Wartime Memories

of our Veterans

 

Dear Constituent,

Welcome to the "Wartime Memories of our Veterans" webpage.

This new page has been created on www.billcasey.ca so that teachers and students can

learn about the personal experiences of our local Veterans.

The first group of 54 testimonials will be posted to this webpage soon, and I invite all local Veterans to

submit memories of their service to Canada.

The memories and photos will be kept online as a way to help educate those in the community

who wish to know more about the experiences of our Veterans during wartime.

I would also like to thank Neil Fisher and Jane Allen Boudreau for their work in gathering the submissions

and to all of the Veterans from the Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester, Nova Scotia Branch,

No. 26 Truro for submitting, in their own words, how they served us all.   

More updates will be coming to this webpage soon and I hope you will make return visits to read more.

Sincerely,

                                                                                                                                                                                                  

 

 

                                                                      

Bill Casey, M.P.

Cumberland Colchester

Musquodoboit Valley        


 
 

 

 

   

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 short time.

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 the Channel.

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 Colchester

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

HAS CLOSE CALL

Truro Soldier Has Brush With Germans in Italy

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 road. 

“I could see bullets whizz past my face between my head and the windshield of the jeep.”

Capture Nine Germans

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. 

The pair escaped scrambling down a ditch and back around the corner. 

They reported to the nearest unit and a group of Bren carries set out for the spot to capture nine Germans and four machine guns.

Then O’Callaghan 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.”

WELL KNOWN HERE

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. 

Another brother 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.

ESCAPE WITHOUT INJURY

Many friends in Truro, will read this account with interest, and be glad to note, Jack, and his companion from Ottawa, Ont.,

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) 

James Frederick May

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. 

The 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 Regiment. 

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 overseas. 

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, Netherlands,

back to England and thank God, home again!

A funny thing that happened, which always stuck with me, was when I was in Italy. 

We were 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 after him.

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 my friends. 

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 my foot. 

I have no regrets though and would do it all over again if I had to.

On 15 November 1945 I was released from the military, “End of Demobilization”. 

Shortly 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 collection...

The Evening Times-Globe

Saint John, N.B. Tuesday, April 18, 1944

A Family War Record To Be Proud Of

The six 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.

Pte 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 Scotia

Regiment in Italy.

Pte George May, shown with his little son Richard, enlisted in October, 1941, with the Dental Corps and is now serving in Newfoundland.

Ernest 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 later.

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

On 4 January 1943 I enlisted in the Canadian Women’s Army Corp (CWAC) at Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

Halifax was M.D. 6 therefore our official number started with 6.

I was sent to Kitchener, Ontario for Basic Training. 

We were billeted in huts that were previously occupied by members of the Army (male soldiers). 

The building 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. 

The windows were always frosted and there would be snow on the window ledges after a snowstorm.

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”. 

About midnight I went outside and shoveled the bucket full of coal and proceeded to carry it inside. 

 Just as 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 the hut. 

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.

From Kitchener 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 Army Major. 

I was then posted to No. 102 Depot “Trinity Barracks” in Toronto. 

My first assignment was looking after the Victory Bond Drive, and then I was assigned to work in the Quarter

Masters Stores. 

These stores included uniforms, bedding, dishes, cutlery, etc. 

Since Trinity Barracks was a Depot for CWACs, Military District No. 2

Recruits were issued their uniforms from our stores. 

After training many of them returned to MD No. 2 for their various postings. 

They were trained as Drivers, Clerks and Medical Workers and were posted to various men’s camps,

Camp Borden or wherever their services were required.

Many CWAC girls joined the Canadian Army Show.  That was a sure way of getting to serve overseas. 

One member of interest in the Army Show was a daughter of the owner of Neilsen’s Chocolates. 

She came through No. 102 Depot for her kit renewal enroute overseas. 

She returned later and was discharged from the Depot. 

Another person of interest from our Depot was Major Madeline O’Donnell. 

She was the daughter of a former Prime Minister, “Uncle Louis” St. Laurent.

While working 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

Officer, Major Arnoldi promoted me to Company Sergeant Major (CWAC) as her replacement. 

That position consisted mostly of discipline which most did not appreciate very much. 

This was 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.

Following my discharge I went to Montreal and took a six-month course in hairstyling. 

Later I married Jarvis Stewart and we have two daughters, Wendy and Janie.

 My husband 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. 

They were 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. 

We planned that we would get on the same ship and win the war together. 

The Navy had other ideas and we never saw each other again until 1945.

After enrolment I was sent with hundreds of other personnel for

Basic Training 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 Empire,

up to 10,000 men at times. 

After six weeks Basic Training we were given a three or four-week course in steam engineering,

that was supposed to make us qualified engineers.

After Basic Training I was sent to Halifax for one week, when in the Fall of 1943,

I was advised I was going to England on loan to the British Navy as they were short of men to man their

ships.  At 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 full crew. 

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.

We left 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

north of 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 anti-submarine patrols. 

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 coast

would always 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 coast. 

We were working with the ships of the 6th British Minesweeping Flotilla and swept the Canadian and British troops right in to Juno Beach. 

 There were five invasion beaches with two Sweeper Flotillas for each beach making a total of 80 Minesweepers sweeping in front of the invasion fleet. 

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 being unloaded. 

Nighttimes were the worse.  The enemy was attacking with E-Boats; remote controlled boats, human torpedoes and one-man subs. 

 After 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. 

Due 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 helplessly

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. 

Many years 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 Destroyers”. 

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

4th Class 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. 

After serving 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. 

I sailed 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. 

I never 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. 

It’s difficult to describe it and I am very thankful that I was there and returned safely.

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 again? 

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. 

However we still have the best country in the world today and under the same or similar circumstances, yes, I would do it again.

After my 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 life. 

My favourite 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. 

My father, 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.

Prior to enlisting in the military, I attended College Road School and Truro Central School and worked in Wilson’s Grocery Store on

Inglis 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. 

I went overseas on HMCS CYNTHIA to Aldershot, England for Advanced Training. 

I then transferred to the North Nova Scotia Highlanders who at that time were fighting in

Caen, France. 

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 two weeks. 

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 father-in-law. 

I guess I forgot to mention that I married Helen Henderson on 2 December 1941 and we have one daughter. 

Iwas released 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

was employed as a Canadian National Railway Chef and my mother Annie was a homemaker. 

Our family consisted of five children, three boys and two girls.  I was their second child. 

My family 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.

I attended school in both Scotland and Canada and worked for the

Canadian National 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 for me. 

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 Borden. 

I joined Provost 5 Division and spent two years in England, 1-1/2 years in Italy, and

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. 

The Sergeant 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!

Throughout the 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. 

I married Beulah Mattison and we raised two sons and we also have two grandchildren. 

After being 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

Colchester N.S. 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. 

My father, John Dunrobin Sutherland was a farmer and my mother Bertha nee Smith was a housewife. 

Our family consisted of eight children, three boys and five girls.

I was orphaned at a young age and left school in the eighth grade. 

rior to 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 overseas. 

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 Liverpool. 

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. 

All prominent 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. 

Chamberlain is best known for his Munich Pack treaty of peace with Adolph Hitler in 1938 and much criticized for placing his trust in this appeasement policy.

After Basic Training I was posted to 23rd Field Ambulance as a transport and ambulance driver. 

I then went with the 9th Brigade and trained in England nearly three years preparing for D-Day landing. 

Our vehicles were waterproofed for amphibious landing which we did on D-Day + one

A humorous 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.  Basic Training was conducted in Truro and Shilo, Manitoba and I served in Gagetown, N.B. and Halifax, N.S. 

I was Honorably Discharged on 21 March 1957 in Halifax, N.S. with the rank of Corporal. 

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 in 1977. 

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 Training in

Toronto. 

On 27 April 1942 I was commissioned as a Navigator and was posted to Dorval, Quebec with Royal

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. 

We were probably the only two that voluntarily transferred to Bomber Command. 

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 cover you”. 

 Just then we were nailed by a flack ship which hit us in the port wing. 

Then the Bombardier said, “Look at this” and the Mosquito dove right down past us and the water turned white and the flack ship disappeared. 

With the Bomber Command 6 Group and with 415 Squadron Eastmoor I completed tour (32) in December 1944. 

Aircraft types 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. 

I was 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 Medal. 

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,

Agnes served as a Staff Sergeant with the

Military Attaché in Washington, US. 

We raised two children Paul, who resides in

Toronto and Suzanne, who resides in Truro Heights. 

We have one grandchild Krystie. 

My hobbies include golfing and curling and hunting and fishing. 

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. 

My mother’s name was Marie Boudreau and although she had many different jobs, she mostly ad her hands

full raising the family. 

Because this 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. 

If some stranger came to the house or an unfamiliar letter arrived, it would frighten her badly. 

War hurts people left at home often as much as it hurts those in the military.

My schooling 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

as we 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

Grade 9 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

Artillery on 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

to new 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

finally posted 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

Sasebo, 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. 

There were 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 posting. 

When my 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 me now?” 

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 in Germany. 

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 discharge. 

I then 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 it. 

After working 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 attack.

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.

My hobbies 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 MacLaren. My Father was 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

War. 

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.

I attended Alice and Willow Street Schools and worked for a short time at

Canadian 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 which

were well fortified by the Germans. 

After spending 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 43 years.

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.

 

Beech Grove 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

did mechanic work.

After trades training, I was put on a train to New York and from there I boarded the boat SCOTLAND

with approximately 12,000 other men headed for England.

The only 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 boat landed.

The boat, which was full of Chinese labourers, landed in Portsmouth, England and from there

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 training.

From there I was put on another boat AMERICAN. When we were just off the Rock of Gibraltar

the Germans air raided and our boat was hit. The Captain told us to be ready to go overboard prior to the torpedoes hitting us.

I remember 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 Palermo, Sicily.

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.

Many were 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 soldiers aboard.

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 shell us.

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.

I was 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.

Then onto France. On the way I was hitch hiking and got picked up by an Artillery outfit.

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 Englishmen.

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 security papers.

After 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

somersaults in 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 demobilization.

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

include fishing, horse racing and going for drives.

 

 


James Bernard VAUGHAN 

I’m better known as Bernie and I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 9 August 1919.

My father, James Vaughan was an accountant and my mother Mary nee Lane was a housewife. I am the oldest of four children.

My brother Gerald is deceased and I have two sisters, Joan and Mary.

 

I attended College Street School, St. Mary’s High School and St. Mary’s College, all in Halifax.

Before I 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, Nova Scotia.

After Basic 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.

The second 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.

The 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 together.

I wrote him a letter but alas the letter was returned to me a month later. My friend was killed.

I had the opportunity to visit his grave in 1995. I was one of the lucky ones who were not injured during the war.

In February 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 50.

From April 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.

 I 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 both.

I golf, 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.

I received Life Membership in 1978; Past Officers Medal in 1979; Certificate of Merit in 1982;

Diamond 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, Nova Scotia. 

My father, 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 deceased also 

I completed grade 10 in High School and then joined the Army.

On 13 September 1939 at No. 5 Fortress Signals in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, I enlisted as a Signalman and

completed Basic Training. 

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 training at

Chelsea Barracks in England during the First World War.  He put us through our Basic Training, by first showing

us static movements at the hall. 

Then later when we moved to Peters Hall, close to Reserve Mines, he showed us how to march and

do various drill movements.  We were still in civilian clothes and at that point

not one 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

I got everything needed to run an office.  I purchased the supplies and had them sent to St. Peters Hall. 

My Officer Commanding was Major J.J. Kingan and my Lieutenants were Cornelius McNamara and

Stanley Fredericks.  The Company Sergeant Major was Alexander MacPhee and the Company Quarter-Master

Sergeant was John S. Kingan. 

My barracks were at Paassendale, St. Peter’s Hall, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. 

I was promoted to A/Cpl on October 17, 1939.

It is 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.

On September 30, 1939, with the permission of Major J.J. Kingan, I married Mary Catherine Kingan. 

By this time, late October, the men were marching around the area each day but we were still in civilian clothes. 

Our footwear 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 men. 

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. 

This was because the personnel chosen for these positions failed to show up for enlistment. 

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.

Our Sergeant 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 straight up! 

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. 

It wasn’t until then that we received battle dress.

In 1941 we moved to the newly constructed barracks and offices at Victoria Park in Sydney. 

Colonel Dobbie 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 Signals. 

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 1943. 

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. 

Our Construction Company was asked to send a lot of our Linemen there by way of the CNR, with complete equipment space,

Pullman car 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

Forts in 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 might appear. 

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. 

The doctor 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. 

It was determined that I was allergic to many things, and that it would not be practical for me to be sent overseas. 

I was 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

Captain 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 allowance. 

On September 13, 1939 when I joined the military, I expected and wanted to go overseas that Fall.  But it wasn’t to be. 

Our Signal Companies were just too busy and by the time came around that I could go, my medical condition made it impossible. 

Given the chance though, I would certainly do it all over again.

After discharge from the Signal Corp in 1945 I acquired Grade 11.  Then I studied and worked with a Chartered Accountant Firm of Nicoll & Barrow in Halifax

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

I remained until 1975 when I retired.  In 1978 we moved to Truro, where we still reside.

We have one child, Karen Leigh, who is married to David Arnfast. 

They blessed 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 the Esplanade

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 the eldest.

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

onboard a troop ship and arrived in England at Blackdown on 26

December 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. 

The military granted me 30 days leave when V.J. Day was declared on 15 August 1945.  Not

having enough points for discharge, I was sent to York

Redoubt, where 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!

After my 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 fishing. 

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

Doug’s Story:

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 brother Kelvin.

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.

I went 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.

My girlfriend, 17 year old Doris McGowran, whose father was the RCMP


Detachment CO, promised to wait for  me.

Upon my 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.

If I 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 Squadron. 

After a couple of days,  I was ferried across the harbour and boarded the

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.

Having seized control of Western Europe, Hitler turned his attention to Britain.

If 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,

initially the Germans wanted to establish air supremacy over the Straits of Dover as a prerequisite to invasion. 

The invasion of England was anticipated; therefore, 

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.

The Squadron 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 London.

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.

During our 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.

On another 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 barracks.

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.

Pilots flew 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 London Blitz.

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.

Quite a change
from the situation in London.

After our rest in Prestwick the Squadron was supposed to be transferred to

Castletown 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.

After 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 canteen.

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.

This aircraft was not rugged and burned easily, therefore, was not a favorite of the pilots.

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.

Warrington was 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.

When drafts were ready, they were permitted leave while awaiting available ships.

My next transfer was to the Middle East, but this posting was cancelled due to the war ending.

In October 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 months.

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 later (1950)

with my degree in Physical & Health Education.

Upon 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

Nova Scotia 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 carving.

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, 1941-1949

Doug’s Story

“Seventeen”

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 became 18.

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 away.

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 was long.

Every mile 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. 

 The naval 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 8 years.

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.

“Yes, Sir!” “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 down. 

After six months of training and everyone in shape, we were sent to Halifax, 4000 miles away, by train, with a two weeks leave en route.

I should 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.

I remembered all that I had been taught, not just in the past six months but every day as

I was growing up - showing respect for others, knowing right from wrong, and resisting temptations.

 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 just left.

We sailed 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 home.

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)

making about 15 trips across the Atlantic. There would be lots of enemy submarine activity here.

Later we were sent to the English Channel for ‘D Day’ landings, escorting landing craft and other ships to France and the landing beaches.

Finally, it was back to Halifax for ship repairs and a well earned leave.

Before too long, I was assigned to the cruiser

“Ontario” which was being built in Belfast, Ireland,

so we had to go across the Atlantic on a troop ship loaded

with thousands of army, navy and air force personnel. 

I celebrated my 21st birthday shortly after

I went aboard the “Ontario.

(Picture left: 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

iving ashore 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.

(Picture below: 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. 

Sometimes we 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 never returning,

and the COLD, ROUGH NORTH ATLANTIC.   

I consider 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.

 (Picture Bottom left: Douglas C. Maybee)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Donald F. Muir

I 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.

In 1940 my father opened Muir’s Grocery in Windsor, Nova Scotia and I moved there with my family.

My 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.

A thrill I will never forget. Thus when the war broke out I joined the Royal Canadian Air Force on 28 May 1942.

I took pilot training in Goderich, Ontario on Tiger Moths. I was then transferred to Aylmer to fly Harvards.

On Graduation Day Air Marshal Billy Bishop pinned on my wings. By this time I was a Sergeant.

In the Spring of 1942 I found myself going overseas on the QUEEN ELIZABETH I.

All rooms on the ship were turned into barracks. The ship carried 5-6,000 Army, Navy and Air Force.

I slept in one of the lounges. Hammocks were strung in rows10 feet high.  

I 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 shot!

Arriving in Scotland we filled our water bottles for our train trip designation.

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

was 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.

My wife and I visited Bournemouth after the war. It is beautiful.

The hotels are still there and the park and beach all look the same.

A member of the Aircrew Association I belong to married a girl from Bournemouth.  

Every summer they host a Bournemouth tea party at their home in Windsor, Nova  
Scotia. In 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.

He 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!! 

At 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 gunfire.

The 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. 

We 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 quite low.

The 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 under

KR(Air) Para 195(17) “On completion of a term of voluntary service during an emergency” on the Fourteenth day of September 1945.

I 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. 

As I was a King Scout I became a scout leader for 15 years. I also enjoyed hockey, playing on the town league

I met June Bearne and took her on our first date to a Gyro (Friendship Club) party.

