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Purple Heart Medal

Heroes Remember

Two American generals, I should say, walked in with a big box of medals one day, Purple Heart. I was still all bandaged up, you know. A beautiful nurse walked with them down the line, you know, mud was the floor. They were sprinkling water sometimes to keep the dust down, you know. We had a walk of boards or whatever they had there too, you know, along the beds, you know, sidewalk, you see. Don’t forget, this is tarps, you know, it’s quite a hospital. This nurse says, these two American generals - they were happy, looking at their wounded, giving them the medal - and she come up to my bed and us RCRs were scattered in there, so, “This is a Canadian soldier.” “Oh, how are you?” “Fine.” “You really got it. Who led the raid?” I says, “My company commander.” “Oh, well, you really got it.” He says, “Did you get one of these?” I said, “I can’t accept it, sir.” And I couldn’t accept it because we don’t get that. We don’t wear them and therefore we don’t accept it because we cannot wear them. It’s not our medal and a Canadian soldier don’t get a medal for being wounded. “Oh, too bad.” But you know, but these Americans… I spoke to some of them when I was getting better. They’re happy soldiers. You know, that medal means everything to them. It really does, you know. They get the Purple Heart, you know. I guess it gives them a wishful thinking of, that they’ve been in it, you know, I’m wounded, and there it is.

Mr. Schreyer talks about the day he was offered the Purple Heart and why he refused it.

Henry Schreyer

Mr. Henry Schreyer was born August 30th, 1923 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was raised on the family farm in Beausejour, Manitoba where he lived through the Depression of the 1930s. Mr. Schreyer left the family farm and moved to Ontario where on Aug 6, 1941 he decided to join the Canadian Forces. His first choice was the Canadian Navy but, because he would have had to return home before they would take him, he joined the Canadian Army and was taken into service right away. Mr. Schreyer did his basic training in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba and soon after was assigned to the Royal Canadian Engineers. He trained in Victoria, BC before travelling across Canada for deployment to Europe and active duty. He was part of the D-Day landings, served throughout the Normandy campaign, and spent time with the army of occupation in Germany at the end of the Second World War. Mr. Schreyer was released from the Canadian Army and travelled quite extensively, working in a variety of different occupations; farmer, mover and “beating the rods”. In 1952, Mr. Schreyer re-enlisted with the Canadian Army and joined the Royal Canadian Regiment. He served as an Honour Guard on Parliament Hill for the induction of the First Canadian Governor General. Mr Schreyer served as a volunteer in the Korean War. His journey took him via Japan to Pusan, then north to serve on the Jamestown Line. During his service, Mr. Schreyer was wounded and transferred from the front lines. Eventually, because of his injuries, he decided to leave the Canadian Army. After his service, he went back to his earlier occupation as a mover. He took up a career in packing and receiving and then as a transport driver.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Henry Schreyer
War, Conflict or Mission:
Korean War
Jamestown Line
Royal Canadian Regiment

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