold Barracks for awhile.
then sent to Germany where he first saw action in Emerich.
recalls the “house clearing” which he remembers as being very scary
with mostly only basements left after the barrages.
Holland where he spent his 20th birthday and then back towards
later, on 8 April 1945, at Bathman, Ian suffered a gunshot wound to
his left shoulder.
Section Leader D.D. MacDonald ordered him to “get up! Get going!”,
Ian responded “I can’t—I’m wounded!”.
Ian heard “I guess you are!” He spent the next month in a British
hospital in Brussels and on 8 June 1945,
the war ended, he was transferred by ambulance to First Canadian
General Hospital in Ghent.
whole left side was numb and the gunshot actually injured a nerve.
remained in repatriation camps until June 1946 as he was the low man
on the totem pole
and in his
own words he spent that time “flattening cans”.
returned to Canada via ship and was released “End of
during the war years, Ian’s parents had moved to Sheet Harbour so
that is where Ian went after the war.
him through a 15 month machine shop trade and
November 1947 he found himself reenlisted in the Military as a
transferred to Montreal where, in 1948 he met a girl named Jessie at
St. James United Church Young Peoples.
Pearl Paul was originally from Newfoundland and on 25 March 1950
following month, April 1950 the Naugler’s were posted to
with 23rd Field Squadron Engineers, in 1952 they were posted to
Whitehorse, 1956 Coldbrook, just outside Saint John, New Brunswick,
1961 Camp Borden where they remained for 14 years. Ian was content
with his job
Machine Shop but he badly wanted a posting East.
Career Manager decided he would remain in Borden until he retired.
Ian released from the Military under CRA—
Retirement Age and he moved his family to Onslow Mountain.
part time at an auto shop then eventually worked full-part time.
worked at the old Red Barn Furniture Shop but eventually decided to
his wife Jessie in August 2001.
they raised six children, five girls and one boy.
resides just outside Truro.
his nine grandchildren and is a 29 year member of The Royal Canadian
Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026.
with The Legion Lyrics and his hobbies include curling, golfing,
fishing, gardening and jigsaw puzzles.
day Ian still remembers his World War II rifle butt Registration
military service he has been awarded the following medals:
Medal; The 1939-45 Star; The France & Germany Star;
Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp; War Medal;
Medal; and Canadian Forces Decoration with Rosette (CD1).
Francis Arnold Wright -
World War II , Korea & Peacetime Veteran
Francis Arnold Wright was born
in Framingham, U.S.A. on 12 January 1926. His father Roland was a
carpenter and his mother Helen (nee Roode)
was a busy
homemaker who took in sewing in order to make ends meet.
four children; the oldest one is Vivian McNutt, then Donald
(deceased), who served during World War II as an Air Force Pilot,
next in line and the baby is Blanche MacKenzie.
to Truro in 1931.
completed grade 10 at Crowes Mills School and then
work for the Canadian National Railroad (CNR)
as a call
boy, car checker and a clerk.
work they gave him,
Francis was happy to oblige.
1944, he thought he would like to get some
in his life so he went to Halifax and joined the military.
Francis completed Basic Training in Yarmouth and then Advanced
Training in Aldershot.
was then sent to Debert Holding Unit where, as a member of the
Canadian Infantry Corp, he waited for the news when he would be sent
alas, the war ended and he was discharged “end of demobilization” in
back to Truro he went where he returned to work for the CNR.
1951 Francis went to Toronto, and joined the Army.
was with the 27th Canadian Infantry Brigade, the Support Company for
the North Novies.
Francis came home on marriage leave in August 1951 and married Doris
Tucker, from St. John’s, Newfoundland.
long after Francis was shipped overseas to Hanover, Germany on the
an old scow.
Platoon Officer was Captain MacDonald and their job was to take the
gun platoon to Hartberg where they carried out training
with the old vicar machine guns.
found themselves up close to the Russians around the Black Sea.
there for about a month and then back to Hanover again.
Hanover they were just around the barracks more or less parading
every day and stuff like that.
night at six o’clock there was defaulters and they were on the
parade square for an hour.
had nicknamed Francis “the devil”.
them “it’s just like this boys, I’m not going to lose my weekend
pass on account of you.
