Language selection


Joining the army

Heroes Remember

In Port Arthur is where I joined the army. I just turned 18 in August the 30th and here it was August the 6th. I’ll never forget that day, August the 6th, 1941. That’s when I joined the army. Interviewer: What do you remember about that day? That day, well, I was hanging around this city and there was sailors. There were sailors, matter of fact, all Port Arthur there was sailors. And there was a training base and I got on to some of them, you know. I got used to talking to some of the sailors. They were young sailors; 18, 19, 20. And so, one of them said, “If you want to get in the Navy, try and get in the Navy. It’s a good life.” And I said, “I’d like to.” So the Navy was my first choice. I went down to Naval Headquarters and I’ll never forget this naval officer sitting behind his big oak desk and he says, “So, you want to join the Navy?” And I says, “Yes, sir.” He says, “How old are you?” I says, “Eighteen." He says, “Well, we’ll send you to hospital and get you checked out. But, we’ll get you checked out, but I’ll tell you right now, we’ll send you home for 27 days and then you come back and we’ll give you your uniform. But we’ll check you out now and send you home.” And I said, “Gee, I can’t do that.” I said, “I live in ...” At that time, I lived in Beausejour on the farm. I said, “I can’t do that, and Beausejour is too far away and I just want to get in. My father might not let me in, but I’m of age and so I don’t want to get in wrong.” So he says, “Well, the Army recruits today and they’ll take you today.” So, he just pointed his finger at a Lance Jack who was a Lance Corporal out there, outside - and he was calling these guys in, “Come on all ye, join the Canadian Army, join the Canadian Army, join the Colours. Join the Lake Superior Regiment.” And I says, “I’m your man.” “Come along,” the Lance Corporal says. So I went in there and I joined the army and I was sent to hospital. I was out of the hospital within two hours. They checked me over, and they checked me over and everything and I passed. And it’s funny, in there, there was guys in there that were a little older than me and they were turned down, you should see some of these boys cry. You know, they just broke down. They said, “They turned me down!” stuff like that. Here I was happy, they took me in. I thought well, I know it’s gonna be tough. Anyway, this officer says to me, “I’ll send you back to Winnipeg, and you can pick your regiment in Winnipeg, but I’ll swear you in now.” And I found it very tough, right from there on. Very tough, you know, the words were different and they broke you in right there and then it started, right from when I opened that door. And from there, I was “Laddie” and started learning the ranks of the superior soldiers, you know. And hard work I did, scrubbing floors, we did that. We swept floors and then I started to learn how to march. I spent a week in Winnipeg learning how to march and we were sent to Portage La Prairie after one week for my basic. It was called 100 Basic Training Centre, Portage La Prairie.

Mr. Schreyer talks about his experience in joining the Canadian Army.

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:
Second World War
Royal Canadian Regiment

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: