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Joining Under Peer Pressure

Heroes Remember

Joining Under Peer Pressure

I made the choice to join - peer pressure more than anything, I believe. I joined up from Welland and thank God I got back to Welland. When I joined you had your choice of where you were going; you were either going in the infantry or you were going home. So I joined and I joined as infantryman. I had an awful long trip for me, all the way to Orillia where I did my basic training. I think we had six weeks basic training in Orillia and then we were shipped to Camp Borden and when we graduated from Camp Borden as trained soldiers, we were shipped to Aldershot, Nova Scotia. And the army always worked alphabetically and they got as far as the S’s but they never got to SU and there I was, the draft pulled out and there was about seventy five or eighty of us left in Aldershot and Aldershot was just, more or less, an interim camp so they shipped us up to Debert, Nova Scotia and there I got a job in the Intelligence Corps. I trained a little bit for the Intelligence section and when the next draft for overseas came up, they were in a hurry for cannon fodder and there we were. All of us went up, got aboard ship and we got to Aldershot, England just about Christmas time, 1943. By the end of January, we were ready to go and they put us on a ship for Italy. They took twenty eight days to get from the English port down to Naples.

Mr. Summersides recounts his training and being drafted to go overseas to Naples.

Jim Summersides

Mr. Jim Summersides was born in Welland, Ontario, a town where he has lived all his life. As a young man, he recalls that peer pressure played a role in his joining the army. After enrolling, Mr. Summersides volunteered for the First Special Service Force, a unique joint Canadian- American effort that snuck behind German artillery lines creating havoc for the enemy. Mr. Summersides, along with fellow Canadian comrades, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor from the American Congress for his rare and profound contribution to the war effort. After the force broke up, he joined the 48th Highlanders and finished the war with that regiment. Mr. Summersides is very proud of his service during the Second World War and has had the pleasure of returning to Holland as part of the Canadian delegation for anniversary events.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
May 30, 2015
Person Interviewed:
Jim Summersides
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Liberation of Holland
1st Special Service Force

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