We got a
job to do and this is the way it be done.
don’t do it you’ll be on CB the rest of your life but I won’t be
doing CB and
I won’t be
losing my weekend passes on account of yous.
might as well put it in your minds now that you’re gonna do what I
tell ya or you’re gonna pay the price.”
they saw Francis coming they’d say “Here comes the devil!”
STOKOE, Rodney James Robert
WORLD WAR II
James Robert Stokoe was born on 25 August 1920 in Philadelphia,
Dorham County, England.
He was the
eldest of three boys born to William and Elisabeth Florence Stokoe
was a coalminer and Elisabeth was a homemaker.
two brothers served post war with the Royal Air Force.
Rodney was a single college student and candidate for ordination
was conscripted and joined the military in Britain. He completed
his Basic Training in
England and became a paramedic in the British Navy.
went on a covoy receiving base in North West Scotland.
Service Unit was Sick Berth Staff, General and Operating and he
in England, Aultber in Scotland, Sir Lanka, Singapore, etc. (at
tells the following story:
“It was a
dull grey windy morning on June 6th, 1944 and the sea was not rough
I was a 24
year old British Navy paramedic onboard a Tank Landing Ship,
with double doors at the bow and a ramp from the tank deck inside.
doors were open, the ramp could be lowered so that the tanks and
other vehicles could drive off onto dry ground.
That is of
course when the ship had sailed right onto the beach.
surrounded on all sides by other vessels, large and small -
thousand we were told afterwards—
heading straight at the French coast, Normandy to be exact.
carrying a Canadian Armoured Division, all kinds of wheeled and
track borne armoured vehicles
men who drove them.
was tense with excitement and apprehension.
was to drop a special rear anchor at the right moment before hitting
so that we
could pull ourselves off after unloading our cargo,
sailors dropped it too soon and the long anchor chain disappeared
into the sea behind us.
or two later we felt the ship scraping along the bottom and it
finally came to a stop.
afterward the great front doors were opened and the ramp was lowered
but the end of it was still above the water.
A man ran
to the end with a plumb line and took a sounding.
was just over six feet deep—too deep for anything to drive off.
received orders to stay there until the tide went out and then we
would be able to unload.
through the day we waited and the tension aboard grew—
so when we heard that the first assault troops, now eleven miles
running out of the support they needed and we were carrying.
came, the tide now astern, the ramp could be lowered to the ground.
With a roar of their engines the tanks and trucks drove off.
now high and dry was in growing darkness just right for German
bombers to attack the many “sitting ducks” like us along the beach.
a Mess room below deck I heard a Chief Petty Officer calling my
smartly up to him.
job for you”, he said.
Canadian soldier (turned out to be only sixteen), watching the fast
approaching shore with his buddies,
deck above had “gone crazy” with the tension.
locked him in the small 8 ft. by 6 Sick Bay and I was to keep watch
over him through the night.
opened the door, pushed me in, and locked it behind me.
was lying on the only bunk, eyes shut and moaning.
I told him
I had come to stay with him and wouldn’t leave him, and we’d be all
right together until morning.
aircraft could be heard overhead and every so often a bomb landed
near enough to cause the ship to rock.
was very frightened. I remembered I was carrying six disposable
ampoules of morphia for use with casualties.
penalty awaited misuse and each would have to be accounted for.
nonetheless to use one on my trembling “casualty” and, with his
consent, injected it into his thigh.
told him that we’d say the “Our Father” together and soon he’d be
happened as planned but the only place for me to sleep was face down
on the steel deck.
It was an
uncomfortable night but we survived it.
came, I was relieved, and went back to other duties.
boy a coward? I think not. No more than I.
As I had
lain on the hard deck, I remembered that I had been too much of a
coward to ask a certain
ambulance driver in Scotland to marry me.
that, if I ever got out of this alive, I would. I did get out
alive; I did ask her; and she said Yes!”
may be asking “Who is this lady that said yes?” Let me tell you
about her -
Margaret McGibbon (nee STRANG) WORLD WAR II
was born on 22 September 1919 at East Kilbride, Scotland.
the eldest child of John and Marion Strang (nee Fulton), and
Margaret had a sister and a brother.
an Insurance Manager and Marion was a teacher.
early education was in private school and she then went to Glasgow
Queen’s College in Glasgow.
