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I wanted a place to play hockey

Heroes Remember

I wanted a place to play hockey

I got into the army by default. I got into the army because I wanted a place to play hockey. And then of course what developed was, that would have been in June of 1939, and by September we were at war. So then the colonel called me in and said, "We want you to join the regiment as an officer." I said "No." He said "What?" I said "No thanks." I said, "I'll join alright but this war's gonna be over by Christmas and besides I, what qualifications do I have to, to lead men?" You see I, I really felt that a major for example in the army to me when I was a lieutenant, a major was a guy who had a lot of experience in the non-permanent active militia. And I thought, boy this guy you know, he knows map reading, he knows weaponry, he can, he knows how to aim artillery pieces, he knows a lot of things that I don't know, and he also knows man management. And that was the, man management was the thing that steered me to taking, not to take a commission. So I took a look at these rough tough guys that I knew, that I'd played hockey with, they'd knock you in the head with a 2x4 as soon as look at you. And I thought, you know, if you put yourself in a position, where you're telling those guys to lay down their lives, what are they gonna do? They're gonna say, the hell with you Chadderton, you know? That may be alright for you but me I'm going the other way. And it never did happen, but that was my feeling and I was very strong within me. Also the fact that my father, and this is something I, it should go in the record. My father lasted all of about three and a half weeks in action from the time he joined, he was a signaller and then he joined the Royal Winnipeg Rifles as a signaller and three and a half weeks later he was gassed and he was on his way back home. So you know, I sort of felt that, what, what gave him the right to, to be a soldier. Well a soldier needed a rifle and he needed to know how to throw a grenade and unfortunately in my father's case, he, he should have been able to put his gas mask on, but he wasn't, so he died. For all intents and purposes, to all intents and purposes, you know he didn't die but he might as well have, ‘cause he lived a very rough life. So all of these things were going through my mind as a jumble. I don't mind that, I wish I could sit down and say it's A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. It isn't. But it's a, the whole thing is a bit of a jumble when you say well how did you, why did you join and why did you get into it. The one thing I did not join the army for and most people didn't, I didn't join for a job.

Mr. Chadderton discusses his reasons for enlisting.

Clifford Chadderton

Clifford Chadderton, CC, O. Ont., OStJ, CLJ, CAE, DCL, LLD Mr. Chadderton was born May 9, 1919, in Fort William, Ontario, and was raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His mother worked as an accountant. His father, an entrepreneur, was a veteran of the First World War who suffered complications from being gassed at Vimy Ridge. Under the tutelage of his parents Mr. Chadderton was brought up to believe in Canada and the importance of education. He became interested in social events, politics, military history and the process of debate. These interests led Mr. Chadderton to become a news editor for the Canadian Press and a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press while attending the University of Manitoba. Mr. Chadderton even found time for another interest - playing hockey for the Winnipeg Rangers, the farm team for the New York Rangers. On October 15, 1939, Mr. Chadderton enlisted in the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, climbing the ranks quickly to become a company commander and an acting major by the end of the war. While serving in Europe he was wounded twice, once by a bullet at the Abbaye d'Ardenne in Normandy, and then by a grenade near the Leopold Canal in Belgium on October 10, 1944. There, he lost his right leg below the knee, and his military career came to an end. Mr. Chadderton never let the loss of his leg hinder him. In fact, it has made him a beacon of hope to many, and has given him the opportunity to work for the needs and benefits of Canadian amputees and veterans. He is the Chief Executive Officer of The War Amps, and Chairman of the National Council of Veteran Associations in Canada. A persistent, dedicated and devoted man, Mr. Chadderton is also known nationally and internationally as a documentary producer, creating The War Amps Never Again! series, which illustrates the realities of war. He has also written an inspirational memoir entitled, Excuse Us! Herr Schicklgruber, which is an insight into the personalities, feelings and hopes of the men who fought alongside Mr. Chadderton in the Second World War. Mr. Chadderton continues to challenge the world and enjoy life with no regrets, having made a home for himself in Ottawa, Ontario, and creating a legacy with his wife, two children, and four grandchildren.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Clifford Chadderton
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Winnipeg Rifles
Infantry Company Commander

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