We married in 1956, have three sons and six grandchildren.

In 1963 I joined Pfizer Canada as pharmaceutical representative.

My 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.

I 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.

We have seen a lot of Canada, USA, the British Isles, Europe, Jamaica, Venezuela and Mexico. 

In the 70’s a glider club was formed at Debert, Nova Scotia.

I was their first President and the first pilot in Nova Scotia to receive a gliders license.

The Debert Flying Club was formed in 1972.

I received my flying license and have 80+ hours on
Cesna 172.

I have been active in Casara-Air 413 Search
and Rescue, since 1989 being both a pilot and spotter.
 


Donald Maxwell MacInnis

Don’s Story 

I was born 22 October 1916 at Big Baddeck, Cape Breton Island. My father Daniel “Danny” MacInnis was a poultry man at Nova

Scotia 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. 

I attended 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 Liverpool, England,

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 rivers. 

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. 

Once, approximately 1500 guns went off at once and the explosion of it made me deaf for about two weeks. 

Ever since I’ve had a hearing loss. I’ll never forget my good buddy Clarence “Ace” Calder. 

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: "Our Accommodations")

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 the saluting! 

Thank God we never got caught!  I had another good buddy by the name of Jenkins in my outfit. 

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

and arrived home a year later. 

I was 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. 

Together we have 11 grandchildren. 

My civilian trade was woodworking and carpentry. 

I built 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,

and playing the guitar. 

I was a great friend with Hank Snow and

my grandfather 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.

(Picture: Don MacInnis, July 2005)

Memorandum

July 1942      Bridge Coy. Formed at Camp Borden, Ontario

July 28 1943    Arrived in England

Aug 1 1944    Landed on Normandy Beach Head, France

Aug 7 1944    Has 1st operational detail in France

Sep 6 1944     Is attached to Br. 2nd. Army

Sep 10 1944    Is First Cdn. Unit to enter Brussels

Sep 15 1944    Enters Holland for the first time

Sep 29 1944    Returns to 1st Cdn Army

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 

Don’s Story

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 Hill.

I joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in June 1940 and was posted to Manning depot in Toronto. 

This station 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 flight. 

We were also subjected to rigorous medical and optical examinations

before being classified for Pilot, Navigator, Wireless or Gunnery training. 

I was 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). 

Winter had 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. 

My instructor decided this would be a good time to practice my forced landing procedure. 

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 back,

and we had to dig our way out from under the plane.  The only casualty was the propeller.

 December saw 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 overseas. 

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, Scotland.

We left 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 to London. 

From Aldershot we were assigned our postings for further training.  Bomber command was being formed at this time and I was sent to an operational unit instructing us

on Wellington 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 sufficient

numbers of Canadians to form a Canadian Group.  We were crewed up: pilot, navigator, wireless operator and gunners (two), and we commenced training,

culminating in an actual raid on Paris, dropping leaflets telling the French people the progress of the war.

Several of these crews were then posted to the Middle East (Egypt), ferrying spare parts as well as

the new aircraft we were flying. 

We landed and refueled at Gibraltar and Malta and then to Egypt,

where we 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. 

Sometimes the temperature was so high that we didn’t cool off until we reached 6000’. 

We completed 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. 

The Canadians by now had their own Bomber Group and were making a name for themselves. 

 My next move was to return to Canada for a month’s leave.

 

Canadian Operational Training Unit

When we returned to England, we were sent to a Canadian Operational Training Unit (O.T.U.) for training on Halifax Bombers. 

These aircraft had four engines and took a little getting used to. 

They had a crew of seven: Pilot, Navigator, Bomb Aimer, Wireless Operator, Flight Engineer, Mid Upper Gunner and Rear Gunner. 

We were posted to Leemington Yorkshire on 427 Squadron. 

On our seventh trip we were attacked by enemy fighters. 

Our rear gunner was killed; the Mid Upper Gunner was badly wounded, as were the Flight Engineer and Navigator. 

We were forced to bail out.  Three of us survived the night of June 12th, 1944. 

Concealed 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 family. 

Members of the Marquis provided us with tobacco leaves and stories of sabotage. 

We witnessed the retreat of the German army past our abode and a Canadian tank unit liberated our village in September 1944. 

We were 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

reclaim our 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 midst. 

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. 

Fortunately 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),

and shortly 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 Commerce degree

and I also acquired a son.

I was employed with Canadian Packers for two years, and then I joined my brother in the insurance business. 

 I spent 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,

spending some winters in Florida, playing golf and generally enjoying life.


Claude Burry

RAF Ferry Command

My name is Claude Burry and I was born in Safe Harbor, Newfoundland on 12 July 1922. 

(Picture below: In front of a hangar, Gander, Newfoundland, 1945)

I probably 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 mother. 

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 1941.   

 This 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 arm. 

I was a civilian and civilians didn’t have service numbers. 

It didn’t bother me that I didn’t join the military and serve because

I felt we were doing our part in the war. 

Without us, 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. 

 The 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. 

I was 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. 

After college 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 Transport Command. 

Together we 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

Transport Command during the war because they didn’t want the Germans or others aware of their location. 

The pilots 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. 

Deavlin 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;

Liberator B24 – 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 stayed. 

I’ve been a member of Royal Canadian Legion Colchester N.S. Branch No. 26 for three years now. 

(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 children. 

My grandfather 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)


Clifford Marsh

West Nova Scotia Regiment, 1st Canadian Infantry

1942-1945  

(Picture below: Clifford Marsh at Cape Spear)

I joined in Halifax in January 1942 when I volunteered at #6 Depot.  I went through basic training in New Glasgow NS. 

We shipped out of Halifax to Newfoundland the 103rd Coast Defense in Newfoundland. 

I went over to Newfoundland on the Lady Rodney.

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 reinforcements overseas. 

I was in the West Nova Scotia Regiment of the First Canadian Infantry. 

I went overseas on the MauritaniaOn the way over, we took a roll in the mid-Atlantic. 

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 hammock. 

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. 

Near to 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 ship.  

I heard an explosion. There was a hole in the bow of the ship. 

A V-shaped thing was built in the deck and the order came to resume course and speed.

They put the ship aground in North Ireland to get repairs. 

I got on a ferry across to England.  I stayed at Aldershot in England for awhile. 

I shipped out of Aberdeen Scotland for Italy on  Camp Sythia

On the way to Italy a submarine torpedoed a ship coming behind us.  (Picture below, "On leave in the 40's")

The torpedo 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. 

The escort ship came along and removed the enemy crew from the submarine and

then they took the submarine off and sank it. 

We went on to Naples.  In the harbour there were a lot of wrecks and we had to ease the ship around the wrecks.  

We could see Mount Vesuvius from the harbour. 

There were rest places to stop along the line.   Coriander Ridge was on the way up. 

I got to the front line at Ruminy, from there to Senial River

Battle of the River was between two rivers  – the Montone River and the Lemoine River

Just north of the river there was a ditch between the rivers where we faced the enemy on the front line.  Suloviaculpa 

It was there that two bullets pinned the helmet on my head on the left upper side of his head.  The bullets dented my helmet. 

When things quieted down, I tried to take the helmet off my head but I couldn’t.  I was there all night. 

The next evening at Cita Rosa there was a make shift hospital set up after line went by. 

In the 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 stretcher. 

They pulled two bullets out of my head with tweezers.. 

The doctor said if I lived till morning, I would have a 50/50 chance of getting better. 

They checked the next day and I was still alive. I spent about six or seven days in the hospital altogether.  

I don’t remember much about the rest of time in hospital. 

Except that 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.  

In January 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. 

I lookedout 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. 

Thatwas the last battle in Italy.  We came out of the line the that day.

Came back down to and stopped at Ortonail one of the staging depots and came across to Leghorn one depot and came across to

Marseilles in France and some sort of landing.  We came up through France to Belgium and went to the Refall Forest for a time. 

In April,crossed the Ijessel River to go up to Holland (boundary of Holland) in river big boxes called Buffalo.  Each one carried a platoon of about 35 solders. 

Shelling landed in the middle of one of the Buffalo and everyone was killed. 

There is a picture in one of the books of a Buffalo.  We sent up to Grebbe Line, the most fortified line in Holland. 

There was a truce and cease fire 25th day of April.  Before we got to the Grebbe Line, before we went over the dyke, a tank opened up and shells were going past us. 

When it was over we took the tank out.  One of the solders told me to take my tunic off. 

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 taken. 

The Canadians 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”.

(Picture Left - Clifford Marsh, 1999)

The German General agreed to a truce and cease fire no violations. 

The German General asked that as soon as his soldiers laid down their arms that the

Canadians 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. 

I had two brothers who also served in the army.  Clarke, was drafted in 1940.  He did his basic training in Camp Borden, Ontario. 

He was in the Service Corps  There was an instructor there who taught people how to drive trucks and tanks. 

After they were instructed, Clarke tested them.  Clarke went overseas just before I did in 1943. 

He went over on the Queen Mary and served in Belgium and returned on the Queen Mary 

Another brother Gerald was drafted in 1944.  He went directly overseas to Holland.  He was in the

infantry (All Canadians) Pioneers attached to the infantry for mine sweeping.  Gerald went overseas on the Louis Pastour and returned on the Isle of France.


Carl Hiltz

Carl’s Story:

My name is Carl Hiltz.  In 1940, I was a regimental bugler and woke the troops at 0600 hours and lights out at 2215
hours daily. 

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. 

Reveille

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. 

One particular morning, I was in a rebellious state of resentment due to being on continuous duty and never getting out of camp. 

There were approximately 20 calls to sound in each 16 hours of duty. 

So at 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. 

The sergeant was waiting and cursing the GD bugler and just as I raised the bugle to my lips there was a very loud roar in

the still 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. 

Everyone hated the bugler!

Demotion

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 charges. 

There was a very efficacious Lieutenant, new from Canada and he was continuously checking and finding fault. 

After all,  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. 

Several nights 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 authority. 

The officer 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 telephone. 

Needless to say I was transferred to Whitley Barracks the next week as a private!

Family Tradition

My father, H.J. Hiltz #3185057 was a bandsman bugler in World War I and afterwards the instrument was always kept on the piano. 

It came 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. 

I was 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 child. 

The government 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.

Military 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 in charge. 

If I remember correctly the last music book of bugle calls from Boosey & Hawks, London,

UK had 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)

 

 

 

Revallie -0600 hours
(sometimes the flag was raised
    according to the sunrise)

Cookhouse - 0700 hours

On parade - 0800 hours

Defaulters - 0900 and 1000 hours

Cookhouse- 1200 hours

On parade - 1330 hours

Defaulters - 1500 – 1600 hours

Cookhouse - 1700 hours

First Post - 2100 hours

Last Post - 2200 hours

Lights out - 2215 hours

Oh yes, I forgot taking down the flag and turning out the guard, and so on …


Bill Jenkins

Canadian Army- Infantry

Canadian Parachute Battalion

1943-1945

Bill's Story

(Picture Below: "The new Infantry officer, June '43") 

My military career began in November 1942, at which time I

formally 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). 

This experience served me well during the permanent Officers’ Training Courses what I took later that winter.

Getting into the army, as a private soldier, had a bit of an odd twist. 

After graduating from Macdonald, my ambition was to get into uniform, and “save the world” from Adolf Hitler. 

Of course, 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. 

However this problem was different and he could not be at all definite with his suggestion. 

If he advised me to go into service and I got killed or wounded, he would never forgive himself. 

Conversely, he said he knew the experience in the army would be invaluable in my future life. 

He concluded with the remark that he could not advise me, but he finished by saying he had never regretted

his own experience in W.W. I.  Well, that convinced me.

One further problem confronted me.  Upon graduating, I owed Howard Roper some money

for financing that last semester at Macdonald. 

Therefore, I took a job with the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture in order to pay Howard. 

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 acceptance. 

He explained that I would be given a commission automatically on being accepted; I would then be sent to a navigation school and shortly after completing the course

I would be on my way overseas.  It all sounded very exciting and I agreed to the proposition. 

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 he understood.

Over the next couple of weeks I waited anxiously to hear from the Air Force but nothing came through. 

Finally, the 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 office. 

They had 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. 

When I 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 army,

although it 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 him. 

In any case, the following Christmas, I received a very nice card from him with all his Best Wishes.  What a surprise! 

Soon after 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. 

Many others had come up through the ranks and had lots of experience in the Army.  What competition! 

Fortunately, I 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 any situation. 

This was where they really shone and these were areas in which I was horribly weak. 

Furthermore, 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 similar courses. 

Each evening I would help my buddies in these subjects and they, in turn, devised a plan to help me. 

They suggested 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 reprimand,

in no uncertain terms, and do this in the most degrading language. 

Well, it appears that our strategy worked and at the end of three months, we all graduated as second Lieutenants (one pip wonders).

From Three Rivers, I was sent to Farnham, Quebec, for Advanced Officer Training. 

In this transfer I was separated from my former buddies but met up with two others: Rollie Curtin and Bill Hartman. 

Rollie had 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.

Life at 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. 

We graduated 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 instructional duty.

While the summer at St. Jean’s was pleasant, there was an under-current of discontent. 

As autumn 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. 

Rollie Curtis, Bill Hartman and I were the only ones to apply, and we soon found out that we were accepted.

In November, 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. 

Apparently he 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

Paratroop Wings and accepted as qualified officers into the First Canadian Parachute Battalion.  This was one big moment.

After we 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. 

Our program 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. 

Obviously, there was only one single criterion in making the selection for joining the outfit; never mind about one’s intelligence or other personal assets. 

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. (Picture, below and to the left: "In England 1944")

In February 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. 

The other ranks were pretty crowded but the officers were comfortable enough in their quarters. 

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

the harbour 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 days. 

When we landed in Scotland, we immediately proceeded to our overseas camp

in Bulford, Wiltshire County.

Bulford is situated in the Salsbury Plains which was the locale of the Sixth Airborne Divison. 

Besides supporting troops, the Division comprised three Brigades; each Brigade had three Battalions. 

We were the only Canadian Battalion among them. 

Our Brigadier 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;

Russ Harrison became President and later Chairman of the Bank of Montreal; Bob Begg became Dean of Medicine and later

President of 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.

I was 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. 

Life around camp was not very exciting but there was a great bunch in the Mess and everyone seemed to get along well. 

Training 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.

Finally, the 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 afterwards.

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. 

Those were difficult times for the Junior Officers who had such close contact with their men and had built up a tremendous rapport with them. 

I have forgotten how this strike ended, but I recall the settlement was made by higher authority at the Brigade level. 

Anyway, we were glad when it was over and we could get on with more constructive activities.

As the 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. 

Along with your driver/batman, visit as many military hospitals as possible, find our men and give them treats along with Nicklin’s best wishes.” 

 Most of our boys were in Basingstoke Hospital, which specialized in head injouries. 

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. 

On occasion, 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.

After our hospital tour, we began to settle down in earnest for our next assignment.  During late summer and early fall, we began training for a defensive role. 

This involved jumping across every river in England and setting up defensice positions. 

This was new for paratroops who were usually on the offensive. 

However, in 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. 

This, however, 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,

which offered very weak resistance and suffered heavy losses. 

As the enemy approached Brussels, the situation became very serious and something had to be done. 

Apparently the 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. 

The tradition was for the officers to be waiters and serve the troops. 

They always 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 basement. 

Naturally the 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. 

This was 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. 

 After 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,”

they would 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 true. 

No wonder the enemy was so resistant. 

Finally, the 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. 

Returning to 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. 

Secondly, we were not going to land directly on the east bank of the river as previously expected. 

So the whole operation was to be a first-time ever event and a complete surprise to the enemy.

Just before leaving camp at Bulford, all officers attended a huge briefing session in the local theatre. 

Naturally, we were not allowed to carry any notes or orders; everything had to be committed to memory. 

Our Commanding 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.

The broad strategy was that we would land behind the enemy troops about six miles east of the river. 

Their reserve troops were about twelve miles behind their front lines. 

We would 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. 

There was 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.” 

Talk about confidence.

Well, March 24th 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 three. 

Behind each of the other two planes there was another V, so that we were nine planes flying in close formation. 

Arriving at the airport, I met my pilot who was an American major and began to compare my information with his orders. 

After hearing 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.”  Scary!

Well, we 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. 

We returned 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. 

After the initial skirmishes, we began to make our way through Germany in a north-easterly direction. 

In the 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. 

Then they 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. 

Whenever we 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 country. 

Each day the resistance grew weaker until we were merely taking prisoners, literally by the thousands. 

The big satisfaction was coming across many prisoner-of-war camps and setting free allied prisoners of all description. 

The tough parts were discovering mass graves – who were these people and what did they do to deserve such treatment.

Our trek 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 Sea. 

 This 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. 

From 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. 

The Russian Officers were great party people; vodka flowed freely and we had a tremendous time. 

The Russian soldiers, however, were a bit of a nuisance to our men. 

As their 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 spot. 

I though he was half kidding, until I saw how the Russian officers treated their troops.

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. 

Col. Fraser 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 the Channel. 

I asked Jimmy Gregor of Winnipeg to accompany me, and we had a real ball traveling by a stripped down airborne jeep sans windshield,

for one thousand miles to our predetermined campsite.  Some days later the battalion arrived; we crossed the English Channel and returned to Bulford.

It was now time to make preparations to return to Canada.  We went up to Scotland, boarded the Isle de France once again, and headed for Halifax. 

