Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category
Monday, January 5th, 2009
My name is Ken Fisher. I had the privilege of serving in Canada’s Reserve Armed Forces for a number of years. I entered as a private recruit. Was selected for officer training while a student at university, so it was under the ROUTP plan, which is the Reserve Officer University Training Plan. Spent time training at the Canadian Forces Base Shilo, in Manitoba, Canadian Forces base Gaugetown in New Brunswick, at Canadian Forces Base in Saskatchewan and Wainwright, Alberta. Then also had the privilege of taking the airborne parachute course at Edmonton.
I suppose a highlight for me was the airborne course. That was a very challenging course, with a great sense of accomplishment once it was completed. A lot of the things that we were issued while I was in the service, which was in the ’70s, were World War II era, because that was the best stuff we could get. So my helmet, for example, is a World War II helmet, and the uniform was the old worsted wool uniform of World War II. And as a matter of fact, my first helmet that was issued was a World War I helmet – the British sort of basin helmet.
Monday, December 15th, 2008
My name is Nina Rumen. I was a nursing sister in the R.C.A.M.C. and then C.F.M.S. from ‘51 to ‘74.
My first posting was in Kingston, Ontario, in 1951. I was assigned to a lovely lady who died just recently, and the first thing she asked me to do was to give penicillin to twenty-five young men at the back of this surgical ward. Well, of course I knew how to give penicillin. “Why are they having it?” “Because the doctor prescribed it.” “Why did he prescribe it?” “Because they have gonorrhea!” We didn’t have outpatients in those days and they had to be given every three hours, so there were twenty-five bottoms up. And they were quite literally prisoners there, because they were in the army and they had to do as they were told. The song, “I’m a prisoner of love,” was popular in ‘51, and they called themselves the, “Prisoners of Love.”
Another posting that I had was to Churchill, Manitoba, at the Hudson Bay, and the C.D. Howe medical hospital ship went out there to tell the natives - the Eskimos, we didn’t have Inuits in those days - what they needed. They decreed that every plane that went up to an Eskimo settlement that they would bring pregnant women to Churchill military hospitals. And we had quite a few “Ladies in Waiting.”
It was important for medical people to know when their expected due date was, but we couldn’t speak Eskimo and they couldn’t speak English. So we got the Catholic priest who spoke Eskimo and he would ask them when their baby was due. They would hold up their fingers, and we would have a ruler and measure, and they would say, “When the ice is so thick.” So we would measure it and phone the meteorologist, and it was very effective.
A young Eskimo was expecting her first baby, and she was a beautiful young woman. In the middle of the night I was called because I was on call for all maternity and obstetrics 24×7. So I got this woman on a stretcher, took her from the ward, and managed to get her transferred from the stretcher to the delivery table by myself. And I was trying to get her feet up in stirrups for delivery. The nurse on duty was calling the medical officer, Bob Elliot. He was there very shortly afterwards, and she was still resisting this business of having her legs put up in stirrups. So Bob came in. I said to him, “Bob, would you just keep an eye on her? She’s resisting the stirrups. I’ll get ready for delivery because she’s ready to go.” I sort of turned my back to deal with what I had to do, and she slipped the delivery table and squatted in the corner. And Bob Elliot was… he believed in showing, so he gets up in stirrups. And in the meantime I was watching her. She was laughing away, gave one grunt, and I caught the baby with her squatting in the corner. So of course the next day I didn’t keep my mouth shut. I told everybody what happened. There were a number of young doctors there who said, “Bob, you may be our boss, you may be senior, but we have to tell you… It’s the Patient that goes up in stirrups, Not the Doctor!”
Tuesday, November 11th, 2008
My name is Commander Paul Delhaise. I’ve been in the military now for almost twenty-seven years, and I’m going to talk today about my grandfather. His name is Maurice Delhaise, and he was in the Belgian Army in World War I.
He was a spy during that period, and he was a courier, mainly. So there’s not too much information about exactly what he did, but you could certainly imagine what a spy would be doing.
After World War I, he was involved as a jail inspector in Belgium, and eventually, when World War II came around, they were very concerned about his involvement as a spy in World War I, and they ended up having to flee the country, both him with the government and his family separately to ensure that the Germans wouldn’t capture them.
An interesting story with respect to that is that he was captured very near the end of the war, of course as a spy, and he was sentenced to death, and he was in his cell, waiting to be executed. His cellmate was there as well, and his cellmate introduced himself as a Mr. (Tonglais ?), and my grandfather said, “Oh, that can’t be! I know (Tonglais ?)” In fact, his fiancée, my grandmother, her name was (Tonglais ?) as well, and he couldn’t believe that this was the same family. The man even looked like a German, and he was going to kill him the night before he was to be executed (my grandfather). Thinking at least it would be one less German… well, he wasn’t a man of violence, which is why he was a spy and he wasn’t a soldier out shooting and things like that. So he ended up not killing this individual, and it turned out to be his fiancee’s, my grandmother’s, cousin.
For his efforts in World War I, he had received many medals, two of which had been British medals – the Medal of the Order of the British Empire (Military Division), and the British War Medal.
Wednesday, April 16th, 2008
My name is Catherine Baillie. I’m speaking of behalf of my grandfather, John James Baillie. He died in December of 1997. He was a George Medal winner in World War II, and I’m going to speak a little bit about his time in World War II and the reason for his citation of the George Medal.
My grandfather left from Halifax for England on the last day of August 1944. On January 3rd, ‘45, he left the UK with No. 435 Squadron and was then transferred to 436 Squadron, en route to Burma. By February ‘45, he was transferred to the 194 RAF Dakota Squadron. The 194 Squadron was one of the squadrons responsible for flying in supplies for the 14th British Army. They would begin each day at 5:30 AM, and make three trips daily. It was on June 14th, 1945, on their second trip of the day, that my grandfather’s Dakota was hit by Japanese artillery.
On board his Dakota were two other Canadians: Flt. Lt. James Murray Rice, whom my grandfather called “Smitty,” and John Maynard Cox, as well as four Indian Army Service Corps. This is my grandfather’s story:
“We flew up to the town and crossed the river. We circled north above the air strip, then east again over the river, ready for the drop. As we came to the east bank, “Bam” – all Hell broke loose. It was like an old-fashioned movie where they speeded up the film. The first thing I noticed was the sound of the starboard engine. It was running away like crazy. Bits and pieces of things were banging on the side of the plane, and she was smoking back along the wing. A piece of metal was sticking in my right arm. I looked at it and thought, ‘That should not be there,’ and pulled it out. Funny thing - it did not hurt. I did not feel it. I ran forward to see the pilot. He was busy, trying to hold her with the other engine. He said that he would try to hold her if we would get rid of the load. We were about a ton or so overloaded, but this was normal. The right wing had dropped, and we had started a slow curve to the south. We were only about three hundred feet up, so there was no jumping from this one. (more…)