Margaret left her job as a YWCA Warden to join the military in
completed her Basic Training in London, England and was assigned the
Motor Transport Driver trade.
served until 1945. spending time in Eglinton, Northern Ireland;
and Lock Ewe, Scotland.
born on 3 August 1920 in Westville, Pictou County, Nova Scotia.
father, Victor Fleury, was a coal miner and his mother, Rachel nee
was a busy
homemaker to seven boys and two girls (James was their fifth
James was dating Delima Lirette from Amhert, Nova Scotia and was
working as a laborer.
other members of his family (his father and four of his brothers all
served during WWII)
really wanted to help defend his country and so he went to
where he joined the North Nova Scotia Highlanders.
completed his Basic Training in Amherst and was sent overseas in
1940 to Aldershot, England, via boat.
Europe, James sent an engagement ring back home to his
Delima, and she did not send it back!
James was sent back to Canada to attend officer training in
Brockville, Ontario with C.T.A.A. King Company, Platoon No. 1.
graduated with the rank of Second Lieutenant.
graduation James and Delima were married at St. Charles Church in
Amhert on 24 April 1944.
after, James returned to Europe.
On 5 March
1945 while serving in Germany, a bomb shell exploded close enough to
he suffered injury with shrapnel in his forehead.
D-Day, he remained in Europe in occupational service for six
returned to Canada, again via boat, in 1946 and was released the
same year “end of demobilization”.
served with honor in Canada, the United Kingdom and Continental
Europe and for
wartime service he was decorated with the following medals:
Star; France & Germany Star; Defence Medal; War Medal 1939-1945;
Volunteer Medal & Clasp.
James and Delima settled in Truro where he went to work as an
Civil Surface Department of Fisheries.
raised a family of three sons and one daughter.
a hard worker and a good supplier to his family.
his work and was always ready to volunteer to go wherever his job
needed him to go.
James volunteered to go to Hudson Bay and the Paw for six months
also volunteered twice to go on the sealing boats for a duration of
three months each time.
a member of The Royal Canadian Legion Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026
for over 50 years.
his private pilot licence in 1971 and was a member and
President of The Soaring Club in Debert.
passed away on 7 November 1992 at the age of 72.
Delima still resides on Willow Street in Truro.
Joseph Edward MacGregor --
Korean & Peacetime Veteran
“Little Joe”, as he is
commonly referred to by his friends, was born in Burton, Prince
Island on 22 May 1931.
Harold worked as a fisherman and also for the Canadian National
mother, Avon Corcoran was a homemaker. Joe had one younger sister.
the MacGregor family moved to Halifax.
completed his grade 8 and went to work at a snack bar delivering
he worked for the CNR as a labourer.
August 1950 he went to Windsor Park in Halifax and joined the
time he was interviewed by a Personnel Selection Officer (PSO) who
asked him what he would like to be.
asked him if he wanted to drive a car or truck as the Service Corp
was filled up.
thought that sounded rather easy and when the PSO offered him a
trade as a DR
Rider) he didn’t want to show his ignorance by not knowing what a DR
merely responded “Oh Great” and signed the documents.
completed Basic Training in Petawawa and was then shipped to Fort
Louis in Washington State for further training.
for this was because there was no camp in Canada large enough to
accommodate 10,000 soldiers in training for the
March 1951 Joe boarded a troop ship at Seattle, Washington, with
3,500 soldiers onboard.
later they arrived at Pusan, Korea and because they couldn’t use DRs
due to the rice fields,
Joe to the Brigade Headquarters.
remembers feeling sorry for the people there and to this day still
human beings living the way the Koreans had to.
remembers a L/Cpl ordering him and another guy by
of Harry Burton (who was a WW II rear gunner) to dig a trench.
got started when Harry was told to report somewhere else so he told
make sure the trench was big enough for them both.
and dug and just about dusk the L/Cpl happened to come back and said
“if you go
another foot I’ll charge you with desertion”.
in Korea until May 1952 when he sailed to Seattle on a troop ship
and then took a troop train to Halifax.
granted 60 days leave and was then released from the Army with two
years and one day service.
for a man who joined and planned to only stay in the military for 18
the time September 1952 came around, Joe was back in Halifax, this
time pursuing a Navy career.