This 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

celebration 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. 

We disembarked at Pier 21, assembled the entire battalion and had a big parade up Barrington Street. 

The parade 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 Niagra-on-the-Lake.

Eventually it 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. 

While at 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 extra-curricular work. 

At last VJ Day came along, and for us, the war was finally over. 

That night 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. 

Then some 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. 

Traffic was backed up for miles on each side. 

Police forces arrived from both directions. 

Finally, the Fire Departments came from each side, sprayed

the whole crowd, and that did the trick. 

Everyone dispersed, soaking wet, and traffic resumed. 

The next day I was Orderly Officer. 

About mid-morning, the police department

from the New York side called and said,

“Please keep your troops on your own side of the border.

Well, V.J. Day was something to be celebrated and

immediately we began to make preparations to wind down the Battalion.

A soon as I agreed to come back to the

Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, there was no time

lost in getting me out of the army, and I was one of the first

in the Battalion to get my honourable discharge in either August or September. 

Thus ended my army career and thereby brings this chapter to a close.

(Picture above: "November 11, 1994)   


Sylvester McCallum

Canadian Army 1943-1946

My name is Sylvester McCallum.  While I was in the service

I was referred to as Mac or Red and later in civilian life I was

referred to 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

and transferred for Advanced Training in Aldershot just out

side of Kentville, Nova Scotia. 

On the 7th of May 1944 I was shipped overseas on the Ill de France, and we landed in

England approximately seven days later. 

(Picture to left: "Syvester McCallum, England 1944)

On D-Day 6 June 1944, I landed on Juno Beach Normandy at approximately 0610 a.m.  

I was assigned to the Canadian Scottish Regiment from British Columbia,

as a reinforcement to B Company 12th Platoon 3rd Division 7th Brigade. 

I was in the front lines traveling from Caen to Antrewpen. 

After crossing 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! 

But nevertheless, I got out alive and was transferred to a hospital in England. 

After I recovered, I took several related courses in England, preparing to go to the Pacific. 

I was shipped back to Canada on the Ill de France on 5 August 1945 for leave, prior to going to the Pacific. 

Peace, 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.

I enjoyed touring England back then, but I don’t wish to

remember or talk about the bad times. 

I married Doris, the girlfriend I had before going overseas.

We’ve been married for 58 years and have two children, three

grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

 

 

 

 

 

 


E. Malcolm Langille

Mac’s Story:

Born in 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 volunteered for

active service 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

Les Buissons 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

for the 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 Palm Leaf.

I visited Normandy for the 25th Anniversary of D-Day, 1969, and for the 50th Anniversary in 1994.

A Chartered 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

My name is John Romyn, 81 years old, born in Rotterdam in 1923. 

I am a war veteran, having served in the Dutch Navy,

always overseas, from 1943 until 1947.

John’s Story

I was the oldest of 5 children, 2 boys and 3 girls, with two to four birth-age between us

We lived and I was brought up in the centre part of Rotterdam

My 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. 

I can really say I was more or less brought up by my grandmother.

I was brought up Catholic, first elementary school and then later in a special kind of high school, just for boys. 

In Grade 6, we were already taught the English language and also specialized in business matters and accounting; all of this for about 4 years. 

My 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 very lucky.

After graduating from school, I continued with Night College, studying accounting. 

At age 16, I had passed my first exam, out of 3 that were required to become the equivalent of a chartered accountant. 

I was studying for my second exam when, on May 10, 1940, Holland was invaded by Nazi Germany.  We fought back. 

We 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.

We 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. 

 To 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. 

At about noon, we were sitting in the living room, my mother putting a lunch together. 

My Grandfather was staying with us during these days and he was resting on a sofa when all hell broke loose. 

We 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 over !!!

We ran down some stairs, my grandfather with my 4 years old sister on his arm, and I herded the others outside. 

On the street beside our house, everything was aflame. 

We 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. 

And 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 little finger.

We spent the afternoon on some benches in a park nearby and overnight on some mattresses in the hold of a Rhine riverboat. 

 The 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. 

We were repatriated back to Rotterdam again for about a year; we lived in emergency-built row houses in a suburb of Rotterdam. 

I 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. 

If 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 for

transport to Riga-Lithuania, which the Nazis had invaded.  I had never been away from home.  I was 19 years old.

So I am standing on the streetcar to go home - staring at my feet and desperate. 

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. 

I told him my circumstances.  Then he looked around to see if anyone was listening, and said, “Don’t go … come with me.”  I did. 

We 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 German Eagle. 

Then and there he made me a Journeyman mechanic with a specialty of repairing hangars on airfields. 

I 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,

and NOT to mention anything to anyone.  

It 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 Marquis).

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,

we were having some kind of air drop at a very isolated and rugged country area near Isle sur Risle. 

It 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 the floor. 

They all had packs on their backs and I asked the third fellow what they were.  I never forgot how he answered me. 

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 Interrogation Center. 

I 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. 

I 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.

I 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. 

I was discharged in July, 1947, never having served in Holland, always overseas.

I took a job with Holland America Lines in the Passenger Department, getting it through a former navy mate. 

His uncle was the administrator.  I had previously promised my mother that I would be staying home now, but that only lasted six months. 

I 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 Westerdam.  It was a freighter with about 100 passengers, sailing between Rotterdam and Hoboken, New Jersey,

often visiting different ports between Ireland, the U.K. and France. 

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!

My boss (purser) had lots of experience with the company but not bookkeeping and bar control. 

This was 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.

I 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 New Amsterdam

We sailed within a week with me in that capacity.

I 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 Canada. 

They were three brothers who had hotels, restaurants and real estate in Montreal. 

I said I would think it over, but they did not wait. 

They were from Outremont, a suburb of Montreal, and the Mayor was also an M.P. 

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. 

I accepted and arrived in Canada – Montreal by train from New York. 

And 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. 

And here in Truro, Nova Scotia.  Canada is a great country!


John Burke

 

John’s Story

 

I was born in Truro Nova Scotia the son of John and Ann Burke.

I 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.

In October 1941 I was 15 years old, 5 feet 7 and weighed 117 pounds.

With 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 recruitment process.

Out of the 10 people I was the smallest and the dirtiest one there and the only one they accepted.

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, etc.

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.  

We completed 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.

When we arrived in Quebec City we ate dinner at the big Chateau Laurier Hotel. Not in the dining room but in the basement.

Then on 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.

We were 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

the 10th Infantry Brigade of The 4 Canadian Armored Division. I was given instruction on how to drive a motorcycle and after training

was posted down to Canperdown Signal Station outside Halifax, as security to patrol the roads every night to prevent spies and others from entering Halifax Harbor.

There were gates across the harbor to stop submarines and we did not allow any lights along the shore.

After about 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

maintain all 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.

In October 1942, the division was sent to England. We took the train to Halifax and boarded the Queen Elizabeth.

It went straight to England without an escort. The ship carried 10,000 troops and our regiment manned the machine guns on the top decks.

The other 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.

After getting 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.

Our next 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 half.

That was a large estate and we were there to provide security for the Royals.

There were 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

identify the enemy unit and their tanks and guns by sight and sound. I was there for 90 days and when I returned my regiment,

The Princess 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.

They finally sent me to a Holding Unit and then to The Regina Rifles as an infantryman.

We landed in Normandy in June 1944. First of all we were all placed on small freighters and during the

night we 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 the beaches

until one of our officers threw a hand grenade into the pillbox and then we started inland.

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.

We surrounded 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.

They used horses to pull their guns and equipment. You had to see it to believe it.

The Americans 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.

The German 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.

Our Company 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.

There were 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 needed.

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 Infantryman so

I returned to Canada, took a month leave and started training with the American Army for Japan.

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.

They were having a revolution, so on New Year’s
Day 1946 we sailed out of Halifax Harbor heading for South
America.

We were not permitted to wear a uniform as we were
on loan to the British Foreign Service and were classed as
civilian advisors.

I spent six months there.

I then returned home via the United States and went to Success
Business College. 

I met Theresa Landry at the Immaculate
Conception Church during a Sunday service.

We eventually
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.

 

 

 

 

 


Lloyd MacDonald

2nd Heavy Anti-Aircraft , Canadian Army

Lloyd’s Story: 

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 Training. 

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 embarkation leave. 

I was put onboard the SS ANDES out of Halifax and landed at Mercy Docks in Liverpool. 

Across the harbour the docks were all aflame and being night time we couldn't see too much. 

The Germans 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 radar. 

This was 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. 

Sometimes the German planes would be over us before we heard them.  We were the 2nd Heavy Anti-Aircraft with 1,600 members. 

There were three Batteries and each Battery had two troops with four guns.  There was one radar site to each four guns. 

 There 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. 

Information 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. 

Once we took up position 1-1/2 miles from Cap Gris Nez, near Calais. 

By noon we were dug in an open field and the Sergeant and I thought we would walk to lunch. 

We were 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 pray. 

In that battle the Germans destroyed four of our guns, killed four and injured many. 

We were shelled for 1-1/2 hours. 

Our cook was shaving against a tree and the top of his head was cut off. 

Our Commander ordered us to leave the guns and get into nearby caves until dark. 

That’s how we got out.

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. 

There were 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. 

I was then sent to Holland and up to Germany doing the same job. 

That 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 the barracks. 

There were lots of kids with swollen bellies.  We were left guarding 15-20,000 German prisoners who lived in tents with wired fences around them. 

These were mostly young men officers.  One night they even hung their own commander. 

We never abused any of them.  There were about 200 horses. 

I remember we marched the prisoners to Holland to return the stolen horses to the farmers. 

There were trucks ahead, on the sides and in back of the prisoners. 

But coming back we put the prisoners in trucks. 

You couldn’t trust the young guys; some as young as 14. 

I left Scotland on the 8th of July and landed in Halifax on the 13th of July. 

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 night. 

I was 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 Fisheries. 

I worked for them for 30 years. 

I married Daisy Latham on 20 July 1948 and we had two children, a boy and a girl. 

That union lasted 11 years. 

On 25 Nov 1960, I married Bethena Stubbert. 

She passed 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 years. 

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

Corporal

11th Canadian Field Company,

Royal Canadian Engineers,

2nd Canadian Infantry Division

The following 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

the experiences I have had, and my reaction to them.

Normandy, France

July, 1944  

Bridge Building 

Around 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 river. 

The river at this point was only 120 feet across and the round trip took no more than five minutes.

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 bridge. 

I recall that it was necessary for us to blow a cement wall, which was in the way. 

Following 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 of July.

 

Night Mission

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.

The village had been heavily bombed by our air force and shelled by the artillery. 

There was heavy damage and fire from the burning buildings gave off just enough light for us to carry out our duties.  

Mine detectors were big and cumbersome compared to the mine and metal detectors that presently exist.  

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 located. 

This could possibly be a land mine.  If the operator was by himself, it was necessary to assign another soldier to stay near him to warn,

if necessary, of any danger and also to help if a mine was discovered. 

On this 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!” 

I swung around.  There was a German soldier coming towards me with his hands over his head. 

As he approached, I released the safety catch from my rifle and was ready for action. 

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. 

I finally 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. 

It was necessary to walk this half-mile with our prisoner in the dark. 

Again there was fear of being ambushed from the open fields; however, we reached the village and turned the prisoner over to the

Canadian 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 farm animals. 

Likely, many 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,

the bullet ricocheted off, doing only a little damage.  All the cow did was shake its head.  

Perhaps our comrade chose the angle because he didn’t want the cow staring at him as he ended its life. 

He had 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.

Sapper Arsenault

Around 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 territory. 

It certainly was the wrong area for us to relax in as the shells going over our heads made an awful noise.

It would 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. 

Shells were going over out heads in both directions.

On the 26th of July, a shell landed in the field we were in killing Sapper S. A. Arsenault. 

Arsenault was 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?

Before going 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

11th Canadian Field Coy, R.C.E.,

26th July Age – 36

Buried at Bretteville-Sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery,

Normandy, France.

Plot 6  -  Row B  -  Grave 12.

It brought back a sad memory for me as I stood at his grave on the 5th of June 1994 -

It could have been me.

How I Located Sapper Arsenault’s Grav

I had been posted to the 11th Canadian Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers, 2nd Cdn Infantry Division, 2nd Platoon, in May 1944, in Southern England. 

Our platoon commander was Lieut. E.T. Galway.

During my 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.”

On July 26th, 1944, 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 over.

After the war, I worked for a period of time in Moncton.  While there, I visited the Moncton cenotaph. 

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

in France 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, New Brunswick. 

It is 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

Towards 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. 

During my patrol I had to pass an area between the orchard and the cemetery. 

As everyone knows, when you walk past headstones, the moonlight reflects off the polished surfaces.  

There were fully ripened fruit on the trees and there existed no distinct line between our company and the enemy.

Can you 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

Cleve, German

On the 16th of March 1945, we (11th Field Coy, RCE) began to check a stretch of ground near

Cleve for mines; we needed to make it safe for the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada. 

The mine-clearing party of one officer, one sergeant and seven sappers found a number of riegel mines (R.MI.43). 

These were safely lifted and stored in two dumps by the evening of the 17th.

The following morning the mine-clearing party returned to destroy the dumps, but something went wrong. 

There was a terrific explosion and all were killed. 

The following were in the mine-clearing party:  

Lieut. O.H. Taylor

Sgt. C.V. Richards

Spr.  E.F.R. Andersen

Spr.  A. Brown

Spr.  H.C. Inkpen

Spr.  U. Mayo

Spr.  D.A. McLellan

Spr.  N.T. Sponagle

Spr.  A.A.J. Steffler

They are 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.

Sometimes prisoners could be a real bother, taking many of our boys to guard them and eventually to turn them over to authorities.

Although this wasn’t normally one of our duties, we did take these prisoners off their hands. 

The prisoners 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 from him. 

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. 

During many 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 Ontario.

A few years ago, I gave the knife to Harry, who was to give it to his father. 

Although not 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.

Germany, 1945 

“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. 

Between the 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 green look. 

This large 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. 

These tracks 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 desk. 

This handgun became another one of my souvenirs.

The big 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 safely. 

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?

Holland

After 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. 

In August 1945, we were sent to The Hague to clear the area in and around the city. 

We were quartered in some old hotels in Scheveningen,

which is a beach resort near the city.

One day, shortly after we had arrived, a man came to our orderly room. 

Speaking English, he said he was a watch repairman from the city

and asked permission to take any watches that the men needed repaired. 

Permission was given as this was a first time we had an opportunity to have

watches 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. 

He promised 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 watches. 

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 Stewart

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

 (Picture Below: Rae Stewart, World War I)  

Rae’s Story

When war 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. 

However 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 N.B.
in the First Reinforcement Company, which was destined to fill vacancies in the First Canadian Division caused by casualties and illness.

I trained in St. Stephen until about 10th of May ’15 and then proceeded to Camp Sussex where

we were attached to the 55th Bn for training, etc. 

Early in June we proceeded to England on the “Corsican”. 

This ship was torpedoed on her next voyage. 

 

On arrival in England we were hosted to the 12th Bn (Reserve) at Shorne Cliffe.  Then training began in earnest.

While at 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 little success. 

While enroute back to Germany, Zefflins flew low over Oxford and when lights turned on them and anti aircraft fire directed at them,

they opened 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 map.   

Early in August 15, our Coy was broken up and about 150 of us went to France arriving at Le Harve. 

We received advanced training then up the line joining the 14th Bn. Royal Montreal Regiment on August 27th 1915. 

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. 

However no freezing weather.  It was during this stretch we put most of Belgium in sand bags. 

Casualties were light, as no attacks by either side.  In April 1916 we moved to Ypres Salent where it was hot. 

Trenches close together and more shelling and shooting.  One stretch was known as The International Trench. 

It had changed hands 19 times the last time I was in it.  A very unhealthy place!!! 

On June 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.

On the night of June 2nd, 1916 our Bn was ordered to relieve the 3rd Div and regain the ground they had lost. 

We arrived in position at 5 a.m. June 3, to launch an attack. 

For some 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. 

We were partly successful in reaching our objective.  At about 5 p.m. I was shot through right thigh. 

Three 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 own. 

I chose the later, used rifle as crutch and made it back. 

Then to hospital at Roven, then to England to a military hospital north of London. 

Was told by the senior surgeon I would have a dropped foot for life and would not have to go back to the firing line. 

Later went to a Voluntary Aid Hospital at East Finchley N.E. of London. 

I was 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. 

“Another Hot 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. 

Fairly quiet.  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 knees. 

A German jumped on my back and I think he must have wanted to take me in as prisoner. 

However I was able to overpower him and used the metal end of my entrenching tool to quiet him. 

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. 

Early in April 1917 preparations made for a big assault on German lines and on April 9th, 1917, the attack was launched. 

This attack 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 trenches. 

Consequently 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 my nose. 

Later when 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.

After discharge from hospital started to rejoin Bn.  On arrival at Corps Reinforcement Camp was asked to remain there

(at Cologne, 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

over marshy ground.

(Picture below: Rae's son, Bill Stewart, presenting his father's medals to Legion President, Gary Higgins, on April 14th, 2005)

Camp closed in Dec 1917 and rejoined 14th Bn at Chateau de la Hae, where we spent most of winter. 

Mostly quiet on front lines at this section.  In March 1918 when Germans launched their last big offensive our

Division was thrown into action in several places mostly in the Arras and Vimy sections. 

Lots of action and movement. 

In April 1918 was recommended for commission and proceeded to

Can 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.

 

Rejoined 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. 

That was only big battle I got through without a wound.  Was real lucky. 

Before day was out was in command of No. 1 Company and succeeded in capturing a village and about 100 Germans and

12 machine guns with only one man killed and a few wounded. 

Guess that’s why I was recommended for Military Cross.  Next came Cambri, really Germans last strong resistance. 

A touch fight and we lost quite heavy.  Again wounded by a piece of scrapnel in back of left knee.  Another trip to hospital at Harve. 

On 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 with enemy. 

This was a very interesting job.  As fast as a town was organized would move on to another.

On Nov 11, 1918 was cleaning up a little town not far from Mons.  Shortly after 11 a.m. that date, the world seemed very quiet. 

The 5th C.M.R.’s marched through town and I asked George Dibble who was an officer in that unit what had happened. 

He 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. 

I went back and told the people in the town and was mobbed.  Shortly after armistice rejoined 14th Bn in time for march into Germany. 

Crossed the Rhine River at Cologne and we spent a month at Unter Eschleaugh, a small town about half way between Cologne and Bonn. 

Shortly after Xmas 1918 we came back to Belgium to a town called Huey between Liege an Namur. 

Stayed a month in Huey then to England. 

In England until April 13, 1919 then 5-1/2 days on Steamship Carmania to Halifax to

Montreal then home arriving in St. Stephen April 19th, 1919.


Ralph Finck

Ralph's Story

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,

Newfoundland.  At the age of 14 I lost my adopted parents and was sent back to an orphanage in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia. When

I finished 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,

I hitchhiked to Truro, stopped at a jeweler store on Prince Street and bought a $25.00 wedding ring. 

Later that 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.

Once in 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 history.

While overseas I was in charge of a carrier 3-inch mortar. 

Once while going up thru a road it was so packed with convoy

that a military policeman showed me a road thru a field that he thought we could get through. 

When we 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. 

The officer 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. 

My next recollection was of “Object Capture” which was an airfield kept by Hitler’s 21st Panther

Division.  The 9th Brigade 3rd Division Infantry consisting of The North Nova Scotia Highlanders,

The Highland Light Infantry and The Sundance Glengarries, were sent in to regain the airfield.

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 hospital recuperating.

I rejoined my unit, went to Belgium, and fought throughout Holland. 

Four other 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 de France. 

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 grandchild. 

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 night and

sent three parcels every month plus 1,000 cigarettes ($1.00 per 1,000, which was a lot of money back then). 

Every Christmas, her Dad would purchase a pint of black rum and

Dorothy would 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.

Now you 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

The Halifax 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. 

When I 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. 

My birth 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 birth mother. 

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

girlfriend were getting ready to go to a party and was going to have a can of soup before heading out. 

They opened the can and drank the soup and within a short period of time they

both got violently sick. 

They proceeded 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

had a relationship with my mother and later with a half brother and sister. 

AND THAT IS THE REST OF THE STORY.


 

RONALD FRANK BOYCE 

Ron’s Story:

I am the third oldest of 13 children born on 24 August 1923 to

Charles Hilton Boyce and Harriet Magdalene Hay in Amherst, Nova Scotia. 

On 31 October 1926 my family moved to Truro where my father owned and operated the bowling alley on Inglis Street. 

My mother was a housewife.  From kindergarten to grade nine I attended Willow Street School then I went to Truro High School. 

I worked for a few years and then spent three years in the Army. 

I was out of school for a total of six years when in September 1945 until May 1946

I 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

2nd Battalion North Nova Scotia Highlanders (also known as the Non-Permanent Active Militia). 

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 Battalion. 

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 Army. 

After training one night I was advised to report to the Colonel who not only granted me a transfer but also recommended me for my commission. 

So I ended up going to Brockville Military Academy and graduated as a 2nd Lieutenant. 

Then I went to Aldershot for my promotion to 1st Lieutenant.

From there I was transferred to Yarmouth Basic Training Center as a staff member. 

One 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. 

The 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 I could. 

We had 73, including my Major and myself wounded and 42 killed. 

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.

In May 1945 I set sail from South Hampton on the first peacetime sail arriving at Pier 21 Halifax on 5 June 1945. 

I was discharged in August 1945 medically unfit due to hearing loss.

On 23 October 1950 I married Margaret MacDonald and we have one girl and four boys

and they have given us 12 lovely grandchildren.

Following the war I helped my Dad run his bowling alley business;

I worked in the Post Office; my brother Doug and I owned and operated Hub Electric;

I was Division Manager at Simpson Sears; and I was a credit manager at Irving Oil until retirement in 1976.

I joined the Canadian Legion of The British Empire Service League on 2 May 1946. 

I have served on many committees and was elected President in 1966. 

I received Life Membership on 29 October 1985; was awarded Meritorious Service Medal on 3 November 1995

and Palm Leaf to Meritorious Service Medal in January 2005. 

I am presently a trustee of Colchester N.S. Branch No. 26 Truro. 

I 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 HIGHLANDERS

COMMEMORATE COMRADES FALLEN IN BATTLE

AT BIENE, GERMAN

The 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. 

The 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 Bridgehead.

The 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.

As they reminisced, the idea of a tablet to commemorate the battle was discussed. 

Word was put out and many of their fellow comrades and friends agreed with the idea and soon the money came in.

Mr. 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. 

The extent of the wording and of the message to be conveyed, however, dictated that,

if 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 brass. 

Mr. Boyce picked the tablet up and brought it to Truro and then to Amherst for local members to see before it headed overseas. 

Mr. Dickson contacted the Department of National Defence who delivered the

80 pound tablet from Nova Scotia to Holland in May, 2000 where he picked it up and took

it to Bienen and there turned it over to the Burgomeister.

The people of Bienen decided that the tablet should go on a new wall which was to be built that summer

as part of the courtyard of the attractive and ancient Roman Catholic church located in the town. 

Its origins date back 1100 years to 900 AD.  In the year 2000, Remembrance Day was to be observed on November 19th

and this date and occasion was appropriately selected for the unveiling and dedication of the tablet.

Mr. Dickson represented the North Nova Scotia Highlanders on November 19, 2000 in the town of

Bienen, Germany for the ceremony that dedicated the tablet. 

He laid a wreath in memory of fallen comrades and spoke briefly to the large gathering assembled. 

The occasion received considerable publicity in the German media. 

The following day, Mr. Dickson visited the Canadian Military Cemetery at Groesbeek, Holland,

and placed poppies on the graves of the North Nova fallen.

As 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. 

Its 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.

BIENEN TABLET

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, 1945

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 fateful day.

At the going down of the sun

And in the morning

We will remember them.

Erected at Bienen on the 55th Anniversary of the event in the year 2000.

GEDENKTAFEL

IN EHRENVOLLEM GEDENKEN AN DIE VIERZIG MITGLERDER

DER NORD NOVA SCOTIA HIGHLANDER,

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

UND

ZUM RESPEKTVOLLEN GEDENKEN AN JENE SOLDATEN,

DIE IN DER DEUTSCHEN ARME GEKAMPFT HABEN

UND AM GLEICHEN SCHICKSALHAFTEN TAG

IN DERSELBEN SCHLACHT GEFALLEN SIND.

WENN DIE SONNE GLUHED VERSINKT

ND AM MORGEN DAS LICHT ERWACHT,

WERDEN WIR IRER GEDENKEN.

DIESE TAFEL WURDE IM JAHRE 2000 VON KANADISCHEN

VETERANEN DER NORD NOVA SCOTIA HIGHLANDER ERRICHTET-

ZUM GEDENKEN AN DEN 55. JAHRESTAG DES EREIGNISSES.


Roland Barrass

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 Shirley. 

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 Street. 

My mother passed away of TB when I was twelve.

In 1937 I completed grade 11 and in 1938 I completed one year at Success Business College. 

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

 would 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 the books

just needed doctoring up because the people looking after them didn’t know how to do them properly. 

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. 

These camps were training men to send overseas and men were coming from all over to Debert. 

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. 

I was 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 two boys. 

Avis never wanted me to go overseas so she was quite happy the way things turned out. 

I’m always afraid people will ask me what the war years were like. 

Upon my military release, my family and I were living in an apartment in Truro. 

In 1946 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. 

From 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. 

I was out on the road trying to sell Lewis socks, hats and caps to different stores and in my spare time

I joined the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Reserve Army. 

We only had meetings about once a week sometimes parading on the odd weekend down at the Armories. 

I can’t recall anything spectacular that we did. 

I served with them for a couple of years in the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.  

On 19 November 1953 I left Lewis Ltd. and on 23 November I went to work for Webster & Sons Ltd. 

There we used to buy and sell materials to hardware stores, like

Home Hardware and Walkers & Sons and places like that and we would bring materials into

Truro in 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 places.  

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. 

Avis passed away in 1988.  On 16 February 1990, I married Barbara Merle Durkee nee Gray. 

Barbara and 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. 

So, all together we have quite a few. 

(Picture to left: "Roland Barrass, 2005")

My hobbies include philatelic (postage stamp collecting)

which I’ve done pretty much all my life, off and on. 

When my boys were young, 

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,

chairman of 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

Jack Logan   

(Picture below: "Jack Logan")

Headline 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 - severely

wounded.  Paratrooper Wilfred Blackmore - wounded.

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

TRURO - 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 Truro said,

“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 he? 

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 body.

“I was in bed that night before I cried,” she said.  “Then I sobbed for hours.”

She had two students from the former Normal College boarding with her at the time. 

When they came home and heard the news, they embraced her in an effort to comfort her any way they could.

A 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 was killed. 

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.

A 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 Sapper Logan

The letter said they were clearing a route through heavy shelling when he was shot and killed by a F. Flushing naval gun. 

A 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.

Postscript:  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 Drive. 

They have two sons.


 

STEVEN BEREZOWSKI 

My 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. 

My parents were homesteaders and made their living
by farming. 

My siblings were Lucy, Mary, Katie (deceased), Mike, John, Walter (deceased), Peter, Josephine, Charley,
Frances and Frank (twins), Ralph and Adam. 

I attended a one room schoolhouse finishing with a grade 7 education.

(Picture below: "Soldier Steve Berezowski" )

After my schooling I worked at farming in Saskatchewan and in 1939

I started work for MacKinnon Industries, a subsidiary of General Motors in St. Catherines, Ontario. 

I joined the military in early Spring 1940 in Toronto, Ontario. 

I was on my way to Toronto to visit my sister Lucy when I spotted tents on Bay Street. 

The tents were full of Highlanders and I thought they had real nice uniforms so

I went to one of the Recruiting tents and signed up. 

From there I was sent to Camp Borden, Ontario for Basic Training as a Motor Mechanic. 

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 1941. 

I took one flight to be a paratrooper and that was enough!!  I joined the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps. 

I 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. 

One night I had a collision with an on coming vehicle and no one knew where I was. 

I ended up at a New Zealand Field Station (Medical) but was reported missing in action by my unit. 

My sister Lucy was my next of kin and she received two telegrams stating I was missing in action. 

I 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 still living! 

I also sent a telegram to April which she vividly recalls it reading:  “all safe and with fondest love, Steve.“ 

We went from Italy to France, through Belgium to Holland. 

On April 13th, there were 45 injuries in my unit while taking dispatches from the front line near Cleve, Germany. 

I was taken to hospital in Apeldorm where I stayed for six weeks

I 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 long friends.

(Picture below: "Crazy Canucks - Steve and some Buddies") 

One of my mates, Jim Ercolini, loved to tell the story of how I would ride my motorcycle

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. 

By the time Jim arrived I would be fast asleep on my motorcycle. 

Jim and I stayed close friends for years.

I was released from the military on 21 February 1946, end of demobilization. 

I returned back to work for General Motors. 

And 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. 

I married April nee Vaughan from Uckfield, Sussex, England on 24 July 1945. 

We raised two sons Anthony Steven nicknamed Tony, born 19 April 1947 and Peter John, born 28 October 1952. 

I 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


Ronald Stephens TATTRIE

Ronald Stephens 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.   

Ronald finished grade 11 schooling and joined the Army in Debert in October 1941.

There were 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,

where he learned to be a Storesman. 

In May 1942, Ronald boarded The Queen Elizabeth in Halifax,

with 20,000 people aboard, and headed overseas. 

Five days later he was in Bramshot,

England where he worked in Quarter Master (QM) Stores. 

From there 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

England and 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. 

Ronald recalled that they hit a terrible storm in Newfoundland and had to stay there for a few days. 

He also 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. 

Ronald arrived 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 1985.

In 1948 Ronald married a Belmont girl

Ardith Lynds and they had six children. 

Their family has now grown to include

11 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. 

They still reside in Belmont and

Ronald enjoys reading, fishing, hunting and gardening.

 

 

 

 

 

Hadley Maxwell Burns  

Hadley Maxwell Burns was born on March 13, 1915 at Noel Road, Nova Scotia. 

His father, Harry was a jack of all trades, employed in the woods. 

His mother, Muriel nee Ettinger was a busy homemaker who raised 12 children, 9 boys and 3 girls.

Hadley, the second oldest child, recalled walking three miles everyday to Noel Road School.

When he completed grade 6 Hadley went to work in the woods, where he celebrated his 14th birthday.

Becoming a jack of all trades, just like his Dad, he recalled driving a yard horse and

working for Harry Hut making apple barrels.

He also worked for Eastern Car Works in Trenton for approximately a year and for

the Maitland Airport in Salem for about the same length of time. 

Hadley recalled that the family farm lost part of their land during the construction of the Maitland Airport.

Upon receiving a conscription letter from the government just prior to Christmas 1943,

Hadley reported to Halifax with his friend Cecil MacKenzie from Bible Hill. 

He wasn’t anxious to join the military but felt that it was the right thing to do. 

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.

Upon completion, Hadley was returned to Windsor, Nova Scotia, where, for a couple of weeks, he was placed in what was called, a Holding Unit. 

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,

which most 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.

From 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.

Hadley recalled 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.

He still 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 Street.

His parents, 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 grandchild.

Hadley remained in Horley, England until he left for home in 1945. 

Another fond friend he made while overseas was Garth Allen from Langley, British Columbia. 

Garth refused to work on Saturdays because of his religion, but he made up for it and did his share on Sundays. 

Garth and 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 boracic solution. 

Hadley was ordered complete bed rest.  On 13 March 1946, Hadley came home on the hospital ship THE LADY NELSON. 

 Although 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 Street. 

His parents, who thought he wasn’t on the boat after all, went home where news reached them that Hadley was in the hospital. 

The following day they went to the hospital and took him home. 

Hadley reported to a hospital in Debert three days later to find out that there was a hemorrhage in the back of his eyes.  

Hadley was released in 1946 “End of Demobilization” but reported back and forth to the Camp Hill Hospital for the following 10 years to keep his eyes checked. 

He met his wife to be shortly before he left for overseas and upon his return they courted for about a year. 

In 1947 at Maitland, N.S. ,

Hadley married Harry Pridham’s daughter, Helen, formerly from Alberton, Prince Edward Island. 

Throughout his civilian life he worked 18 years for a construction company

that built 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. 

Hadley and Helen moved to Truro in 2001.

Although Hadley was initially hesitant about joining the military,

he stated that he had no regrets and would do it all over again.

 


James Harvey BATES   

James Harvey 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.

Upon receiving 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 trade. 

In 1941, he married Margaret MacKay in Truro and on 21 August 1942 they had their first child, a

 daughter they named Shirley.

Soon after, James went to Halifax to join the Army enlisting on 24 November 1942. 

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.

James was wounded at Caen on July 18, 1944 and was sent to England to recover. 

About two months later he was sent back into action. 

He went overseas with the West Nova Scotia Regiment but when he went back he was

transferred to the Engineers, the 9th Field Squadron, where he drove a Half Truck. 

The Squadron built bridges at the front. 

James stayed with the Engineers until three weeks before the war was over when he was shell shocked and found himself back in the hospital.

In early 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. 

James and Margaret went on to raise a total of six children, and now have 11 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. 

 James is 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

Foster was born in Truro, Nova Scotia on 7 April 1920. 

His father, Fred McCarthy, was a painting contractor and his mother,

Florence nee 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. 

Foster, like 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.

Foster joined the Royal Canadian Regiment on 10 February 1943 and completed

Advanced Training in Aldershot #15A1(R)TC on 26 June 1943. 

His ship was torpedoed en-route from England to Italy and

the survivors were picked up by another ship off the coast of Africa and taken in to Africa. 

Foster served in the United Kingdom and Central Mediterranean Area. 

He was wounded in action (shot in the leg) in Italy on 3 September 1944. 

Foster was hospitalized in Italy and from there was transferred to England for approximately eight months. 

He was discharged “On Demobilization” 28 July 1945 and received

the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp.

Foster married Helen nee Hamilton on 4 October 1939 and raised two daughters, Carol and Beverly. 

They have four grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Foster passed away on 11 April 2000 and his dear   

Helen still resides in Truro, N.S. 

Foster was a member of

the Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026

 

 

 


SAXTON, Joseph Patrick Michael

Joseph was born on 11 March 1926 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

His father, Joseph, was a meat cutter, who once owned his own business but lost it during the depression. 

His mother 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. 

He completed grade 8 at College Street School and in later years went to night school where he received his grade 11 education. 

Before joining the Military, Joe worked for the CNR as an office boy and delivered advise notices

and he also worked at the Halifax Shipyards.

