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He said Canada just went to war

Heroes Remember

He said Canada just went to war

One real, real cold morning, I walked from Lucasville to the farmer, who had hired me to work with him. And it was the first of September 1939. I walked up over that hill and he called me. "Oh," he said . . . I said, "Morning, Mr. Hankey!" "Mornin', Ivan." He was an Englishman, and he said, "Pretty cold out, isn't it?" "Yeah, pretty cold." He said, "Canada just went to war against Germany." And I began to think then, "I wonder what, what war is like, you know?" My father had been into the First World War, and he never talked about it like I do, never talked about the war. The only thing I can remember my father having in the war, was a gas respirator and an old steel helmet, and I can see it kicking around the yard when we were kids, to this day. So, I didn't know much about the war until I walked from Lucasville, in the wintertime, right to Halifax. Didn't have the money for a taxi, and nobody to drive me so I had to walk, because you get that slip saying, report to the No. 6 Depot, in Halifax, for decide whether they're gonna take you in the army or not. But you have to report first. And there was about twelve of us first went in and sit down. We were looking around, like was nobody there. The officer up in the corner there asked me questions, and first thing you know, he said, "Well, call out your names." If there wasn't any . . . called out seven names, and said, "That's it." And mine was in with the seven. 60 CABTC, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. That was the training centre in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. And the people in Yarmouth, it was a different thing. Seeing the soldiers today, you see a bunch of soldiers there. They don't, don't treat you like they did in Yarmouth. In Yarmouth, when, every, every Saturday, I guess it was, yeah, Saturday mornings, all the people in Yarmouth . . . all these soldiers in Yarmouth had somebody in charge of them, and they had to fall in. Fall in means get out and get lined up and they would march through the city of Yarmouth. And it was a great thing to see yourself marching down the street in Yarmouth every Saturday morning. And the people were . . . there were a lot of coloured people, or black people they call them now, and a lot of white people. You know, they were like that. Always for the people, for the soldiers, you know. And it seemed like it just fell in like that. If they were going to go and have a drink after down at the bootlegger's, I would go. And I would buy a drink and come back singing, "Oh Canada!"

Mr. Parsons describes enlisting and being on parade at boot camp in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia..

Ivan “Benny” Parsons

Ivan Benjamin Parsons was born in Lucasville, Halifax County, Nova Scotia, on February 26, 1922. He was the eldest of 10 children and worked on a local farm. His father was a sawyer at the local saw mill. After finishing basic training in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Camp Borden, Ontario, Mr. Parsons shipped to England aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth. After training as a truck driver, he took part in the D-Day invasion at Normandy. During his service in Europe, his truck crew delivered ordinance to the artillery. Mr. Parsons returned home early in 1946. After working in the retail business for a short time, he returned to the Army. Mr. Parsons later served with the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires for 20 years.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Ivan “Benny” Parsons
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Artillery Corps
Warrant Officer
Truck Driver

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