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One Miserable Place

Heroes Remember

Oh, it was rough. I went there in May, and in March and that. And we used to put water in aluminium basins and that, and it would freeze hard. And it was sandy when it was blowing around. It was one miserable place. We lived in what we called H huts. They used to have them in Halifax years ago. They’re the worst things you can live in, you know. Piece of wood and one stove in the centre to keep the place warm. But it wasn’t too bad. We had different things to go to. But there was a lot of drill there, you know. You got to meet a lot of fellows, you know. They took very good care of the younger fellas. They didn’t allow no one to pick on you, or to push you around, or play jokes on you. So, I never had to go through much with the men. I usually got along with most of them anyway. Interviewer: After your basic training finished in Petawawa, you went to Wainwright. What training did you receive there? The advanced training. It’s more with weapons and different things in there. You had a bigger area than Petawawa to train in you know, and it was more or less out there. They had Quanson Huts after, but we didn’t sleep. We slept in big Mark 5 tents. The bloody wind would come up and blow the tent right off. When it’s raining and that, you would have to get up and put in on. All your stuff is wet and all that, and it was more like being outside. The only thing about that, when they trained us, they didn’t train us for the type of country we were going to fight in. Because they didn’t know nothing about that kind of fighting, you see. So when we got trained, we thought we knew everything. We didn’t. We were only going by movies seen of the Second World War. It was altogether different.

Mr. Niles describes the type of training he received and the miserable weather conditions at Camps Petawawa and Wainwright.

Joseph Allan Niles

Mr. Joseph Allan Niles was born December 15, 1932, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the oldest of four children. His father enlisted for service during the First World War, but was released for medical reasons, and found work in the dockyards. Mr. Niles grew up in downtown Halifax, and at age fourteen, he left school to work as a labourer, working on many buildings in the Halifax area. Mr. Niles enlisted on May 4, 1951, at age 17, with the Canadian Armed Forces in Halifax. He became part of a Special Force with the Royal Canadian Regiment, serving in Korea. He commenced his basic training in Camp Petawawa, Ontario, and completed his advanced training in Camp Wainwright, Alberta. In March 1952, Mr. Niles left for Korea, first travelling by train to British Columbia, then to Seattle, Washington, where he boarded a troop ship to Japan and Korea. Mr. Niles took part in fighting patrols and saw action on the front lines in Korea. After his one year tour of duty was completed, he volunteered for an additional three year term in the army, and remained in Korea until the end of October, 1953. He was discharged from the Armed Forces in June, 1954, and settled in Montreal where he found a job with the railroad. His employment later took him to Truro, Nova Scotia. Mr. Niles died in the Veteran’s Memorial Hospital in Halifax, on April 30, 2007.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Joseph Allan Niles
War, Conflict or Mission:
Korean War
Royal Canadian Regiment

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