Because Joe 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

The Castle Class Corvette HMCS Leaside

After training, the Leaside joined Group 8 consisting of Frigates and

Corvettes to escort Convoys from St. Johns Newfoundland to Londonderry, Ireland. 

They would leave the convoy with the English escort in the Irish Sea and then proceed to

 

Londonderry, Ireland for stores and three days rest. 

After three days they would pick up another convoy and head back to St. John’s. 

From there, another escort group,

Canadians and United States Navy would take them to Halifax or U.S. Ports.

The storms 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. 

This particular night was really calm and he could see the wake. 

This really 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

and their squid attack, it was on the bottom. 

There was lots of oil, etc. coming up. 

They thought it would surface but the Royal Navy came along (two ships) and ordered them to proceed to Londonderry. 

The next afternoon they were told that the U-boat surfaced and the crew scuttled it. 

They were 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. 

After leave, 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:

Veteran John 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. 

His memories 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. 

Nonetheless, 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 MacDonald Bridge. 

Actually, when they got there, they soon realized that the recruiting

office had been relocated to Stadacona, to make room

for the footings of the first bridge to be built across Halifax Harbour.

After Basic Training in Sydney, Jack became a supplies assistant at the “vittling depot” at Stadacona. 

He was drafted to the HMCS Iroquois in March 1943, destined for Scapa Flow, Scotland. 

The Iroquois 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

overboard while attempting to aid an injured shipmate.

Jack recalls the night the Duchess of York and the California

were torpedoed in the Bay of Bisque. 

The Iroquois was escorting convoys to Freetown, Sierra Leone

when a German Fock-Wulf 200 aircraft attacked. 

According to the records, a third ammunition vessel,

the Port Fairy was a major object of the attack but the Iroquois was able to

defend the Port Fairy and the enemy withdrew. 

The remaining escorts were left to carry out the brave

and arduous task of rescuing survivors from the torpedoed vessels. 

The crew of the Iroquois accommodated 665 survivors and transported them to Casablanca.

A story that is told only by the crew of the Iroquois, was when they were sent on the desolate “Murmansk Run”,

the treacherous route to North Russia.  Nazi U-boats, German planes, battleships and cruisers searched these waters daily

and remarkably, the vessel and crew were not destroyed by the enemy during this assignment. 

The members of the crew would tell you that this sail to and from the Russian port was

punishment for a protest they had had after being denied a much deserved leave. 

The captain of the Iroquois at the time, affectionately named by the crew, “Scarface Holmes”

would not allow the crew a rest after the ordeal off the coast of Africa and as a result, all but the

Captain and first mate of the Ship’s Company locked

themselves in the mess and refused to comply with orders. 

They did in the end get a leave to shore, but consequently

they were sent to Russia.

On Christmas Day, 1943, the four Canadian Tribals

Iroquois, Athabaskan, Haida and Huron were on escort duty

(Picture above: On 7 April 2006, John Allison Murphy, pictured above with his daughter Nancy,

was presented with the “Murmansk Run” medal

from the Russian Embassy.)

when the German Pocket Battleship The Scharonhorst was brought to her destruction. 

Despite the fact that the cruiser possessed firepower far superior to the British cruisers

present she chose to rely on her speed and fled. 

Since 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.

When the 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”)

were strolling 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. 

Today, it 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. 

He was 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. 

They were 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 great grandson. 

Jack still 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. 

His parents, Richard and Winnifred had eight children of which Harry was the second. 

He attended school in England and at the age of nine, his family moved to Nova Scotia, where Harry completed his schooling. 

Prior to joining the military, he worked as a body mechanic.

Harry joined the Army on 4 September 1939 and was a member of the Pictou Highlanders out of

Stellarton until he asked for a transfer so he could go overseas. 

In January 1940 he joined men in the West Novas as a Bren gun carrier and headed to England to begin

his European 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. 

Canada was 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

before the vessel sank after being torpedoed. 

A superior officer was giving a briefing when they heard

the explosion and the ship’s tail end went up in the air, scattering everyone everywhere. 

Those onboard were told to report to their boat

stations. 

Because Harry 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. 

Harry jumped over the side and swam for it. 

What a way to learn to swim! 

Forty-seven men were killed in the explosion.   

Although that 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. 

It was instrumental in Allied victories which tied down hundreds of thousands of Axis troops and

helped make possible eventual victory in Europe. 

Battle 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.

Harry returned to Nova Scotia on one of the few trips the Queen Elizabeth made into Halifax

with three men to a hammock taking turns at eight-hour sleeping shifts. 

He was assigned to ‘E’ deck which was below water level so he decided

he would sooner stay up on the regular deck for the

journey. 

He was released from the military on 6 December 1945.

Following the war, Harry worked in a nickel mine in Ontario. 

He returned to Truro to work for DomTar and retired from Forest Products of Nova Scotia. 

He married Jean Retson of Bible Hill and together they raised

three daughters and had two grandchildren.

Harry was a 50 year Life Member and Past President (1985) of the Royal Canadian Legion,

Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026. 

A true Legionnaire, Harry passed away on 18 December 2001.


 

Gordon Burton ALLEN

Gordon Burton 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.

Gordon 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. 

On enrolment, Gorden was part of the 2nd Heavy Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment,

11th Battery 2nd Army Group, RCA. 

He finished his service as part of the Core and Supply Troop (Blue Patch),

4th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, 3rd Canadian Infantry Division.

In September 1941,

Gordon boarded the Louis Pasteur at Pier 21 bound for Scotland. 

After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, they sailed up the River Clyde to Greenock where they debarked. 

They later travelled by train to south England where they were housed in old World War I military barracks at Aldershot.

Gordon trained as a dispatch rider and map reader.  His dispatch duties included decoding delivery co-ordinates

in order to complete required deliveries. 

As dispatcher, he was also responsible for coordinating and mapping convoy movements,

alternately leading convoys off toward the co-ordinates he had

established and then zooming between the lines of vehicles to round

up the rear and make sure nothing was left behind. 

Convoy and unit movements could be made in either advance or retreat

mode and sometimes more than one had to be managed simultaneously. 

Lengths of convoys and distances covered could vary significantly. 

The dispatcher’s expertise was relied on by commanders to

ensure that troops were where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there.

On June 10, 1944 as part of the Juno Beach landing, Gordon landed at Bernieres-sur-Mer, France. 

He drove the cook truck from the landing bridge with his dispatcher’s

Harley 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. 

His discharge from army service was in November 1945.

For his wartime service, Private Gordon B. Allen was awarded The 1939-45 Star;

The France and Germany Star; The Defence Medal;

The Canadian Voluntary Service Medal and Clasp; and The War Medal—1939-45.

Gordon and his wife of 55 years, Corinne Mary nee Cormier,

reside in Moncton, New Brunswick. 

They are parents of six children and grandparents of eight.

(Left: "Here is a picture of Gordon, circa 1943 feeding pigeons

at Trafalgar Square in London")

 

 

 

 


George Alfred MACLAREN                                

WORLD WAR I

George MacLaren was born in Moncton, Westmorland County, New Brunswick on 20 June 1896. 

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 Force. 

His Trade or Calling is registered as a Teameter and his description on enlistment was as follows: 

Height ….. 5 ft 7 ins.

Chest measurement—Girth when fully expanded ….. 35-1/2 ins

Range of expansion ….. 3 ins.

Complexion ….. Dark

Eyes ….. Hazel

Hair ….. Dark Brown

Religious denomination ….. Roman Catholic. 

George enlisted in the Army and served with the

Canadian Infantry (Eastern Ontario Regiment). 

He died on 29 October 1917 at 21 years of age. 

Commemorated on Page 285 of the

First World War Book of Remembrance. 

 

Burial Information:

Cemetery:

MENIN GATE (YPRES) MEMORIAL

Belgium

Grave Reference:  Panel 10—58

Location:  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.

Designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield and erected by the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission, it consists of a

“Hall of 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

Portland stone bear the names of the dead, inscribed by regiment and corps.

Carved ion stone above the central arch are the words: 

TO THE ARMIES OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE WHO STOOD HERE FROM

1914 TO 1918 AND TO THOSE OF THEIR DEAD WHO HAVE NO KNOWN GRAVE.

Over the two staircases leading from the main Hall is the inscription:

HERE ARE RECORDED NAMES OF OFFICERS AND MEN WHO FELL IN YPRES

SALIENT BUT TO WHOM THE FORTUNE OF WAR DENIED THE KNOWN AND

HONOURED 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. 

All traffic through the gateway in either direction is halted, and two buglers (on

special occasions four) move to the centre of the Hall and sound the Last Post. 

Two silver trumpets for use in the ceremony are a gift to the Ypres Last Post Committee

by an officer of the Royal Canadian Artillery,

who served with the 10th Battery, of  St. Catharines, Ontario, in Ypres in April 1915.

NOTE:  This article was requested by George’s nephew Charles “Burt” Burton MacLaren,

WWII Veteran.  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 very day.


Harold Douglas Bilby

Harold Douglas Bilby, better known as Bus, was born in Truro, Nova Scotia on 19 May 1920. 

His father James was a Canadian National Railway conductor and his mother, Margaret nee O’Brien was a homemaker. 

There were seven children in the family, four girls and three boys.

Bus completed 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 joined. 

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. 

They later 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

Armored Division. 

They went 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. 

Upon arrival 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. 

Upon arrival in a British Camp they were known as the Training Team of amphibian tanks and they trained the English on these vehicles. 

The same training was in England for the D-day invasion. 

After the 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 New York. 

It took them six weeks to get from India to New York. 

From there they took a train and landed in Truro in September 1945.

Bus remembers 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

S/Sergeant on 13 February 1946 and returned to work for Cooper’s as a landscaper until 1950. 

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

Signal Department where for 21 years he was in charge of the

operations of the train until he retired in June 1983.

Bus’ medals include the France/Germany Star; Defence Medal; Canadian Volunteer

Service Medal; 39-45 Star; and Clasp.

Bus married 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. 

Bus received the Palm Leaf to the Meritorious Service Medal in 2001.


Eric Morton Carpenter

Eric Morton Carpenter was born on 18 May 1920 in London, England. 

His father, 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. 

Eric graduated from Technical College in England and before joining the military he was a movie projectionist.

With the 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 England for

Basic 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 on

Lancaster Bombers for the next four years. 

He had two embarkation leaves but both overseas postings were cancelled. 

Eric got married during the second leave.  He remained on the Lancaster Squadron, including 1000 bomber raids. 

His only regret is that he hadn’t stayed in the military longer.

A humorous story Eric vividly remembers goes as follows: 

“A ‘short’ 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. 

All lights 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 engines. 

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. 

I definitely think I made the right decision, or I might not have been telling this story!” 

 When 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!” 

Although he had the option to stay in the military, Eric says he was young and foolish and opted to release in July 1946.

Eric married Ivy Rendall on 4 May 1941 in Ealing Middlesex at St. Barnabas Anglican Church. 

He says that since he never did go overseas he had lots of time to start a family.  Carole was born in August 1945,

Andrea in February 1947 and Richard arrived July 1952. 

On returning 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 Theatre Projectionist,

with occasional visits to the movie sets as Special Effects Projectionist. 

So instead of showing the finished product, he chose the more interesting and

sometimes very exciting side of movie production. 

In 1953 Eric was bitten by the aircraft bug once again, and went to work for Fairey Aviation,

where he remained for two years before joining Air Canada at Heathrow Airport in May 1955. 

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

Andrea followed on 13 February 1967. 

In 1969 Carol arrived with her family. 

Eric retired 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

Scotia.  His 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. 

Keith 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 do so. 

Basic Training 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. 

At different localities Keith took courses including waterproofing of motor vehicles. 

He was also stationed at Hayling Island where there was a driving school for the motor vehicles. 

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 wound. 

Keith was flown back to England where he recuperated from his injury. 

After 5-1/2 months he was assigned to C.S.R.U. at Cove which later became No. 3 Cdn Repat Depot. 

While in England, Keith had the opportunity to take some leave in London, Manchester, Newcastle-On-Tyne, twice to Edinburgh and Glasgow, where he spent VE-Day.

During many trips on the hospital run somewhere between Aldershot and Crookham roads, Keith passed a gravel road with a sign that said

“Three hundred 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. 

Keith advised 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. 

There were barns and other buildings but no people or vehicles could be seen. 

Keith parked in front of the pub and together they went inside. 

Imagine their surprise when they saw that the only customers there were on-duty Provost, a Sergeant and four Privates. 

After getting their beer they sat down and started talking. 

The Provost 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. 

Needless to say, no one asked the Sergeant what duties he was teaching them in a pub!

Keith also recalled a bad memory he brought back from war. 

He had completed his hospital run at Crookham cross roads and was preparing to return to camp at Cove. 

A Canadian 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 along. 

As they 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. 

It was impossible to get down on their side of the bridge as it was a straight wall. 

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

home in 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.

Keith returned home on THE ACQUITANIA. 

They ran into a big storm which brought about a rough crossing and Keith remembers

Staff Captain 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 life. 

He married Merle Reid of Middleton, Colchester County, N.S. in Truro, N.S. on 26 September 1947. 

They have four daughters-Karen, Heather, Darlene and Cindy and three sons-David, Robert and Gary.

 

Upon discharge, Keith did odd jobs for approximately one year and then went to work for the Post Office. 

He travelled 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.

 Keith enjoys playing cards, gardening and ATV camping and is a

46 year member of The Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026.

(Below: Copy of the original telegram Keith's mother received

from the 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

Frank Gower 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) Berry,

brother Lyman and sisters Mina and Nellie.

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 Canada.  

Before going overseas, he returned to Truro to marry Vi Geddes.  

In 1941 he sailed from Halifax on a Dutch freighter. 

They landed in Liverpool, and he was sent to Bournemouth and then to Granville where he did further training. 

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 Egyptian Sudan. 

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 crashes. 

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 the crashes.

After having flown missions for three years, 

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 Halifax dockyard.  

His retirement was filled with carpentry, gardening and travel. 

He had five grandchildren and  seven great grandchildren. 

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 lived in

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 Auxiliary. 

Gower passed away in 2005 and Vi in 2006


Herbert Dawson MacDonald - World War I

Herbert Dawson MacDonald was born in Earltown, Nova Scotia on 10 March 1913. 

His birth parents were William McCrae and Roseann MacDonald but he was raised by his grandparents,

Gilbert 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.

Following the war, Herbert worked for the Canadian

National Railway as a sectionman, and retired after 41 years service. 

He was a member of Coldstream United Church,

Valley and also a member of the Good Neighbours Group. 

Herbert was also a 39 year,

Life Member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester

Nova Scotia Branch No. 026, Truro, Nova Scotia. 

 Herbert was married to Viola French and

 

they had six children consisting of five girls and one boy. 

They also had 14 grandchildren. 

He passed away in March 1995 at

the age of 82


Ralph Manning Davis

I was born 3 August 1926 in Truro, Nova Scotia,

to Charles Richard Davis and Christina Davis, nee MacKenzie. 

My father was a cabinetmaker employed by

Halliday Craftsman and mother was a homemaker

and in later years a secretary at Colchester Academy. 

I have one sister Thelma Ruth who married

K.L. MacFarlane and lives in Stellarton, Nova Scotia.

I attended 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.

 In October 1944 I tried to enlist in the Navy. 

I had my medical, filled in all required paperwork and was sent home to wait for a call. 

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 Centre (C.M.G.T.C.)

where I received Basic and Advanced Training on machine guns (Vickers and Bren) and Rangefinders Course. 

That training 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 War

which, thankfully, ended in early August. 

They sure kept us busy trying to grow grass around the Orderly Roo

In late September, early October, a group of us from the East

(#6 Depot) were transferred to Camp Debert

and billeted at the former RAF (31 O.T.U.)

Barracks to prepare for the arrival of Japanese POW’s from Britain. 

In early Spring 1946 I was transferred to Citadel Hill and #6 Engineer’s

in Motor Pool doing various jobs such as duty driver -

delivering 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. 

Elizabeth 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 service. 

From 1960 to 1981 I was a volunteer fire fighter at Truro Volunteer Fire Brigade. 

My hobbies 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). 

The 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. 

His parents, 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. 

From there Byron was sent to Debert where he had more

extensive 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.

Byron completed Basic Training in New Glasgow and

Advanced Training in Aldershot, Nova Scotia. 

Then he was sent to Windsor which turned out to be a holding unit.  Byron wrote in a journal

“I had to take my turn in the kitchen and a sergeant in charge apparently thought I would be an asset in the kitchen. 

He offered to make arrangements for me to work in the kitchen indefinitely, rather than go overseas with the boys I had trained with—

I refused as I was not about to peel potatoes for the duration”. 

On 15 December 1943, he boarded The Mauritania for overseas. 

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

21 December and from there went to Aldershot, England and then to

Crookham Crossroads, where they remained until 17 February 1944. 

Then Byron was sent to Scotland and then Italy,

where he served with the West Nova Scotia Regiment. 

He was slightly wounded in March 1944 and

severely 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

Don Thomas settled that very quickly,

by reminding them ‘we are here to fight Germans, not each other’.”   

On 25 July 1944, Byron sailed on the Netherlands Hospital ship Oranje

Onboard the 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. 

Byron arrived in Liverpool on 31 July 1944,

and by that time he was beginning to feel better. 

He was then taken on the train to

Birmingham No. 19 Canadian General Hospital, where he remained until September 7th.

On 7 September 1944, outfitted in a new uniform

big enough to fit over his body cast, displaying the red patches of the 1st Division;

The West Nova Scotia Regiment shoulder flashes and two gold bars (wound stripes),

Byron was ready for home. 

e 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. 

Byron remained at Debert until the 21st of December when he was released

on disembarkation and Christmas leave combined. 

Byron returned to Debert Hospital after his leave was over and

remained there until he was discharged on 18 July 1945.

Following Byron’s discharge from the Army he worked for Spencer Bros.

and later for Brookfield Foods until his retirement in 1976.

Byron married 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 Official Board. 

He was also a member of The Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026

Byron passed 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. 

His father, William Henry Scott was a butcher and his mother, Mae nee Atkinson, was a homemaker. 

There were 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 War II.

Ken attended Maurice Cody Public School and Northern Vocational School in Toronto,

and has his grade 10 education. 

Before joining the military he worked for Canadian Tire. 

In November 1940 Ken thought that joining the military would be a good thing to do

and he also thought it would be exciting too. 

He joined the Queen’s Own Rifles in Toronto as an Infantryman and

completed Basic Training in Sussex, New Brunswick. 

Then Ken was sent by train to Halifax where he boarded the Louis Pasteur

It took about ten days to get to England with lots of destroyer and battleship escorts.    

Upon arrival in Glasgow, Scotland, Ken then

travelled by train to Aldershot, England where he lived in

barracks and 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. 

Ken’s regiment 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

where he packed the wound with wet sand. 

Later that day a medic treated his leg and he was evacuated back to England on 7 June. 

Ken rejoined his regiment at the end of August in Bologne, France. 

His regiment 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. 

The regiment 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. 

But, a humorous memory that he recalled was when his platoon was in a static

position (in one place for about a week), in Belgium (Fall of 1944). 

They always had someone on “the listening post” (Guard Duty—about 200’ out from the platoon). 

Ken remembers 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!

Ken’s only regrets are the many friends he lost in the war but when asked if

he would do it again he quickly responded “YUP!”.

Ken returned to Canada in August 1945, leaving a young, pregnant wife behind. 

On 26 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 follow

him and after arriving at Pier 21 in Halifax, she had to take the train to Toronto to meet him.

The couple settled just north of Toronto and raised their family of one son and two daughters. 

That brood eventually produced 10 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. 

Ken retired from the Department of National Defence.

In 2002, the couple moved to Truro where they reside at Parkland Estates, an assisted living community. 

 

Ken’s hobbies 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 in Truro.


Ralph Leslie Willis

Gunner Ralph Leslie Willis was born in Truro, Nova Scotia on 1 May 1920. 

His father, Isaac W. Willis was a Porter and his mother, Blanche Stoutly was a Char Woman. 

Ralph grew up in a family of nine—five brothers, three sisters and one adopted sister. 

On completion 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 Army.

Ralph took his Basic Training in Petawawa, Ontario and

upon completion was shipped to England where he spent the

next three years in all parts of England, Scotland and Wales. 

The 1st Division was known as General McNaughton’s traveling circus. 

On 10 July 1943 they landed in Sicily, Italy with the 8th Army. 

The Germans always held the high land so they were forced to use

mules to carry their radios and equipment to the mountains. 

The artillery party would go forward with the infantry to establish FOOs (forward observation). 

When the infantry needed gun fire the artillery was there to support them. 

Campobasso was the 1st Division’s rest area in Italy. 

From there 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 artillery shelling. 

Cassino was a fortress and a monastery where the Canadian Infantry did heavy fighting. 

After the monastery fell they moved on to Hitler’s Line then the Gustav Line. 

From there 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

Rimine and Ravanna and then to Florence. 

Their last day in Italy was 26 January 1945. 

From there they sailed to France and then moved on to the

Belgian border 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. 

Belgian beer was a welcomed change after Italian wine.

The regiment then conveyed to Nijmengen, Holland

and then on to Rotterdam where they were billeted. 

Ralph’s last 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.

Ralph proudly boasts that the infantry (which ranged in age from 17 to 22 years) was second to none.  

He remembers the deaths of many friends and buddies but proudly admits he would do it all over again. 

With the war concluded, Ralph’s trip home wasn’t a guarantee. 

Since the Americans were taking up most of the space on the ships,

Willis and many of his comrades had to volunteer to go to Japan. 

“Fortunately I didn’t have to go to Japan,” he said. 

“And in June 1945, we arrived in Halifax on The Dutchess of Bedford.”

Ralph suffered no serious injuries in the war and 

was released from the military in October 1945. 

He married June Paris in November 1945 and

raised three children, Ralph Jr., Marlane and Charles. 

He was a self employed trucker until he retired. 

For his 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

Archie was 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. 

On the completion of grade 10, Archie took a machine tool course

at Nova Scotia Tech and then went to work

at Bagnell’s Cleaners in Truro, Nova Scotia. 

Archie went to Halifax at the old hotel on the corner of

North and 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. 

After Basic Training in Sydney, Nova Scotia he took a

Steam Engineering Course at HMCS CORNWALLIS. 

In November 1943, he was sent to Montreal aboard

a new frigate HMCS STORMONT, which went from Halifax to Azores to Ireland

patrolling the North Atlantic 21 days at a time, for several months. 

He then went to Liverpool, England to join the June 6 invasion fleet. 

Archie went overseas with HMCS SWANCIE and HMCS MATANE, which had problems with gun fire from shore at different times. 

Bombers went over and they had some near misses. 

The MANTANE did get hit and was put out of commission and they had to tow her to an English Port.

Archie recalls the bitterly cold convoy runs to Murmansk, escorting ships delivering food and military supplies to Russia. 

The missions were considered the most dangerous Canadian sea duty during the war. 

One voyage included a 63-day run, covering over 11,000 miles, from Gibraltar to Murmansk,

back to Halifax and out into the Atlantic again to hunt submarines. 

It was the longest voyage of any Canadian frigate during the war. 

(Picture of HMCS Stormont

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 afloat. 

During one trip past the German submarine pens at La Rochelle the STORMONT had to search for survivors of

some Allied bombers that had been shot down on their way to Bordeaux.

A German shore battery opened up with 16-inch guns, killing Ron Wilson of Ottawa. 

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. 

Before D-Day, the STORMONT escorted the floating docks that were used to

land supplies for the Normandy invasion in June 1944.  

Archie was on the ship for 1-1/2 years and traveled 63,500 miles and

remembered one other sailor from Truro by the name of Adrian Francis. 

Archie returned to Halifax on the STORMONT in January 1945. 

He was then sent to Vancouver where he fired boilers until returning home and

releasing from the military on 26 October 1945. 

He returned to work at Bagnell’s Cleaners then moved to Sackville, New Brunswick

where he worked in the laundry business for 35 years. 

Upon retirement Archie moved back to Truro where he still resides.

Medals awarded in respect of service during World War II include 39-45 Star; France & Germany Star,

39-45 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 Russian Embassy.  

Archie married Loyus Ferguson in 1951. 

When asked if he had any hobbies he said he loved racing horses and that took all his time. 


"When East Meets West"

Millicent Eveline MACCORMACK

Millicent Eveline Dunbar was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta on September 7, 1917.  Her father

Sidney Dunbar 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

walking to school when the weather was 40 below

and would welcome the days she could stay for lunch

with a peanut butter sandwich. 

She also stated that the depression didn’t bother her family much,

probably because of her Dad’s occupation. 

Following high school, Millicent went to nursing school in Morden, Manitoba. 

Following her studies she went to the United States

where she worked for a few years at a male clinic. 

She then decided to go out west where she went to work for Canadian Pacific Airlines as a stewardess.

An adventurous person she stated it was the perfect way to see the world. 

Millicent recalled traveling to the

North West Territories and Alaska, which she found quite interesting.

In 1943, Millicent joined the Navy at HMCS Discovery in Vancouver

and was immediately sent to HMCS Stadacona Naval Hospital in Halifax. 

On the train across the country the riots on the streets of

Halifax were big news, so to her it sounded like an interesting destination. 

Millicent remembered that soon after her arrival the residents in the north end of Halifax

were advised to stay in their homes as there were problems at the ammunitions storage site across the harbour. 

Her residence was also put on alert and during the night there was a loud bang which was follow– ed by a flash of light. 

But thankfully it was quickly contained and there were no casualties. 

Millicent 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,

 which was a Tri-Services Hospital for tuberculosis.

In 1945 Millicent met her husband Harold MacCormack. 

They courted for six months before being married in December 1946 in a

small ceremony at St. David’s Church in Halifax. 

Because Millicent’s family could not attend the wedding, she was given away by the then

Base Commander “Debby” Piers. 

(Rear Admiral Desmond William “Debby” Piers, CM, DSC, CD, RCN,

was a Canadian naval legend and celebrated wartime hero.)

Millicent’s military career ended in 1946.  In 1948 she moved with her husband to Truro, Nova

Scotia where they still reside.  They raised two girls and have two grandsons who live in Toronto. 

She remains active as a 36 year legion member at Branch No. 026, Anglican Church Women’s group,

IODE 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

immediately turned us down.  He urged us to continue with our education,

because with the war on we could be needed in the medical branch of the service. 

After I 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

with them 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

and everything 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

around and 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 noticed

a large cruise ship coming in with war brides and children from England headed for Halifax—

”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. 

My next posting was to the Protector Naval Base across from Sydney, Nova Scotia. 

From the base one could see ships loading up with planes, tanks and food for the war effort. 

In the morning the ships could be seen leaving Sydney Harbour loaded down but by mid afternoon

some of those ships limped back to Sydney with tanks hanging over the side of the ships

and some of the tails of the planes were shot off. 

All during the war German submarines were evident between Sydney and Newfoundland,

but the 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 Halifax. 

Millicent was a naval nursing sister that was posted from Vancouver to Stadacona in Halifax. 

When I had the occasion to use the operating room, Millicent was the nurse that assisted me. 

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.

Note:  Dr. MacCormack is an active  44 year Life Member at RCL Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026

 

 

 

 

 


DECOSTE, Phillip Clifford Sr.                               

Phillip Clifford DeCoste, Sr. was born in Truro, Nova Scotia on

10 May 1927 to David and Nellie nee Phillips DeCoste. 

Before joining the military he worked on the family farm. 

Phil joined the Army in Halifax on 30 November 1943 at

16 years of age and completed his Basic Training in

Aldershot and Debert, Nova Scotia. 

Phil was with the Infantry Service Unit until

8 December 1944 when he was discharged for being “under age”.

Following his 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. 

Loving his work, Phil kept busy in his body shop right up until

he passed away on 21 December 2005.

Phil was predeceased by his wife of 45 years, Mildred Catherine nee Saunders. 

He had two children,

four grandchildren and

three great grandchildren. 

Phil liked to hunt, fish, camp and travel. 

He was a 44 year member of the

Royal Canadian Legion Colchester

N.S. Branch No. 026.

 

 

Gerald Edward Patriquin

Gerald Edward Patriquin was born on 16 May 1921 at Lower Greenville, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia. 

His father Charles was a farmer and a lumberman and his mother Sadie nee Hardie was a housewife. 

Gerald was the youngest of  two sisters and three brothers

(two brothers died as babies), and he has one younger sister. 

His oldest brother, Leroy, served during World War II with The 8th Hussars Armour Corp. 

He was wounded in Italy and after he recuperated he went to

Normandy as reinforcement with the Three Rivers Regiment. 

Leroy passed away a few years ago.

Gerald went to school in Halifax and East Wallace completing grade 8. 

Prior to enlisting in the military he worked for Malagash Salt Co. 

Thinking it was patriotic to serve his country, Gerald signed on the dotted line in Halifax,

Nova Scotia and completed Basic Training in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. 

(Picture below: Shown at far left is Corporal Ed Longager from Saskatoon,

two female Dutch interpreters and Gerald Patriquin).

After Basic, Gerald went to Kingston, Ontario

where he completed

Trades Training as a Lineman at the School of Signals. 

On Friday 13 December 1942, Gerald boarded the

Queen Elizabeth to Scotland and England. 

When the war was coming to an end, Gerald and three

others were sent to Amerfort, Holland, which was German

occupied.  They went to the telephone office and worked in the basement where the

telephone cables entered. 

Some of the German cable technicians were also

there and they worked side by side for 10 days

rerouting cables. 

Working with them were two young Dutch female interpreters who went home each night.

In August 1945, Gerald boarded the troop ship Cameriona for his return trip to Halifax. 

He was to take a short leave prior to being sent to

Kentucky where he was to be trained for Japan. 

But thankfully, upon arrival in Halifax it was announced that Japan had surrendered. 

Gerald then 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

East Coast Signals, as a lineman, stationed in Halifax. 

His military career ended in 1971 in Debert, Nova Scotia.

Prior to reenlistment in 1947, Gerald married Doris

nee McGinnis in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

They have two daughters and one son and three grandchildren.  Doris passed away in 2001.

Gerald belongs to the Masonic Lodge and is the founding member of Royal Canadian

Legion Wallace Branch No. 104. 

He is a 53 year Life Member at Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026 and presently resides at

Parkland Estates in Truro, Nova Scotia.

For his military service Gerald has been awarded the following: 

39-45 Star; France Germany Star; Defence Medal; 39-45

Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp;

39-45 Kings War Medal; Peace Keeping Medal;

United Nations (Congo) Medal;

Canadian Forces Decoration (CD);

Normandy Campaign (overlord Juno Beach);

and Dutch Medal.

 


Frank Kenneth Slack  

Frank Kenneth Slack was born in Truro, Nova Scotia on 24 December 1923. 

His father, 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. 

Frank’s mother was Maudie Parks and she was a busy housewife who raised two girls and four boys. 

Frank was the second oldest.  He started school in Rockingham then moved to Torbrook where

he attended a one room school house to grade nine. 

Before joining 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.   

He completed his Basic Training in Aldershot and then served with the Service Corp for two years, in Aldershot and Windsor. 

Frank then transferred to the Infantry and was sent to Orillia, Ontario for his Basic Training. 

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

in various camps in Ontario and Quebec and then ended up going to their headquarters in

Thunder Bay, Ontario. 

Frank was then sent to Lethbridge, Alberta where they picked up five train loads of prisoners and headed for Halifax. 

Enroute to Halifax, they picked up a few prisoners along the way and by the time they reached Halifax the prisoners numbered 3,000. 

Upon arrival in Halifax the prisoners were loaded on a The Mortania and transported to England. 

Once there, 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”. 

Frank suffered no injuries during the war, has no regrets and said he would do it all over again.

Upon his release from the military Frank went to work for the War Assets for two years

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. 

Yvonne passed away in 1982 and Frank remarried Joyce Creelman in 1994. 

They reside in Truro, Nova Scotia. 

Frank enjoys curling and golf and is a 30 year member of

Royal Canadian Legion Colchester N.S.

Branch No. 26.

 

 

 


Frank Woodford GOODWIN

Frank Woodford Goodwin was born in Coburg, New Brunswick (Baie Verte area) on 16 March 1918. 

He was the son of Woodford and Lottie Goodwin.

Frank enlisted in the Royal Canadian Army (Active Force) on 31

March 1941 in Woodstock, New Brunswick

and went through various medical assessments and was deemed fit for military training. 

He completed six months training with the 2 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment (Mobile). 

On completion 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 or

four other doctors previously and

they had passed him but this doctor said, “yes, but he didn’t get pass me”. 

Frank was discharged on 10 September 1941 due to being unfit physically for military service in

Petawawa Military Camp, Ontario.


Henry Ryerson Smith

World War II            

Henry Ryerson 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 had four

sisters, Rita Rector, Marie Butte (who was a Nursing Sister

in England during WW II), Pat Sanford and Dorothy

MacLennan.  Both Rita and Marie are now deceased and  Pat and Dorothy both reside in Truro.

Bud got his Grade 12 at the Truro Academy and worked for the Nova Scotia Light and Power Company for 2-1/2

years before enlisting in the Royal Canadian Air Force. 

He was 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,

Column 1. 

The Malta Memorial is situated in the area of Floriana and is easily identified by the Golden Eagle

which surmounts the column.  It stands outside the King’s Gate, the main entrance to Valletta.

The Memorial 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 metres high. 

The column stands on a circular base around which the names are commemorated on bronze panels.

The Malta Memorial, built on a site generously provided by the Government of Malta,

commemorates those who lost their lives whilst serving with the Commonwealth Air Forces

flying from bases in Austria, Italy, Sicily, islands of the Adriatic and Mediterranean, Malta, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco,

West Africa, Yugoslavia and Gibraltar, and who have no known grave.

“We will remember them"

(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 homemaker.  

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

MAURITANIA

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 Germany. 

When the war was over, Keith remained in occupied Germany for  11 months

Keith humorously 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. 

Unfortunately, he 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. 

This experience 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 AQUITANIA

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 farming. 

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

Note:  In May 2006, while visiting World War II Veteran Charles “Bert” MacLaren in the hospital,

we stated talking about the Wartime Memories project that I had been working on. 

Bert didn’t come right out and ask me,

but when he told me that his Dad was a veteran of the First World War

I suggested that we add his Dad’s story to the project. 

It brought tears to my eyes when Bert said “you’d do that?” 

Obviously Bert didn’t know me that well because I’d do just about anything for a Veteran.. 

After visiting Bert when he returned home, and getting some information

and pictures 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. 

With the completion of this story, Bert now feels that he has in fact done something for his Dad. 

And I’m honored to say that I’ve been part of it.—Jane Allen, dated 27 May 2006

According to family records, Charles Robert MacLaren was born on 6 August 1897 in Moncton, Westmorland County,

New Brunswick and like his son, he was known by everyone as “Bert”. 

On 5 August 1915, he enlisted in the 40th Canadian

Infantry Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force at Truro, Nova Scotia. 

Charles was a driver and served with the 9th Canadian Field Ambulance. 

He was discharged from the service by reason of “Demobilization” on 20 March 1919. 

According to his Discharge Certificate, Charles was War Service Badge Class “A” No. 143303

and the description of this soldier was as follows: -

Age      21 years 6 months   

Height    5’ 7-1/4”       

Complexion  Fair

Eyes      Blue

Hair      Lt. Brown

Marks or Scars  Scar above left knee

Scar left groin

When Charles returned from the war he met and married a widow Mary Agnes Clish nee Burris. 

When the two were married, Charles took over the responsibility of raising Mary’s two boys,

George and Clarence Clish. 

Charles and Mary had two more children, Charles Burton and Stewart. 

Charles was 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, Nova Scotia.   

Charles never discussed the war with his children but his

wife told the children that their Dad had been gassed while serving overseas. 

He was eventually released from the sanatorium and diagnosed with a chronic disease, Bronchiectasis. 

By this time, Mary’s ailing parents also lived with the family which resided at 219 Brunswick Street in Truro, Nova Scotia. 

Mary worked day and night tending to her sick husband and parents.  There was no money

coming in except for a small pension that her father received monthly. 

Mary’s brother-in-law, Samuel Blades, would go up every evening to sit with Charles just so that Mary could get some rest. 

Charles died 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. 

Life didn’t get any easier for Mary. 

She started baking and selling her goodies to the neighbors and whenever her boys made money they pretty much gave her half of everything.

Charles nor any member of his family were ever compensated

for his being gassed while overseas. 

Note:  World War II Veteran Charles “Bert” Burton MacLaren is the only surviving member of this family. 

His father, mother, two half brothers George and Clarence Clish and

his full 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

MacDonald, in North Wallace. 

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

of the Canadian National Railway in Halifax. 

I voluntarily joined the military at No. 6 Depot Halifax on 8 December 1942 with a friend Earl MacKenzie, who

delivered milk in Truro. 

I completed 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 pneumonia

which dropped 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

employed with the Dutch crew as a Baker. 

Upon arrival, I was with the Service Corp attached to 24 Canadian

General Hospital which was located in Horley, England.

 I was one of 22 Cooks for 1,200 patients, 500 staff, 90 Nursing Sisters,

35 Medical Officers, one Warrant Officer, 30 Sergeants,

400 Corporals and other ranks.

24 Canadian General Hospital specialized in surgery. 

There were five operating tables, consistently being used. 

After surgery was performed the patient was then

transferred out to a convalescent hospital. 

The military would fly the patients into

East Croyden Airport where an ambulance

would then 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. 

I was 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 Donald James. 

I am a 48 year member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch No. 26

and I 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 

Walter Alvin Perrin was born on 27 April 1922 in Dean, Halifax County, Nova Scotia. 

His Father, Guy, was a “Jack of all trades” which included carpentry, farming and building flues. 

His mother, Alice nee Dean, was a homemaker. 

Walter was the second oldest of nine children. 

He had two sisters and six brothers. 

He completed his grade 8 education in a one room schoolhouse in Woodside, just outside Dean. 

In May or June 1940, Walter took a train from Upper Musquodoboit

to Halifax, with his mind made up to join the Army. 

After his medical was finished he was told to go home until he started shaving. 

So back he went. 

In August 1940 land was starting to get cleared for the building at Camp Debert. 

Walter went 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. 

The Regiment left Petawawa on 5 October 1941 enroute to Halifax, arriving 7 October 1941 and then boarded

His Majesties Transport AORANGI for overseas. 

Walter recalled that after a couple of days out from Halifax they ran into rough seas

and the majority of personnel on the boat were sick, including him. 

They arrived in Greenock, Scotland on 17 October 1941 and were towed up Clyde River to Glasgow

where they disembarked and got aboard a train for Aldershot, England, arriving in complete darkness on 18 October 1941. 

Walter was stationed in Aldershot until August 1942 then moved to Nutley in England and on to Brighton-Hove on 30

November 1942.

 

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.

Walter spent most of the summer of 1943 up in Northern England on Exercises and moved from Sheffield Park to

Possingworth Park on 15 October 1943. 

He then boarded a train on 14 November 1943 enroute to Liverpool England and boarded a boat which docked at

Algiers, North Africa on 26 November 1943.  Two Batteries stayed in Algiers and two Batteries went on to Italy. 

After about 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. 

While there, Walter contacted the dysentery (back door trots), and was sent to the hospital in Constantine. 

The first morning in hospital, Walter was on his way to the washroom when he met one of his school buddies. 

When 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, Italy. 

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 their bedding.

Walter shared a humourous story about when he received his promotion to Sergeant in March 1944. 

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. 

Then Walter and some of his buddies proceeded across a field in Italy drinking the whiskey

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. 

These were good friends!

After Ortona, they were moved back across Italy for the Hitler line. 

Walter was 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. 

His Regiment was out for a rest period and training during the month of July and in August moved back for Gothic Line. 

After Gothic Line the Regiment went on to Coriano. 

There were four M10s to a troop and the Troop Officer had just called in the M10

Troop 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 report. 

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. 

They were Lloyd Dean from Dean (he and Walter went to the same school); Leslie Buttle who was from New Carlisle, Quebec. 

Before Leslie 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. 

Carroll was married and had two children, one born after he went overseas. 

In 1993, Walter contacted Carroll’s brother and oldest daughter. 

The brother 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, Saskatchewan. 

The date was 14 September 1944.  After the direct hit on Walter’s M10 he was placed on another M10 . 

This M10’s 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. 

He remained 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. 

They were 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. 

That night, Walter was sent up to take the place of the Troop Sergeant. 

He remained with this special troop until early January 1945, spending Christmas up at the front, and then returning to his regular troop. 

Around the middle of January 1945 his troop went to a rest area.

Walter left 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. 

They loaded vehicles on train and traveled across France to Bas Warneton, Belgium, landing on 4 March 1945. 

They were 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

Assen near Groningen, Holland to new billets.

Walter 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. 

While in Aldershot, Walter went to Buckingham Palace and was awarded the Military Medal by King George VI on 29 June 1945. 

He left 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 billets.

Walter 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. 

He left 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. 

Walter never 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. 

Walter was 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 1982. 

Walter has 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 Village.

Medals:  1939-45 STAR; ITALY STAR; FRANCE & GERMANY STAR; DEFENCE MEDAL;

VOLUNTEER SERVICE MEDAL & CLASP; and WAR MEDAL 1939-45.


Cyrus Hugh Langille  

Cyrus Hugh Langille was born on 1 October 1922 in Brule, Colchester County, Nova Scotia. 

His father, 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. 

Cyrus completed his grade 10 education and then went to work for McCain’s in Tatamagouche. 

From there he worked at the Shipyard in

Pictou and in 1944 he went to Halifax where he joined the Army

as a mechanic.  Basic Training was completed in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and

Advance Training was completed in Aldershot, Nova Scotia.   

Upon completion of Advance Training he was on his way

to Debert as part of the next rotation to go overseas when

VE Day was declared. 

After a couple of weeks, Cyrus was sent home

on leave without pay and on 13 April 1946,

he was released from the military “on completion of service”.

Upon release 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. 

Cyrus never made it overseas but his

military trade 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

of Royal Canadian Legion Colchester

N.S. Branch No. 026. 

Together they enjoy 

camping and gardening.


Enid MACKENZIE nee NICHOL

I’m best known as Nikki and I was born on 23 December 1926 in Bencastle, England.  My

father George Nichol was a farmer and landscape gardener while my mother Isabella Jane

Bellas was a homemaker. 

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. 

I graduated 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. 

My girlfriend, Florence Colbourne, and I decided to sign up. 

I really 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

Basic Training and then a Clerk’s Course.

I was then posted to Headquarters, on Bell Road, in Halifax,

at the Farm Leaves Office. 

I was discharged in May 1946 as the

Canadian Women’s Army Corp was being disbanded. 

I would have stayed in the military had it been possible. 

It was certainly an experience I would do all over again!

In 1949 I married Clyde MacKenzie and have a family of three sons and one grandson. 

I have been a widow since 1974.

I enjoy listening to music, dancing, reading and doing crosswords, and, of course, volunteering. 

I am a 37 year Life Member of Colchester N.S. Branch No. 26 Royal Canadian Legion

Additional note submitted by Comrade Jane Allen:

Nikki would never toot her own horn so I thought it necessary to add the following comments. 

There aren’t 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.


George Robert MACBURNIE

George Robert MacBurnie was born at Belmont, Nova Scotia on 9 June 1915. 

His father, Robert MacBurnie was a carpenter and his mother Ellen nee Pratt was a homemaker. 

The family consisted of three children. 

George, the oldest, had two younger sisters. 

He finished grade 11 at Truro Academy and worked on a thressing machine prior to joining the military. 

In December 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 England. 

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. 

George suffered cuts, bruises and a broken nose. 

He returned from England on a Troop Ship in early 1946. 

George was discharged to civilian life on demobilization on 27 March 1946. 

For his wartime service he was awarded the

1939-1945 Medal; Italy Star; France & Germany Star;

and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal  & Clasp.

George married Marjorie Barbara

Poole in Nottingham, England on 29 August 1945. 

Barbara arrived in Canada on The Queen Mary on 14 June 1946 at Pier 21. 

Together they raised 11 children. 

On demobilization George went to work at a lumber mill in Ontario. 

In 1961 he returned to Truro and worked at the

Agriculture College as a carpenter until he retired in 1980. 

George was a Lifetime Member and Past President of The Royal

Canadian 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

in memory of his grandfather Wilfred Ferrier Petermann. 

Shortly after 11 November 2005 Comrade Joe approached me, Jane Allen, and asked if I would do a Wartime Memories story on his grandfather. 

He had little information and wasn’t even sure of his grandfather’s real name (which is quite understandable since he never got to meet him). 

Comrade Joe did know that he was in World War I and was killed overseas,

and that he originally came from Aurora, Ontario, and he had a photo of him. 

It took a lot of research and with the assistance of Jacqueline Stuart, Curator Aurora Museum,

Aurora, Ontario, I am able to tell you THE REST OF THE STORY …

Wilfred Ferrier Petermann, born in 1887, was the only son of Jacob Miller Petermann.

and Margaret 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

to the clerical staff of the Timiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway at Cobalt. 

He married 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,

Wilfred 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

(reference CWGC Commonwealth War Graves Commission Casualty Search Results and VAC Canada Remembers).

After Wilfred’s death, the child Margarita, was being cared for by his family, and there was a

local ruckus when members of his wife’s family attempted to take her away,

but were removed from the train a couple of stops after leaving Aurora.

 

Picture 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"

Picture 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

William Harvey Goodwin, or “Bill” as he was better known, was born in Coburg, New Brunswick 

(Baie Verte area) on 10 April 1921.  He was the son of Woodford and Lottie Goodwin. 

Bill worked for the Bank of Nova Scotia and was transferred to Stellarton, Nova

Scotia before enlisting in the Air Force on 16 April 1942 in Moncton, New Brunswick. 

He was sent to Fingal, Ontario and London, Ontario to train. 

Bill embarked from Canada on 8 April 1943 and disembarked in the United Kingdom on 17 April 1943. 

The last Royal Air Force station he was at was Linton On Ouse, U.K. 

Records 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. 

Also killed were F/L H.C. McIver, F/L T.O. Pledger, Sgt D.M.

Russell (RAF), F/O J.H. Wyatt (RAF) and two others of the crew, not Canadians,

F/OA J.J.G. 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

October 1944 he was reported as “Killed In Action”. 

The I.R.C.C. (Red Cross) was able to extract this information from German documents. 

Apparently the 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. 

A German officer found Bill’s watch with his name on the back at the crash site.


Arthur Bertrand CLISSOLD                                                       

WORLD WAR II 

“Bert”, as he is known by, was born on 21 January 1925 in Brockville, Ontario. 

His father, Bert John Clissold was an electrician and his mother

Lily May Roach was a housewife and registered nurse.  Bert had one older and one younger sister.

Bert attended Kingston Collegiate and Vocational

Institute in Kingston Ontario and completed Grade 10 Matriculation Course. 

Prior to joining the military he was employed as a collection manager and adjuster for

Industrial Acceptance Corporation (IAC). 

He also spent two years in the Non Permanent Active Militia, “A” Troop Cavalry Signals Corps. 

This consisted 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 courses.  

Bert loved the service life and in 1942 he went to Ottawa,

Ontario where he joined the Regular Force military. 

He was sent to Lachine, Quebec for Basic Training and

was assigned the Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (WAG) trade.

After Kingston, Bert was sent to Toronto and Camp Borden, Ontario; Winnipeg, Manitoba;

Mossbank, Saskatchewan; and Three Rivers, Quebec. 

He was then shipped overseas on the troop ship HMS AQUITANIA to

Gourock, Scotland to Bournemouth, England, Northern Ireland,

Yorkshire, Eastmoor, Dalton, Tholthorpe, Ruffoth, Topcliffe, Yorks. 

Bert returned home onboard the QUEEN ELIZABETH to New York, USA and then he took a train to Lachine, Quebec.

Bert still 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. 

He also remembers the day in May 1945 at Operational Training Unit #24 OTU Honeybourne, Worcestershire, England. 

Bert was involved in a runaway drouge winch accident in Wellington MK III Bomber

during flight 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

Worcestershire, England. 

With the end of war, in March 1946, Bert and Jean returned to

Canada and to civilian life. 

Bert returned to work as a collection manager and adjuster for IAC for approximately two years,

and in 1947, Bert and Jean decided to return to

England where Bert worked as an accountant until he retired in 1994. 

(Picture above: HMS Aquitania "Transporting a troop ship")

They have one adopted daughter, Donna Tracy Clissold. 

The family then, in 1994, returned to Canada where they settled in Truro, Nova Scotia.

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. 

He also belongs to the Bible Hill Garden Club

and enjoys coin and stamp collecting,

gardening and spending time with their three grandchildren

(two girls aged 13 and six and one boy age 15).

For his wartime service Bert has been awarded the

1939/45 Star; Defence Medal; CVSM and Clasp;

War Service Medal; and

RAF Bomber Command Medal.


AUSTIN, J. Norman                                                        

World War II

J. Norman Austin was born on 6 February 1923 in Skye Glen, Inverness Co., Nova Scotia. 

His 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. 

Norman was the 14th child and four of the brothers served in the military.

Norman completed Grade 10 in a one room school in Skye Glen. 

He left home at age 17 and moved to Ontario to work in the gold mines. 

With a keen interest in military tanks,

Norman joined the Army at Timmons, Ontario on 30 July 1942. 

He completed Basic Training at Camp Borden

and then trained as a driver for the Canadian Armoured Corp.

On 11 August 1943, Norman was sent overseas on The Empress of Scotland

The ship was unescorted, therefore zigzagged 

across the Atlantic, dodging submarines. 

Upon arrival on the east coast of England, Norman completed further training. 

He was then sent to Italy via the Algerian Sea, spending three weeks on the water.  T

ime was spent in Belgium and Holland and upon arrival in Italy. the Corp received Sherman tanks which weighed 35—40 tons. 

Then, they were joined by troops from America, Poland, France and Britain to take on the Battle of Monte Cassino.  

Crowned by St. Benedict’s monastery, Monte Cassino overlooked the Mediterranean coastal road from Naples to Rome

and was one of the strongest defensive positions in the Italian peninsula. 

In the 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 11 shells). 

Some of his comrades were badly hurt—and some were killed. 

Picture above:

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 Eisenhower. 

The Nazis never used the monastery as a fortress, but defended from its exterior.

Norman was hit on the side of his head losing part of his skull and pieces of steel were embedded in his left eye. 

He was left for dead but luckily someone saw him move and Norman was picked up, put on a train and then flown to

Bazonstook Hospital in England. 

He remained there for approximately three months. 

Norman was told that the amount of penicillin that was injected into his head would have cost over $9,000.00. 

He was then sent from England to Canada, where he was to report to a

hospital in Toronto to have the steel removed from his eye.  Norman left Liverpool, England aboard

a hospital ship nicknamed “Pharaoh’s Yacht”.  Upon arrival in Halifax, Norman’s sister picked him up and took him to her home in Truro

until he received word that he was to report to the Toronto

General Hospital via train.  Norman’s eye could not be saved and it was removed. 

He was sent home to Cape Breton to recover. 

Eventually his sister took him to the United States for speech

therapy which turned out to be a great success. 

Even with all he had to go through, when asked if he had any regrets

Norman’s response was “definitely not”. 

Norman remembers an incident that happened when he was in the hospital in England. 

While there, it was necessary for the staff to tie him to his bed so

that he couldn’t grab at the bandages on his head. 

On one particular day a new doctor, holding a doughnut in his hand, went in to check on Norman. 

The doctor must have thought Norman was either out of it or sleeping because as he leaned over

Norman he asked the nurse for the story on the chap and questioned whether he was aware of anything. 

As he leaned closer to look at Norman’s head, Norman quickly leaned forward and took a bite out of the doctor’s doughnut. 

The staff had to clean out Norman’s mouth because he couldn’t swallow but the doctor

said it was the greatest thing because it showed that his brain and eyes were functioning to a degree. 

