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Learning to Protect Yourself

Heroes Remember

Learning to Protect Yourself

My dad, I was on leave in Ottawa here, and my dad said to me one day, “John Grearson,” who was the commissioner of the National Film Board, “wants to see you.” I said, “What does he want to see me for?” He said, “I don’t know Norm. He wants to see you.” I said, “Okay.” As a matter of fact I was on embarkation leave after being on draft seven times ... that was the eighth time. So I went to see him and I went into his office and we shook hands and I said, “What do you want to see me for?” He said, “I want you to join the Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit.” I said, “And where is that?” He said, “Well here and in England,” but he says, “You’re not going overseas anyway.” I said, “And who says I’m not?” He says, “I did.” I said, “Well you can’t stop me.” He says, “All I have to do is pick up the phone and call C.D. Howe.” I said, “I don’t care who you phone. You can call God if you want, I’m going overseas.” “Well,” he said, “ok.” He turned to my dad and said, “Geez he’s a stubborn bugger isn’t he?” My dad said, “You don’t know the half of it.” So anyway I said, “Okay,” I said, “I promise you one thing ... if and when the unit is formed in England ... I’ll join it.” Which I did. Every cameraman had to go after the unit. We had to go to Pinewood Studios to the British Army Film and Photo Unit who were Veterans of the African campaign and they taught us things ... what to do and how to shoot it without getting killed. How to take cover and, you know, and dig in and don’t stick your head up too. If there was a bush that you could get your camera through, your lenses through or things like that you know ... just around the corner of a building or through a window or things like that you know ... just to protect yourself. Didn’t always work I can tell you. Didn't always work.

Mr. Quick talks about joining the Film and Photo Unit and some of the training he got from the British Army Film and Photo Unit.

Norman Quick

Mr. Quick was born in Toronto, Ontario on April 22, 1921. His father, a cinematographer, moved the family to Ottawa when he was very young and he remembers in particular, playing a lot of hockey wearing homemade equipment. Mr. Quick enlisted in the Medical Corps, but quickly transferred to the Film and Photo Corps once it was formed in England. His active service took him to Italy, where he filmed such notable actions as Ortona and Monte Cassino. Interestingly, he and his crew adopted a teenage boy named Ilio, who accompanied the Canadian film crew until its tour in Italy ended. Mr. Quick was then deployed to NW Europe, where he served in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. He remained in the Canadian Army as a cinematographer, but left after Paul Hellyer amalgamated Canada’s Armed Forces. Mr. Quick currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Norman Quick
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Film and Photo Unit
Staff Sergeant
Film Camera Operator

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