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Signing Up Myself and a Friend

Heroes Remember

Signing Up Myself and a Friend

I felt very proud of the uniform. We were told to be proud of it We would say, hey you represent the Canadian Army, don’t forget when you’re out and I believed it and wherever I went we looked pretty sharp. And, of course, when we went to England, imagine we took off from Debert, Nova Scotia on a huge ocean liner and that was fantastic and arrived in Liverpool and coming off there with sort of a foggy time, it was just like being in a movie. Stepping on the docks and all formed up and marching to the camp and there the English people were so glad to see us, they too. So it was a great time. You have to have been there, the bands are playing and the people are waving and it’s a great time. Then we hit, I hit Aldershot training camp which was the biggest training camp in the world which was very interesting, then you became a number again, you trained like mad running around and toughening you up I think. And then I went to a minor camp waiting to be, I forget what they called it, they had a name for the camp. I’m not sure what it was called but a camp where you weren’t belonging to any regiment but then you were picked or volunteered to join regiments. And it was there I was, there was a notice up on the board, “Anybody who wants to join the Royal Regiment they need people right away.” And so I put my name down and my friend’s name who wasn’t in the barracks at that time. When he came back from his nightly leave and he found he was on his way to the Royal Regiment he wasn’t very happy about that. But he was a good friend of mine, you see, and he used to call me Roger. I don’t know why but he’d call me Roger and we went overseas together. He was the kind of fellow, who had his, if you can imagine, a private soldier, he had his uniform tailor made. So that’s kind of weird. And when we went into, well we left the camp, first of all that evening was a crazy evening because they gave us all our ammunition and new rifles and gas capes and all that stuff. And at four o’clock in the morning, they said, “Okay outside!” We went out and got on trucks, drove us to an airport and we got on a glider. I went in on a glider if you can imagine. And, of course, by now my friend who came in, he was older, I thought he was old. I was eighteen or less and he was thirty two and I thought jeez it can’t get any older than that. And he whined the whole time, he said, “Why did you do this to me?” But anyway we got there and while we went in on a glider, landed in a farmer’s field and we were ill most of the time on this glider because it kept going around and around and around. And we didn’t land in enemy territory which would have been more romantic, we just landed somewhere. It took a while for everybody to get organized on a road and somebody came to get us and then we shortly thereafter joined the regiment.

Once having an opportunity to join the Royal Regiment of Canada, Mr. Preece shares an amusing story of how he volunteered his friend to join as well.

John Preece

Mr. John Preece was born October, 1926 in Toronto, Ontario. Mr. Preece grew up without a father and at the very young age of fifteen left home and joined the Norwegian Merchant Marine. After some time, he decided to join the army, enlisted in Canada and travelled overseas where he then joined The Royal Regiment of Canada. As part of the infantry, Mr. Preece experienced combat and while in action became wounded which resulted in him being unable to continue active service. Mr. Preece returned to Canada after the war, achieved his grade 12 education and continued on to university. In 1959 he received his B.A.Sc. at University of Toronto, C.O.T.C. 2nd Lieutenant, a B.A. Arts (Psych) degree in 1971 and retired with a P. English. His career included many management positions in varied businesses. Mr. Preece is now retired and resides in Ottawa with his family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
April 30, 2015
Person Interviewed:
John Preece
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Liberation of Holland
Royal Regiment of Canada

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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