Norman still gets a chuckle out of this experience but he also still feels the sadness of

seeing his comrades injured and some even killed. 

But when asked if he’d do it again Norman’s response was “yes”. 

On 12 September 1945, Trooper J. Norman Austin was discharged from the service under Routine Order 1029 (10)

by reason of “unable to meet the required military physical standards” 

For his wartime service he was awarded the following medals: 

Defence of England Medal; 1939-45 Star; Italian Star;

France & Germany Star; Canadian Voluntary Service Medal & Clasp, and the Holland Medal. 

Norman was married in August 1953 and had a son born on 2 December 1954, and a daughter on 

14 November 1955.  He was a meat cutter in a meat shop where he was trained

and eventually he had his own store for ten years. 

Norman’s first wife died in 1990 and he married his present wife in June 1993. 

He regularly attends church and is very active in church work. 

His hobbies include gardening and traveling but his eyesight limits him now as to what he can do.  

Norman and his wife presently reside in Truro.

Medals:  1939-45 STAR; ITALY STAR; FRANCE & GERMANY STAR; DEFENCE                                 

MEDAL; VOLUNTEER SERVICE MEDAL & CLASP; and WAR MEDAL 1939-45. 


Herbert Ian  Naugler

Herbert Ian Naugler was the oldest child of Walter Herbert and Lucinda Rosella (nee Sharpe) Naugler. 

He was born on 5 April 1925 in Moser River, Halifax County, Nova Scotia. 

Ian’s father Walter, was a “jack of all trades” and his mother Lucinda was a busy homemaker with six children, three boys and three girls. 

Upon completion of grade eight schooling in Moser River, Ian’s first job, in the winter of 1940,

was a cook’s helper in the woods.  And the cook was his Dad, who Ian stated “was a great cook!” 

Ian eventually went on log drives and worked in the saw mill and became a real lumberjack. 

In June 1944, he joined the military in Halifax, Nova Scotia and completed Basic Training in New Market, Ontario. 

Ian was then sent to Camp Borden for Advance Training in the Armour Corp, when much to his surprise,

his superiors advised him he was in the Infantry. 

In December 1944, Ian was shipped overseas on the Georgic, which was the largest diesel vessel at the time. 

They landed in Liverpool on New Years’ Eve 1945 and then went to Camp Aldershot where he was assigned to the North Novies. 

Ian then took his first airplane ride on a flight to Belgium. 

It was here that they continued further battle training and stayed in King Leopold Barracks for awhile. 

He was then sent to Germany where he first saw action in Emerich. 

Ian still recalls the “house clearing” which he remembers as being very scary with mostly only basements left after the barrages. 

Then to Holland where he spent his 20th birthday and then back towards Germany. 

Three days later, on 8 April 1945, at Bathman, Ian suffered a gunshot wound to his left shoulder. 

His Acting Section Leader D.D. MacDonald ordered him to “get up! Get going!”,

to which Ian responded “I can’t—I’m wounded!”. 

And then Ian heard “I guess you are!” He spent the next month in a British hospital in Brussels and on 8 June 1945,

the day the war ended, he was transferred by ambulance to First Canadian General Hospital in Ghent. 

Ian’s whole left side was numb and the gunshot actually injured a nerve. 

He 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”. 

Ian returned to Canada via ship and was released “End of Demobilization”. 

Sometime during the war years, Ian’s parents had moved to Sheet Harbour so that is where Ian went after the war. 

DVA put him through a 15 month machine shop trade and

on 4 November 1947 he found himself reenlisted in the Military as a Machinist. 

He was transferred to Montreal where, in 1948 he met a girl named Jessie at St. James United Church Young Peoples. 

Jessie Pearl Paul was originally from Newfoundland and on 25 March 1950 they married.

The following month, April 1950 the Naugler’s were posted to

Chilliwack with 23rd Field Squadron Engineers, in 1952 they were posted to

Whitehorse, 1956 Coldbrook, just outside Saint John, New Brunswick, 1959 Germany,

and in 1961 Camp Borden where they remained for 14 years. Ian was content with his job

in the Machine Shop but he badly wanted a posting East. 

But his Career Manager decided he would remain in Borden until he retired. 

In 1975, Ian released from the Military under CRA—

Career Retirement Age and he moved his family to Onslow Mountain.  

Ian worked part time at an auto shop then eventually worked full-part time. 

He also worked at the old Red Barn Furniture Shop but eventually decided to retire fully. 

He lost his wife Jessie in August 2001. 

Together they raised six children, five girls and one boy. 

Ian still resides just outside Truro. 

He enjoys his nine grandchildren and is a 29 year member of The Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026. 

Ian sings with The Legion Lyrics and his hobbies include curling, golfing, fishing, gardening and jigsaw puzzles.

To this day Ian still remembers his World War II rifle butt Registration Number:  64L2640. 

For his military service he has been awarded the following medals: 

Holland Medal; The 1939-45 Star; The France & Germany Star;

Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp; War Medal;

Nato 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. 

There were four children; the oldest one is Vivian McNutt, then Donald (deceased), who served during World War II as an Air Force Pilot,

Francis is next in line and the baby is Blanche MacKenzie. 

They moved to Truro in 1931. 

Francis completed grade 10 at Crowes Mills School and then

went to work for the Canadian National Railroad (CNR)

as a call boy, car checker and a clerk. 

Whatever work they gave him,

Francis was happy to oblige. 

In May 1944, he thought he would like to get some

adventure in his life so he went to Halifax and joined the military. 

Francis completed Basic Training in Yarmouth and then Advanced Training in Aldershot. 

He was then sent to Debert Holding Unit where, as a member of the

Royal Canadian Infantry Corp, he waited for the news when he would be sent overseas. 

But alas, the war ended and he was discharged “end of demobilization” in 1946. 

So back to Truro he went where he returned to work for the CNR. 

 

In June 1951 Francis went to Toronto, and joined the Army. 

He 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. 

Not long after Francis was shipped overseas to Hanover, Germany on the COLUMBIA, an old scow. 

His Platoon Officer was Captain MacDonald and their job was to take the

machine gun platoon to Hartberg where they carried out training

maneuvers with the old vicar machine guns. 

Here they found themselves up close to the Russians around the Black Sea. 

They were there for about a month and then back to Hanover again. 

While in Hanover they were just around the barracks more or less parading every day and stuff like that. 

Every night at six o’clock there was defaulters and they were on the parade square for an hour. 

The men had nicknamed Francis “the devil”. 

He’d tell 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. 

If you 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. 

So you 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.” 

So when they saw Francis coming they’d say “Here comes the devil!”


STOKOE, Rodney James Robert                                

WORLD WAR II

Rodney 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 (nee Applegarth). 

William was a coalminer and Elisabeth was a homemaker. 

Rodney’s two brothers served post war with the Royal Air Force.

In 1941, Rodney was a single college student and candidate for ordination

when he was conscripted and joined the military in Britain.  He completed his Basic Training in

Plymouth, England and became a paramedic in the British Navy. 

He then went on a covoy receiving base in North West Scotland.

Rodney’s Service Unit was Sick Berth Staff, General and Operating and he served in

Plymouth in England, Aultber in Scotland, Sir Lanka, Singapore, etc. (at sea). 

Rodney tells the following story: 

“It was a dull grey windy morning on June 6th, 1944 and the sea was not rough but heaving. 

I was a 24 year old British Navy paramedic onboard a Tank Landing Ship,

the kind with double doors at the bow and a ramp from the tank deck inside. 

When the 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. 

We were surrounded on all sides by other vessels, large and small -

over three thousand we were told afterwards—

all heading straight at the French coast, Normandy to be exact. 

We were carrying a Canadian Armoured Division, all kinds of wheeled and track borne armoured vehicles

and the men who drove them. 

Everyone was tense with excitement and apprehension.

The plan was to drop a special rear anchor at the right moment before hitting the sandshore

so that we could pull ourselves off after unloading our cargo,

but the sailors dropped it too soon and the long anchor chain disappeared into the sea behind us. 

A minute or two later we felt the ship scraping along the bottom and it finally came to a stop. 

Shortly 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. 

The water was just over six feet deep—too deep for anything to drive off. 

We received orders to stay there until the tide went out and then we would be able to unload. 

All through the day we waited and the tension aboard grew—

the more so when we heard that the first assault troops, now eleven miles inland,

were running out of the support they needed and we were carrying.

Evening 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. 

The ship now high and dry was in growing darkness just right for German bombers to attack the many “sitting ducks” like us along the beach. 

Sitting in a Mess room below deck I heard a Chief Petty Officer calling my

name. 

I stepped smartly up to him. 

“We’ve a job for you”, he said.

A young Canadian soldier (turned out to be only sixteen), watching the fast approaching shore with his buddies,

from the deck above had “gone crazy” with the tension. 

They had locked him in the small 8 ft. by 6 Sick Bay and I was to keep watch over him through the night. 

They opened the door, pushed me in, and locked it behind me.

The kid 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. 

Meantime, aircraft could be heard overhead and every so often a bomb landed near enough to cause the ship to rock. 

My patient was very frightened.  I remembered I was carrying six disposable ampoules of morphia for use with casualties. 

Severe penalty awaited misuse and each would have to be accounted for. 

I decided nonetheless to use one on my trembling “casualty” and, with his consent, injected it into his thigh. 

Then I told him that we’d say the “Our Father” together and soon he’d be asleep. 

It all 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. 

Morning came, I was relieved, and went back to other duties.

Was that 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

Wren ambulance driver in Scotland to marry me. 

I vowed that, if I ever got out of this alive, I would.  I did get out alive; I did ask her; and she said Yes!” 

Now you may be asking “Who is this lady that said yes?”  Let me tell you about her -

STOKOE, Margaret McGibbon (nee STRANG)      WORLD WAR II

Margaret was born on 22 September 1919 at East Kilbride, Scotland. 

She was the eldest child of John and Marion Strang (nee Fulton), and Margaret had a sister and a brother. 

John was an Insurance Manager and Marion was a teacher. 

Margaret’s early education was in private school and she then went to Glasgow High School

and then Queen’s College in Glasgow. 

In 1943, Margaret left her job as a YWCA Warden to join the military in Scotland. 

She completed her Basic Training in London, England and was assigned the Motor Transport Driver trade. 

Margaret served until 1945. spending time in Eglinton, Northern Ireland; and Lock Ewe, Scotland.


James Bernard FLEURY                                                                       

WORLD WAR II

James was born on 3 August 1920 in Westville, Pictou County, Nova Scotia. 

]His father, Victor Fleury, was a coal miner and his mother, Rachel nee Boudreau,

was a busy homemaker to seven boys and two girls (James was their fifth child). 

In 1939, James was dating Delima Lirette from Amhert, Nova Scotia and was working as a laborer. 

But, like other members of his family (his father and four of his brothers all served during WWII)

James really wanted to help defend his country and so he went to

Pictou where he joined the North Nova Scotia Highlanders. 

  

He completed his Basic Training in Amherst and was sent overseas in 1940 to Aldershot, England, via boat. 

While in Europe, James sent an engagement ring back home to his

girlfriend Delima, and she did not send it back!

In 1943, James was sent back to Canada to attend officer training in

Brockville, Ontario with C.T.A.A. King Company, Platoon No. 1. 

He graduated with the rank of Second Lieutenant. 

After graduation James and Delima were married at St. Charles Church in Amhert on 24 April 1944. 

Shortly after, James returned to Europe. 

On 5 March 1945 while serving in Germany, a bomb shell exploded close enough to

James that he suffered injury with shrapnel in his forehead. 

Following D-Day, he remained in Europe in occupational service for six months. 

James returned to Canada, again via boat, in 1946 and was released the same year “end of demobilization”. 

James served with honor in Canada, the United Kingdom and Continental Europe and for

his wartime service he was decorated with the following medals: 

1939-1945 Star; France & Germany Star; Defence Medal; War Medal 1939-1945;

and Volunteer Medal & Clasp.

In 1946 James and Delima settled in Truro where he went to work as an Inspector

for the Civil Surface Department of Fisheries. 

They raised a family of three sons and one daughter. 

James was a hard worker and a good supplier to his family. 

He enjoyed his work and was always ready to volunteer to go wherever his job needed him to go. 

In 1949, James volunteered to go to Hudson Bay and the Paw for six months

and he also volunteered twice to go on the sealing boats for a duration of three months each time.

James was a member of The Royal Canadian Legion Colchester N.S. Branch No. 026 for over 50 years. 

He earned his private pilot licence in 1971 and was a member and

Past President of The Soaring Club in Debert.

James passed away on 7 November 1992 at the age of 72. 

His wife 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

Edward Island on 22 May 1931. 

His father Harold worked as a fisherman and also for the Canadian National Railroad (CNR). 

His mother, Avon Corcoran was a homemaker.  Joe had one younger sister. 

In 1942, the MacGregor family moved to Halifax.  

Joe completed his grade 8 and went to work at a snack bar delivering groceries

and then he worked for the CNR as a labourer. 

On 13 August 1950 he went to Windsor Park in Halifax and joined the military. 

At that time he was interviewed by a Personnel Selection Officer (PSO) who asked him what he would like to be. 

The PSO asked him if he wanted to drive a car or truck as the Service Corp was filled up.

Joe thought that sounded rather easy and when the PSO offered him a trade as a DR 

(Dispatch Rider) he didn’t want to show his ignorance by not knowing what a DR was,

so he merely responded “Oh Great” and signed the documents.

Joe completed Basic Training in Petawawa and was then shipped to Fort Louis in Washington State for further training. 

The reason for this was because there was no camp in Canada large enough to accommodate 10,000 soldiers in training for the

Korean War.

In early March 1951 Joe boarded a troop ship at Seattle, Washington, with 3,500 soldiers onboard. 

Ten days later they arrived at Pusan, Korea and because they couldn’t use DRs due to the rice fields,

they sent Joe to the Brigade Headquarters. 

Joe still remembers feeling sorry for the people there and to this day still can’t

imagine human beings living the way the Koreans had to. 

He remembers a L/Cpl ordering him and another guy by

the name of Harry Burton (who was a WW II rear gunner) to dig a trench. 

They just got started when Harry was told to report somewhere else so he told

Joe to make sure the trench was big enough for them both. 

Joe dug and dug and just about dusk the L/Cpl happened to come back and said to Joe

“if you go another foot I’ll charge you with desertion”. 

Joe served in Korea until May 1952 when he sailed to Seattle on a troop ship and then took a troop train to Halifax. 

He was granted 60 days leave and was then released from the Army with two years and one day service. 

Not bad for a man who joined and planned to only stay in the military for 18 months.

By 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

11 different ships throughout his career. 

On 23 October 1969, Joe was serving on the HMCS Kootenay when it blew up 125 miles off Plymouth, England. 

Joe was Honourably Released from the Canadian Armed Forces on 21 May 1976 and for his service  

he was awarded the Korea Medal; UN Service Medal; and Canadian Forces Decoration with Clasp. 

He loved his career in the military and claims the service was very good to him!

In 1954 Joe married Elsie Swinimer, who at the time worked as a clerk at Burke’s in Halifax. 

They raised four girls and one boy and now have

12 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 No. 026. 

He is a very active member of Immaculate Conception Church and

belongs to The Knights of Columbus and The Saint Vincent de Paul Society.

 


 
William Edwin Merritt

William was born on 11 December 1924 in Harmony, Colchester County, Nova Scotia. 

His father, Charles Redford Merritt was a veteran of the First World War who was gassed overseas. 

Charles worked 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. 

Both brothers are now deceased and when Bill was only four years of age his Mom died of pneumonia. 

His Dad remarried Agnes Hamilton and they had five children together.  Bill was 12 years old when his father passed away.

Bill completed grade 10 and then went to work in Halifax at Purdy Bros. Marine Engineers. 

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”. 

Bill completed Basic Training in Yarmouth and on completion he was one of

two individuals selected to go overseas as a Driver Operator. 

Looking back, Bill said it wasn’t the best job but his superiors sure made it sound good! 

The other selected soldier ended up in a chicken pox quarantine and never made it overseas. 

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”. 

When action 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 understandably,

not everyone gave back their orange.

Bill served in the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals and was attached to 2 Army Group Royal Artillery. 

On arrival in England Bill was again selected to take a Straight Signals Course. 

On the completion of this course he was sent to Belgium. 

He was stationed just outside Nijmegen and the front had stopped for the winter. 

But this didn’t stop Bill’s unit as they were very busy with communications. 

With the coming of Spring, they worked their way up through Holland and Germany

and were 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.

Bill returned to Truro and  until he retired in 1987, he was employed by local Ford dealers. 

In 1948 Bill married Elizabeth (Betty) Fields who is deceased. 

They had no children. 

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. 

He has received the prestigious Palm Leaf to his Meritorious Service Medal and in 2004

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

Fundy Trail Snowmobile Club where he is the House Committee Chairman. 

For the past 10 years he has been Treasurer of the Snowmobile Association of Nova Scotia,

Past President of The Truro Curling Club, Treasurer of Harmony Cemetery and if that’s not enough

he also handles snowmobile permits for the Province of Nova Scotia. 

Note:  One 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 anyone. 

Also, if he can’t say anything nice about a person, he just won’t say anything at all –

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 whole. 

Bill is a fine example to us younger members who

just recently joined the Branch and he sets a fine example of leadership for all members to follow—Jane Allen

 


 

 

 

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