Turns out he liked the Navy a lot better than the Army, serving on
different ships throughout his career.
23 October 1969, Joe was serving on the
when it blew up 125 miles off Plymouth,
Honourably Released from the Canadian Armed Forces on 21 May 1976
and for his service
awarded the Korea Medal; UN Service Medal; and Canadian Forces
Decoration with Clasp.
his career in the military and claims the service was very good to
Joe married Elsie Swinimer, who at the time worked as a clerk at
Burke’s in Halifax.
raised four girls and one boy and now have
grandchildren and one great grandson. Joe and Elsie reside in
Truro, Nova Scotia.
Joe is a
35 year member of The Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch
He is a
very active member of Immaculate Conception Church and
The Knights of Columbus and The Saint Vincent de Paul Society.
William Edwin Merritt
born on 11 December 1924 in Harmony, Colchester County, Nova Scotia.
Charles Redford Merritt was a veteran of the First World War who was
at the local feed mill and his mother, Isabel May, was a homemaker.
Bill, as he is
known to his friends, was the oldest of three boys. His second brother
Russell served in England during WW II
and then there
was the baby of the family, Lorne.
are now deceased and when Bill was only four years of age his Mom died
remarried Agnes Hamilton and they had five children together. Bill was
12 years old when his father passed away.
grade 10 and then went to work in Halifax at Purdy Bros. Marine
He joined the
Army in Halifax on 2 May 1944 and when asked why he joined the military
Bill said “the
Harmony boys did, and I was a Harmony boy”.
Basic Training in Yarmouth and on completion he was one of
individuals selected to go overseas as a Driver Operator.
Bill said it wasn’t the best job but his superiors sure made it sound
selected soldier ended up in a chicken pox quarantine and never made it
On the trip
overseas there were six flights in the boat and the number one order
was that every
passenger had one kit bag, and one kit bag only.
Bill tells the
story of an American who was in the Canadian Army who arrived with
tennis shoes, tennis racquet and a typewriter.
Bill had his
suspicions that the guy was a representative for McLean’s Magazine.
On the third
night out action stations were called and this particular passenger
handed out oranges to the soldiers telling them to
“hang on to
the orange until you get in the water”.
stations were called off and there had been no requirement for anyone to
get in the water,
he was back
meeting the soldiers expecting them to turn the oranges back in, and
gave back their orange.
Bill served in
the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals and was attached to 2 Army Group
On arrival in
England Bill was again selected to take a Straight Signals Course.
completion of this course he was sent to Belgium.
stationed just outside Nijmegen and the front had stopped for the
didn’t stop Bill’s unit as they were very busy with communications.
coming of Spring, they worked their way up through Holland and Germany
shelling the submarine pens of Germany’s Navy Headquarters.
When the war
ended Bill stayed a year in occupational forces, where the Germans once
controlled the German Navy.
In June 1946,
he returned home on the Isle de France and was release from the
military, end of demobilization.
to Truro and until he retired in 1987, he was employed by local Ford
In 1948 Bill
married Elizabeth (Betty) Fields who is deceased.
They had no
In 1994 he
married Faye Condon and they still reside in Truro.
Bill is a 45
year Life Member and two time Past President of the Royal Canadian
Legion Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026 in Truro.
received the prestigious Palm Leaf to his Meritorious Service Medal and
Bill was named
ATV News Maritimer of the Week.
Bill is at the
legion Monday thru Friday, rain or shine but he can also be found at the
Snowmobile Club where he is the House Committee Chairman.
For the past
10 years he has been Treasurer of the Snowmobile Association of Nova
of The Truro Curling Club, Treasurer of Harmony Cemetery and if that’s
handles snowmobile permits for the Province of Nova Scotia.
might question what Bill does in his spare time—
but anyone who
knows him will say that he’s a wonderful friend who will do anything for
Also, if he
can’t say anything nice about a person, he just won’t say anything at
we could all
learn a lot from Bill Merritt.
He has not
slowed down in his dedication to Branch No. 026 and the Legion as a
Bill is a fine
example to us younger members who
joined the Branch and he sets a fine example of leadership for all
members to follow—Jane Allen