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He fought tooth and nail for the Merchant Navy.

Heroes Remember

He fought tooth and nail for the Merchant Navy.

Two weeks before war was declared, the Canadian government went and conscript all the ships, and all the crews had to sign off. And if they wanted their jobs back, they had to rejoin. And if that’s not conscription, what would you call it? And if there no one didn’t go, they conscript them anyway. So, people tell me, “Well, I volunteered.” Well really, we volunteered at the time, but there was a time come when you didn’t go, you were forced to go or jailed. And the one to give credit to, for the Merchant Navy’s success in getting what we got, was we kept up the pressure, but there was one, the late Jack Marshall, who was a wonderful senator. He was a man who fought all the way, tooth and nail, for the Merchant Navy. And he had written a report almost too late, because by the, after passing on, you know. And it was a shame, on cabinet and the countries, that they didn’t recognize us as the same as the Forces. Because we played our part to the best of our ability, and as young as we were, and as old as we were. I was glad when they said to send an application in to get the badge, you know, from the Forces in England. And first they come back and said I was with the Canadian Merchant Navy. I wrote them back and sent them original papers, documents, and a copy of my discharge and everything. And then they come back a week later, or two, and said they were taking photo-stats of it and will return your originals. They didn’t say whether I was going to get it or not, but the following week I gets it in the mail. And the Queen … it was the wishes of the Queen that they recognize the service of the Merchant Navy along with the Armed Forces, you know, whether we were in uniform or not. What difference does it make? And I can stick my chin up any day, if it’s an Englishman, or an American, or a Canadian. Some make fun about it, “Oh, you pass this port, you’re in there, you pass that port, you get a medal for every port,” you know. So I tell them, “Look, I earned it. I paid for it, blood, sweat, and tears.” I said, “I’ve seen a lot of action.”

Mr. Evans describes how Canada’s fledgling Merchant Navy was manned, and describes the trials that the Merchant Navy had in getting recognition for its war service, with particular thanks to the late Senator Jack Marshall who championed their cause.

George Harold Evans

George Harold Evans was born March 17, 1926 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He was one of thirteen children. His father, a First World War Veteran, worked in the Newfoundland fishery and Mr. Evans fished with his father.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
George Harold Evans
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Merchant Navy
Messboy, Fireman/Stoker

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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