Language selection


Remembrance Train

Heroes Remember

When I heard about the Remembrance Train that Via Rail was going to run, I thought, "That's for us." So, we booked in, got a bedroom on the train, and it was an extraordinary experience. Your Dr. Dubinsky, who's the regional medical officer, said, "Well, I think you should lay a wreath for the fifty officers that were executed, George." I said, "That's a terrific idea." He said, "Well, I'll pass it on and talk to the Poppy Committee and get it organized." So I did. I laid a wreath and that was a, a wonderful experience, too. And the train itself was such a remarkable event because when we got to Halifax, there must have been six or seven hundred people at the, at the station. The brass bands were there, there was a piper there, the red carpets were down, the Lieutenant-Governor was there, all the military brass, and they even had a shoe shine expert there who would do your shoes for 25 cents. And he's a former retired RCMP fellow who just does it because he rather enjoys it and says, "I just donate all my money that I get to some charity." So, he was actually invited to come aboard the train and make the whole trip there and back to Ottawa. And another group was the barber shop quartet that they had, and they were excellent, very well rewarded group, and they sang. We had three dining cars on the train, and they sang in each of the dining cars and also did a concert in one of the three dome, one of the, the two dome cars that were on board, as well. So, it was just an extraordinary experience and, and a chance to relate to people who had very different kind of war experiences to the one that you have.

Mr. McKiel describes his experience with the Remembrance Train.

George McKiel

Mr. McKiel was born in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, on May 15, 1924. His mother was a war bride, and his family moved to Devon, England, when he was quite young. Mr. McKiel joined 405 Squadron, Bomber Command in 1943, and was shot down and captured shortly thereafter. He spent 2 years in a Polish prisoner of war (POW) Camp, Stalag Luft 3, where he helped 76 officers escape in the Great Escape. After his liberation, Mr. McKiel returned to Canada and eventually earned a PhD in Cancer Research. These credentials have allowed him to consult on Nursing issues as far away as Australia. Having recently returned to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Mr. McKiel is already involved with seniors' health programs in his community.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
George McKiel
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Bomber Command
Air Force
405 Squadron
Flying Officer
Air Bomber

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: