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Don't Let This Fall Into Enemy Hands

Heroes Remember

Don't Let This Fall Into Enemy Hands

The first dispatch I ever had was at night, “Don’t let this fall into enemy hands or any other hands, only the name on this dispatch.” It was a brown envelope, sealed, “Put it inside your tunic and make sure you deliver it to this brigadier. You hand deliver it to that brigadier, nobody else. "Don’t ever let it out of your hands.” So it was the same with all of them but that’s the first lecture I got on it. It felt scary, more than the riding part or the minefields or anything else. That dispatch in there was the scary parcel to be carrying because I understood what he said alright. You’d have to, somebody would have to shoot you or do away with you someway or another to get that and I wouldn’t have given it up unless somebody did. So it was a scary situation alright every time we had one of those. And to wake you up if you’re duty dispatch rider like, they called it, for somebody to come out in the middle of the night, you may be sitting against a tree or something and your bike is right there. “Here’s the dispatch for you and here’s your map reference, away you go.” That was an eerie feeling. First of all, you had a problem to find it in the dark, don’t put a headlight on, don’t have any lights. Start down the road, wish you good luck.

Mr. Downe talks about the responsibility that rested on his shoulders.

Russell Downe

Russell Downe was born on February 26, 1924 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He joined the army when he was just seventeen, following in the footsteps of his two brothers, Edward and Robert, who were already overseas. His training took place at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Mr. Downe worked as a motorcycle dispatch rider for most of the war where he was responsible for delivering urgent messages.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
January 1, 2000
Person Interviewed:
Russell Downe
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Dispatch Rider

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